It’s about that time. In just a few days, I depart to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam! I have some more information about what’s going on for this lengthy journey. As some of you may know, I will be abroad for approximately six months. This will be my longest duration of being away from home thus far. This six month excursion will be split into two halves. The first half (June to early September) I will be In Vietnam for about a month teaching English to kids there with a volunteering agency called The Green Lion. According to the email I received from them, I’ll be staying at a university in the middle of the city, which means I’ll be living and teaching in the same place. After my placement there is complete, I’ll be traveling to neighboring countries with no agenda whatsoever. The second half of the trip (September through November) I’ll return back to South Africa to reunite with the Zulu’s and the students I connected with there. During that time, I will be visiting different countries exploring their parts as well. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I won’t be traveling alone this time. Let me introduce you to two friends of mine who will be joining me along the way. Get to know em! They will be featured a lot on this blog.
From: Sheffield, United Kingdom
Met: Muizenberg, South Africa (June 2012)
Ah, Lucy. We caused a bit of a stir in the house together, especially after I left. (Only residents of Recreation Road will understand that). Lucy moved into the Rec 13 house two weeks after I got there and we almost instantly bonded. I always considered her the ‘voice of reason’ within our close-knit group. Out of that crazy bunch she was the most level-headed and even went out of her way to host a pancake party of sorts for my last day with the group before I set out to Tanzania. Before I left, Lucy stayed up with me into the late hours and helped me set up the collage of mementos I left in the living room for everyone. What was great was even after I left to Tanzania, and came back she was still there and the only one of my original group who remained. Lucy was part of the initial plan with Monica to go to Vietnam this summer too. I was more than down but I thought it would never come to fruition because it’s such a huge commitment. Unfortunately, Monica won’t be able to travel with us as she intended but I’m pretty sure she will make up for it next time! Lucy stayed in Muizenberg for six months, so she was well-known around town and made quite a name for herself. The Princess of Muizenberg perhaps? She’s done some things in South Africa that I didn’t even know you could do there! She was there for so long that she even learned how to sweeten up her baking craft at the local “Secret Bakery” and became a staple there. After her time was up, instead of going back home to England, she went to Australia to stay with family there for another whopping six months. So when I see her again in Vietnam, she will still be on her lengthy trip around the world! To make ends meet, she has found a quick little job in Australia working in a sushi restaurant. We’ve kept in touch since the day I left Africa to make this trip happen and I’m happy to say that it’s FINALLY happening! Lucy has a captivating English accent (which by now probably has a little South African zest and a bit of an Australian zing mixed in) that is going to attract all sorts of weirdos so it’s my personal duty to keep her safe and BEAT UP any creep that tries to mess with her. Friends and family of Lucy, she’s in great care.
Lucy will be traveling alongside me for pretty much the whole first half of this six month gig. I believe her last stop is in Indonesia, which will probably be my last stop until around the beginning of September when I head back to South Africa and join up with another globetrotting buddy of mine.
From: Eagleville, Pennsylvania
Met: Um…on here? Technically, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (April 2012)
Fearless. That’s the one word I’d use to describe this guy. My readers should already be familiar with Chris as he was mentioned earlier and quite a bit throughout my stay in Kayamandi. He’s an aspiring teacher and diving coach back home, but when he’s not doing that, he’s launching frisbees across fields, jumping off of hazardous cliffs for fun, and bustin’ backflips pretty much anywhere that demands it! This upcoming August, while I’m in Asia, Chris will be visiting past volunteers of his own throughout Europe over the summer and we will eventually reunite back in South Africa in September. What’s cool is, we had similar experiences in Kayamandi but at completely different and separate times, so us being there together will be pretty exciting. Mama Zulu, the kids, and Isaac know we are coming back because I told them the next time I comeback, he will be back as well. He has left a humongous footprint in the small township of Kayamandi when I visited and the teachers and locals always toted him as “crazy”, but the good kind of crazy. If there’s a statue of him made there in the middle of the township when I get back, I wouldn’t be at all surprised! Chris and I became friends through our similar blogs about South Africa, so this will be pretty cool. You can also bet your bank accounts that he and I will be getting into some pretty sweet adventures! And if you didn’t know already, he writes an awesome blog documenting his travels too and you can follow him on the link to the right of this page. A neat thing is once we reunite in SA, you will get two different perspectives of the same endeavors on our own respective blogs. Consider yourselves lucky. I’ll also have to BEAT UP anyone who messes with him too, but he’s the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ as the Kids of Kayamandi liked to call him, so I’m sure he’ll be able to handle his own.
Chris made a few videos of his time in South Africa back in 2011. Here are two of them!
This first video is the one I used to find his core group of kids last summer…
This second one is great too because at 1:24 RiRi is
interrogating interviewing Chris about his friend back home. The kids in this video are the same ones I bonded with last summer.
Reaching Out 2 The World
Back in October of 2012, Chris and I came up with a plan to one day return to South Africa. Soon once we booked our flights for that, we came up with another plan to take the students we once had, on a trip around their country. It’s something that tourists get to do but not the locals because of how expensive it can be. We want to spoil these guys and show them parts of their home they’ve only dreamed about such as going on a wildlife safari, hiking, visiting Table Mountain (one of the seven natural wonders of the world), canoeing through the wilderness, boat trips, visiting one of the stadiums where the 2010 World Cup was held, and so much more! But how exactly do we fund such a feat?
We launched a campaign on Indiegogo, an international crowdfunding site where anyone can raise money for film, music, art, charity, small businesses, gaming, theater, and more. The campaign is a project we call “Reaching Out 2 The World”. We even made a logo for it! More than just helping these kids explore their country, we will be reaching out to the world by documenting everything we do on this trip. We’ll be blogging, tweeting, creating videos, shooting lots of photos, and writing letters to keep everyone involved. You’ll feel as close to the experience, no matter where in the world you are, from the comforts of your own home. It’s a pretty cool project and it’s something I’m proud to be a part of.
You can help us out and learn more about it here: REACHING OUT 2 THE WORLD
At the time of this post, with the help of friends and family, we are well on our way to reaching our goal! Everyone who donates also receives a special perk or incentive:
Keep up with this blog and Chris O’Sullivan’s blog to stay up-to-date about what’s going on. Also consider following us on twitter.
The next post, I will finally be out of the country! Less wondering, more wandering. Follow along, and let the adventure begin!