Destin-Nation USA: Voluntouring America
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America is blessed with such an incredible diversity of cities that travelers sometimes fall into the trap of taking towns at face value – seeing only the museums and sites along the most well-worn tourist trails. Aside from offering a chance to give back, voluntourism presents service-minded travelers with an opportunity to really get to know a town, to move past talking about the weather and have an earnest heart to heart.
On July 4, U.S. citizens all over the world celebrated their country's past. Collective nostalgia is wonderful (though hangovers aren't), but the stormy present will not be ignored. Thanks to the economic crisis, many communities across America are struggling. Thanks to the founding fathers, many people are in a position to help.
Helping, it should be noted, doesn't require sacrificing the fun of travel. To the contrary, a traveler busy getting his hands dirty is a traveler without a hand free to check his Blackberry. Volunteering also offers the opportunity to meet new people from all walks of life. What is endlessly astounding about the U.S. is not its scope, but the diversity of the people that live between the shining seas.
There are countless worthy causes in every city in America, so what follows should only be considered suggestions oriented towards visitors to some of the country's more major cities.
- Feast Your Eyes: The World's Best Gourmet Sites [Lonely Planet]
- 8 Perfect Summer Lake Towns [Budget Travel]
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