Before I left The Netherlands, I had 2 very good jobs that helped a lot of people. By the ago of 25, I had my own department and was a senior triage nurse. I was proud of what I had achieved, but I did these jobs mostly because my family wanted me to have a security. I liked working in the ER, but it was not my dream to live this life.
The wanderlust was itching inside me, and I kept thinking, “Is this it? Is this going to be my life until I die?”
My friends where getting into relationships and buying houses, but I just couldn’t find my roots in The Netherlands.
One day my best friend said to me, “Linda, you have to buy a plane ticket with no return date.”
So that’s exactly what I did.
I started to do the 2 things I liked the most, travelling and writing. Now I have my travel blog and am living my dream with no regrets.
When I told my friends and family they thought it was a good choice to go travel. They know me as a girl who does adventurous things and explores. It’s great to have their support.
Volunteering for the First Time
My first foreign volunteer project was during my University years. I was studying physical therapy and went to Surabaya, Indonesia to work in a hospital.
The first experience was quite shocking. I had never been to Asia before. People were poor but so kind.
Families slept under the beds of their sick family members. People were very sick. If we had been in The Netherlands, I knew they would have survived, but in Indonesia they die from certain diseases like tuberculosis which is almost non-existent where I am from. I realized how privileged I am to come from a rich country with good healthcare and the means to travel.
This experience changed my life. I learned how to live with very little and was way more social and involved than ever before, and I made some great new friends.
Volunteering in Sri Lanka
The first project I volunteered at in Sri Lanka was to help ease the conflict between humans and elephants. I chose this project because it helped elephants in the wild instead of just petting them and shoveling their poo in a park somewhere.
We helped the farmers protect their farms and taught them how to co-exist with the elephants.
We had to investigate what they ate, where the elephants migrated, and help the farmers build ecofriendly bee-fences to ward off elephants. We also helped them plant crops that elephants don’t eat.
The most exciting moments were seeing the elephants at sundown migrating. It was magical to see them come from the jungle and climb up the mountains.
It was wonderful being in the Sri Lankan jungle, where no tourists came.
The next project I did in Sri Lanka was helping disabled turtles as well as helping hatch their eggs and safely releasing the baby turtles into the wild.
It was hard work cleaning the tanks, but the turtles were so cute.
They loved when you would pet their little heads or scratch their shells.
The people I worked with were so much fun too. We all came from different parts of the world, and we all became friends working together.
Releasing the baby turtle I worked with the most was amazing. I loved seeing him take his first swim in the ocean and watching his little head bobbing on the water during sundown.
Working with TRACC and helping Coral Conservation
I came across TRACC by bumping into a guy who had volunteered there. He suggested I go, so I e-mailed Steve and booked my stay.
I came over not really knowing what to expect, but was excited to work with the project and get my open water certification.
I loved being in the water at Pom Pom Island. I had never seen so many tropical fish before. It’s like I was swimming in a tropical aquarium, and getting to see a turtle every day was pretty amazing too.
I liked going out and finding new fish. My favorite is the baby Batfish. They are so cute with their big frontal fins.
I really liked this project because it’s different from the others I had done before. It combines skill, fun and conservation.
It surprised me to see a turtle trapped in a fishing rope and all the rubbish that washed ashore. Now I’m much more aware about ocean life and the environment.
My Advice to Anyone Who Wants to Make a Change in Their Life
Just do it. Imagine yourself as an old man/woman and how you would look back on life. Let your life be filled with interesting and exiting stories! The good, the bad, the funny, and the frightful.
Explore the world! Experience the romance, the emotions, the wonders of nature and animals, and get to know the amazing people that make the planet a better place.
And most importantly…….do what makes you happy!
Linda is a 25 year old travel blogger from The Netherlands. She has been traveling the world and writing about her experiences and all the interesting people she has met on her blog Linda and the People. You can also follow Linda on Facebook and Instagram.