Akwaaba Life

Akwaaba Life

with No Comments

Ghana is known for its welcoming and hospitable people, which I am glad to say is incredibly true. From the moment you land, to the minute you leave, you will always be greeted with ‘Akwaaba’ welcoming you into the heart of the country. I wanted to briefly touch upon more of my experiences so far and start to paint a picture with the colourful palette that makes up this fascinating country.

FOOD

When I thought about what I would be eating when I came to Ghana; I’ll be honest my first thought was ‘great I’ll finally be able to shift the mid-way chub and have a serious detox’. Secondly, I imagined eating boring, repetitive and flavourless foods. This was of course based on no research or experience with the realities that I would actually face.

The Ghanaian dishes could not be further away from my initial thoughts at all. The meals here are packed with spices, flavours and colours that have had me eating double the portions I would normally. For the majority, I have loved all the new foods I have been introduced to whilst I have been here; apart from my relationship with fufu (a pounded cassava and maize flubber playdough like creation) I have enjoyed Baanku, waache, jollof and the almighty Red-Red plantain tastiness.

I have had the absolute bonus of having a caterer for my host mum throughout my stay here. She surprises me with new dishes and has given me the opportunity to sample a lot of the Ghanaian cookbook which I am very grateful for. From eto-eto to kele wele her culinary delights always deliver a satisfied stomach. I am also in awe of how she manages to get fried chicken to taste so damn good.

So far my food journey in Ghana has been a massive success.

MUSIC

It goes without saying that, as a whole, the African continent know how to make great sounds and put on a killer party. The music here is a colourful blend of hip-life and reggae beats. The music is always blasting from dusk till dawn. I’m now a passionate Shatta Wale fan throwing out ‘chop kisses’ everywhere I go and serenading people to ‘let me be there soldier’. It seems the chart here takes a little longer to change, so most of the songs you’ll hear, all year round, from every shop, taxi and phone; which you’d think gets repetitive but I see it as people really appreciate a great song.

There’s no slow songs for those moody, brooding days. Instead it’s upbeat and instant smile makers. Maybe that’s why I haven’t seen a sad face during my stay. The music is deep rooted into this culture and as well as a social outlet it is also an expressive art used to define regions, stories and the people.

DANCE

Being able to express emotions through dance is another integral part of the Ghanaian culture. Rhythm is everywhere you look here, from the pounding of the fufu to the intense tribal jama displayed through the beating of drums, clicking of fingers and unity of voices. Every part of the country has different regional dancing to express different stories, beliefs and celebrations.

Even the greeting handshake has its own rhythm and click that seems so strange to a rigid westerner’s hand.

LANGUAGE

What does language mean to you? For some its communication. For others it’s a sense of identity. My time here has led me to pick up a lot of the local language: Twi. I’ve learnt to slow my speech down to an almost grinding halt as well as incorporating a lot of the local clicks and sounds. I’ve always found the best way to learn a language is to be thrown straight into the deep end. In my case, 8 months in a rural community, living with a host family should do it. I don’t like to do things by halves.

I’ve ended up picking up a fair bit of the vocab and now things like ‘Ghanafuo pe kasa papaa’ just rolls off the tongue. More than anything, I found that even when I could hardly say anything at all the joy trying would bring to the locals faces was incredible. I guess it’s my way of saying I don’t want to forget your culture, your identity. Which is incredibly important today, when everyone is being pushed so hard to learn English; it is becoming harder and harder for people to hold onto their local dialects, heritages and identities.

LANDSCAPE

Bright sunburnt dusty roads contrasted by lush green jungles and mountain backdrops are some of the things I’m surrounded by when I wake up and drink my cup of coffee in the mornings.

Ghana is an incredibly diverse country in terms of landscape. You can go from the dry northern farming regions to the tropical south and infamous Gold Coast towns. There are the national parks packed full of wild gentle giants; as well as the lakes and waterfalls of the central regions.

An incredibly dynamic geographical landscape.

Reds, yellows and greens define this landscape.

This is Ghana.

 

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Travel. Create. Be Nice!

Life in Asamankese

Life in Asamankese

with No Comments

So it’s been 4 months since I boarded the flight that would take me to my new home for the next 8 months, Ghana. When I cast my mind back to the first few days it seems bizarre to me that things like ‘Ghana time’ and ‘Obroni’ would become such a big part of daily life here.

I spent the first few weeks in team leader training, orientation in community and getting to know my counterpart – Hiki; a lady who knows her own mind, has a lot of passion and can stand up for herself. We instantly got along and I knew we’d become a dynamic duo to lead the team to the end.

