As the planning for my gap year starts to come to a close and I get ready to leave, I have found that there are some things that have surprised me about what I have done so far. Some of the things involved finding the gear needed, coordinating the projects that I am working with, and the logistics of getting between locations. Most of these things I have done before but not on such a scale. I am accustomed to the short trips with my family. Not the longer ones by myself.
One of the first problems that became apparent was the coordination of where I am going. Only one of my current volunteer locations was in the original plan for my gap year. The other two were scrubbed because of transportation or lack of accommodation. The most surprising part of this was how different and more challenging it is to string the volunteer locations together. For example, I traded one volunteer location on Vancouver island for one on the isle of EGG (yes that is the name of the island) because there was no way to get a second flight across the USA and across the North Atlantic. But the isle of egg was near my second location so only one Trans Atlantic flight would be needed to get there.
The second challenge that I faced and had to find a way around was getting some of the items that are required for some of the places I am going. Almost all of the locations I am volunteering at are in very to extreme cold climates so there is a need for some serious cold weather gear, of which can not be found in Florida, wonder why, and this provided a problem. To counteract this I used some online sites to get what was needed or when the family took a trip up to Pennsylvania to visit relatives for Thanksgiving I was able to find some cold weather gear. The other problem is transferring this gear. Because of the different climates that I am volunteering in and the different kind of work I am doing there is a need for different gear. This is a problem that is still pending a solution.
And the last and most pressing problem is getting from point A to B as previously mentioned, some of my projects are relatively far apart so finding flights that connect and can get me there on time is a challenge. Luckily I know enough about airports and flying that I am not scared to do this alone but I totally underestimated the complexity of getting all the flights booked and passports settled before I Leave. Because of this I have had to redo so many bookings and be careful what I book to make sure it is not in the wrong airport or will arrive on time for me to catch a connecting flight.
Overall I was surprised by the complexity of playing this adventure but handled it with a calm mind and a lot of writing stuff down.