As we come up to the New Year, it is a perfect time to remind ourselves of this quote by C.S Lewis. Even though this I am feeling old (I wish I could have stayed 22 forever!) it isn’t too late to decide to take a new path in life or to sell all my possessions and move to Africa! (Although I did that to move to Canada so now I don’t really have possessions…). But point of the matter is, whatever path we choose in life is not set in stone! If you aren’t happy in your career – change it! If you are sick of being stuck in your mundane hometown – leave! The world is your oyster 🙂
A while ago, when I was working as a Travel Agent, I learned about i-to-i volunteering. They are a company who specialize in volunteer programs, who are globally recognized and have fantastic feedback about them. I have heard so many companies scamming people – including an instance that happened to a friend of mine – so I think it is REALLY important to find a trusted company who are passionate about their projects, who will look after you and make sure you are in a safe environment.
Volunteering isn’t always cheap – but the fee that you pay i-to-i for their programs goes to good use. Over half of it goes towards your accommodation/food/transport while you are there, and the rest going into marketing/administration (which of course is required to run a successful company) and support of their travel experts/24 hour emergency support team.
There are many volunteering trips they run that I would love to be a part of – so I thought I would share a few of their wildlife ones as inspiration!
1/ Live with lion cubs in South Africa
- Feeding and caring for lion cubs
- Helping to look after other the animals at the reserve
- Living in and enjoying life an incredible wildlife reserve
- Participating in game drives on the reserve
2/ Panda conservation near Xi’an, China
- Spending time with Giant Pandas – there are only 1000 left!
- Experiencing China – a huge and mind-blowing country
- Learning some Chinese
3/ Elephant conservation and research in Sri Lanka
- Monitoring wild elephants from a tree house
- Learning all about field work and research techniques
- Recording information on leopard signs and activities
- Working with the local community to investigate & help reduce conflict between humans and animals
- Helping to increase public awareness of the plight of the Asian elephant
You can find all these projects and more at:
I feel like the more I travel, and the more incredible landscapes I see, the more my eyes are opened to all the small parts of nature around me. It is hard to be awed by landscapes after being in Canada (especially the drive from Banff to Jasper – wow!) however now I am seeing the beauty in my surroundings back home in Wellington, New Zealand that I didn’t see before. The more you discover, the more you train your eyes to see the beauty every nook and cranny the world holds.
I can’t wait for my first road trip of the summer! Well, the first road trip of my second summer… hopefully unlike my road trip through Canada in September there won’t be any unexpected snow or bad weather!
Even though a lot of you are in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope you can enjoy these tracks equally as much – maybe for you guys it can be a playlist for your road trips to the ski fields!
As you can probably tell from the selection, I like music from a huge range of genres, so I have just selected a few. Some of my other favourite artists to listen to over the summer include Shapeshifter, Katchafire, Kora, Broods, Fat Freddys Drop – all New Zealand bands and all perfect for sunny beach days or relaxed BBQs!
1/ Six60 – Special
2/ David Guetta – Lovers on the Sun
3/ Echosmith – Cool Kids
4/ George Ezra – Budapest
5/ Benny Tipene – Step On Up
6/ Sheppard – Geronimo
7/ Milky Chance – Stolen Dance
8/ Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding – Outside
9/ Mr Probz – Waves (Robin Schulz Radio Edit)
10/ One Republic – Counting Stars
11/ Peking Duck ft. SAFIA – Take Me Over
12/ Sigma – Nobody to Love
13/ Lana Del Ray – Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix)
14/ The Naked and Famous – Hearts Like Ours
15/ Rufus – Take Me
While I am stuck back at home saving for my next adventures, I am always on the look out for inspiring travel videos to keep me going and live through other peoples adventures! Here are a few of my favorites:
1/ G Adventures Lip Dub
2/ STA Travel’s MOVE video
3/ High On Life (plus where can I meet these guys…?)
4/ The Blonde Abroad with The Yacht Week
5/ If this doesn’t make you want to go to Norway, I don’t know what will!