Our teams of volunteers started arriving from early June and then we spent a few days training them all once again. It was intense long hours and already everyone was pretty drained. We finally made it to the end of the relentless flip-charts and later came to realise that nothing can prepare you for what happens in the field – not even conflict resolution technique no.14. We introduced everyone to their counterpart pairs and explained a bit more about Asamankese as well as the local partner F.L.O.W.E.R.

On the 12th of June we loaded our luggage onto the roof of the bus, said goodbye to the bathroom facilities of the hotel and started our bumpy journey to Asamankese.

Fast-forward the first few weeks in community where the teams were introduced to their new parents for the next 3 months and integration into the communities were underway. We were split into 3 communities around Asamankese the main town – Odjarde, Afranse and Oworam. The volunteers completed action research to identify issues that the people needed help with as well as get to know their surroundings and communities a lot better.

After a month our partner F.L.O.W.E.R came in to train the volunteers in livelihood skills – the main focus for cycle 3 was to teach bead making in purses, jewelry and hair pomade production. The volunteers would then train the community members in the hope that some of them might be able to make it a business or help to bring in extra income to support themselves.

One word that became integral to daily life was the loud shrill sound of ‘Obroni!’ everywhere you went. Obroni – meaning white person (but not in a racist way, more of an affectionate ‘notice me’) was something that was able to create an instant connection with a lot of the community members and if you spoke a few more words of Twi to them, then you’d instantly have made a new friend.

Having come from a place where everything was fast, efficient and strictly to schedules, it comes as no surprise that the introduction of ‘Ghana time’ had a massive impact on the team. It was a constant source of frustration and resistance throughout. Perhaps with hindsight something could be taken from the slower laid back approach to life; in the sense that if you turn up 10 minutes late the world won’t fall apart, but trying to tell this to frustrated emotional volunteers wasn’t the easiest.

A lesson that can be taken from living in a community and staying in a host home for a period of time is the sense of closeness. Everyone looks after one another and supports each other no matter what.You give the little you have and share it, you help one another get up and put each other in front of your own needs. The sense of community is something I’ve experienced many times before, but it always feels just as good each time you learn it again.

Life in community was upbeat, welcoming and a lot of fun, it came with its own challenges but overall it became like a second home or third maybe fourth; I’ve lost track of how many places I can call home now. I guess for me, now it’s the people that make somewhere home, not the physicalities of bricks and water.

I’m going to take a brief moment to give you an insight into a team leader’s daily life – of which can’t be narrowed down to a specific routine, as every day is like a lottery but here’s a few things that came our way during the course of the programme. Waking up somewhere between the hours of 5am – 6am to a message saying somebody is sick, wants to go home or wants more to do. This immediately creates a problem for your perfectly planned iteniary you did the night before, nevertheless adaptability comes into play. I’d go between communities, hospitals and the office to make sure everything ran as smooth as it could do. However challenging the programme was at times, the rewards far outweighed the problems. Getting to see a group of individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, ages and personalities grow and develop strong relationships to become a hardworking team, is the reward of having the perspective of the leader.

Coming back to here and now as I write this post. The volunteers have all departed back to their homes, reports have been written up and loose ends have been tied, I can’t help but reflect on the experiences and achievements we made as a team over the past few months. It takes a unique individual to decide to give up their own time and dedicate it to a cause. It is also an experience that not a lot of people realise will improve their own selves and developing a community is more of a secondary outcome to that.

I’m ending this experience with fond memories, lessons learnt and a team to be proud of. The bar is set high and I’m looking forward to what the next cycle can bring – even if it means I’ll be seeing my friends at the hospital once again.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Travel. Create. Be Nice!

India Highlights | GoPro Hero 3+

with No Comments

Loving my new GoPro Hero 3+ for capturing EPIC moments like these from India! Still learning how to use and edit it better, so hopefully the travel videos keep getting better and better!

All about creating great memories, awesome content and inspiring wanderlust!

I loved travelling the traditional India and northern parts. I’m hoping to head back there to explore the south of India and also all the pockets I missed. I only had just over a month to explore, so I think I did well with cramming all this into it! Next time I’d love to go back for a good few months. If you’ve been or have any recommendations please get in contact! And if you live there, feel free to message me, always better seeing a country with the locals!

Check out my Nepal highlights reel shot on my GoPro Hero 3+ and make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel for more travel related content.

Follow the adventure on my social links!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Travel. Create. Be Nice!

