How Volunteering Around the World Changed One Family's Lives Forever

by Alison Gwinn
Originally Published: 
Sylwia Bartyzel/Unsplash

Did you like Eat Pray Love and Wild? You’ll LOVE this family’s story.

John Marshall was in a rut. His 20-year marriage was limping along, his 17-year-old son was on the verge of leaving the nest, and his 14-year-old daughter was in her own digital world.

Desperate to reconnect with his family, John dreamed of unplugging the family from their life in Maine and taking a trip around the world—but he wasn’t sure if he could afford it.

That’s when he hit upon the idea of the family volunteering their time and energy to help pay their way. “A lot of people dream about taking a trip around the world, but can’t imagine how,” said Marshall. “But once we started finding out about volunteering around the world, we found that it was much more doable and affordable,” he told the Portland (Maine) Press-Herald. (See the full story here.)

The trip took them everywhere from a monkey sanctuary in Costa Rica to an organic farm in New Zealand to an orphanage in India. The family’s adventure offered little R&R, but it did give the Marshalls a chance to overcome personal fears and become a family unit again. (Check out video from the trip.)

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