How to Know When it isn’t the Right Time to Travel and Volunteer


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The saying “anytime is the right time for volunteering” is not always intended to be taken 100% literally – there are exceptions to every rule. So when should you consider not volunteering? We broke it down for you.

Over the years we’ve seen all sorts of interesting volunteer subjects and although we nary like to turn down someone interested in volunteering, there are the odd times when we simply have to.

Some of the “situations” we list here are downright hilarious and others are a little more serious – but all qualify for our “You Probably Shouldn’t Volunteer, If” list!

All names and identities have been changed and/or fictionalized for their own anonymity.

1. You’re 9 Months Pregnant

Sally Hedwig of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, decided that she wanted her son or daughter to be born “somewhere topical”. Three days overdue and very pregnant, she asked Volunteer Vietnam to give her a chance so her child could escape a gruelling winter. When she was turned down because she couldn’t pass a physical or receive any required vaccinations until after she had her baby, she was pretty understanding.

2. You’re a Wanted Felon

Billy Brixton from Little Rock, Arkansas, was under house arrest when a volunteer recruiter came knocking at his door. After a lively discussion, Billy made it really clear that he wanted to volunteer for a long-term period if the organisation could handle his travel arrangements. After lying on his application form his background check flagged him and outted him for having prior offences for which he was serving a sentence for. Tough luck, Billy.


3. You’re Drunk

Down and out, retired Dwight Firth of Gloucestershire in South West England decided over a few pints that his life was missing something. After a long afternoon of drinking ales with friends, he hobbled his way over to a local soup kitchen and was first mistaken for a diner. When he made it clear that he wasn’t there for the soup, they gave him a nice warm bed where he slept off his intoxication and desire to volunteer – and woke up confused!

4. You’re a Disney Princess

After letting down her hair and being rescued by a Prince, Rapunzel wanted to make up for a life stuck inside a watchtower. She needed more from life and wanted to help people. She gave up after 3 hours because “none of the peasants were doing what she told them to”, there was no cellphone reception, and everyone was “dirty”.

5. You’re Too Busy

Viveca Tissington from Los Angeles, California, was the Queen Bee of her condominium complex, and was a volunteer for over 35 volunteer organisations at one time. She had a lot of titles, a family she never saw, and didn’t actually get any work done. She looked really good on paper, though.


6. You Don’t Want To

Matthew Grayson of Sydney, Australia really liked a girl who volunteered after school with disabled children so he decided he would try out volunteering. He didn’t like kids and it showed –he lost the volunteer job and the girl in one fell swoop after playing a prank on one of the kids because he thought it would make the object of his affection laugh.

7. You Have No Idea

Roger Tremblay of Quebec City signed up for the fanciest volunteer title he could find and figured that since it was free “it can’t be that hard”. He was looking for a challenge, but in the end he ended up with a volunteer position he was not suited for and felt unsatisfied.