A beginner’s guide to “meaningful travel”

Want to invest your holiday experiences with a bit more emotional charge? Meaningful travel is the way to go

By Charlotte Bean

To the uninitiated, “meaningful travel” may sound like the sort of thing gap-year students talk about when they finally get around to entering the workplace. “Yah, so I went to India and did some meaningful travel, right? It was sooooo am-azing? Like totally life-changing, yah?”

But the reality is that everyone can gain from a travel experience that leaves them with a different perspective on the world.

Done well, meaningful travel involves exploring unfamiliar places and gaining fresh insights. It produces a mental change, garnering experiences that leave you richer in spirit.

    Done well, meaningful travel involves exploring unfamiliar places and gaining fresh insights.  

Meaningful travel has been a part of my life since I was teenager. At 16, I went to India, spending time volunteering in a school and immersing myself in Indian culture. It was awful. I had undiagnosed glandular fever at the time, felt horrendous and ended up being put on an IV drip in Bahrain airport on the way home.

Despite this, my eyes were opened to all the things I didn’t know about the world. That is why, with my A-levels completed, I signed up to three months of volunteering in Nepal. Alone.

It’s now nearly 10 years on and that trip has unquestionably made positive changes to my life. As a teenager with anxiety, travelling alone to a different continent and entirely alien way of life was, quite frankly, beyond terrifying.

But the experience was truly amazing, with the best part of the trip being the friendship I made with the Nepalese lady, Jyoti, who ran the orphanage I stayed at. She showed me what it was really like to live there, rather than simply being a tourist. We still stay in touch.

The trip massively boosted my confidence. Now, whenever I think I can’t do something, I remember that experience and all the amazing, brave things I did: travelling across the world alone at 18, taking part in a white-water rafting adventure, making new friends even when I was way out of my depth.

I also remember the people I met, the kindest people in the world, and the help I was given by strangers, people who had so much less than me.

Giving your travels a purpose can have truly life-changing results, as Ryan Trump recently discovered. He spent a fortnight in Peru, undertaking volunteer work to renovate a rural school before completing a trek along the Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu to raise money for a local charity.

“Machu Picchu had always been on my bucket list,” says Ryan. “When I saw the opportunity to go while making a difference by volunteering and raising money for a charity close to my heart, I jumped at it.

“It was a wonderful experience: I made new friends, experienced a new culture and completed the difficult challenge of not only fundraising, but completing the trek itself. It showed me just how much I am capable of.”

These types of experience don’t only affect you personally. They can also help you professionally: at interviews, I am always asked about my experience travelling as a teenager, even a decade on.

Peter Foy, director at Just Recruitment Group Ltd, highlights how these sorts of experiences can make you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. “Being able to add details about a meaningful travel experience to your CV shows you are confident, willing to learn and able to take on challenges,” he says.

“Employers are always looking for the applicant who has that something extra to give. An interesting travel experience could be the thing that catches their eye.”

Whether you choose to fundraise, volunteer, take on a physical challenge, immerse yourself in another culture, or combine all of these elements into one trip like Ryan, enrich your life (and employability) by giving meaningful travel a go.

Take it from me: you won’t regret it!

Three tips for meaningful travel

  1. Do your research, particularly if you are planning to volunteer. Of course, volunteering is an amazing thing to do, but it’s important that you do so ethically. Pod Volunteer is an award-winning, ethical company that organises a range of volunteer projects around the world.
  2. Immerse yourself in the culture of the place you are visiting. The best way to do this? Learn the language so you can communicate with the locals. DuoLingo is a free app that can help you learn the basics, with more than 30 languages available. Ask the locals where they eat and how they spend their time for a more authentic experience – you might even get a special invite!
  3. Be prepared to leave your comfort zone. Whether it’s travelling solo, leaving your phone behind for a day, exploring without a map, or trying something you’ve never done before. That’s what will really change you. Which is what meaningful travel is all about.

Published: 5 August 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Fascinated by the 1960s Space Race? Read our brief history to find out more

You may also enjoy: How to switch careers in your 20s and 30s

Jobs currently available

Marketing Executive
Sector: Marketing, Advertising and PR
Salary: £19,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908800
About the role

Are you target-driven and enjoy creating and implementing marketing strategists? 

Are you a people person who enjoys developing relationships? 

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Marketing Executive on behalf of a company based in Colchester. 

