Some of you who have been following this blog for a while might remember in previous posts id mentioned I would be volunteering abroad this summer. This is something I got a little tasted of a few years ago when I volunteered in Greece for two weeks, however this year I was away for 8 weeks.
I love travelling and wanted to feel like I made a difference somewhere in my summer break so volunteering with Plan My Gap Year was the perfect option for me. I’d had my trips to Bali and Sri Lanka planned since this time last year but yet it still feels totally surreal now that I’ve been and gone to both of these places.
My first trip was to Bali where I stayed in Tabanan with the most amazing family who opened their home and let 70 volunteers come and stay there. They cooked for us and made sure we got safely to project and wherever else we wanted to travel too. Bali is somewhere I have always wanted to travel too, more so since my obsession with Eat, Pray, Love began a few years ago. I never expected myself to fall in love with a country as much as I did with Bali. I opted for the wildlife project during my stay in Bali mainly because I love animals and wanted a relatively stress free project which it was. It was a nice break and often didn’t feel like working as we fed animals, cleaned their cages and got to spend all of our time outdoors mostly just in awe of where we were and what we were doing. Everyones favourite animal here was definitely Balou the sun bear who was rescued from an owner who trained her to fake cry for money, so unfortunately she can never be released. We were all amazed that for a bear, an animal which we have always taught to be afraid of, that Balou was just like a slightly bigger friendly dog. There were so many travel opportunities in Bali as well so even after volunteering I managed to see so much of the country. It completely breaks my heart to see such a beautiful place effected by the earthquakes that are striking the Lombok area.
My second trip was to Sri Lanka which I had really high expectations for given that I had just had possibly the best month of my life in Bali before. Here we weren’t staying in a family home but a rented out villa area with multiple sort of houses in the grounds, this already made things a bit segregated. My room over looked the river below and had the most amazing views. It was one of those moments where I was sat on the balcony reading my book and looked out at the view and just thought, wow I can’t believe this is my life. I worked at the turtle sanctuary here for the same reasons why I chose the previous project. I expected myself to get bored of this project after a while as it was a little repetitive and didn’t expect myself to stick the full month at it, however once I was there it was so much more fun than I originally anticipated. The highlight of this trip was definitely the long weekend I spent in the Maldives which really was breathtaking. Photos don’t even do the place justice with the crystal clear water and blue skies as far as the eye can see. It really was one of the highlights of the entire trip. I don’t think I appreciated my time in Sri Lanka as much as I should have – I spent a fair amount of time moaning and not really seeing how lucky I was to be there. However, there is only so many times where you can find ants, spiders and cockroaches in your bed and food before it starts to get to you.
I think volunteering abroad especially with companies like PMGY is probably one of the best ways you can spend a summer.
Despite minor hiccups and annoyances this will forever be cherished as one of the best summers of my life.
It’s an amazing way for people to travel, meet new people and experience life in another culture.
So thankful to have had these experiences,
Hi everyone, it has been over a month since I wrote my last blog post which is crazy considering in the summer I had finally gotten into a good habit of posting weekly-ish. Who knew I’d have more free time working two jobs than I would as a student with no job? Since I haven’t been posting much this post is basically to explain why and give a little insight on what I have been up too.
So, I have just started my 5th week in university which is crazy because now all those deadlines are starting to seem close instead of a million miles away. Overall, since starting university there isn’t any words for how much happier I am than I was before. It’s amazing seeing such a positive difference in myself, going from a job I hated to a studying a course that I love surrounded by the best people. I do hate the 9am lectures and what feels like endless hours of practising shorthand but in general I really do love it.
I thought I would struggle with moving to Glasgow since it is such a big difference from living in the Highlands but I am totally loving it. City life is so different to living in the Highlands but I’m definitely used to it. I’m not homesick yet but that’s probably because I’ve been home twice and had my boyfriend and my parents visiting me here on separate occasions too. This weekend I was home for just under a week and it was because my Dad was getting married. How exciting is that?? It was literally the nicest ceremony surrounded by all our close family and friends which is lovely.
I’m determined to get more organised with how I spend my time because I really want to get back into blogging and start going to the gym. I really miss having proper hobbies and things I enjoy doing. I think I’m either going to make Wednesday’s or Sunday’s my blogging days as at the moment I have nothing on on those days. When I get my next SAAS payment, I’m gonna get my gym membership and force my butt to the treadmill and some metafit classes.
There isn’t a huge amount going on in my life right now, but I’m really really happy with the way everything seems to be going and that is the most important thing.
Last Thursday I took a wee trip to Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital and it was amazing. This place is totally run by unpaid volunteers except from the vetinarians.
When we came to this hospital unfortunately most of the koalas were sleeping as they weren’t being fed. We were a few hours early before feeding time. It was still amazing to be able to see real koalas though, they look just like soft toy koalas do.
A lot of these koalas cannot actually be released back into the wild as they wouldn’t survive due to injuries they obtained. The koala in the bottom two photos is named Wombat, as the farmer who found him in the wild mistook him for a wombat. When Wombat arrived at the hospital it was suffering with chlamydial conjunctivitis and is now left with minimal vision. Another koala in the hospital is called Miracle, as it is considered a miracle she survived. I wasn’t able to get a photo of her, but there is a notice saying she survived a bush fire where she was seriously burnt. She wasn’t able to be realised into the wild as her paws were permently damaged.
This is a before and after photo of a koala that was taken care of by the hospital after a bush fire. This really shows the amazing work the hospital does.
As you walk around the hospital there is large parts closed off as the koalas need to rehabilitate and need minimal human contact. This shows the hospital really does have the best interest of the koalas at heart.
When I came here, this was just a quick visit as a stop on a long bus ride but I would definitely visit again if I’m in the area. It’s free entry and there is a gift shop where all profits go towards the koalas. A really good way to see the animals and also know that they are being correctly looked after.
Hope you enjoyed reading this,