Two months later and I’m back at work, settled in my new flat, enjoying the constant company of boyfriend and I’ve had a little time to reflect back on all the experiences I’ve had.
08.02.2013 - 11.04.2013 5 °C
The year flew by, I had an amazing time and I don’t regret anything, not even coming back a month early because I missed Leon!
I did everything I wanted to do and more. My three big aims were:
- To travel and see more of the world
- To learn to speak Spanish
- To take part in my second Raleigh International Expedition
I travelled in all of Central America and to Colombia; I even went to El Salvador which I hadn’t planned to do, and I saw many beautiful sights and many amazing things. People always ask me about my favourites so here are just a few, and it wasn't an easy decision:
- Favourite Country: Guatemala
- Favourite City or Town: Boquete, Panama
- Favourite Beach: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
- Favourite Nature Reserve: Volcan Arenal, Costa Rica
- Favourite Tourist Attraction: Panama Canal, Panama City
- Favourite Memory: digging baby turtles out of the sand in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
I can now speak Spanish to a conversational level, I passed my self-imposed “ultimate test” of Christmas with my boyfriend’s family and he says I made him proud. And now back in England, Leon and I still spend 90% of our time together speaking only in Spanish; I am not planning on forgetting it any time soon!
I took part in my second Raleigh International Expedition in June, I was recruited as a Logistics co-ordinator, which I found upsetting at the time as I had desperately wanted to be a Project Manager, but was told after the intensive 2 day interview that I didn’t have the leadership skills for that job. But after arrival in country in June, two weeks on-site-training and a one-to-one with my expedition leader he told me he had no idea why that had been the assessment at the time, and he thought it wasn’t in the slightest bit true. I then went on to take part in two of the three expedition phases as a Project Manager. I was ecstatic, I had an amazing time and I got so much out of it, and I have the added after-glow of know many of the young people in my groups feel the same!
A selection of photos from Raliegh, one from each phase
My Team, Alpha 3: volunteering in rainny jungel of Tenorio
The Girly Road Trip: on our way to Cero Negro, for a trekking food drop
My Team, Xray 4: volunteering in Playa Hermosa with the turtels
Prom, The Final Party before the tears at the venturers leaving!
Many people who take a year out, get a lot more from that year than they ever expected, and I have done too. I got back my enthusiasm for Volunteering and for “Making the World a Better Place” and my enthusiasm for Personal Development, for myself and others. I don’t think I’d really realised I’d lost these drives, but I saw them in others at Raleigh and in the Spanish schools I was at, and I found it in myself again and am determined not to lose it now I am back in the real world!
So, I would like to officially close this blog, my travel blog ... but for every door that closes, somewhere another opens, and this one is really close ... today I am starting my new blog; “Addicted to Volunteering”. Enjoy and speak to you soon.