Hey guys, how's it going?
Long story short, I'm 24 and, from the moment I left school I've had a job. Feel a bit like my life is passing me by tbh. Anyway, I took the decision to take voluntary redundancy from work so I'd like to see some of the world before rejoining the "rodent race".
I've never travelled alone, so I'm only looking to go for 2-4 weeks for this first time & I'm not really the touristy type, I can't think of anything more boring than spending 2 weeks on a sun lounger next to a pool, book in one hand and warm drink in the other, so ideally want to do a hands-on, in with the locals-type volunteer holiday.
My background is in animal welfare so ideally I'd like to do something with animals but if that could be mixed with a community-type project that'd be wicked.
I really really want to visit Africa, but I'm staying open-minded; I want this trip to be a real eye-opener and hopefully the start of a new, very special, ongoing experience.
I've looked on websites such as Travellers Worldwide, Gap Year for Grown Ups, Real Gap etc. to get an idea of what's on offer, but can you recommend any others?
If you have first-hand experience and can recommend a website or a better way of going about this, or even a specific location to visit, I'd be sooo grateful.
Thanks in advance guys xxx
My advice to adventurous and nature/wild life loving travellers would be: instead of looking for advice from other tourists/travellers, I would just read articles on the internet in the area of your interest. Wikipedia, wikitravel, youtube, wild-life magazines (not written for tourists) or motorbike/bicycle travellers forums (hobobiker, crazyguyonabike) could be good tools to get some sort of knowledge and idea about the place. Read, study countries - and not necessarily the most popular ones. Any country you pick on the map. You can even choose a country that most people have never heard of!
When you picked a country - just go and travel on your own. With a map in your hand just go for the unknown. That's how you will find the most incredible places on earth. And you will truly feel that you are an explorer!
Let us know what you discovered when you're back!
Personally, I'd suggest that you do not make this trip centre around a volunteering effort for a couple of reasons... one, you're going for too short a time to make a difference, and two, since you've never travelled alone before you need to get some real world experience.
Consider taking a longer trip in an inexpensive destination like Central or South America, or Southeast Asia. Get used to hostels, public transport, travelling light and efficiently, etc. After you've gotten a little experience consider travelling again with your one volunteering destination in mind and work with elephants in Thailand or India, etc. - whatever turns your crank.
I just don't think it makes sense to go off on your first solo trip and immediately tie yourself down by latching onto ONE location doing ONE thing...