I’m Volunteering with VSO

I’m Volunteering with VSO

with No Comments

VSO ICS

I have been wanting to share this news for a while but I was waiting on confirmation of my placement whereabouts! And I am very happy to announce I will be volunteering as a team leader overseas in Ghana collaborating and helping with local livelihoods projects, gender equality education and human rights! The program is 8 months long split into 2 cycles of 4 months and I’ll be starting the first in May 2016. I’m super excited to get involved with these projects and learn about ways to help the local communities in this area.

Before I went through the application process with VSO, I went straight to google to find any links or helpful reviews and when I was told I got Ghana I immediately did the same – but I didn’t manage to find much in depth info about either…so I’m going to document my journey with VSO and try to give a well rounded insight into what to expect from being a team leader in this program; whilst also sharing my adventures in Ghana!

To give you an idea of what I have done so far:

  1. Initial Application process via online form
  2. Acceptance on the scheme
  3. Assessment day at the Kingston office which involved some team solving problem tasks and a 1-1 interview. I found the day really casual and well organised. Try not to be too nervous for it, it’s not intense. You just need to show that you are capable of looking at a problem and finding a solution collectively. Our first task was to build the tallest giraffe we could out of newspaper and sticky tape!
  4. Acceptance!
  5. DBS & Medical Clearance – arrange these as soon as you can and get the forms sent back to VSO; so as to move your application forward as quickly as possible. All the costs of these things are covered by VSO.
  6. Clearance accepted and details of your placement confirmed!
  7. Start fundraising! As soon as you get your placement you can start the process of fundraising, all VSO volunteers are required to fundraise an amount (£800 usually) to begin the program. Get baking, selling, running and shouting about your placement & cause!

Here’s a snippet of my fundraising page bio which explains a bit more about what VSO ICS is and what my placement will involve when I get to Ghana:

https://www.justgiving.com/Jack-Gunns1

VSO GHANA

“In May 2016 I will volunteer for VSO ICS on a development programme in Asamankese, GHANA.

This is part of International Citizen Service (ICS), which brings young people together to fight poverty and make a difference where it is needed most. I’ll be working alongside volunteers, on projects within the community.

Through this project, VSO seeks to increase cocoa production, provide alternative markets for cocoa and other products and add value through income generating activities by increasing business and marketing knowledge skills among the target group.

VSO ICS teams will help improve livelihood conditions by supporting FLOWER (local NGO partner) to increase their support of community groups, and inspire an interest in agriculture amongst in and out of school youth.

In addition, VSO ICS volunteers will organise seminars for the local people for them to gain skills in bookkeeping and adopt innovative marketing practices to reach new communities not currently working with Cocoa Life.

ICS works with communities that have specifically requested their help. It also aims to inspire young people in the UK and overseas to become active citizens who are passionate about long term community development.

I need to raise £800.00 for VSO who are one of the respected development charities that deliver ICS. This will allow them to continue to bring about positive change in the developing communities where they work. You can check out their amazing work here http://www.vsointernational.org

I’m doing multiple fundraising activities and challenges and you can keep track of how I get on here on my Justgiving page or www.jackgunns.com. Any contribution from you will make a real difference to the lives of people in developing countries, so please dig deep!

Thanks for your support!”

My next update will be when I go for a Team Leader training weekend in April which you are required to do before you begin placement as it provides you with the leadership training and details of your role when overseas.

Hopefully you found this useful and keep an eye out for the next step in my VSO ICS adventure!

Keep up to date by following my social media channels as I post regular updates on there!

Travel. Create. Be Nice!

What I Take In Hand Luggage

What I Take In Hand Luggage

with No Comments

Packing in general can be a pain in the butt. But you want to make sure you are best prepared for your trip and especially when you’re on that flight. You want to make sure that hand luggage is organised for optimum comfort in flight. I usually try and only have hand luggage because its just way easier and quicker at airports but I realise that people may want to take slightly more than what I would pack, all I need is my camera really!

So here’s what I pack/ would recommend when travelling for your hand luggage!

1. CAMERA – Obviously the no.1 tech essential i’d recommend for your trip. You want to make sure you capture every view, face and place on that trip of a lifetime! I always like to carry tech stuff with me so its safe and not thrown around.

2. LAPTOP – If you’re going on a longer trip then you may want to consider a laptop for easy accessibility to work, emails, edits etc. If its just a short trip then you can probably wait until you get home for this, have a break from it.

3. CHARGERS – Most places these days have charging ports you can use for all your devices so make sure you take advantage of this and get all your batteries on full power before you land!

4. TOOTHBRUSH/TOOTPASTE – I always like to take one of these on with me to freshen up, especially if its a long haul flight and it breaks up the time going to the bathroom.

5. WET WIPES – Again easy way to quickly freshen up that face and any other place before you land after a long clammy flight. No one likes smelly people!