Please feel free to post links to your favorites below! 🙂
Jumping up and down on a pool table spraying a bottle of bubbly over a packed pub celebrating the All Blacks winning the Rugby World Cup, viewing the fairy tale village of Portovenre in Italy looking like an illuminated with thousands of torches from a small boat off the coast, having my heart filled with love for the children I met and helped in orphanages, schools and slums in Fiji. These are just a few of the best moments I have experienced from in my life, none of which I could even begin to describe how much they touched my life. While most of these moments have been travelling, it is also just as important to have these moments in your everyday life back at home to stop you going crazy.
These are the moments that will stay with you forever, that you can pass down to your grandchildren. They are the moments worth putting in the effort of creating!
Travel vs. University – it’s a debate that every second Kiwi, and more and more nationalities are starting to have. It has been a part of New Zealand culture for a long time now to go overseas for the “Big O.E” (overseas experience) after high school. Some teenagers get part-time jobs after school to start the savings, where as others may work for several months after high school and fund their trip. For most New Zealanders, we head to the U.K where we can get a 2 year Working Holiday visa or Australia where we can work without a visa. Or some more adventurous types may head to South East Asia, and travel for months on end with minimal expenses.
While I was working in Canada at Whistler Blackcomb, I would have a lot of tourists ask me if I was taking a year of University (or College) to work, or if I had just graduated. When I told them no, I didn’t go to University, they were often really taken aback. For a lot of cultures, especially Americans, not going to University or even “Community College” wasn’t an option for them. They believe a good education is the way to secure yourself a good job, and set you up for life.
Now, I am not saying they are wrong. However, I do not believe University is the only way to secure yourself a well-paying job and a bright future. I left school a year early. The main reason of the last year of high school in New Zealand is to get University Entrance. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I knew I did not want to waste thousands on a degree that I didn’t end up using, or only used for a few years until I realized it wasn’t for me. So I decided to pursue the one thing I was passionate about – travel. After a short course in tourism, a few odd jobs here and there, I landed my first role as a travel agent.
Fast forward 4 years, and I have worked in the travel industry for almost 3 years, traveled to Europe, Asia, Australia, USA and spent a year working abroad in Canada. Now I am back home, and working as an Office Administrator. A lot of people ask me, why haven’t you stuck to being a travel agent? My reason is, I just don’t enjoy it anymore. It isn’t me. I am not a natural salesperson, and I want to be able to share my passion of travel with other people without then trying to convince them to buy something off me.
If I had paid thousands upon thousands of dollars for a Bachelor in Tourism Management, or something equivalent, I would NOT be happy now, paying off a student loan by working in a completely unrelated career.
So, I think the MAIN thing to consider when deciding between Travel and University, is ARE YOU 100% ON WHAT YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE? DO YOU STILL SEE YOURSELF IN THAT INDUSTRY IN 20 YEARS?
If you are certain about what you want to do, then I say great! Go to University! The world will still be there to be explored once you have graduated, and when you finish traveling you have a qualification behind you plus added life experience to give you a boost in the job market!
However, if you are like me and are really unsure, then GO TRAVELING! The world itself provides the best education! You may discover during your travels that your heart aches for helping the homeless, and you want to work with in rescue aid, or you fall in love with the architecture of the hip European cities, and you want to be a part of bringing those designs to life in your corner of the world. Once you return home, you will have had a chance to discover yourself, become more cultured, and are more ready to settle down and hit the books.
OR – another amazing option – have the best of both worlds! Go to University and in one of your years, opt to study abroad! There is nothing like getting to know another culture than being right in the midst of it, living there and befriending the locals. You can study on your school breaks, and who knows, maybe fall in love with the place and never return!
I am not in the least bit concerned about not having a University degree behind me – I am happy, successful, and have many plans of future adventures before I settle down! The world is my oyster!
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments about your view on the matter – I would love to hear more opinions on the matter! I would especially like to know how other nationalities feel about this debate – is it socially acceptable to skip university and travel instead? Or is it something everybody would judge you on, thinking you are throwing your chances of a good career away?
University Images via Huffington Post