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Have you ever heard of travelling with a purpose? Mission trips have become very trendy in the past few years due to the endless amount of benefits, both on a personal level and the social + environmental impact. Let’s explore some of the reasons why you should consider putting it on a bucket list!
Traveling abroad brings you many benefits. You get to see another part of the world, and you can learn so much about the communities and cultures you visit. One way to travel abroad is through mission trips, also known as travelling with a purpose.
Mission trips involve teams of people who go to another country to help a community and make a lasting, helpful impact. While many associate mission trips with religious outreach, there are plenty of non-religious opportunities too.
Sometimes, those who travel for a mission may leave the community more unsustainable than it was before the team arrived. Although the goal of a mission trip is to help, it won’t make a lasting impact if you don’t implement sustainable practices. Sure, you can plant a garden, but if the community members don’t know how to care for it or grow their own the following year, your efforts are left meaningless.
Therefore, it’s best to do what you can to make your work last through generations. Below are some of the benefits of mission trips focusing on sustainability.
It Involves the Local Community
When those involved in mission trips focus on sustainability, it often involves the local community, which extends the benefits. Instead of going on a trip to complete a job and leave, missions that get the local community working on the project with you are often more sustainable.
This teaches those in the community new skills, and it also creates a sense of bonding. Sometimes, with unsustainable mission trips, the visiting teams are seen as “voluntourists” and use the people in the community as guinea pigs to practice medical procedures or just to enhance a resume.
But when you work alongside those in the community, you’re making lasting impacts.
It Supports the Local Economy
Another benefit to creating sustainable mission trips is that they support the local economy. When you travel sustainably, you try to purchase from local shops as much as possible. This helps the local economy have the funds to support future generations and keep their business running.
In places that get a lot of tourists, the tourists tend to pay money towards larger industries. Opt for local restaurants, accommodations, and traveling when you go on a mission trip to give the economy a boost.
It Broadens Perspectives
A mission trip, whether sustainable or not, will broaden your perspective. The world requires people who have a broadened perspective on life in general. When you travel to a place with the intent to help, you see just how similar cultures are to your own.
Through sustainable mission trips, you also see how unsustainable the human race is. This allows you to return to your home with stories and real examples of why everyone should practice sustainable living. Through your journey, you can teach others the importance of sustainability.
It Offers Long-Term Benefits
Instead of going into the trip with a mindset of wondering how it will help you and your team, go into it with the more sustainable attitude of how you can help the community realize long-term benefits. You might benefit short-term by planting a garden or providing medical care to a community. If you don’t teach them your skills, though, they won’t get anything out of you being there over the long run.
The goal as a sustainable leader or team is to learn how you can help others long-term. When you teach someone in a developing community valuable and lasting skills, they can, in turn, train other members of their communities.
It Limits Your Environmental Impact
Sustainable mission trips keep the environment clean and healthy. Make an effort to bring your own sustainable and eco-friendly practices from home to your mission destination. That might mean getting a reusable water bottle or limiting your single-use plastic consumption.
Choose a sustainable location, as well. Try to avoid more prominent tourist destinations and focus on the smaller surrounding communities that need local aid. Purchase local produce and choose sustainable accommodations for all of your mission trips.
It Teaches Travelers to Be More Conscious
The final benefit of mission trips focusing on sustainability is that it teaches you and your team to be more environmentally conscious. Educate yourself before heading out on your mission trip to see how you can be sustainable while away from your home.
When you go to a place with sustainability in mind, you consciously make better choices for the local community and economy, as well as the environment. Each time you go on a mission trip, you’ll bring with you new skills and knowledge to limit your impact during your trip. Plus, you can use those same skills at home.
Choose a Sustainable Mission
Ultimately, do your research and find a sustainable mission trip. Doing so will help the environment, the community, and future generations who want to do the same!