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Trips of a Lifetime

Our friend Kika is a long-term resident of Panzi Clinic, a remarkable facility in eastern Congo that manages, under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, to accommodate a small number of women who have survived excruciating acts of gender violence. For the sufferers who have heard of Panzi, post-rape, they will do anything to get there. Kika did. She crawled. It took her one month.

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Dealing with reverse culture shockupdated Tue Aug 24 2010 07:47:31

You're in a country where everything feels different. The food isn't what you're used to; the people don't make sense. It's sensory overload and you're bewildered by all the things around you -- the language, the music, the faces, the smells.

Helpful honeymooners: Why newlyweds volunteer abroadupdated Fri Aug 20 2010 07:38:55

It's common for newlyweds to honeymoon abroad. It's less common for them to fix kids' bikes during their trip -- but Aaron and Kristen Berlin did just that two days after saying their vows.

Do celebs like Jolie inspire voluntourism?updated Tue Aug 10 2010 07:50:28

It's hard to think about humanitarian travel without picturing Angelina Jolie and other high-profile volunteers. But how much do celebrities contribute to the growing appetite for volunteering away from home and is it all positive?

Charleston iReporter's Romanian adventureupdated Thu Jul 01 2010 10:20:11

Natalie Montanaro, 52, a research assistant from the College of Charleston, South Carolina, volunteered for the U.S. Peace Corps and moved to Romania in May 2009.

Singer Jason Mraz's mission in Africaupdated Mon Jun 28 2010 07:46:03

It only makes sense that music is what brought Jason Mraz to Ghana for a humanitarian mission.

World Cup spurs football fans to volunteerupdated Fri Jun 25 2010 08:36:41

Instead of shielding South Africa's poverty during the FIFA Football World Cup, one travel company says there is not only a desire from visitors to see the country's hardships but to also help out.

Adventurer cycles 1,000 kilometers through Himalayas for charityupdated Tue Jun 22 2010 06:45:22

When Reza Pakravan embarked on a three-week trip to Madagascar a little over a year ago, he had no idea the African island would continue to play a role in his life long after he left.

Voluntourism: The benefits and pitfalls you need to knowupdated Fri Jun 18 2010 07:16:55

Two members of the voluntourism or volunteer holiday industry go head-to-head over the oft-debated benefits and pitfalls of a holiday choice that continues to grow in popularity.

WWOOF your way around the world!updated Tue Jun 15 2010 08:28:12

What is WWOOFing? Well, for short, it is your ticket to an incredible farming experience in one of over 50 countries in the world. Think of any country and they are likely to have WWOOF hosts there, ready to take you in with open arms.

Volunteers moved to join oil disaster responseupdated Thu Jun 10 2010 11:02:48

Images of oil-soaked birds and turtles have prompted such a surge of interest in helping with the oil disaster response that one volunteer organization had to convert its fax line to a second phone line, and it's still having trouble keeping up with the calls.

World Cup to the Olympics: Eight sports volunteering opportunitiesupdated Thu Jun 10 2010 09:07:39

When the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Friday, 18,000 specially trained volunteers will be on hand to help South Africa host football's biggest competition.

Playing mom to baby baboons in South Africaupdated Tue Jun 08 2010 07:31:57

I am a huge animal lover and have a real soft spot for primates.

City girl: My year of 'madness' in Bangladeshupdated Thu Jun 03 2010 09:49:36

If you had asked me at the beginning of last year to pinpoint Bangladesh on a map, I would have struggled.

Why do so many women go on volunteer vacations?updated Wed Jun 02 2010 08:21:49

When 23-year-old Danielle Miller packed her bags for a holiday in Cape Town, South Africa, sun and sand were the last things on her mind.

Finding volunteer trips that actually helpupdated Tue Jun 01 2010 10:21:48

The idea of volunteering away from home seems like a win-win to many travelers: a way to experience and help another community at the same time. But without a solid, well-designed program and reasonable expectations, volunteer travel can do more harm than good.

Sun, sea and ... orphans? A vacation with a difference in Thailandupdated Tue Jun 01 2010 07:05:23

Whether you place the responsibility with Brangelina, Madonna or Meg Ryan, there is no denying the adoption of children from impoverished nations by celebrities and other westerners is becoming increasingly popular.

Traveler gets a little taste of voluntourismupdated Mon May 31 2010 13:32:25

It's cold and dark and I'm alone in a puny, mildewed tent nursing a blister and some seriously sore triceps. I figure it's as good a time as any to take stock.

My life as a 'body snatcher' in Thailandupdated Thu May 27 2010 07:50:32

When I turn up to an accident most Thais don't treat me differently just because I'm a foreigner. They're just glad someone has turned up to help them.

Ever volunteered on holiday? Share your trips of a lifetime with CNNupdated Tue May 25 2010 12:49:53

If you're the kind of person who's happiest spending your two weeks off helping to look after elephants in Thailand or working for free on an organic farm in New Zealand, then perhaps you've been on a volunteer vacation.

Volunteering to save lives in Haitiupdated Mon May 24 2010 00:22:05

Sleeping in the open air under a mosquito net because earthquake aftershocks make being inside too frightening: It's not everyone's ideal way to use up their vacation.