I have spent a long time considering the best way to spend my year off, before University. I have a good deal of money, (or at least, what I think is a good deal of money) saved up from working at the corner store at weekends. That, alongside my job at the pub, has saved me enough for a years gallivanting around the globe! Traveling the globe isn’t my conundrum however: I know I’m going to go around the world, but what I’m not sure about is ‘how’ I will go round the world. I don’t mean what mode of transport to take (!) I mean how I should spend my time during this forthcoming year.
My choices are; to have an organised trip, which will include working with a Non Governmental Organisation, or going for a pure experience-filled ‘voyage of discovery’, flying by the seat of my pants, with no specific schedule and as little as possible pre-booked or pre-arranged.
By working with an NGO, I will not only have a specific achievable target to reach, but I will be doing something ‘useful’ with myself. There is always this nagging voice that I have within, which sort of mocks me for my bourgeois over-indulgence of ‘travelling the world’. Traveling through countries where there are people with nothing, not a cent to their name, not a roof over their head, and there’s me, with my £400 rucksack on my back, wandering the globe, with credit cards at my finger tips, taking time out to witness other peoples poverty. There’s just something quite narcissistic and self-indulgent about it. But if I give something back whilst travelling, that self-indulgence will be minimised. I’ll be creating something useful with my time, my energy.
Alternatively, I could just buy a ticket and see where each day takes me, following no prescribed route or path. Just following the destiny of each day, with an open heart and mind. Allowing myself to really get to know the people and the places that I visit. Each day, living a life as close as possible to truth, and seeing things through another person’s eyes. Really empathising as much as possible and understanding another’s plight as much as possible. When I look at my parents, older generations, I see that they have all lost that ability to empathise with other people. They seem to always have too much to loose if they empathise too much. I sort of believe, that whilst we are young, we have to be as open to other people as possible, and that is how we grow; through understanding the lives of others.
Yesterday I spent the day looking at my options. I have found a fabulous website, which kind of lists all the available options for charity work overseas. The WANGO website – lists all the NGOs out there. From there I found reference to the VSO.
I looked very seriously into the VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas). Obviously, they primarily deal with professional people looking to help overseas, but additionally they do have roles for 18-35 yr olds, https://www.vsointernational.org/volunteering/ICS-youth-volunteering. Their website is really comprehensive and full of information on the charity work that they do. I also spent some time on the ‘glassdoor’ website, which gives a very honest account of the realities and practicalities of working with the VSO.
I really liked all that they seemed to be about, but at the end of the day, my selfishness has won out! I have decided that as I am only ever going to have 1 year in my life that is all about me, my self-awakening, my personal development and self-awareness, I will be best off investing that time in myself, rather than giving of myself and my time to others. I have decided that I want to have a selfish year. The rest of my life, according to my mum, will be about compromise, the greater good and serving others, and that this year should be and can be a guilt free attempt at personal development.
So. No NGO for me. A round the world ticket, with a few scheduled stops, and the rest is a blank sheet yet to be written upon!! I’ll be setting off for my first destination of New York in 3 weeks time and will continue to update my blog with stories and thoughts that come to me as I travel round the world.
I can’t wait!!