In search of…

In search of something worthy of my time, I have turned my attentions to the world wide web, trawling through a plethora of pages, pictures and links. To no avail.

Perturbed by pop-ups and distracted by promises of cash prizes, I finally found myself in the appealing and welcoming arms of ‘RealGap’. It all seemed very positive, with the tagline,

Explore the World & Make a Difference with Real Gap.

I thought I was in the right place. It had all the right imagery. It had all the correct paragraphs on life changing experiences. It even had a handy map so I could choose where I prefered to dish out my reluctant, sceptical, karma fuelled charity.

My mouse found its way over the Americas, with the cursor hovering over what looked to be Mexico and before I knew it, my index finger had done the rest and I was affronted with a list of places where I could hand out my valuable time.

Then suddenly, without a moments notice my eyes locked onto a small symbol. A symbol that I did not expect to see on any website expecting my time and effort. This symbol was becoming the bane of my life, this symbol was the axis around which the world spins, this symbol was in fact a big, greasy, omnipotent:

£

I shuddered in disgust and made a hasty retreat. Where was the x to close the window? Where is the esc button? Why am I sweating!?

In matters of urgency the mind races like a crazed bull.

I finally got my cursor to the top right of my screen and ended the disrespect, a look of deep consternation plastered on my face.

Is my time, sweat and blood not enough?!

Obviously not.

They want the contents of my wallet as well? Absurd. Unbelievable. The cheek!

I shall halt my rant. It wasn’t that bad an experience. But to pay precious legal tender to help someone, seems an alien concept.

I work hard in return for this ‘wealth’ and I’m not about to fritter it away on helping someone. The time it takes me to help them is enough. It’s the same time I could be spending to increase my wealth, so that sacrifice is enough in my eyes. If I choose not to use my time in the pursuit of more coin, then I would prefer to spend it frolicking in the sun or lavishing myself on luxurious foods. The sacrifice of these spare time acts is the essence that makes my charity meaningful. I choose to help someone rather than spend it in selfish merriment.

As you have probably ascertained, this is not me frolicking in the sun. This is in fact my cat frolicking in the sun.

Woefully, I returned to the internet. The source of my misery but what was soon to become the source of my salvation.

Much like travelling, you often have to go off the beaten track to find the real experiences, the life changers, those awe inspiring moments.

And it is off the beaten url I found my answers. Blogs. This amateur source of second hand information provides an extensive resource of volunteering opportunities. Dodging the lazy farmers looking for hands in exchange for board, you will come across a number of meaningful enterprises. This is the first place I recommend to look. Many are organised by type of charity and then broken down into continents then locations. This provides an easy tool for locating the right type of charity for you. After all, charity is a personal experience and it’s choosing should not be taken lightly.

The second and maybe more valuable resource is actually, probably very near to where you are now. Those other breathing, walking, talking, moaning, coughing, laughing, squinting, scratching, staring mammals around you. Get talking, see where they have been, ask what they have done, show interest in their journey. They will be the most valuable asset.

They will lead you to true experience.

Not ‘RealGap’.

(Can I say that?)

It took me a while to con myself into providing my time in the service of others. I’m not about to go around paying for the privilege. The best point of call is interaction with others. Whether electronically or in person. The wealth of knowledge spreads like fire, you just have to be open to it’s flames.

But as always that isn’t the be all and end all of the situation.

There are always other ways to spread your time, spread your wealth and spread your love.

Until next time…

-U.Mirza

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