Finding your advocacy while traveling

Participating in the world: on finding your advocacy while traveling

This week, I received two e-mails asking for some kind to promote environmental events and they are willing to pay for. The first e-mail was from a student organisation that focuses on Marine Conservation and the second is all about environmental conservation. The second one is a vague proposal about contributing to the well-being of endangered species in Asia.

I declined.

No, please, don’t think I don’t care about the environment. I have a tree-hugging mother and believe me when I say as a child, I’ve been dragged to many tree-planting-slash-environmental-conservation projects. In fact, where I grew up is one of the thickest forests in the face of the Philippines. One of my best friends is an animal rights advocate and I’ve participated in this endeavour, too. When we were young, we would go grace the high floods of the Philippines to save pets who were left behind by their owners.

I declined not because I don’t believe in it but because I vowed to myself that I will only support things I know of, such as women empowerment and girls education.

At one point or another, I was always involved with something growing up and I noticed the disparity. But what struck me the most is the inconsistency of the activities I was involved in. Do I want to be the person who people often see on the Internet getting involved in so many advocacies?

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How I found my advocacy

Finding your advocacy while traveling

Baños, Ecuador, 2014

Sometime in 2013, I was walking in the souks of Marrakesh when a photograph caught my attention: a 15 year old girl was shot by the Taliban because she is fighting for girls to go to school in Pakistan. 15 years old. Shot by a man. A child. Versus a man. For me, it seemed impossible. Why would you shoot a child who wants to go to school? The face of the girl who survived resonates so much power and made me realise the reality of young girls in Pakistan. She entered me.

From that day on, I volunteered to many different endeavours concerning girls education and I never felt happier. More often than not, we involve ourselves in environmental projects because we think that this is what responsible travel is all about. But what if you don’t have strong feelings for planting trees and hugging elephants?

I need to reiterate this – there is nothing wrong with choosing just one. You can always reject things you are not interested in because it is your right to contribute to things you deem yourself fit. More often than not, we feel obligated to play a part in things we think that’s for the best but in reality, we are just making the case worst because we cannot give our 100% to things we don’t have knowledge of.

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How to find your advocacy while traveling

[us_iconbox icon=”fa-angle-double-right” iconpos=”left” size=”18px” title=”Get involved in multiple advocacies first” title_tag=”h6″]I know I said consistency is the key but let me tell you that I only found my advocacy when I exposed myself to different environments. Accept all the small invitations from friends to plant trees, save stray dogs, bathe elephants, etc because the only way to find out is to try. It will take time to trim down your list but along the way, whatever you have strong feelings for, go for it.[/us_iconbox]
[us_iconbox icon=”fa-angle-double-right” iconpos=”left” size=”18px” title=”Teach yourself” title_tag=”h6″]There is no crash course when it comes to advocacies because I believe everything is based on feelings so educate yourself on the issue. When I choose women as mine, I spent time watching TED talks and tons of Youtube videos to get a grasp of the subject I was interested in. I devoted one hour a day (or more) to reading related stuff that can broaden my perspective better. However, while you are in the study period, two things can happen: it’s either you find out that your chosen advocacy is not for you or the other way, you will discover that it is something you really want to support and contribute to. [/us_iconbox]
[us_iconbox icon=”fa-angle-double-right” iconpos=”left” size=”18px” title=”Find the right travel destination” title_tag=”h6″]One of the factors that are very crucial in finding your advocacy while traveling is the place you want to execute the goodwill in. For example, when I was in the Amazon Forests in Brasil, I became so close to nature that I wanted to continue the act in Ecuador but when I came to Rio de Janeiro, the urge went away just because I was in a young city where all I did was have fun. Our environment affects our interests so make sure to educate yourself about the issue, geographically. Right now, you might be thinking that there is poverty, gender issues, food shortage, etc in any country in the world but you have to weigh how grave the issues are and intertwine them with your travel thirst.[/us_iconbox][us_separator]
Finding your advocacy while traveling

Passara Village, Sri Lanka 2017

Related Post: Volunteering in an orphanage abroad may cause more harm than good

[us_separator][us_iconbox icon=”fa-angle-double-right” iconpos=”left” size=”18px” title=”Assess your goals” title_tag=”h6″]What are your reasons for choosing an advocacy? Do you want to help? If yes, how willing are you? Or maybe you just want to be seen on social media cuddling dogs and hugging trees? Knowing the direction of your advocacy on a personal level will make your intentions and goals drive to the right direction. Think about what you want to gain as a person and not how you want others to perceive your act.[/us_iconbox]
[us_iconbox icon=”fa-angle-double-right” iconpos=”left” size=”18px” title=”If you are consistent, your ‘help’ will go a longer way” title_tag=”h6″]This is something we often overlook: we are so busy with supporting multiple causes that we forget consistency. Pick one and be good at it. Divided attention will only cause divided results. Find where you are good at and stick to it. All of us have acquired skills that, whether we like it or not, can contribute to change we want to see in the world. Take that to your advantage and give more weight (and change) to what is relevant not only to your skills but to the kind of person you are.[/us_iconbox][us_separator style=”dashed”]

