After feeling like an outsider in society, doing this sort of thing is a way of being part of the community and starting to follow a normal way of life. I'd tell anyone to do it, and use it as a positive way to develop themselves whilst supporting a great cause. That's the reason behind it all at the end of the day, and the sense of achievement is second to none.
Australia still carries an image of a largely untamed landscape and extreme wilderness. In that way it still goes hand in hand with our view of the Arctic regions, much of Africa and the Amazon. Maybe it's an 'A' thing? Anyway, unfortunately Australia hasn't avoided the seemingly relentless march of habitat loss, destruction and the problems caused by changing environment.
I know, I know, resolutions can sometimes feel a bit tired, but they can still be useful. At the start of 2015, I knew I wanted to volunteer, so I set myself some ambitious goals to make a difference by volunteering my time. By the summer, I had left the UK to work side-by-side with local volunteers in Uganda on international development projects with Restless Development.
My challenge to you this Christmas is that if you're like me and have the time but not much money, rather than seeing these adverts and feeling guilty that you can't help, or just brushing them off: pledge some hours to them. Join #1millionhours, and give the gift of time to those that need it most.
In a world of increased polarisation between cultures, anything that lowers barriers is important. I joined VSO as chief executive in March of this year and in that time I have seen enough to convince me that there has never been a more important time to encourage people to volunteer internationally.