Updated: Jan 27
DO YOU BELIEVE IN FATE?
Have you heard that what is meant to be for you, just happens? That's how most of the countries where I've volunteered at, happened to me. I've always believed that there are people, places, and experiences that are part of our fate, and some others we just choose them. Either way, the following countries have a special place in my heart and I can't wait to tell you the story of how they came into my life.
Thailand for my first trip?
Yes! The very first one was Thailand. Back in 2017, I had seen pictures of my friends traveling to Thailand, you know, in a more tourist mood: riding Elephants, a nice hand tattoo, the Buddhist Temples and Monks, and all those clichés we usually see when we are a Tourist in a foreign country. But there was something else in my heart every time I thought about The Land of the Free (Thailand means that, btw!), something I couldn't explain with words but my heart was sure to go.
It wasn't my first time leaving my country but I still remember some people telling me: "Why don't you go somewhere closer?" "Latin America, maybe?", "Just in case" (Sorry for not listening to y'all). It is funny how sometimes people get more nervous than you do in some situations. I was really excited and everyone was panicking.
I doubted for a second because it wasn't easy to find a good place that fitted my budget, my skills, available dates, or where they needed help FOR REAL. I didn't give up, I kept asking and looking, until I found two great programs that changed my life in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Pho Thong. So first I picked the country, and then the villages according to the points I mentioned above.
Pho Thong wasn't far from Bangkok, and Nakhon Si Thammarat was in the South, near the beautiful islands. Two different projects, one vision: helping kids through education.
*** This is one of my favorite pics of all times. We had just finished an activity and brought new shirts to the students so we were all so happy.
Cuba beyond the cliché.
In 2017 I went to El Salvador with some colleagues from all over the world. Among the group there was a Cuban. We were introducing ourselves and when he said he was from Cuba, a colleague replied: "Oh, I love Cuba!" He kindly thanked her but stated that Cuba was a very sad country beyond the clichés.
I hadn't been in Cuba before, but that was the motivation I needed to choose my next volunteering destination.
The very same colleague and I planned a course in Cien Fuegos, Cuba, with kids whose parents were absent due to different causes (they had either migrated to another country, were in prison, or had passed away).
*** This little girl had a twin brother. They had lost their mom two months before. When she saw me for the first time, she called me mom. Her grandma told me I looked like her. I'm still in touch with them and help them from here :)
Plan B was there for a reason: Lebanon.
Most of us want Plan A to work, but it isn't always like that. My plan A back in 2019 was to go to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to volunteer at an Orphanage, but there was an Ebola outbreak a month before me leaving, so they cancelled my trip. I was devastated and felt a bit lost.
Soon after, I was so touched by the Refugees situation especially in the Syrian war. My fiancé was living in Lebanon back then, which made it the perfect opportunity for me to visit him and help Syrian and Iraqi Refugees!
I changed my flight, I looked for associations or movements -which was hard, and I finally found this great woman who wanted to do something for these kids. We built a lovely school for them thanks to donations, and got this amazing team who were devoted to their education. I couldn't have asked for more!
*** Here we are! It was the first day of school. We made it for them with so much love.
As you just read, those three countries came to me in different ways, but this doesn't mean that everyone will go through the same (no plan B's, no colleagues, etc), so if you ever need some inspiration to pick the right place for your Solo-Volunteering experience, here are 5 ideas for choosing the right country for you, they might help!
When choosing the place, the process should be smooth, you feel a light sensation inside you. Have you had that great feeling when things are just coming into place with ease, joy, and fun? This doesn't mean that it will be easy all the time with no "hard moments" - but even in hard moments, what's best for the collective will always work out. The collective are us, as humanity. Ideas will come to you to get the money you need, the right people will appear to help, time will play in your favor, and the whole universe will show you its magic.
If you're still confused and need some guidance, you can join our 4-week online course, where I'll guide you on your process and make it much easier! We'll choose together the best country for you, the right program / association according to your likes and skills, make a plan for you to get the fund$, and I'll give you my best tips -the ones I wish there was someone who could have given them to me.
See you on the next post and on Social Media!
Wishing you always the best,