Following are some adventures and updates from past and present Explorations in Travel Volunteers.
Let us know if you would like more information about the positions currently available. It's a great way to travel!
Costa Rica Reserve
Originally from Washington state, now residing somewhere in Costa Rica, Art Cartwright was a volunteer with Explorations in Travel in 1995. A prolific journal writer, Art managed to capture not only the beautiful of Costa Rica, but also some of the ... well, challenges he faced while working there.
"I feel much better today. Ain't gonna let this damn jungle get me down! No way! I've got a new roomate that moved in during the night to share my suite. It's a toad. It looks like your regular, everyday toad with one exception. It can spit poison 12 feet, hit you smack in the eyes blinding you and making you have another bad night. I had to get up to go to the bathroom during the night and almost stepped on the bugger. That's it! I put a cup alongside my bunk so I could relieve myself without getting out of bed. A short while later something woke me, and there is a crab, a foot across, trying to crawl up my mosquito net. I shine the light on him and he departs.
At any rate I rose and proceeded to go to the outhouse to brush my teeth and wash my face. You don't flush the toilet paper as it will clog up the holding tank, instead you throw the paper in a wastebasket alongside the toilet. I open the door to the bano and there is a monkey eating toilet paper out of the wastebasket! He spots me and starts screaming and caroming off the walls. I am standing smack dab in the middle of his only egress from this room and he going beserk! with an ear-splitting scream he comes at me, runs up my leg, over my face and bounds off the top of my head into the tress shrieking all the way.
You see when you visit a country as a tourist, you are fairly well insulated from incidents like this by the tour company. They blanket the area arond the lodges with insecticides, give you a guide to protect you from yourself and generally don't let anything happen to you that could result in bad publicity for the company."
Explorations in Travel's current volunteer is the 'volunteer coordinator' of the wildlife rehab. Jenny Gaus helps keep track of who's coming in, when and for how long.
Stacy Morris from Seattle has been helping to run the animal shelter and clinic on one of the islands off the coast of Puerto Rico. She arrived in April of 1997 and planned on leaving in August but decided to return for the winter.
Conversations with Stacy found her working with the visiting vet. They were getting ready to run some biopsies (Stacy had no prior medical or veterinary training before her arrival at the clinic). Besides learning to give injections, assisiting with spaying and neutering dogs and cats she has been around for the relocation of the clinic to its new home. "It looks like a real clinic now", Stacy said, "not just a house at the bottom of the hill". Volunteers and staff live in a house at the top of the hill, "On a clear day you can see St.Thomas, we've got a 180 degree view", she embellished.
Part of the job is to walk and take care of the animals. "Volunteers are useful to pay attention to and love the animals", Stacy informed us. "But there's lots of hands-on work, not just answering the phone."
Sam Haines of New York worked at a biosphere reserve on the Yucatan Peninsula. His tasks included monitoring the bird populations and keeping track of the sea turtles which arrive to lay their eggs on the beaches. The flamingo population was low but it is thought that they nested at an alternative site up the coast. One of Sam's hobbies is fishing and he had plenty of time to go out into the estuaries and see what he can catch for dinner.
Jack Stoddard of Massachusetts lived in the rainforest reserve of Queensland with a collection of flying foxes (giant fruit bats). Along with feeding and caring for the bats Jack helped out in the small visitor's center. He participated in one python capturing expedition (the snakes hang around the bat cages hoping for a free meal) which included sophisticated equipment like a trash barrel, flashlight and broom. The amethyst python was released at a location away from the bats. Brigetta, one of the permanent staff at the reserve has an uncanny way of knowing when a snake has shown up at the cage. She will call out from her room inside the house "There's a snake at the cage!" and inspection proves her to be correct everytime!
Cathy Vaughn traveled to New Zealand to work on organic farms. Like most travelers to New Zealand, she was loath to leave. Besides working on a variety of farms she also went hiking into the Southern Alps and whitewater rafting. When last we spoke she was still experiencing culture shock and scheming ways to return.
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Explorations In Travel, Inc.
2458 River Rd.
Guilford, VT 05301
Telephone: (802) 257-0152
FAX: (802) 257-2784