We will be spending time at a Volunteering Project in Chile: 'Save The Wild Chinchillas' - Habitat Re-establishment

Monday, 31 January 2011

Things sure have changed around here...

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Hello, hello! Ok, so my blog has been lying dormant for a fair few months now and indeed it is time for a revival. The initial topic base of this blog centered around arts and design, predominantly based in the London area. Due to living there, carrying out my design studies there and having easy access to any must-see exhibition on my doorstep, it was the obvious choice. The design focus of the blog then developed more so towards sustainable design related issues, something of which I developed a strong interest in while at university.

This interest in sustainable design, and of course, sustainable issues worldwide, encouraged me to stop and think hard about how I myself could have some kind of impact in making this world a better place, even if I were to only play a tiny part. A tiny part is better than no part at all.

I had already decided not too long after graduating that I didn't want to be a designer, and after studying Product Design this put me in quite a predicament. Various internships and short spells of work later I still found myself no closer to discovering what it was I wanted to do for a career. A month away in the USA and Canada only brought me to the conclusion that I'm unlikely to discover the answer by staring with glazed eyes at page upon page of job advertisements on this here computer screen. After a short yet agonizing stint working as an assistant for a 'creative production house' (as they joyously called themselves) I couldn't have been more sure that whatever career lies in wait for me, it simply must be one that makes some kind of difference. One where at the end of the day you can know you've achieved something for the greater good. Helping to produce 2000 fashion show invites so that 2000 'fashionistas' and 'celebrities' can stuff them in their Prada handbags (or even the bin most likely) after a mere moments glance, is really not my idea of achieving something for the world. The waste of materials and energy alone was quite terrifying. The company in question always had so many excess samples left over from a job, and they didn't even recycle! Unbelievable.

I ran screaming and took 6 weeks out in Paris to study Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). I was itching to learn again and after a lot of soul searching since graduating I came to the conclusion that maybe my career wasn't sat waiting for me in the city, but was to be discovered out there in the world.

As Christopher McCandless once said, "The freedom and simple beauty is too good to pass up...".

Studying in Paris allowed me to spend some much needed time with my eldest sister, get back to school, rediscover my dorky love of essay writing and get a qualification under my belt that would allow me to work my way around the world should the day come that I could afford to take off.

So, bidding farewell to the Parisians I returned to London to gather some dollar for my travels. I had no idea where I would start, where exactly I wanted to go, why or how, but I decided to figure all that out once I was in a position to put my money where my mouth is. Working full-time in retail, with rent as cheap-as-chips, made it all seem very easy and achievable. Little did I suspect that our rent would soon double, DOH! Working in retail and living in London while paying not-as-cheap-as-chips rent meant saving suddenly became virtually impossible. I found myself playing the tedious game of, 'out of the overdraft, into the overdraft, out of the overdraft, into the overdraft...'. I refer to it as a game, but by no means was it any fun.

Drastic action simply had to be taken. If I was ever going to get to go away and explore the world and try to discover what it is I really should be doing while I'm in it, I needed somewhere I wouldn't have to pay rent and where my outgoings would be minimal. There was only one answer, home.

With some encouragement from a beloved wise boy and an all consuming feeling of a need for change, I persuaded the parentals to have me back. Mother to house me, Father to help me vacate the city where I'd lived for the last 6 years.

After a few months of planning, persuading and persevering I packed up the car and within 6 hours I was back in the countryside in North Yorkshire, set to spend the next 6-8 months living in a tiny rural village with very little mobile phone signal and no local public transport. What on earth had I done!

Well, it’s been a month now and I’m still here and things are indeed going to plan. This is very good news, very very good news. Due to no rent going out from my last payment from work I’m now in the position to put away my first installment for the travel fund. One main aim of my travel intentions is to take part in volunteer schemes while enroute. I’ve found a lot of information about how to do so without having to fork out ridiculous amounts. Quite a few ‘volunteer abroad’ companies I’ve come across seem to find it appropriate to charge you thousands of pounds simply to go and work somewhere for free, it’s ludicrous. Ecoteer is one company I’m focusing on that cuts out the middle man and puts you, the volunteer, in direct contact with your project of interest. They charge £15 for a years membership, which is simply nothing compared to the experience of a lifetime that may lie ahead.

I can’t say for sure yet exactly when it will happen, in what order or for how long. All I know is that the more money I manage to save, the more options I will have open to me. The more research I carry out, the more knowledgeable I will be when it comes to planning out how I can make the trip work best for me.

Maybe I'll do it all at once, take off for months on end, perhaps go and live somewhere for a while; Or perhaps I'll do it in shorter but more frequent chunks as I go along, taking off when the mood suits me. Who knows.

But just to start with at least, I’ve joined the Facebook page of Ecoteer so that I can keep up to date with what they’re doing and any new projects they’re hosting. I will join as a member as soon as I'm sure of which projects I would like to get involved with. Stumble Upon Toolbar

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