Women's History Month Interview Three: Volunteering Abroad with Lily Khambata

Hello! Thanks for joining me this week!

Here is my third interview in honor of Women’s History Month! One interesting fact about Lily Khambata is that she is from the UK, and shares the same birthday as me. We connected through our travel blogs, and our experiences volunteering with the awesome organization All Hands and Hearts.

Q: Can you tell me about your travel volunteer experiences, specifically with the organization All Hands and Hearts?

A: Through volunteering I have been able to support some people through very difficult times, and I am always reminded how unjust the world is, how fortunate I am, and how easy my life has been. Volunteering is also a good way to choose to do things you want to do, without it being all that you do, and without letting anything get in your way. If you show up, offer to work for free and work hard, people will usually let you!

My most recent volunteer experience was with a legal non-profit, supporting asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border. Previously, with All Hands and Hearts, I was able to support families who were enduring the impacts of major disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean, which felt much more important to me than any work I had done before. What was intended as a two-month volunteering break led to me working with them for two years, and eventually completely changing careers.

Q: How has travel impacted your life and how has it changed you?

A: Experiences gained through my travels are an enormous part of who I am. Travel has created my worldview, taught me about others and myself, and given me a much greater awareness and appreciation for my health and the environment. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about somewhere I have been or somewhere I want to go.

Q: Where was your most recent travel experience what did it teach you?

A: I went back to Barcelona in January. As I know the city quite well, my attention was drawn a lot more to the small, everyday things. These are sometimes easier to get excited about in a different country, but it’s harder to do the same when you’re back home, and something I’m trying to do more of.

Q: What has been your favorite travel experience and why?

A: All of my favorite and lasting memories are centered around meaningful or funny interactions I had with the people I met along the way. Whether in a canyon in northern Mexico, a bus in Italy, or remote village in the hills of Myanmar, these connections are consistently the highlights of every trip. I am a great advocate of solo, phone-free travel for this reason.

Q: Do you have any tips or advice for people who want to travel more?

A: Ask a local, not Google. Particularly for all practical tips such as mosquito repellent, cheap buses, the best food, etc. Trust someone who has lived there their whole life over some random tourist review on TripAdvisor. Also, asking for directions instead of using Google maps is a lot more interesting and fun. You’ll meet locals, make new friends, and improve your language skills.

Q: What are the must have items in your packing list?

A: It varies depending on the type of trip, but I never stress too much beyond the essential documents and more recently, my Kindle, so I can get books in English. Pretty much wherever you’re going, you can figure out what you need and get it there, and it might even be more suitable or cheaper.

Q: Where can people follow your travel journeys?

A: On my blog: http://www.lilyleftlondon.wordpress.com and on Instagram: lilyleftlondon

For more information or to learn how to get involved with All Hands and Hearts, you can visit their website here at: https://www.allhandsandhearts.org/.

Image result for all hands and hearts

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