Gunns Travels Update & Current Plans

Gunns Travels Update & Current Plans

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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!

Gunns Designs Shop More Products

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

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Travel. Create, Be Nice!

What’s Next? | gunns_travels Update!

What’s Next? | gunns_travels Update!

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What’s that I hear you ask? Where to next!? Well, for those of you on board or following my journey already and anyone ready to join me in 2017 here is an update; I am currently getting prepared for my travel/move to SHANGHAI, CHINA! That’s right I am heading to China next and the bustling city of Shanghai. I completed my TEFL qualification last year, which if you are thinking about doing the same, read how I got mine here.

I knew that when I finished the first half of my travel plans to Nepal, India and Ghana I would want to continue but I had to find a way of making some money; savings only get you so far! So I went about getting things ready to be able to look for teaching jobs in other countries. This is the perfect solution for me right now as I get to continue to travel, earn money, try a new career and move to one of the most popular cities in the world!

I’m so excited to get there to explore, work a new job and try a different lifestyle! I’ve been wanting to go to China for years and have my camera and phrasebook ready to pack.



One of the questions I always get asked is: “How do you afford all this travel?”

The answer is simple really, I make it a priority. I don’t have endless savings and I’m not being funded by anyone other than myself. The thing is, if you’re passionate about something and you make it the focus, the priority then the rest is pretty simple. I work, I save and I don’t spend unnecessarily.

If someone asked me to choose between the newest phone or saving the money for a plane ticket – it’s a no brainer. And this can be applied to everything, not just travel. I get annoyed with people who complain that they can’t afford to do the thing they really would love to do or buy the thing they want; whilst they sip their £3 coffee and stare at their £40 a month phone…you can travel, or save for that dream home, car or whatever if you change your mindset first.


Another is: “How do you travel on your own?”

I get it, it is a scary thought, just going off somewhere on your own relying on no-one else but yourself. But it has been one of the best things I could have ever done for that exact reason. I overcame that fear and learnt to be independent, outgoing and confident – yeah that’s right you can ‘learn’ these skills by travelling on your own.

The best advice I could give for this is to just get out and do it. Make sure you research and have certain things planned beforehand if it is your first time travelling solo (flights, insurance, accommodation for the first few nights, general plan and contacts) but use the fear as fuel. If I’m completely honest and cliche, ‘you’ll never be alone anyway’ – because there are thousands of people you’ll meet out there doing the exact same thing, so get out and join them! You will go away on your own but end up having friends and family all over the world.


Another: “Don’t you get scared?”

And the answer is of course yes! I get scared about some of the places but it is part of the reason I love going. It makes you feel like you are actually living and alive – not a robot. I find the media and rumours all help to fuel the fear but really it’s never as bad as what you hear. There are obviously places to watch and be careful of but thats no reason to write them off completely. I always make sure I research before I go: from reading articles, to watching videos and collecting necessary contact details but never get put off from going somewhere.


Last one: “What’s your favourite place so far?”

This one is so difficult to answer because everywhere has been so different from the next. I never know what to say as some places have been more adventurous but others have been chilled and some have given me a home from home – what am I scoring it on if I am to name my favourite…

I guess a few notable (favourite) experiences so far have been:

  • Safari in Amboseli and seeing elephants in the wild
  • Riding through the desert for 3 days with nothing but 1 tour guide, 2 camels and endless starry skies (Shoutout to my camel Mr.Mogue)
  • Getting covered in colourful powders during Holi festival in India
  • Gaining 2 new families in Nepal and Ghana after living in host homes whilst volunteering
  • Skydiving over the great barrier reef in Oz
  • Selfies at the Taj Mahal!
  • Being a Team Leader for 8 months in Ghana on development projects

I could go on forever, I feel so fortunate to have had these experiences and hope to continue to add more & more. Experiences over possessions 100%!

I’ll be writing up about the preliminary process I had to go through – from my TEFL qualification, looking for jobs, interviews and securing a visa for China; along with all the requirements for the move very soon.

So right now I am getting paperwork ready, selling lots of my possessions and uploading content from my previous travels – there is still a lot of content to look forward to coming up, look out for it here!

If you would like to read about my travels so far you can of course find all posts here on the blog but here are a few quick links to some of the adventures I’ve had so far – come along with me and get inspired to go travel yourself 🙂

India @travelling_jackg updateIndia @travelling_jackg update

Ghana @travelling_jackg update


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Travel. Create, Be Nice!


Travel Update – What Plane Are You On Now?

Travel Update – What Plane Are You On Now?

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Hello & Namaste!

A quick travel update to let you know what I’m doing, where I am and what’s next! I have just finished the first part of my travelling plans for 2016 with Nepal and India. Can’t believe I can add these to my travel history!


I re-visited my Nepali family & village which was an incredible trip being able to head back again to see them all. Most importantly it was good to see how relief efforts are going and to deliver the sponsored fundraising money! The homes are looking good and should be finished within a few months so they will be able to move out of the tarpaulin tents and back into their home.

For everyones continued support and donations – a BIG warm thank you from me & the children of Bhakatpaur Orphan Home. This is what we can achieve when we work together! I had such a great time with them all in Nepal and there will be more detailed blog posts coming up as well a few new projects I’m working on, so stay tuned!


India is hard to sum up in one word. Unreal. Crazy. Beautiful. Chaotic. Awesome. It was everything I wanted from a trip to India and more. I met so many amazing people, experienced such diverse places and got a real taste of the culture. Although my time was short I managed to cram in so much and again I will be writing up some more detailed posts on my trip, along with reviews and some pretty epic photos! For now enjoy some of these…


As you may know I am volunteering with VSO at the end of May in Ghana. I’m back in the UK for a few days to sort some things out for visas & work permits. However I am flying to Portugal for a week to soak up some sunshine & do some exploring! I’ll then come back for a Team Leader training weekend where I’ll find more out about my projects & meet some of my team hopefully!

You can still donate to my fundraising page and anything is very much appreciated – you’ll also be able to see the projects your money is going towards too!

That’ll bring me to the beginning of May – where I have 3 weeks before I depart for my VSO program. I currently have some travel plans being arranged for that time and I’ll update as soon as I get confirmation, which is very exciting!

I also wanted to take a moment to just consider everything. I feel super grateful that I am able to have these experiences – I have created a lot of them for myself with dedication, handwork & persistence. But it just shows how you can completely change your lifestyle if you truly want to. This time last year I was in an office not enjoying it all, I took the steps to change that.

“If you want something badly enough. You’ll make it a priority.”

Stop dreaming and start doing.

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Travel. Create. Be Nice!