I knew this was going to be a learning process, but I really thought I had more figured out before leaving the US.
These last 3 months have made me realize a lot about myself and what kind of traveler I really am.
So what have I learned?
3 Months is Too Long (In more ways than one)
When I signed up to volunteer for 3 months with only a short break in-between programs, I really didn’t think it seemed all that long.
3 months is nothing in the grand scheme of things, right?
In LA, I worked on jobs that would last longer than 3 months, and they seemed to be over in a flash, so why would it be too long when I’m doing work that I am really passionate about?
Passionate or not, I became burnt out about 2/3 of the way through.
Was I having fun? Of course! But having fun doesn’t keep you from getting burnt out.
While I was volunteering with TRACC, I was living in a tent and outside all the time. Eventually that takes a toll on you.
Sure I can rough it, but leaving all my creature comforts of home and throwing myself into an entirely new situation was hard on me. It never crossed my mind to even consider any kind of transition period since I had roughed it before and never had a problem (of course they were shorter periods).
By the time I left TRACC and made my way to Tasikoki, I was nearing my limit and becoming more worn down. I was having trouble sleeping and feeling myself becoming more agitated.
One week at Tasikoki and I was already counting down the days until I was done.
Not because I didn’t like it there. I was just ready for some time to myself.
I feel like I would have enjoyed the experience more had I just scheduled maybe 2 or 3 weeks in-between to relax and recoup.
Along with volunteering for 3 months, I was also away from my boyfriend, Alan, for 3 months.
We thought it wasn’t a big deal since he would go away for work 6 months at a time, but this was different. Here we were both traveling and exploring new places on our own. When we would Skype, all we talked about was how much we wanted the other person there to share the experience together.
We both still agree that taking our alone time is crucial, but just not for 3 months.
It only took us 3 weeks to realize that we had planned way too long of a time to be apart and have agreed that it will not happen again.
I Didn’t Do Enough Research
This one really hit me hard because I honestly thought I had looked into the programs and new exactly where I was going.
It wasn’t until I arrived on Pom Pom Island that I realized the actual organization I was working for was not Globalteer but TRACC. After that I knew my next program would not be working for Globalteer’s “Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary” either, so I got on Google and found Tasikoki.
At least then I knew who I was going to volunteer for.
On Globalteer’s website they make it seem like they are running all of the programs listed, but in fact they are only the company booking the volunteers.
There are many different booking companies out there that help advertise for different volunteer organizations in exchange for a percentage of the placement fees.
I don’t have an issue paying to volunteer when the money is going back into the program nor do I mind applying to volunteer through a booking company if that is the preferred method.
I have volunteered with organizations that actually direct you to the booking company, so they don’t have to deal with the paperwork, but you at least know what is happening up front.
I did contact Globalteer and told them how I felt about the whole ordeal and how I thought it was shady the way they market themselves. In response, I was told that they give all kinds of information via email about the programs and who you are volunteering for.
I guess I didn’t receive those emails…..along with many other volunteers who signed up through their website because they all thought they were going to volunteer with Globalteer as well.
But like I said…..I knew this was all going to be a learning process, and I have learned a very valuable lesson……or better yet a couple of valuable lessons.
Now all I can do is look to the future and try to plan my next 3 months even better!
*Note* Even though I am not happy with my transaction with Globalteer, I cannot stress enough how good of a time I had working with TRACC and Tasikoki. I would recommend either organization to anybody looking for a volunteer holiday. You can find more information on how to sign up to volunteer on their websites.
*The statements in this post are my own personal and unbiased opinion regarding my experience and may not mirror the opinions of others. They are not intended to discredit the character of any particular company.*