Good for the soul
When life’s just ticking along it can be easy to feel that no one really needs you. It’s an especially common problem amongst retirees, and very often voluntary or community work can be the answer. Gulf For Good (www. gulf4good.org) can supercharge your sense of well-being with a series of events aimed at both challenging you and helping others at the same time. Established in 2001, the charity arranges adventures like cycling across Asia or taking the Inca Trail in Peru. Participants get a goal to aim for followed by a life-affirming experience and the knowledge that the money they raise in sponsorship will be spent in the country or countries they’ve just visited.
In the same vein but arguably even more hands-on, consider a community project in which you “do something” – building a well being the classic example – for families in need. It certainly takes the feel-good factor up a notch, and at www.go.uvolunteer.org there are programmes to suit all skill sets. Fancy helping out young prisoners in Nicaragua? Or teaching PE to Kenyan kids?
A little more immediate, perhaps, and ideal for dog lovers, Dubai-based K9 Friends dog charity (www.k9friends.com) is always on the lookout for volunteers – dog walkers included.
Just plain crazy!
Some people simply want to do something completely different – people like Phil Shaw, the Brit who famously combined rock climbing and ironing to create a new adrenaline ‘sport’ called Extreme Ironing back in 1997. To this day no one’s entirely sure just how deeply Phil’s tongue was planted in his cheek when he came up with the idea, but the story goes that Phil was fed up after a day’s work at his knitwear factory and, in the mood for some climbing, decided he could have fun – and appear on countless TV ‘weird news’ slots – by merging his job and his hobby.
Now a well-known ‘sport’ around the world, Extreme Ironing has seen enthusiasts hoisting an ironing board up mountains and on to roofs, as well as windsurfing, bungee jumping and even skydiving with one.
Given that purists take the ironing part of the sport seriously, some argue that women have an unfair advantage (especially when coupled with their natural propensity for multitasking), but a brand new sport – whatever your sex – that makes the most of your own skills could be just the ticket for a new life adventure. Skilaptopping? Zumba-gardening? By being the first, a world of adoration (and YouTube hits) might just be yours!