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Rachel's Gap Year Travels


UNITED KINGDOM | Friday, 24 June 2016 | Views [274]

So… first ever post is here!! After waiting a long ten months, I have finally defeated all obstacles in my path, and am ready for my new adventure. Exams are done, uni decided upon, and money raised through part-time work (big up Sainsbury’s) and diligent saving on my part.

Today I am travelling to Cusco in Peru to volunteer with a brilliant charity which offers refuge to the street children of Cusco. I will be living in either the Boys or Girls Orphanage of the organisation ELIM Hogares, while working with the children of both. Although a stranger to South America and a tourist in name, I hope to fully immerse myself in the diverse and wonderful culture of this Latin American country, and try to understand what life is truly like for the children of Peru. The work this small charity do is amazing, housing and looking after the most disadvantaged and vulnerable of Peru’s population, and I have heard from other volunteer’s testimonials what a rewarding experience volunteering for them is. But how did I end up travelling half way around the world to spend my time teaching foreign children, trekking ruins and hanging with llamas, when the plan was always to be finishing up my first year studying Psychology at Uni? Well I’ll tell you…

It all began on the 13th August 2015. It had been a dismal few days, with torrential rain and high winds, what I recognise now as real life foreshadowing. Disaster struck – I missed the grades for my first choice University, and wouldn’t be going to study at Bath the coming year. I decided to take a gap year, work hard, save harder and finally turn that ghastly ‘B’ grade in Biology into an ‘A’, while also planning a killer travelling experience for when I was done. Why Peru? I have always fantasized about trekking Machu Picchu, one of the (new) Seven Wonders of the World. So I researched, and stumbled upon ELIM Hogares’ page, where I fell in love with their philosophy and commitment to some of the poorest and most deprived children in the world. A perfect balance between giving back and exploring a country that fascinates me.

So in summary, I messed up my exams, got a part-time job, retook those exams and decided to go down the classic ‘gap-yah’ route and go travelling and volunteering. As ronnie246 put it on UrbanDictionary.com in May 2014… it’s not that deep. (Just kidding, I am in fact one of the deepest, most cringey people I know).

Anyway, today I embark on the first chapter of this Gap Year Adventure, starting with a looong flight beginning in Gatwick Airport, and ending in Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, in Cusco. It’ll take about 24 hours in all, with two stopovers. I’ve said my goodbyes, and am ready to go!

Adiós fair England, see you in 7 weeks!

Tags: cusco, goodbye england, on my way, peru, travel, volunteering


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