6. A GOOD BOOK – I always carry a good book with me in case I want a break from the screen. If you have any recommendations let me know I always like buying new books! I’m currently reading ‘The Shannara Chronicles’ and ‘The Path To Happiness’ both of which are great reads!

7. NECK PILLOW – This has saved me countless times on flights especially if I get stuck in a middle seat. Best way to kill time on a flight is to get some sleep in before you get to your destination so, like your devices, your charged up when you land. Get an inflatable one so it takes up as little space as possible!

8. EAR PLUGS – Team these with the pillow for uninterrupted snoozing time. Also very handy for airports and hostels!

9. CLOTHES – Not loads of clothes but I like to pack 1 rolled up t-shirt (maybe 2) and some underwear just in case theres a delay with your luggage when you arrive or you want to freshen up in a long haul flight in between. ROLL your clothes do not fold for less space in you bag!

10. HEADPHONES – Most flights these days have screens with movies, tv, music etc. and you don’t really want to buy headphones in flight they are usually pretty rubbish!

11. MONEY – Always carry a little bit of cash with you in case of emergencies.

12. SNACKS – Bring a few sealed snacks in packets like crisps or cereal bars for in flight munchies. Snacks are way too expensive in flight and at the airport.

13. PEN/NOTEPAD – Always great for jotting ideas down, scribbles, doodles or games.

14. JACKET – Even if your jetting off to somewhere really hot, planes are usually freezing cold from the altitude and the aircon, so bring something to keep you warm. Some flights supply blankets but they are usually really thin and flimsy.

15. CHEWING GUM/SWEETS – Pop one in when you take off and chew loads so you avoid the dreaded popping of the ears as you climb up in altitude. Wrigley’s has saved me many times from this torture.

16. TISSUES – Always handy in an emergency, spillage, sneezing fit or tearful goodbye/reunion at the airport!

17. HAND SANITISER – A small bottle of this stuff is great to keep on you especially if you’re headed to the east of the globe where sanitation becomes a little bit more sketchy…

18. EYE DROPS – I find my eyes get really dry on flights from the air conditioning so I always like to freshen them up after a flight with some of these.

19. SOCKS – Again if your headed somewhere super hot, it still might be a good idea to pack a pair of these even if you throw them away on the other side as flights get cold. (Some flights also provide some in flight socks for you to wear)

There you go, that’s generally what I like to take on a flight in hand luggage with me. I hope this gave you some inspiration while packing and I hope you enjoy wherever it is your jetting off to!

With a well organised hand luggage bag you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.

If you’d like to keep up with my adventures and get social;

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Travel. Create, Be Nice!

Why I’m Choosing Travel Over A Career

Why I’m Choosing Travel Over A Career

with 1 Comment

So, you’ve finished your studies and come to the beginning of your 20’s. You should get a ‘proper’ job now and start building your career right? It’s time to act like an adult… or so society tells us that it should play out like this. Get a job, find a partner, get married, get a mortgage, have a baby and so on. But what If I told you there are other options and paths YOU can take. You don’t have to complete these milestones or do them in the conventional order. I have realised that you don’t have to live your life in what you think is expected of you from what society tells us to do.

Travel over a career…

As a recent graduate I struggled with the idea of conforming to one role, one job and one way of thinking that I thought was expected of me. Ever since I was young I had this idea of life and life’s milestones that you should move towards and complete. Everybody has the same expectations, grading system, steps to take. Not many other options are exposed to you as you grow up. University was pushed heavily on my college and it made me feel like if I didn’t have a degree then it would be harder to go anywhere else further along the line.

I realise now that that could not be more wrong! There are so many other routes you can take that do not fit in with societies expectations and thats a good thing!

I have always loved to travel and experience new ways of thinking and living which is clear by the content on this blog and my ethos of a travel lifestyle. I tried to tame it by taking a few holidays here and there and taking a few months out to satisfy my desire to travel. This did the opposite and further ignited my passion to continue to explore. It made me realise that for me to find happiness in what I do, I need to find something that involves travelling within it.

I learnt way more and gained so much more experience from my travels than I have ever done reading a text book. Yeah studying gave me an in-depth knowledge about a particular field and on paper I can say I can do that but its not until you get into the ‘real’ world that you realise you have a whole lot more to learn, that studying can never teach you; you need that first hand experience with things. And travelling has been my greatest teacher so far.

I tried the corporate lifestyle for only 9 months before I decided that I needed to get out of it. I’d landed a junior design role that offered on the go training. Straight out of uni you’d think that this was the dream! I thought it was but I realised I was just doing what I thought was expected of me. I was stuck in a monotonous cycle of traffic jams, office desks and paperwork. I wasn’t living, just existing until the next pay check. This wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing, I wasn’t living up to my full potential slaving away at a desk 5 days a week with no real life at the weekends either.

