A British summer in Kent is a superb place to be stuck when you’re confused, concerned and generally quite anxious whilst pretending to yourself and everyone else that you’re definitely not in the least bit anxious. It’s been the weirdest summer I’ve ever had, and despite not taking the chance to earn as much money as humanly possible while on part time health parole – in retrospect, something I probably should have done – all things considered, it’s not been too bad. With 10 days in Kefalonia and a seemingly endless supply of Iain M Banks books you can’t go too far wrong.

Kefalonia showing us what the term ‘Holiday’ really means

For those of you who don’t know, my heart temporarily failed me 3 months ago. After falling unceremoniously unconscious and creating a couple of character forming scars on my face, the doctors spent valuable NHS funds and resources trying to uncover exactly what had caused the heart-faltering moment that made me to lose consciousness in the middle of the day. It felt a bit like what I imagine a heart attack might feel like, fortunately for me, that’s the first thing they ruled out.

Unfortunately for me, what they found wasn’t conclusive, wasn’t particularly normal, but also probably wasn’t what had caused it. Sadly, but wisely, you can’t not double check with heart related troubles – for obvious reasons – and so more time and tests were required. As I knew from the moment I woke up face down on the road, this meant my summer plans for adventure and travel were about as realistic as thinking the next superhero movie would genuinely be good. . . I mean it might happen, but you’re likely to be horribly disappointed.

[Suicide Squad, you can have 6.1/10 – if I wanted to watch/stare at Margot Robbie and Will Smith being beautiful and bad-ass I could have watched Focus instead]

Before this palaver occurred I was set upon travelling all the way from England to Australia (although possibly starting in Stockholm) without using a plane. Think Trans-Siberian Railway, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and wherever else I could travel through before finding my way onto a cargo ship down past Indonesia and exploring the world down under – inevitably doing 3 months of farm work that enables you to never ever leave.  This is still something I’d love to do, but right now after a summer to think about it, all I want to do is get back involved with humanitarian work.

For the record, if you steal the plan to go to Australia without a plane (if you’re reading this, you know who you are) then you’d best send your Thank You letters to my friend Cate Howes, it was her masterplan. Also, don’t ever contact me again because I’ll probably die of jealousy if my heart doesn’t give out first. . .

The doctors have given me the all clear for now (with a check up in a few months time) and so after months twiddling my thumbs and with more than a few plans left on the side of the road, I decided to apply for another All Hands Volunteers project, this time in Ecuador. All Hands started the project following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April where 267 people lost their lives, 2,500 people were injured and 25,000 homes were destroyed. I’ll be joining the team on the ground where the immediate concerns are emergency shelters, latrines and providing child friendly areas. This project is something I’m extremely excited to be a part of as I’ve seen first-hand the impact our contributions have on individuals and families and nothing I’ve done so far matches it. If you want to find out more or would like to join us in Ecuador then click here!

ecuador-earthquake

I’m leaving the UK on Tuesday 6th September and I’m due to volunteer for 3 months in the regions around the town of San Vicente on the coast of Ecuador. This means manual labour from 7am until 4.30 pm six days a week, and if it’s anything like Nepal last year, I’m going to feel every minute of it for some time afterwards. All Hands are a terrific organisation and while we provide the labour they work tirelessly to make sure everything that can be done for the locals is being done and that all the volunteers are looked after while we’re there. It costs them roughly $100 dollars a week for the upkeep of a volunteer and so I’m fundraising to try and cancel out some of this cost!

If you’d like to donate to this fantastic cause then please follow this link and know that the money is extremely well spent and well-deserved. I’m aiming to raise £500 but any amount large or small would be truly welcomed and if we eclipse this total then £1000 would cover 3 months of me on base. Thank you so much!

I would also like to say that the response to the blog about my heart problems in June was immense and if I’ve failed to say so already then thank you for your support, your jokes and your general positivity. It really did and does mean a lot. Thanks again.

Next stop, Ecuador!

 

 

 

 

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