Volunteering and travel

  • Post category:Travel / Volunteering
  • Reading time:6 mins read

It was a sudden flash of awareness, when I felt that I should start to travel. I thought for a long to decide what to do; but it only needed a moment for clarity to appear. In a split of time I felt that I need to start moving and let the paths appear as I walk this path of my life. There was something, some voice in me, that I realized, have always guided me. It always made me believe to keep on moving in life. “Whatever happens, happens for good”; I always liked this phrase. Not that I feel that everything is good. My interpretation of it is more on the perspective of not-thinking-negative, not to think about positive, not to have guilt or regret, but just move on.

I am no sage and am not always relaxed or holding “take-it-as-it-come” attitude. Sometimes, I think about what to do next? Will life bring something to me or I need to do something? If I am doing something, then is it a credit to me or some forces unknown to me? One of those days, when I was struggling with these thoughts, I was looking for what to do next. I did not have work contract and have to move out of the current accommodation. Being lazy, I decided to just look for another place to stay and spend the time. However, whatever I tried to find was out of my budget. In meanwhile I was looking for some temporary work to keep my mind busy. I do not know how it came to my mind, but I happened to search for volunteer work. It was strange, as I never did such a thing in my life and never even thought of it. I was never even a volunteer in school/college events. I did not have much hope for that too as I had no clue how it works. To my surprise, in less than half and hour I found a decent, authentic looking volunteer work. I found the website and contact. Only question was, do I want to do it?

It was not that I am very enthusiastic about volunteering to make this choice. Neither it was any special attachment with the type of organization. For me, it had 2 selfish purposes; have a place to rent in my budget, push myself into situation which was out of my comfort zone but still not too far. Mainly with the 2nd thought in my mind I called the organization and setup a day to meet. I had a nice meeting with the lead of the organization. He explained me about the project, the activities that I will be involved in and what I should be careful about. After spending almost half a day at the center, I confirmed the person that I will come to work for 1 month. This confirmation started my first ever volunteering work. I will now volunteer for Birds of Prey Conservation Centre in Crnika, a place near Senj in Croatia. The organization care about all birds of prey, but main focus is on largest bird of prey now in Croatia i.e. Griffon Vulture.

On my return after the meeting, I recalled an old incident from my childhood. I thought it might have been the hidden force behind this choice. When I was a child, vultures had a home very close to our house. It was probably not more than 500 meters, where they made an old leafless tree their home. The kind of tree you might remember from The Jungle book movie. About 20-25 of them used to live on that tree. Only thing between us was couple of railway lines. I used to watch them fly away and come back by evening. It was about 1993-1994, when a strange incident happened. One fine day, all of them came down to the railway lines. When we saw it, we were surprised, but thought of it as some special event for them. Little that we knew, that they for some reason were sitting on those lines, waiting for the train to come, never to fly. It looked like some kind of a mass suicide planned by birds. When I came back, I went to our 2nd house to pick up something. In this house we had long passage with one side as a wall and other with a door. When I opened the door, I saw on the other side this bird sitting. I had never been this close to a vulture. I was not sure what to do and I just stood there. Suddenly, it moved towards me, spread its wing to full stretch and picked up its speed. In a second or two that felt really long, it was very close to me. I was in shock to be so close to such a big bird, that looked like is attacking me. By instinct, I closed the door just a moment before it would reach me and I heard and felt a big thump against the door. It almost shook the gate like some real grown-up person has pushed it hard. I stood their for few minutes, before I turned to look at it through the slits in the wooden door. I opened the door after sometime, but it was gone.

That was the last time I saw a vulture. Little I knew that after more than 20 years, I will meet them again, in a new place in a new setup. But this time, not just to watch them die, but also to contribute a little to help them to survive in the the human-ruled-planet. When, I went to feed them in the rescue center and came back to watch them to eat, a smile passed by my face. It had some kind of satisfaction, some peace. I hope to share this smile with others to help save these birds.

I hope to get involved with more volunteer projects, that will give me a chance to help somebody, help me learn and share smiles with others.


Mulla Nasrudin had just checked into the hotel. “Welcome,” said the clerk at the desk. “We want you to know you are welcome. We are going to do everything we can to make you comfortable and help you to feel at home.” “PLEASE DON’T,” said the Mulla. “I LEFT HOME SO I COULD FIND A CHANGE. FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS I WANT TO FEEL AS IF I AM AT A BEACH RESORT.”