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Ours to Explore: Privilege, Power, and the Paradox of Voluntourism

Ours to Explore: Privilege, Power, and the Paradox of Voluntourism - Pippa Biddle

Ours to Explore: Privilege, Power, and the Paradox of Voluntourism


In a 2014 essay that went viral, Pippa Biddle revealed the inequities and absurdities baked into voluntourism--the pairing of short-term, unskilled volunteer work with tourism. In the years since, Biddle has devoted herself to understanding the origins, intentions, and outcomes of a multibillion-dollar industry built on the premise of doing good, and she tracks that investigation in Ours to Explore.

The flaws of voluntourism have included xenophobia, racism, paternalism, and a "West knows best" mentality. From exploitative orphanages that keep children in squalid conditions to attract donors to undertrained medical volunteers practicing their skills on patients in developing regions and to those looking for an inspiring selfie, Biddle reveals the hidden costs of the voluntourism complex. Along the way, readers meet inspiring activists and passionate community members, as well as thoughtful former voluntourists who still work to make a difference--just differently.

Ours to Explore offers a plan for how the service-based travel industry can break the cycle of exploitation and suggests strategies for travelers who want to improve the places they visit for the long haul.

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In a 2014 essay that went viral, Pippa Biddle revealed the inequities and absurdities baked into voluntourism--the pairing of short-term, unskilled volunteer work with tourism. In the years since, Biddle has devoted herself to understanding the origins, intentions, and outcomes of a multibillion-dollar industry built on the premise of doing good, and she tracks that investigation in Ours to Explore.

The flaws of voluntourism have included xenophobia, racism, paternalism, and a "West knows best" mentality. From exploitative orphanages that keep children in squalid conditions to attract donors to undertrained medical volunteers practicing their skills on patients in developing regions and to those looking for an inspiring selfie, Biddle reveals the hidden costs of the voluntourism complex. Along the way, readers meet inspiring activists and passionate community members, as well as thoughtful former voluntourists who still work to make a difference--just differently.

Ours to Explore offers a plan for how the service-based travel industry can break the cycle of exploitation and suggests strategies for travelers who want to improve the places they visit for the long haul.

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