I started to get really bogged down with it, not depressed, but I know if I had continued on then that’s the way it may have headed.

I decided enough was enough.
I took the leap and quit my job.

I guess I’m having a quarter-life crisis? But in a good way…

I had no back up plan or financial stability to fall back on. yikes. But I remember being so happy that I had escaped it so soon! I had taken control of my ship and I was set on battling the ocean waves. Maybe a little dramatic but the english literature student comes out in me sometimes. I was not about to settle for what was expected of me. I choose to get out find a part time retail job to tide me over for a few months while I concocted a plan. I was starting to feel happier, I got the chance to do some freelance design work and start putting in place the foundations for enabling me to travel and work. I studied a TEFL qualification, I trained for a half marathon to raise funds for my Nepali village, I was taking steps outside of my comfort zone. I was pushing myself.

Fast forward to the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. I couldn’t have been happier to see that clock strike 12 on new years eve! I’d made it through and I am so ready for what this year will bring. I’m choosing travel over a career because I feel that whatever you do should make you happy; for me that is travel, for someone else it may be that corporate lifestyle. Whatever you do, do not settle for the comfortable option, whats expected and the ‘norm’. Grab the bull by the horns and live life. If you don’t do that then your just existing.

Why am I writing this? Because I want to encourage anyone who happens to read this that travel is awesome! I want to inspire you to grab that bag and book that flight because it WILL be one of the best things you ever do. Even if its just a short period of travelling or a lifelong passion like me. You’ll gain so much from the experience and learn so much that you just can’t do if you stay at home in your comfort bubble. I don’t want you to be afraid of travelling solo or put off by what you see in the media because the world is a much less scarier place than what it makes out; just use your common sense.

Travel over a career

So that’s why I’m choosing travel over a career.

More reasons to travel…

Travel for the VIEWS

Travel for the BONDS

Travel for the FESTIVALS

Travel for the GROWTH

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to keep up with my adventures and get social;

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Travel. Create, Be Nice!

How To Get The Most Out Of A Volunteering Trip

How To Get The Most Out Of A Volunteering Trip

with 2 Comments

Hello and welcome to 2016! I love the new year as its a chance to make a fresh start and plan loads of new stuff! There is a lot coming up this year in this blog so stay tuned for more adventures and travel stories. For now here’s my Top Tips on ‘How To Get The Most Out Of A Volunteering Trip!’ Why not do something great this year and give something back, Enjoy!

Volunteering is one of the best ways you can get the opportunity to interact with locals and help make a positive impact on your travels. Once you’ve got your destination and project it’s time to get prepared for your life changing trip! If you haven’t chosen yet then read my review of my experience with IVHQ for some inspiration! I’ll give my advice on how best to prepare for it and what to expect to gain from embarking on a volunteering project.

Pre-Departure

  1. Before you go research. Research everything you can find through blog posts, articles, videos and reviews of the place your staying at and what it has to offer along with all the possible problem areas to look out for.
  2. Get your visas sorted! It’s something that is often overlooked in the planning process but it is a vital part to be able to enter the country: find out where you need one for, for how long, the price, how long it takes to get approved approx. before you go, wether you’ll need to renew it if your staying longer than the ‘normal’ amount of time ( for example visas for Australia are free to apply for online as a tourist for up to a month, after that you’ll need to renew it or get a different visa category) 
  3. Check what/if you need vaccinations for the place your staying at, a great resource is fitfortravel also make an appointment to see your local travel nurse to make sure your covered.
  4. Collect all contact numbers for in country support and out of country support. i.e. support officer, government, host-family, immigration office, airport, taxis, family. 
  5. Get your travel insurance sorted. I would definitely recommend getting some cover especially if your heading to more rural, high risk areas. Also if your planning on taking valuables such as cameras/laptops then get them covered just in case! 
  6. Try and find out if the host-family/project your involved need any resources that you could take out with you to help. 
  7. Look into setting up a fundraising page for your trip – also look at doing some sponsored races, events or collections to help raise some money for your chosen project. I use www.gofundme.com 
  8. Make at least 4 copies of all your documents (passport, money cards, project info, visas, vaccinations, contacts, travel insurance) Give a copy to someone at home, keep one copy in your bag, give another copy to a program coordinator if you have one. This is a great way to make sure you always have someone with a back up of all your important info if anything happens. Its also a good idea to create a new folder in your email account and store all this digitally as well so you can access it via a computer if needs be or you need to email a document. 
  9. Change a small amount ( enough for a couple of nights stay in a hotel/food) into the destinations currency just in case your unable to get your money travel card up and running straight away – tip. check this works before you even leave for the airport in an atm in your own country so you can check everything in order. 
  10. Give your parents/guradian a list of all possible numbers/ emails they may need whilst your away or in case of emergency 
  11. Check social media for any links to your chosen project and see if there is anyway you can make contact with any other volunteers before you go. It’ll help you introduce yourself before you have even left and probably calm your nerves or get you more excited about your chosen project! Social media is such a powerful tool these days which you can take full advantage of before you trip! 
  12. Find out the basic phrases and vocabulary in the local language ( hello, goodbye, please, thank you) before you go to give yourself a head start in greeting and interacting with locals – tip learning the numbers 1-10 is also quite useful!! 

