For a few years my grandmother Caroline has been embarking on exotic 'holidays' with the company Earthwatch, call them holidays but most of your time there will NOT be spent relaxing in the tropical sun!
Earthwatch is an organisation, it supports research into understanding and conserving the environment. For a sum (thousands of quid) volunteers can travel to the far reaches of the world and work with scientists there to research the local animal species.
Expeditions are not limited to only animals however, there are ones to do with Archaeology and Anthropology aswell.
Caroline's last expedition was to the Amazon in December 2010. There she was worked with a small team to work out whether local animal populations numbers had increased since control had been handed to the indigenous people.
Piranhas, viscous and dangerous. They were measured and weighed, the larger ones were sent back to the kitchen. They taste good apparently, though they don't have much meat.
Local children, more girls are born than boys here, this could be due to the amount of oestrogen found in the palm nuts they eat.
The Peruvian expedition concluded that since control of the reserve had been handed over from the Government to the locals, animal populations had risen!
Costly though they may be, these expeditions look thoroughly enjoyable, and the research conducted is invaluable to further conservation of species.
Hopefully one day you'll send me on one ey grandma??