Since this is my first article here at Peace Corps Worldwide, I thought it best to start at the beginning with an introduction. My name is Travis and I’m a Recovering Peace Corps Volunteer.

As John mentioned when he introduced me earlier this month I recently finished my Peace Corps service in Mongolia where I served from 2008 until 2011. For my first two years I lived in the eastern steppe as a Health Volunteer and during my third year I was a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader working part-time with the World Health Organization. It’s also worth noting that I’m one of those PCVs that got married during Peace Corps service. I didn’t plan on being one of those statistics quoted to us during Pre-Service Training (in fact, I was quite against the idea myself), but life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans, right John Lennon?

I say Recovering Peace Corps Volunteer because, frankly, Peace Corps was incredible and I’m trying to recover from the awesomeness. It was an amazing experience that I don’t want to forget - I have met incredible people, had a great time doing projects that I love, and become part of a community that I don’t want to leave. I hope you can all help me through that recovery.

Here in this blog on Peace Corps Worldwide I want to focus on three major areas:

Peace Corps 101

These are things everyone should know about Peace Corps, including its past, present and future. This basic wisdom will come from a wide variety of people and places, highlight helpful resources, and feature articles from Peace Corps Worldwide like these on Sarge, Warren Wiggins, the Three Goals and more. I will also occasionally include some highlights from our currently running online course called Peace Corps 101.

Outstanding Volunteers

There are PCVs and RPCVs around the world doing incredible things that don’t receive much attention. Here we will feature some of those outstanding people and hear their unique perspective and stories. I will try to record those interviews as often as I can so that you can just sit back, relax and listen. I’d also love to hear your ideas on who I should interview. Please comment on any article to make a recommendation or email me at anytime.

Unofficial Peace Corps

A year and a half before I left for Mongolia, I began writing what would become the Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook. It is a collection of resources and lessons to help PCVs through their service all the way from the application to returning home. Articles in this category will include unconventional wisdom relating to Peace Corps, ways to make the most of your Peace Corps service and advice from PCVs and RPCVs who have been there.

As you can see, we have a lot to cover. I look forward to a lot of great conversations here at Peace Corps Worldwide and I know that I have a lot to learn from all of you. Thank you all for joining me on this blog, I’m excited to begin!


Travis Hellstrom, RPCV (Mongolia 2008-11), is author of Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook and founder of Peace Corps 101. You can read more at Advance Humanity where he writes weekly articles for everyday humanitarians around the world.