[Maryanne]Ever since I stepped off the conveyor belt of "normal" life, and started to make my own choices in life (about age 30) I have found I like to volunteer my skills and services. I don't do anything, but I find something I can do, and an organization I like and help out. This has always been easy when I have had a base, and I didn't want to stop doing it now we are cruising and only spending days or weeks in any area. It is a great way to meet people, know an area better, and of course gives you that warm feel good factor.
I generally try and find something that I will learn from, or that I will enjoy, as much as something that is needed (I'm not totally altruistic!) - so what to find in Portland? In the past I have designed databases and systems for historical/archaeological organizations (both for documenting church buildings and protecting historic wreck sites of the UK with the ADU, now the ADUS); for several years I monitored water quality in the Elizabeth River (well I did LIVE on the river!); I taught scuba diving at St Andrews University, even worked for a short while as a Emergency Medical Technician (EMT / ambulance driver). These things are simpler to do when you actually LIVE somewhere.
We knew we would be spending a full 12 days in Portland, ME so in advance I researched for something I might do. A fellow Gemini owner had mentioned the Main Island Trail Association was based in Portland, and then before we arrived, MITA came up again and again in books we were reading - so that seemed an obvious choice. I contacted them in advance of our arrival, we bumped into them when we were in Jewell Island, and I finally popped into their office to volunteer my services this week! Yes I was back in an office; but on my own terms and hours and quite happy to help out. The MITA team are incredibly enthusiastic and friendly; a great group to do this wonderfully valuable job. I'm glad to be able to do my little bit to help.