Now all the important stuff is planned and sorted, you can focus on packing!

13. Pack what clothes you want to take. Now unpack it and take half of them out, you won’t need that much! If you get stuck whilst your out there, you can usually pick up a few new t-shirts cheap or just hand wash them!

14. Include practical items such as a hand torch, head torch, batteries, swiss army knife (multitool), plastic bags, padlocks, universal plug adapter.tip take a throw away camera, no need for charging and great fun as a surprise to wait and see what the snaps look like when you come back!

15. Pack some medication i.e. paracetamol, ibuprofen, dehydration tablets, water-purifying tablets, insect repellent.

Once you bag is packed your ready to take to the airport!

Fast-forward the nervous, excited and sleepless flight to your volunteering project.

It’s overwhelming, especially if this is your first experience abroad or in a developing country. Just remember your here for a short amount of time and you will be heading home so make the most of the time you have. Take in as much as possible from the sights, smells, people, lifestyle, language and culture. Be open and accepting that you’re in a different country with different values/views to your own. They may not be what you are used but be respectful and embrace it.

Be Open

Be Respectful

Throw Yourself Into It!

Enjoy your experience of a lifetime and thanks to your well planned pre-departure you know everything is in place, so your able to just enjoy it and help out! Make sure you write down and take loads of photographs to remember your trip by!

Lastly my biggest tip for getting the most out of your volunteering experience or any experience is to just open yourself to it fully. Embrace every opportunity to learn and discover something your not used to, everything that challenges you helps you to grow.

Happy travels!

If you’d like to see what A Day in the Life of a Volunteer is like or Teaching in Kenya then check out my experiences!

If you’d like to keep up with my adventures and get social;

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Travel. Create, Be Nice!

 

My Travel Goals 2016

My Travel Goals 2016

with No Comments

My New Years Resolutions of 2015…

We are at the end of 2015 already! I can’t believe how quick this year has gone by, I swear every year it seems to go by quicker and quicker.

At the beginning of this year my main priority was to try and find something that would make me happy in my working life. I’ve struggled this year to really find something that satisfies that box but I have realised that my passion is travelling – so if I can try and make some kind of career that involves this in my life then I’m half way there. I’ve spent this past year building on myself personally through research, preparation and knowledge. I have thought about lots of different careers or paths that will incorporate travel in them and so have taken the necessary steps to create the foundations needed to pursue them.

Every year one of my resolutions is to be healthier (I mean everyone says that right?) and every year it never really happens. I think the problem is that I keep ending back in a place that I’m not 100% happy with and so fall into the same routines and habits. My hope, is that once I start making moves to change my entire lifestyle; that diet, exercise and general wellbeing will shift with it. I want to make every effort next year to tackle it.

I also wanted to get my site up and running and start blogging – which I am happy to say I have succeeded! There’s a lot more to be done and a lot of work ahead but I can at least say I have my online platform up and running for when I go away which I’m proud of! I also managed to get some freelance projects up and running this year which is exciting and adds to my expanding portfolio of work.

What’s happened in 2015?

Well, 2015 for me was a lot of changes and confusion. I was a recent graduate in January and a recently arrived traveller. I started the year going from job to job and ended it still switching jobs! I just couldn’t settle in any of the work I was doing, something was missing. I realised for me I find it hard staying in one place and extremely difficult working in an office environment. I felt like it was restricting my freedom, creativity and passion. So, October I made the decision to head back to a small shop job and concentrate on making travel my priority; whilst working part-time and trying to start up my website/blog. I continued to do some freelance design on the side along with my part-time hours and trying to create a reliable blogging schedule with a new post at least once a week.

I also made the decision to start studying for a TEFL qualification so I’d have an option to make money on my travels and also get some amazing experience teaching abroad.

