I originally applied for this permaculture experience found on Linkedin, while I was applying for industrial year placements for my third year at university. I then found a lot of the itinerary for this volunteering opportunity relevant to the modules I had taken in my second year, on sustainable development, agricultural systems and permaculture. On a whim I applied, and was surprised to then realise I was going, and turned out to be the best spontaneous thing I had signed myself up to. I had never been to the Americas, let alone travelled solo (I am well travelled with family!) and it was a personal challenge I felt I was very ready for, and that this opportunity had come to me at just the right time. I certainly learned a thing or two about myself, how to organise and travel, and how to enjoy spending time with myself.
After the first week of my month there, there were a couple issues with my original host family and I was relocated last minute to a second host family – who I love and still keep in contact with. Being the first week, I was still relatively on edge and getting to grips with being abroad on my own, and so this relocation was somewhat disturbing and posed quite a challenge for me. I would like to say however that the support from external Global Nomadic staff as well as Karina was more than enough, and was greatly appreciated. I did not spend a single second feeling I was in danger. It also helped that I was able to have a buddy, Anna, who’s volunteering placement overlapped with mine. We are both pictured in the image I have provided with this report, and we are still very much in touch!
On a personal level, firstly I am very proud of my ability to have kept up journalling as a daily habit throughout the month. I had never journaled properly before, and having the product of that now to look through is the best souvenir from the trip. I am more importantly very happy with knowing I was a part of Huerta luna’s volunteering, helping out Mari and Suzy on the farm day to day. Although I was learning a ton about sustainable permaculture, organic farming and compost systems, I do believe that I had made a difference, however small, through insightful conversations with them, as well as being a part of the upkeep of the farm from repaving to harvesting.
The project certainly met and went beyond my expectations. I was surprised at the amount of free time I had to solo travel and really make the most of my time in the Galapagos, and if it wasn’t for this opportunity I wouldn’t know when I would ever find the time to go to the Galapagos. It has very much exposed me to understanding that for me, travelling feels so much more valuable when being a part of productive projects such as this – giving you a structure to the trip as well as having more reason to assimilate with local communities, who you would otherwise miss with general touristing.
I will and have already recommended Global Nomadic to a couple friends – in particular my friend doing medicine who is interested in the Tanzania medical placement. For my first ever volunteering experience, especially abroad, I felt I was in the best hands to be passed over to Huerta Luna’s team and felt supported through the whole time.