In 2013 I did two amazing things: One was travelling to Portugal by myself, staying with a lovely Portuguese family and making friends along the way, and the other was travelling Africa for 3-weeks as part of the expedition and residential elements of my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. For both of these I lived out of a backpack and developed an unhealthy affection for my head torch (it was an absolute life-line because we frequently had no electricity), but I was at my happiest.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has 5-components to it, all centred around self-improvement and character building, which I must complete before my 25th birthday.
The components are (if you’re interested!):
I have now completed all of these sections and have had the most amazing experiences, some of which I have shared with you along the way.
In order to go to Africa I had to complete a qualifying expedition in Calais. Please read about it here :)
After Calais, I had to pack for Africa:
In Africa I saw some incredible creatures:
And had some amazing experiences:
One of the last things that our DofE Leader said to us before we flew back to the UK was that this whole experience would change us. He said that it might not be tomorrow that you realise it, maybe 6 months down the line… but because of this experience you’ll be a better person for it.
He was absolutely right. I now use 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner and shower gel after my experience of showering with a rain spider and always keep a headtorch and first aid in my bag (just incase).
There are other things though, after living without technology for several weeks and seeing how incredible and beautiful this world is, I simply cannot subject myself to a full-time career sat in an office. I’ve realised that I’m a ‘doer’ and that the source of my happiness is through being closer to nature and physically ‘doing’ stuff rather than shuffling papers for the rest of my life. How I achieve this is going to be the hard part and I’ll spend a lifetime trying to work it out, but going to Africa was a good start ;)