So aside from working a part-time (full-time in retail for anyone who knows what working in a shop is like…overtime), creating a blogging platform, writing, freelance designing and studying for a TEFL. I thought i’d apply for a volunteering team leader role that would start next summer in one of 5 locations. Turns out that I got accepted onto that so now I’m going to be leaving for that as well next year!

The whole process was daunting at first and I had (still have times) where I think what am I doing!? Is this the right idea? Did I blow a good opportunity for another career path? But in the end I know that one thing makes me happy: travel. And not just going on a jolly somewhere, I mean real travel. Exploring, learning and meeting like-minded people like myself. I have always liked getting involved with projects and volunteering so this decision is th right one for me at this point in time.

What can you expect from this blog in the next year?

Well my travel goals 2016, are hopefully a lot of travelling! Tales of adventures and insights into different projects I’m working on whilst i’m on the road. I’ll be writing, reviewing, sharing, photographing and uploading anything that I come across on my travels throughout the year!

My rough plan for the next (few) years is firstly to head back to my village in Sipadol, Nepal next March for a few weeks to go and see the children and villagers. I’m so excited to head back there and see everyone over a year later. And with everything that happened with the earthquakes this year it’ll be great to see everyone is doing ok and help out with anything that they need. Re-building work has just started on the children’s home and the estimation is up to 6 months to get everything done so I should be able to lend a hand where possible!

I’ll pop back home after that for a week or so and then head for the volunteering team leader role; which if I get to choose will be heading to Dharmsala, India for 8 months! I’ll be a team leader that co-ordinates with other volunteers and community projects whilst I’m there. It should be a highly valuable experience and a tough challenge but I cannot wait!

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02574/india_2574432k.jpg

After 8 months as a team leader I’ll head over to China to do some teaching with my TEFL qualification! A chance for me to test the teaching waters and get the opportunity to live as a local. I’ve wanted to explore this part of the world for some time now so I can’t wait to take it all in and of course take a lot of photos! Another big challenge but a great experience and lots of cultural adventures and places to explore!

http://www.thewingsofhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Emal-China-Trek-Photo-645591.jpg

My plan after that is to use the money that I earn as a teacher to do some more travelling around that part of the world, not much of a plan as of yet but I want to keep it fairly flexible and open to anything that  may come up – so a lot more of Asia to discover!

If I have anything left over I’d love to head over to Australia again but that is quite a few years away so anything could happen!

How can I follow the adventures?

I’m on lots of social media

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

I really hope I can continue to upload content here and share all these experiences with you. So if you want to keep up with my travel goals 2016, then make sure you follow my social links and look out for posts every Tuesday (usually)!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Travel Goals 2016

 

 

Love TEFL 120 Hour English Teaching Course | REVIEW

Love TEFL 120 Hour English Teaching Course | REVIEW

with No Comments

TEFL, heres why…

Want to start travelling abroad? Don’t want to hang around for ages saving? Maybe consider getting yourself qualified to teach abroad with a TEFL qualification. I really want to start making travel a priority *even more so* in my life, so I started looking into ways I could earn money whilst travelling to give me a flow of income whilst on the move. I’m always looking to add another string to my bow and I really wanted to have a solid qualification to be able to approach potential employers with abroad. So, I started to research TEFL courses to study at home. Being able to show a certified TEFL qualification has already put me at the front of lots of employers and I have received multiple offers and had some Skype interviews already and I’m not even planning on going abroad until next year; so I can safely say this has already helped me a lot! Plus, I found the course and its content really useful. It’s a lot of common sense but also gives you the tools, theories and confidence to be able to approach an education establishment knowing all the technical jargon! It’s an investment into yourself, your education and your travelling dreams!

I’m hoping to use my TEFL qualification to go abroad and teach in Asia – hopefully in and around China! You can use it in many other countries such as Europe, South America and Africa as it is a globally recognised qualification.

Choosing a TEFL course with LoveTEFL

I researched a few different ones and came across LoveTEFL which at the time had a discount offer for one of their TEFL courses which included the 120 hour minimum TEFL qualification you can get along with some bonus qualifications on 1-to-1 teaching, teaching teenagers, group work, IELTS and helping with looking for work. It worked out the same price as the 120 hour course so I thought i’d make the most of the discount on offer! They offer the 120 hour TEFL, 180 TEFL & 300 hour TEFL. I went with the discounted 300 hour course to really maximise my knowledge and boost on my CV before I start teaching abroad. Keep an eye out as they usually do offers and bundles regularly so make sure you cash in on them and get as many hours as you can!

