Planning the adventure of a lifetime

…with very little time and on a shoestring budget! You’re probably sick of me banging on about it, but in four weeks’ time, I will be starting a four-month adventure in South America. Although I have been wanting to go for a long time, I only started planning this trip last month. Compared to a week ago (Preparations of a Novice Backpacker) I am feeling remarkably Zen about it all. I understand that doing everything at the last minute might not be to everyone’s taste, but there’s not always a choice, and I can show you that it is at least possible! So here, in my view, are the things that are important to sort out in advance, and those which you don’t need to worry about. 1. Work/Volunteer Placements If you plan to combine your travel with work or volunteering, if it’s more than casual work, get this sorted first. I especially feel strongly that volunteering placements should be carefully researched to make sure that they are really benefitting the local community – and also that you are going to have a positive experience and not be ripped off. I was researching volunteer options for a few months before I planned anything else about the trip and my first priority was making contact with the organisation. Everything else has taken shape around this. I’ve also kept up a dialogue with the co-ordinator, asking loads of questions and I’ve even started preparing some teaching resources at last! The point is, you need to make sure that the placement is right for you, right for the community and that all...

Travel Memories

Every now and again, it’s good to take stock and reflect on things. On the brink of an as-yet-unbooked but planned out 4-5 month adventure in South America, this seems like as good a time as any to look back on the travels I’ve already been on. It’s also a time to be realistic, my head is full of dreams and ideals that I need to get my feet back on the ground and remember what it is really like when things don’t entirely go to plan. Here are three snapshots of my travel past – not the most dazzling or exciting moments perhaps, but just ones that, for one reason or another, stick in my mind. Jemaa el-Fnaa 18 years old, my first trip abroad as a ‘grown-up’, without parents or other responsible adults, was to Marrakesh. While most of my friends opted for summer breaks in Ibiza, Xante or other party destinations, I persuaded one of my closest friends to join me on a Moroccan adventure. I usually credit Marrakesh with giving me the travel bug, but it is clear that I already had a sense of wanderlust, a yearning for the exotic and different – otherwise why would I have chosen an searingly hot, chaotic, dusty city rather than a beach break? Watching the square come to life at night, with sizzling aromas and foreign shouts filling the air, is something I will never forget. Neither is the awful delhi belly I got after eating at the outdoor food stalls, but with the passage of time that’s a funny memory! Most of all though, that square...
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