This is my first blog and being a novice at this whole blog thing, pardon me if my writing style is not up to scratch. I will endeavour to write everyday throughout my African journey… And I promise to always write from my heart.
How did this journey materialise, you may ask?
To be honest, I have no idea. I’m not a fan of planning where to travel so Africa really sprang out of the blue. Call it chance, fate, destiny, karma or whatever you may like, I just happened to be able to afford my tickets there and from then onwards, I would either see pictures of Africa on the TV, magazines and books. “It’s a sign!” I thought. Those words in my head were enough to convince me that Africa would be my next travelling destination.
Africa would be the perfect place to “get lost”.. I needed my dose of culture shock and I knew Africa would do just that.
Why did I go on my own?
Because there’s no better way to experience “being thrown in the deep” than to go travelling on your own.. to an unfamiliar place where you don’t know anyone and can’t speak their language. Also, I have this inability of showing my affection towards children around people I know.
Why did you choose to volunteer?
Aah that’s my 3rd addiction (travelling and adventure being the other 2)! My first volunteering experience was in Bali where I worked in a small organisation whose sole purpose was to empower the disabled people. Looking at the amazing work that was done there inspired me to help people. At that time I didn’t know how. My corporate job at IBM wasn’t giving me much happiness and I certainly was too stuck in the rut to be able to think out of the box.
I will always remember 19th November 2010 as the day that changed my life. That was the day I resigned from IBM and embarked on my solo journey to the US (New York and San Francisco) and South America (Brazil and Chile). Brazil was where I had my first taste of volunteering. In a town called Salvador in the Bahia province, I spent my weeks teaching children in the slums of Mata Escura. The friendships I made there and the experience I had were never like what I had felt before. Going back to the routine of a 9-5 job was no longer an option for me. Alas I was bitten by the volunteering bug. Pardon me for sounding cliche, but I haven’t looked back at my corporate job ever since.
When you find what you’re passionate about in life, whatever it may be, you can’t settle for 2nd best. A sudden fire burns up inside your soul filled with determination that you will pursue your passion no matter what. And this is how I feel about teaching children, volunteering and travelling.
I hope that I will be able to continue volunteering to teach children around the world for as long as my life allows me to do so. Travelling as a tourist is fun but travelling while experiencing the local ways, now that’s something else.