The summer of 2017 took Lana Olsen to Moshi, Tanzania to gather data for a research study on the topic of volunteer tourism. In May 2018, while searching for a “mother” site that should contain a “one-stop” volunteer tourism information space for the general public combining elements of public information, academic research, and topical news stories, it became apparent that this type of traveling to volunteer website did not exist. It was shortly thereafter (August 2018) she decided to launch an educational website that would contain information for the potential and past traveling volunteer on topics such as how to psychologically prepare to volunteer outside your community, why engagement is important, and uplifting transformational community and volunteer stories to only name a few!
In addition to featuring general information on traveling to volunteer, The Traveling Volunteer understands the importance of selecting a worthy community development project that is initiated by an ethically-minded, community focused, and sustainability driven sending organisation. There is a LOT of noise in the volunteer tourism marketplace so it makes it hard to select the best one! Noting this, she has been busy developing sending organisation best practice indicators so the traveling volunteer can feel good about who they ultimately volunteer with. The sending organisations, non-profits, partnerships, and community projects featured on this site have been scrutinised using these measures.
Further areas being developed on this website is speaking engagements (and ability to book one); online and in-person events; business and individual consulting; a preparedness manual; online/in person transformational trainings, and compiling a Transformational Volunteer Travel package. At the basic level, we aim to provide you with the most current trends, tips, and research on the topic of traveling to volunteer.
Dr. Olsen graduated with her Ph.D. in Community Resources and Development from Arizona State University in May 2018 (with a concentration in sustainable tourism and volunteer tourism).