It has been a little while since I last gave any kind of update on my current situation in regards to travel; and so I thought that, before I carried on I would give anyone who has followed up to this point an update.
If you haven’t followed up to this point, then I’ll give you a brief catch up: On this site I tell the stories of my travels and give an honest account of the things I have experienced. I have volunteered in Nepal, travelled Australia and talked in depth about my experience as a Team Leader in Ghana with VSO – all of this and more you can find on my blog. Most recently I used my TEFL qualification to go and teach English in Shanghai, China. Now we are all up to date, let me tell you how after all that, I ended up back in the UK taking a different path to what I had intended on doing for the next year…
So, I am back in the UK and although I’m not happy about the sudden drop in temperature change, I am happy to be back; but not for the reasons you’d expect.
Coming home is obviously full of nice comforts: foods, family, understanding shop assistants, not getting hit by cars crossing the road…but I am more happy to be back, so I can focus on things that I have more passion for. Don’t get me wrong, teaching English in Shanghai was a fantastic opportunity and I certainly learnt a lot from it. I got to experience daily life in China and be immersed in a culture that I had been long fascinated by – as well as getting to fit as many freshly steamed dumplings into my time as possible! But for me it was never about pursuing a career in teaching, which I came to find was a pretty common thing amongst foreign teachers doing the same.
Let me say first up that living in a different country is hard. I am no stranger to being away from home but this time it was different. I think in the end for me, it was that I had put myself into an environment that I just wouldn’t enjoy living in. It came as no surprise to me that the neon, grey bricked and sky scraping surroundings were going to be something that just didn’t interest me.
The novelty soon wore off for me; I enjoyed seeing it all for the first few weeks and then weeks turned into months and I found that the surroundings were having a direct effect on me. I’m more of a green open space kind of guy. I enjoyed aspects of the job and I loved living the Chinese culture – I was even taking Chinese lessons! The only thing was I knew I didn’t want to pursue teaching as a career and knew there were other passions I had put on hold because I had wanted to see how this experience went. It wasn’t working. I weighed it up and decided that the best thing for me was to head home and ‘re-group’.
Fast forward to now and as I sip my boiling hot coffee trying to ward off the chill of a Friday morning. I feel so much happier knowing that, although I have yet again decided to steer off into a different direction. I am only heading to something more fulfilling – at least that’s my hope.
Right, all sounds great but what’s the actual update? Ok, ok – sometimes I gotta find a creative outlet for writing ya know?
THE PLAN (along with some amendments and minor changes to ‘the plan version 26 original draft’)
My passions have always been surrounded by travel: most notably my volunteering experiences. They have been what have defined me and my goals from the start of this travelling bug or full fledged personality trait as it now has manifested into.
What I have realised is that it is not necessarily ‘travelling‘ that is what I need to feel ‘happy’. It is the sense of personal freedom that comes with something like travelling. I guess it’s more the sense of being able to move around anywhere, anytime without being tied to anything. Which is a pretty common desire for so many people that are pursuing the ‘laptop lifestyle‘ the ‘digital nomads‘ and ‘dreamers‘. This is what I want to create for myself and this blog.
My first point of action is to focus more time on the things that fuel my creativity. I want to dedicate more time to design, drawing and creative outlets. I have begun to try and create habits that help me sustain my ‘creative bank account‘ but as much as I wish it did, currently this doesn’t sustain my ‘financial bank account‘.
I’ve set up my store which sells a variety of unique hand drawn products inspired by my travels that I hope to grow and add to in the next few months!
My second motivation is to put more time into my other passion: volunteering. I will be working for Latitude Global Volunteering in their digital marketing & design department for the next 3 months! They are a global player in the volunteering sector and here is a little snippet of what they believe in:
“Lattitude Global Volunteering is an international youth development charity. Our mission is to educate and develop young people worldwide by providing opportunities to volunteer abroad and to make a positive difference to the lives of others through a distinctive, challenging, structured and supported overseas volunteering experience in a culture and community different from their own.
Through volunteering abroad, we give young people the opportunity to experience the world beyond their community and to truly engage with it. We help to develop young people’s awareness and responsibilities towards themselves and others, and equip them with employability and life skills.”
They’re pretty awesome and I’m proud to be working somewhere that I can truly be passionate about!
I’ll also be taking on multiple part time ‘side projects‘ (a fancy way of saying I’ll be taking on retail work *again*, client work and any commissions I can get!) to supplement the time I’m investing into these passions. I say ‘investing‘ because hopefully I’ll see a return on it early next year but if nothing else, I would have focused towards the ‘lifestyle‘ I am striving for.
Lastly, I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has read, supported, bought art, encouraged or endured my constant ‘change of plans’ in the last few years of writing about my travels & creating artwork. I always appreciate every opportunity I have had and I hope to continue to inspire more adventures, creativity and to follow your passion persistently until you create your own reality.
Peace & Love
Travel. Create, Be Nice!