I’m currently half way through my course and am now on the teenagers & group work part of the 300 hours. I have completed my 120 hour TEFL which is the minimum I need for teaching abroad, so if I wanted to I could start looking for jobs now but I am looking to go early summer of 2016 so I’m making the most of the other parts of the course. I’ll receive my hard copy certificate once I’ve completed all modules but your able to send off for an e-certicifcate copy if you need to start emailing employers right away.

I’ve found the 120 TEFL really useful and it has enhanced my knowledge of teaching in a classroom a lot as well as equipping me with the necessary techniques and jargon to tackle the education environment. I’ve learnt how to create lesson plans catered to various levels, deal with foreign language techniques and lots of psychology in the classroom.

What they say:

“TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is all about exploring our world while learning new skills and getting experience for ‘real life’. So whilst you’re checking out ancient temples in Thailand, spotting wildlife in Africa or riding a tuk-tuk to the beach with your friends, you’ll also be contributing to your career. Nice.”

“What is TEFL about? TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. It’s a professional qualification that equips you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to teach across the world. There is a huge demand for English teachers worldwide, and with a TEFL certificate under your belt you’ll be all set to pack your bags and travel the world!

tefl
Details and prices correct as of 06/12/15

 

Here at LoveTEFL, we believe TEFL is much more than just a teaching qualification; it’s an experience! Once you’re qualified we’ve got a range of teach and travel possibilities from paid jobs to supported internships, and even action packed adventure travel! When you arrive in-country, you’ll get a new perspective on the countries you’ll visit; immersing yourself in unique cultures, taking epic adventures and making lifelong friends along the way.

So what are you waiting for? Get TEFL qualified and take the first step on your very own adventure!”

All of their courses are completed 100% online which can fit in with whatever you are doing wether its working or studying. It’s a great benefit especially as I do work around it so the flexibility and freedom to manage it myself was something I found really great. They also offer;

  • 24/7 Access from any device, anywhere in the world
  • Professional TEFL training course
  • Internationally recognised TEFL certificate
  • Dedicated personal tutor
  • Free job service from our TEFL recruitment team

I’ve found LoveTEFL really great in delivering high quality content, useful techniques and thorough assessment of skills. Correspondence has been fairly good when I have needed it and grading has been detailed and constructive. The whole system is really easy to use and digest with mini quizzes throughout the modules. It’s easy to use uploading system for exam submissions makes it quick and stress free. If your looking for a TEFL course then I’d happily recommend looking into a LoveTEFL course.

If you’d like to keep up with my adventures and get social;

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Travel. Create, Be Nice!

What do you travel for? | I travel for…

What do you travel for? | I travel for…

with No Comments

I believe that the times I have shown the most growth and potential have been when I have been surrounded by new places, people and situations. Many of these instances have been whilst I have been travelling which is why I’m so determined to continue exploring and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

tolkien

It really is that first small step that you take that will lead you onto your next adventure however big or small. By making travel a focus I allow myself to start to take small steps towards my dream of exploring. I am determined and motivated to make travel a priority in my life because my life is about travelling! Planning, writing, expressing and saving are all examples of small steps I personally take towards achieving my goals.

buddha

It’s true and something I’m still working on doing. Until you experience other places and people you may not even realise the things that are dragging you down. It could be something as obvious as not liking your work or just simply wanting to get out more but other things aren’t as clear until you see it from a different point of view. Sometimes the energy and attitudes of people around us can impact on how we think about things – this can be positive and also negative. It isn’t until you step away from your situation that your able to look back and reflect on things. I am slowly starting to do this and going some place completely different to my ‘normal’ everyday life allows me to take some time to consider and evaluate my thoughts.

gandhi

Learning is the biggest reward of growth in travel, I have found that when you’re in a new environment the natural thing is to learn – places, names, culture, customs, language, new foods, festivals, climates, attractions etc. the list goes on about all the opportunities for growth you can get from travelling!

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”

columbus

Of course it’s all well and good me saying all this but if you don’t actually go and do it then you’ll never know the potential growth you might have. I’ve found myself always working to save to go and travel because I enjoy new challenges and learning about new places. Its scary going somewhere out of your comfort zone but in my experience its been the best decisions and really rewarding.

alone

If you really want to maximise the potential for growth while travelling, go solo. Sounds scary right? Plan, be sensible and don’t worry. The media makes the world seem like a scary place, as long as you are aware and have some common sense then the opportunities you come across when going solo are endless! You’ll be able to plan your own routes, go at your own pace and really take some time to reflect on yourself.

“Whatever makes you uncomfortable is the biggest opportunity for growth” – Bryant McGill

100

Join me! We all have one shot at life so make the most of it!

hakuna matata

 

1 2 3