Wondering what to do over the three month holiday? Here’s what I did.
On January 6 2015, a very nervous but excited me set off on a 1 month adventure to Thailand with my large, green hiking pack filled with objects from the comforts of home- things I clung onto in order to survive the ‘Thai Jungle’. It was one of the most exciting adventures I have been on so far; journeying across the seas with a group of university students around Australia I had never met, to volunteer on a community development project.
For two weeks, I was doing work in a rural village, under 20km from the Burmese border. The volunteer project involved a lot of physical work which was absolutely exhausting but also offered time to relax with my fellow volunteers, teach and play with Thai school children and partake in village festivities. We constructed a flood wall to protect the villages’ model demonstration farm, built a toilet for future home stays which would provide income to the community and most importantly, interacted with a range of Thai locals. On the days we had off, exploring the sights in the area including swimming in the most lovely waterfalls, exploring vast caves and visiting the local hot springs were all on the agenda.
Truly unique experiences such as cramping fourteen of us onto the back of a ute and travelling down the roads and into town like a herd of animals were good fun. Other memories such as venturing to Chang Mai squashed in the local ‘taxi’ whilst blasting WannaBe for two straight hours are all things that I will fondly remember of my summer holiday.
That being said, it was definitely quite a challenge to shower in icy cold water, use a non-flush toilet, sleep on hard, straw mattresses and have an open roofed hut to battle the freezing temperatures during the night. But that’s all part of the incredible experience and is definitely unforgettable when you’re with a bunch of likeminded, fun people. Having no wifi for 2 weeks was an easy feat, we held a ‘sober rave party’ in our unstable huts using our head torches as party lights, played countless rounds of cards and managed to teach the YMCA dance to a few Thai locals as well.
The remaining two weeks were spent travelling around Thailand. Highlights include a two day sea kayaking activity with too much time in the sun, learning Muay Thai Kickboxing and soaking in the scenery of Khao Sok National Park.
I heard about this amazing opportunity with International Student Volunteers in my very first lecture of university last year and jumped at the chance to challenge myself in so many ways (and admittedly just kill some time off the massive summer holiday).
For my fellow keen travellers out there, I strongly encourage you to try something like this to really provide you with a different perspective on many things, meet some incredible people and most importantly, have some fun!