Meet our Natucate team: Meghan
Our lovely team member Meghan was interviewed by our partner Go Abroad about her passion for work as well as travelling and her tips for it.
Meghans wanderlust and her path to Natucate
Since Meghan first left home and began traveling solo at the age of 17, volunteering has been perceived as the optimal way to explore the world while contributing to a greater cause and undergoing genuine cultural immersion. Meghan is a staunch advocate for volunteering and is delighted to be associated with an organization that provides distinctive and impactful volunteer opportunities suitable for individuals of all ages, interests, and adventure levels.
She takes pride in her work, understanding that she is supporting individuals in discovering the ideal volunteer project for them. Additionally, she recognizes the importance of supporting partner organizations worldwide that are making remarkable strides in nature and species conservation.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The favorite part of my job is the personal interaction working with volunteers and partners every day. Unlike many other agencies, we get to know our volunteers closely to understand their interests and preferences to be able to guide and support them as much as they need.
With every volunteer, I get to join them on their journey from the initial excitement of selecting a project, to their planning and preparation and then sending them off and checking in during the trip to hear how everything is going. We offer very personable and individual attention to all volunteers, and I find that personally rewarding when I see how satisfied they are with their volunteer experience and with the support they receive from Natucate.
How do you use your education and international background in your current role?
My experience of having lived in four countries, each for several years, has certainly humbled me and allowed me to understand the nerves and hesitation that some volunteers, who may have never left their country or continent before, may be feeling. I have had many new beginnings where I have been completely pushed out of my comfort zone, and those have been the most rewarding experiences. I commend volunteers who take that first step to reach out to us and explore the opportunities that lay in front of them, even if the idea of traveling to a new corner of the world may seem daunting.
I can use my own experience to help guide them toward the best-suited project for them and make sure that they feel absolutely supported and encouraged when they are stepping out of their comfort zone. I know that taking that first step can be scary, but once you open up the door to a world of exploration, you'll never look back!
What advice would you give your pre-travel self?
Be open to whatever experiences are ahead. Some things you can plan to a tee, but sometimes you have to learn to go with the flow and be flexible. Sometimes when things don't go as planned or are different than you imagined, they turn out to be the most wonderful adventures.
Welcome and soak up every aspect of a trip: the food, language, culture, nature, sounds, smells, interactions with locals and other travelers. Let all of these places and experiences hold a permanent place in your mind, they are memories that you will hold for a lifetime.
What do you hope participants take away from your programs?
We hope that for first-time volunteers, the spark of interest in conservation work which may have led them to us, is turned into a flame. We hope that they develop a passion for protecting their environment which goes far beyond their trip abroad and becomes a part of their lifestyle. We hope that their passion for conscious travel is contagious and becomes the norm, replacing other harmful and exploitative types of travel.
Why is it important for people to travel abroad and experience new cultures?
Travel offers the opportunity for volunteers to expand their minds, their worldviews, their sense of compassion and understanding, all while inviting more questions and stoking an ever-growing curiosity to know what else is out there. It is so easy to get caught up in the little details that run our lives while forgetting about this vast expansion of natural beauty, fascinating cultures and endless opportunities to explore which await every one of us.
This is why we do our best to offer a variety of travel opportunities for all budgets, time-frames, interests and adventure levels. Travel, volunteering, and learning about how to protect our natural world should never be exclusive, we aim to make our offers accessible to everyone.
These were some insights into Meghan's interview with Go Abroad. You can read the full interview here.