As Cathy and Don McCallum reached retirement in 2007 – she was a teacher, he was a banker – they began thinking about what they should do after they stopped working.
The North Bay, Ontario, couple knew they wanted to travel, but they didn’t just want to sit on a beach or do the usual sightseeing. They’ve always volunteered in their community and thought that maybe they could combine their passion for giving back with their desire to see the world. “I don’t think that the day you retire you can just go out and do a bunch of travelling,” says Don. “We wanted to do something that fit with our history and our desire to reach out.”
The couple wanted to visit a country where they could see incredible sights and give back in a way they couldn’t when they were working. In 2008, they joined Hope2Kenya, a local Kenyan organization that works on education, clean water and healthcare projects aimed at improving the lives of Kenyan children. Thanks to the extra time they now had, they were able to spend about four weeks in the country fundraising, doing public speaking, working on the ground and using their vocational skills to bring real change to communities in need, all while exploring the country at the same time. “It’s tremendously rewarding,” Cathy says. “We were off the beaten path in communities and had experiences that most people our age would never have.”
There are many others who, like the McCallums, want to travel in retirement but aren’t content with simply lounging on a beach or seeing the usual sites. However, it’s not always easy finding a place where you can see incredible things and help communities in need, which is why we’ve put together a list of five places any volunteering, travel-happy retiree must go.