TRAVELTEER: Where Travel Meets Volunteering

1 And so it begins… as I leave Virginia Beach, slightly restless from the insecurities of my future, but 100% confident in my drive to make an impact and do something I am passionate about– all I can think about is the road that lies ahead. No, but literally! No music. No talking with friends or family to pass the time. Not a racing thought of whether I knew what I was doing with my life. Simply the sound of the wind rolling off my fingers and occasionally checking my blind spot for good measure. For once I have finally felt at peace with myself. I knew where I wanted to take my life next and I had just set those steps into motion. I had started Travelteer.

2 Never in my life have I felt such a feeling of confidence and determination than I do embarking on this adventure. Still typing this now, I cannot hide a smile knowing I am in Charleston, South Carolina – birthplace of classiness – and Saturday morning, I am waking up to help coordinate Water Missions “Walk for Water” with over 5000 attendees (One of which may or may not be Bill Murray). I don’t think I have ever been as excited to wake up at 6 AM that I can recall…or earlier than noon for that matter! But I am getting too ahead of myself, after all, that is a whole 8 hours away from typing this and I have been in Charleston for a single day and there is already too much to fit into one post.
Today Friday, March 11th, Jordan and I woke up with such vigor for making an impact. The plan: Setup for Water Missions International – a non-profit organization that strives to provide clean drinking water to those in need. Simply put by our team leader Daniel, Water Missions + X = Changes Lives, where X = Us. Every year, Water Missions hosts The Walk for Water, which is a 3.5-mile walk to help raise awareness of the need of clean drinking water. Halfway through the walk, patrons pick up a bucket of dirty water and carry it all the way to the finish line to demonstrate how far many people in the world have to walk just to get unhealthy water. At the finish line everyone’s dirty water is run through a filtration system, about the size of a household generator, that the Engineers at Water Missions helped create – just to show how efficient this matter can be fought with the proper funding and support needed to get this technology where it can do the most good.

3 We arrived at Riverdog Stadium and soon found out our fellow volunteers included the US & Royal Canadian Navy who offered a helping hand in an epidemic that is beyond the scope of one single country. With help from both sides of the border, we started unloading buckets and buckets across the entire baseball stadium to ensure every one of the patrons could get involved in the cause. Once all 6,000 seats were filled, we set out on an even greater task – to find the flags that represent the many countries that Water Missions works to help and bring them to the field. All of which were accounted for…except for one – CANADA. Somehow the Canadian flag had gone missing prompting one of the Royal Canadians to joke, “It’s a F#$%ing rouse!” And even though we never found the flag, we still managed to come together for the cause and have a great time in the process!

4 After we finished setting up for the day, we decided to go experience some of the major landmarks around Charleston – first of which was our beds for a much-needed nap. We were recommended the chicken sandwich at the Boxcar Betty. As a sucker for a chicken sandwich, I already knew I was in for a treat, but tasting this free-range, organic chicken patty topped with peach coleslaw, spicy mayo, and topped with some pimento cheese (the caviar of the South) – I finally found a chicken sandwich that could dethrone Chick-Fil-A! Soon after we headed to Downtown Charleston and relaxed at Bay Street Biergarten before strolling down through the French Quarters and appreciating the quaintness of it all. Maybe it’s the cobblestone alleyways or the wonderful food, but only a single day has passed and the aesthetic of Charleston’s charm has already spiked my serotonin levels beyond control. I cannot wait to see what Day 2 has in store for Travelteer.