A Travellerspoint blog

Don't make your life too easy.

I changed my mind. Again.

My plan was to travel around Europe. Sounds easy right. It was. Too easy, not really material for a "I quit my job to live my dream" kind of situation. But that was my way of thinking then and I was happy with it.

Then I spoke to people about it, some thought it was cool, (whether or not they actually did or they said it to support me is another question), some said "why Europe, why not Asia or another continent?". That got me thinking. They were right. I will have all the resources and time on my hands to do anything, and I want to stay in Europe, where I lived all my life? Too easy.

So I changed my plans, scrapped most of Europe and only left Spain on the list, as I wanted to learn Spanish. Then I'd go somewhere on a different continent, but I didn't plan that far.

I also wanted to volunteer there, as that's one of my dreams - go around the world and volunteer with animals. Leave a good mark behind. If I die one day, I'll day happy knowing I did that. Developing a super automated report or hitting my goals at work would't feel as satisfactory. (no where fucking near as satisfactory I mean). So, I kept Spain on and found an animal rescue centre to volunteer at (www.happy-ending-final-feliz.eu - they were great during the initial conversation over email I had).

So I was pretty happy. I changed my plan for better, but I was still going to do what I wanted, volunteer and learn Spanish.

Then I told people about it. Some were happy for me, but some said the same thing again. Why don't you go to South America? They speak Spanish there. They have more animals that need help than you can think of. Why are you sticking to Europe?

Guess what. They were right. Again. And I changed my mind. Again. Someone would say that I'm easily influenced, or that I don't stand behind my decisions. I say that I take feedback and suggestions, learn from them and use the bits I like to improve my life. The feedback was right - I didn't have a single reason to go to Spain over South America. It made sense to go to South America. So I spent a whole weekend researching volunteer work in South America, costs of living and hitchhiking conditions in each country. www.hitchwiki.org was very good for that.

I used Google for volunteering, but volunteer related groups on www.couchsurfing.org were great too - especially reading about how some companies rip you off, making you pay for a "volunteer experience" like it's a 5 star holiday, and then only pass a tiny portion of the money to the actual charity. I had to dig a bit deeper to find projects that are not "voluntourism". And one of them was setup by a fellow Couchsurfer and traveller - www.ecuadorecovolunteer.org. For a small fee, you get to do all the work you would expect to do in a rescue centre (not a "couple of hours of playing with animals" kinda thing for tourists, but actual hard work daily) at a cost of around $9 per day (accommodation incl., food not incl.). That's way below my daily budget (even if I add food on top of it). And they were great over email, very friendly approach. Yes that means I went ahead and paid a $50 deposit and arranged to stay with them for 2 months starting some time in June.

I haven't changed my mind since then and this one feels like it's not going to change anymore. It's exactly what I wanted - remote animal sanctuary in a jungle, learning Spanish and I'll be on a different continent.

It does pay off to listen to what your friends have to say and use that to make your life / plans better. I also learned that we tend to arrange plans that feel comfortable to us, that feel easy. That won't bring us forward by much - I'm better off making plans that feel more challenging, get me out of my comfort zone. When I reflect back on my 18 day trip to Thailand, the times I put myself out of my comfort zone are the highlights of the trip and I learned the most from those.

Posted by LukasC 08:16 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged animals with volunteering ecuador volundeering Comments (0)


Can I get through life just by volunteering?

I won’t find out until I try. So here we go - start by collecting all kinds of info about volunteering I can get. See what’s out there:

http://www.workaway.info - paid for website (one off payment for 2 years, not bad), but contains a large number of listings one can volunteer at (farms, hostels, vineyards, animal rehabilitation centres etc).

http://www.wwoof.org/ - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Similar to workaway, but free - stay & work at an organic farm and get free accommodation and food.

Country specific:




Bear sanctuary in Kuterevo, Velebit

Found this great resource for South America:

and what seems to be a great low cost animal rescue centre that really does give a shit about animals:
-- update 28/01/2012 - I love these guys and am going to work for them for two months :) yay.

I might pop to this one too - www.jatunsacha.org - looks good, emailed them to find out about costs and other details.

Posted by LukasC 14:18 Comments (0)

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