Friday, December 16, 2011

Volunteering in Spain + Why T-Shirts are Conversation Starters

With all the exotic places in the world, why would I return almost every after year to a tiny hamlet in Spain that's more than four hours north of Madrid? Many reasons: I can stay for free in a medieval environment;  wander car-free stone lanes that wind from your two-story dwelling; live among a group of Spaniards (mostly business men and women) where we spend our days learning about each other while I'm volunteer teaching them the intricacies of the English language (and without being stuck in a classroom); and engage in hours of role playing, group games, fun brainstorming sessions, and theater rehearsals. These are some of the many reasons I return to this hamlet named Valdelavilla.

Since the native English speakers have to chat one-on-one with the Spaniards for hour upon hour over the course of a week, that's where my JCreatures™ t-shirts come in. (I've blogged about the origins of the JCreatures™ several months ago.) These images are curious enough that wearing any of the seven t-shirt images almost guaranteed a lively conversation.
 I recently guest blogged for TravelProducts.com about Valdelavilla and how my t-shirts serve a couple of functions. Find out about my adventure here.

19 comments:

JTravel said...

Hi Nancy, Thanks for your comment. When I'm wearing one of these shirts, it's amazing how many people stop to ask what it means.

MarthaAndMe said...

Sounds like a great place to visit and a t-shirt is a great way to spark conversation!

kerry dexter said...

I've been considering participating is such a program. thanks for sharing you thoughts on the experience.

JTravel said...

Hi MarthandMe, Valdelavilla is a very special place. And bringing along my tshirts was a great idea for the conversation factor.

JTravel said...

Hi kerry, I've done many different volunteer programs all over the world and this, by far, is my favorite.

MyKidsEatSquid said...

My husband was just saying this week how much he'd love to visit Spain. Thanks for all of the info here!

living Large said...

Nice to have a t-shirt that will prompt conversation and maybe make you a few new friends!

Jane Boursaw said...

What a great conversation starter. I can see why those little JCreatures would spur some lively talk. And that little place in Spain sounds wonderful.

JTravel said...

Hi livingLarge, Making new friends is one of the reasons I travel. And wearing a shirt that makes people come up and chat is perfect.

JTravel said...

Hi Jane, It's funny that when I wear the selection of my shirts over the course of the week, the one that everyone loves the most is the Frustrated J. Who knew?

sarah henry said...

Love learning about your volunteering efforts abroad, fitting for a travel blogger.

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Hey, everyone's gotta wear clothes, right? I always find that fashion is a good conversation starter, whether it's fun t-shirts or funny socks.

JTravel said...

Hi sarah, I've always been very much into volunteering and try to do a volunteer project in New York City where I live as well as abroad every year.

JTravel said...

Hi Casey, Absolutely: Anything curious or fun makes for a perfect conversation starter.

JTravel said...

Hi MyKidsEatSquid, Since Spain is one of my specialties, please don't hesitate to ask me for any travel planning info if you and your husband decide to visit.

merr said...

T-shirts are conversations starters! I also think ones that university names on them are bridges to new friends as well.

JTravel said...

Hi merr, yes, all t-shirts made great conversation pieces. What I've found funny with college/university t-shirts is that every time I ask someone if they went to that school they invariably say "no," they just bought it in a gift shop.

Kris @ Attainable Sustainable said...

I *just read about this place and the language program a couple of weeks ago. What a brilliant way to travel. I've actually packed t-shirts to trade with other travelers in the past. A fun way to get a special souvenir!

JTravel said...

Hi Kris, Excellent - packing t-shirts to trade. I know two other people that do that as well and they've made a lot of friends that way.