I am an empty nest adventurer who loves to travel solo all over the planet, get out of my comfort zone, do volunteering or citizen science on most of my travels, and I blog about my crazy adventures on www.travelswithtam.com. I am an avid scuba diver and photographer as well.
My first solo volunteer trip was to Tofo, Mozambique to do fish surveys and study whale sharks! I went with a group called All Out Africa. So off I went, a midlife woman with a passion for diving and animals, off on my very own adventure. I was tested physically, emotionally, and mentally. There were times, especially at the beginning, when I thought there was no way I would be able to do it. The experience empowered me and made me understand my abilities and my strengthes in an entirely different light. The trip was challenging, the environment both exhilarating and disturbing, and certainly the living standard was not what I was used to.
Diving in rough water was a new experience because the currents and surges off of Mozambique are strong. The water is cold. I was used to the warm, clear waters of the Caribbean. It took me a few dives to get comfortable, and my first two dives were pretty awful. But, I adapted. I learned, and I kept at it no matter how inadequate I thought I was.. I stayed in a house of volunteers, sharing a bathroom with the house and a bedroom with a roommate, and ended up with some great friendships. I was the oldest one there, most of the volunteers being Europeans in their twenties, but we came together in our love of the ocean and its life. I have seen these friends since the trip, we keep in touch, and we have enjoyed diving together in other locales.
Since that time, Summer 2012, I have been on several citizen science expeditions (trips spent assisting scientists in research) and volunteer trips. I have traveled all over the world meeting new people and making new friendships while contributing to our knowledge of the ocean and its animals. I have been to Thailand, Ecuador, the Yucatan, Bali, Komodo National Park, Raja Ampat, the Great Barrier Reef, St Lucia and Mexico. Most of my adventures have taken place with Andrea Marshall’s Ray of Hope Expeditionsas I have an affinity with Manta Rays. I have been diving in the three large oceans, the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. I may travel solo, but once I arrive I meet new friends who share my passion. I’m never lonely when I travel alone!
Have you ever wanted to do something you thought was “out there” or just downright crazy? Do you have a desire to get out into the world and make a difference? There are volunteer programs all over the world for adults. Most of them have nothing to do with scuba, and there are plenty of them on all continents. There are so many opportunities, and in some cases, for little cost. I have some advice for you: be bold. Why not look at it? Eco-tourism, volunteer tourism, or citizen science will take you to places you’ve never even dreamed of.
You want to do something? Do it now. Tomorrow is promised to no one, and in midlife who knows what is coming next? Do something extraordinary for yourself, you won’t believe how empowered it will make you feel, and how it may change your perspective on life! It certainly changed mine, and for the better.
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