Gap Year

I decided to take a year out before going onto university in the UK, because I believe that gap years can change oneself and, possibly, the direction of one’s life forever.  A gap year is often known to be a defining moment in the life of an ‘almost-adult’.  Exposure to a completely different culture and way of viewing allowed me to learn how to relinquish my own customs, desires and expectations.  I hoped to change other peoples’ lives at least a little bit too. Thus, I chose to travel to Ecuador, Nepal and Moçambique.

In Intag, Ecuador, I worked with Foundacion Espiritu del Bosque, which runs the only biological research project radiotracking Andean bears in the world.  Secondly, in Nepal, I worked with the Gorkha District Health & Education Development Scheme, which is registered with the UK Charity Commission.  It was born out of the desire to make education more accessible to the people of Gorkha and the surrounding villages.  Over recent years it has been extended to provide assistance in other areas of social welfare within the region.  Finally, in Mozambique I arranged a placement Porcupine Volunteers working on a turtle rehabilitation project.  However, I unfortunately misjudged the organisation for its authenticity.  Nonetheless, once I was there I took full advantage of the experience and worked with Barra Reef Divers to gain my divemaster certification.

To get a glimpse of the whirlwind of a year I experienced, explore my gallery and journal of each of the countries.  Also, I have introduced each of the projects in more detail, incorporating a 'reflections' section.  Finally, there is also a cost breakdown/proposal of the HK$42000 I raised before my gap, including a summary of the fund-raising process itself.  Feel free to send me any queries.

Thank you to all my sponsors for your constant support throughout - I could never have made it without you and I hope you enjoyed your postcards!  Also, to my old teachers & classmates for their support and patience while I ranted & raved about the stresses of money.

Also, thanks should go to firstly in Ecuador; Dave, Fiona & Armando - never stop trekking/tracking!  Secondly, in Nepal to Badri and Joy - never stop striving!  Lastly, in Mozambique to Russel & Ruan - never stop diving!

Finally, to all my friends and family before, during and after the venture for your undying support, and especially for allowing me to keep that necessary link with home.

I'm glad I'm back, but I've learnt so much, met so many people, widened my horizons and realised that actually the world is pretty small after all.  Life, bring on the next journey!

© Zoe Demery 2012