Your duties will include: 

  • Effectively implement subscription marketing plans and renewals to meet the agreed targets. 
  • Develop and agree cost-effective promotional activities, with an agreed expected revenue return. 
  • Use information and systems to prepare pre-activity forecasts, track performance and undertake post-activity evaluation to supply to the Senior Marketing Executive and Marketing and Promotions Manager. 
  • Identify potential problems and propose solutions. 

You will be: 

  • Able to think laterally, to make use of all our marketing channels to leverage subscriptions through promotional content across print and digital, email marketing, social media, exhibitions and much more. 
  • Analytical, and keen to monitor and evaluate the success of marketing initiatives through weekly reporting to feed back to the Senior Marketing Executive. 
  • Detail-orientated and able to take responsibility for the day-to-day management of all campaigns, including setting up promotions, briefing studio, building web pages, setting up media requests for our subscriptions bureau, photography, briefing the warehouse, managing the e-commerce website ensuring all offers are loaded for relevant brands. 
Read more
Sales Administrator
Sector: Public Service and Administration
Salary: Negotiable
Location: Witham
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908761
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a well-established manufacturing company based in Witham.

You will have the ambition to succeed and the ability to work on your own initiative with good customer service skills.

Duties include:

  • Following up quotes by phone and email
  • Checking quotes and emails and adjusting prices to win business
  • Prospect calling
  • Booking meetings for the Business Development Managers
  • Warm calls to existing calls
  • Technical queries, quotes and orders
  • Customer service and query answering
  • Incoming calls

Working ideally 9.00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

20 days holiday per year (3 to be taken over Xmas) + bank holidays.

Read more
QC Technician
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £15.00 per hour
Location: Sudbury, Suffolk
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 908368
About the role

Calling all QC Technicians

Do you have a degree in chemistry?

Do you have effective communication skills?

Do you have experience and working knowledge in a Chemical and Biological Analytical Technique environment?

Do you have experience in dissolved gas analysis and blood gas analysis?

Just Recruitment is looking to recruit on behalf of a busy company based in the Sudbury (Suffolk) area for a QC Technician on a temporary ongoing basis.

Responsibilities:

  • QC testing, data collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting.
  • Preparing for customer, regulatory and notified body audits.
  • Quality Related Training.
  • Quality testing related improvement projects and quality initiatives.
  • Understanding of GxP requirements.

Working hours:

Monday to Friday, 7:45am to 4:50pm.

Benefits:

  • Free tea and coffee.
  • On site parking.
  • Weekly pay.
Read more
Machine Operator
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £8.40 per hour
Location: Haverhill
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 908151
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for an experienced Machine Operator on behalf of a company based in Haverhill.

Working hours are:

Monday to Friday, 8am until 5pm.

Read more
Operational Support Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Dependant on experience
Location: Gillingham, Kent
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908799
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Operational Support Engineer (Automotive) on behalf of a company based in Gillingham, Kent.

Your main duties and responsibilities:

  • Deliver projects and process improvements from concept through to completion.
  • Provide practical problem solving on the process.
  • To support the operation in terms of providing the means and process to manufacture product to the correct quality, volume as well as cost.
  • To actively reduce costs of manufacture (MEIT) whilst maintaining product quality and volume.
  • Support the hourly needs of the operation by monitoring and responding to process output signals such as OA performance, Traffic light charts, FTQ data etc.
  • Monitor daily reject returns, gather data and implement robust fixes.
  • Work closely with operations to ensure production output targets are sustained.
  • Be responsible for ensuring that all equipment used in manufacturing or assembly processes is functioning and in specification.
  • Create operational standard work and line balance, understanding process constraints.
  • Be responsible for ensuring that all gauging equipment used in manufacturing or assembly processes is functioning, working within specification and calibrated.
  • To provide structured problem-solving activity and liaise with internal and/or external individuals on problem resolution.
  • Carry out FMEA process documentation and implement improvements.
  • Ensure that the work environment meets the requirements for environmental, ergonomic, health and safety considerations.

Essential requirements:

  • Hands on experience of CNC machining processes in a manufacturing environment – grinding, turning, milling etc.
  • Ability to work in a structured, organised manner and mindful of standard work – both as applied to the manufacturing process and in the engineers’ approach to workload.
  • Analytical and data literate.
  • Current IT knowledge of MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, project etc.

Desirable requirements:

  • Ideally (Mechanical) Engineering Degree or ‘time served’ or relevant industry experience in a broad spectrum of activities.
  • Various shifts including day shifts are available.
Read more