As travelers, we often think about how we can help out and improve things in the countries we visit through volunteering and sustainable, responsible travel. Something we tend to hear less about, however, is how to help with issues happening back home while we are traveling or living abroad. Whether they are natural disasters, political or social upheavals, or a million other things, turmoil back home still effects us even when we’re on the other side of the world. Some people will say that you should just ignore everything and not let it ruin your good time, but most of us want to do what we can to aid those back home in times of need. So I’ve made a short, simple list of things you can do today to provide support to your home city or country when needed. (This was of course brought on by the current dumpster fire that is the United States, but these tips are all applicable to any country or situation.)
Spread the Word
Use whatever means you can to help spread truthful, useful information about the issue at hand. Whether it is a natural disaster, a political uprising or anything else, people are going to need access to information. Help spread facts, help hotlines, resources and anything else that might be of use. Social media, articles and blogs, videos and any other form of media are great for disseminating information. Just make sure that you check your sources and only spread useful, factual information.
As budget travelers, we usually have a tight budget as it is. So pulling some of that money out to give to someone else can be hard. But donations to the right charities and organizations can really help to improve situations and bolster those who are working to create positive change. So even if you can only spare a few dollars, don’t feel like it isn’t enough; every little bit counts. Do your research and make sure that the charity or organization that you are donating to actually uses their donations/funds to do work and improve the issue they are dedicated to.
Offer Your Services
If your career or any of your skills would be useful in working on the issue back home, see if there is a way you can help from abroad. Donating your time online, whether that be helping with research, documentation, design or something else (sometimes even just lending an ear to people on the ground that need to let off steam) can be monumentally helpful. Don’t think that because you aren’t in the area that you can’t use your skills to help the people that are.
There are of course many other things you can do to help out when things are going wrong in a big way back home, but hopefully this little list gives you a starting point to plan how you want to help. The worst thing you can do is nothing.
Below is a small resource list to help you get started. The list is mostly centered around the current issues in the U.S., but if you have any good resources for other countries please leave them in the comments below.
The Resistance Manual (In addition to being a great resource list, it also has lots of action plans and useful information)
Indivisible Guide (allows you to search for local groups/organizations within the U.S.)