Some things I learned from finding my advocacy while traveling:

  • Silence is as bad as approval. I was never in a situation where I forced people to support a cause but what bothers me is when people don’t have opinions about anything. Sure, opinionated people are often labeled conceitedly assertive or arrogant – it’s annoying to listen to them more often than not but I’d rather pay attention to people who have something to say than deal with robots with no feelings. We often excuse ourselves on having opinions about a certain issue because we don’t want to be involved in arguments but this is the way of life. We agree to disagree – we don’t need to have the same opinions because it’s an indication that the world is f*cked. Disagreements and arguments can lead to a pool of ideas. We always blame society of denying us with our rights but the truth is, we deny ourselves with those rights. We live in a free world. Say something.
  • Tell your own story. Of course, there comes a time when we want to participate in the conversation but the things we want to say are figments of other people’s stories. We want to sound credible so we create a world where all the things we read on the Internet become ours (but a little tweaked to our individuality). Our life is the broth of our experiences. There is no one in the world that experienced or saw the exact same thing as you. Your story, no matter how irrelevant you think it is matters.
  • Go offline. The Internet has been a crucial platform for expressing our feelings and opinions about our advocacies. It has been one of the easiest ways to put the word out but you need to go offline. Go out there. Be in face-to-face conversations with people. Interact. Do some actual work.
  • Get ready for haters. A lot of people think that choosing women as my active advocacy means that I am a man-hater. I received a lot of hate comments on this blog but again, this is the result of not having enough information about the issue. In all of my posts, I always clarified that getting involved with women’s issues is not about man-hating but about the idea of women having equal rights with men. Women’s rights is an issue of men, too. I’ve been called names, accused a self-righteous b*tch but I never let it get in the way of sticking to what I chose. Choose your battles. If you fight everything, then your efforts and energies will go to waste. Always remember that person who will go against your opinions will always be there. Because there’s not only one. There will be a lot.
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Struggling to find your advocacy while traveling?

What type of advocacy are you interested in? I’d love to know more about you! Leave your insights in the comment box below and help other travelers find their voice and purpose while traveling!

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[us_btn text=”Follow @psimonmyway” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Finstagram.com%2Fpsimonmyway||target:%20_blank|” style=”outlined” align=”center”][us_separator style=”dashed”][us_cta title=”Need help in finding your advocacy while traveling?” btn_link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fpsimonmyway.com%2Ftravel-coaching|||” btn_label=”Get in touch”]I know I said we are different people who lead different lives but I might be able to help you in your goal to participate in the world![/us_cta][us_separator style=”dashed”]

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Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • August 6, 2017

    Finding your advocacy while traveling is really nice. It gives more purpose to your trips. It’s a good cause you are fighting for here. I agree— silence is approval of the bad things that’s happening.

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  • August 7, 2017

    I love your commitment and found this article really interesting. Good for you for finding your focus, it’s definitely a valuable one. Malala, the girl you mention, is so dedicated, and her story moved me, too – along with thousands of others.

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  • Jean
    August 8, 2017

    It’s hard to do when travelling. I’ve lived and worked overseas volunteering and education remote communities on hiv/aids prevention. It’s thankless and hard work but personally rewarding

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  • August 8, 2017

    I think it is not only about finding your advocacy, but staying committed to it and that is what will make a difference. Very informative article.

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  • Sandy N Vyjay
    August 9, 2017

    Loved this post. I agree one needs to find ones advocacy and then focus on it with zeal. I especially liked the point you make about going offline. That is really so important, one needs to get out there and experience and feel the real issues to truly understand them.

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  • August 9, 2017

    When I first discovered your website, I was drawn to the ‘Dear Girls of the World’ section. For me, it really inspired me that you stood for something. During my college years, the most fulfilling part of the years were not the academics but the service trips I participated in that allowed me to see the world but also to have a platform. Experiencing a new place by addressing issues that it faced made my travels that much richer and this post reminded me that the absence I’ve been feeling in my heart when it comes to traveling is due to the lack of having a platform. I see this as a call from the universe!

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  • August 9, 2017

    I am really excited to read more about your advocacy. I am glad you had found your cause. I love finding people who are supporting things with more than lip service.

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  • August 9, 2017

    This is amazing! I’ve been working on trying to find what I think my passion is. I love animals, I love the idea of empowering women, but I think the thing I would say I’m most passionate about is education. I’ll have to try to become more active in that! Thanks for the inspiration.

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  • August 17, 2018

    I like how you said to get involved in the right destination for you. I have been looking into finding a conservation project to be involved with. Thank you for the tips on finding your advocacy.

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