A Camps International Case Study
Hip hip hooray, it is that time of day again, with the third instalment in our series of 7 “Veteran Volunteers” blogs. All the best things in life are in groups of 7 do not you think…?! 7 days in the week, 7 series of The West Wing, the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World, the best line in that classic Christmas song, “7 swans are singing” and the not forgetting the Secret Seven stories from Enid Blyton…..I seem to be getting off topic somewhat.
I shall now hand you over to……..
Name: Lauren Pullin
Year of Travel: 2010 & 2011
1) Where did you travel with Camps International?
2) How long did you travel for?
A month in 2010 and another month is 2011.
3) Did you take a full gap year?
4) How did you make the decision to take a Gap year?
I decided that I had the opportunity and time to do it now rather than later on in life, or, miss the opportunity all together. It also occurred to me that it would benefit me to do it now before applying for jobs or university etc, so as to stick out on application forms and show I have experience in a variety of things.
5) Why did you choose to travel with Camps International?
I chose Camps International the first year because they came to my secondary school and did a presentation. I was pretty much mesmerised by the pictures and descriptions they gave, I think I fell in love with the idea straight away.
When I got back from the first trip I managed to resist for four months until I phoned Camps up and asked for more information about a gap year. Within the week I’d paid my deposit.
6) Which was your favourite Camp and why?
Mantanani, without a doubt. It is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The people are amazing, friendly, strong, funny, kind and so much more.. The island and camp itself was perfect, you did your work for the day, came back and went for a swim or relaxed in hammocks, all the while chatting and laughing with the other people on your trip. Without realising it, you form this little family.
7) Has your experience with Camps helped in any University/Job interviews? If yes, how?
Definitely, during my job interview I was asked if I had ever worked in a team before, straight away I explained about my Borneo teams and it was only as my employer asked more I realised how much we accomplished as a team and how well we worked. After I mentioned my trip, they asked more questions about it and seemed genuinely interested in what else it had given me. I got the job!
8) Do you feel that your time volunteering changed you in any way? How?
Definitely. I always had an open mind and a bit of wanderlust, but my trips to Borneo gave me the opportunity to learn more, do more and want less. The work itself gives you a sense of pride, watching it develop while you’re there, and more so when you’re back. Camps International, really makes you feel like you’re a part of something.
I also did my Padi Open water and Advanced Open water diving qualifications while I was there, that was one of the main reasons I wanted to go back. I now have a passion for diving that I intend to continue with for the rest of my life. I realised that even though I knew there was a world out there, I could access all these different cultures, traditions and places that I never knew about. I now intend to travel as much as I can, within reason.. and around work, of course!
You also realise that the people you meet out there, don’t have a lot, the people on Mantanani don’t have playstations or iphones, and instead of being so focussed on things that don’t matter, they communicate, they learn how to play guitar by themselves, they climb trees and play games and for the first time in a long time, you don’t want to check your facebook or charge your phone. You are grateful for the here and now, and that’s what the trip is all about, enjoying every moment.
9) Please describe your expedition in five words.
Best. Decision. I’ve. Ever. Made.
..if that doesn’t count, Beautiful. Unforgettable. Experiences. Happiness. Different.
10) Would you recommend Camps International to others?
- Yes, even ignoring the trips, the people you meet in country are some of the best people I’ve ever met, people I still keep in touch with and the UK team are very helpful and always there.
11) What do you spend your days doing now?
Working and looking through pictures, saving up and planning future trips. Eating and sleeping between!
Lauren, I think it is safe to say that everyone that reads this will wish they were currently at, or going soon, to Camp Mantanani. You have really painted a picture of what a trip away with Camps is all about and the team here at the CI HQ are very grateful that you have shared your experience. THE PYGMY ELEPHANTS OF BORNEO SALUTE YOU!