-What do you want to be when you grow up?
-When I grow up, I want to be a famous actress!
Constantly immersed in theatre as a kid and a teen, my dreams were big. I wanted to be a successful actress in film and on stage. Upon completing grade 12, I auditioned for many universities, and got accepted to some. However, the one school I had my heart set on wait-listed me. At the same time, I was offered a full scholarship to study at a university in my hometown. I decided to leave my decision in the hands of destiny. If I suddenly got a call letting me know I had been accepted to my chosen theatre school, I would go. If not, I would accept the scholarship. Continue reading →
Guyana: A Country Like No Other
The African, Caribbean, Latin American, Indian, West-Indie, and Asian cultures are all prominent throughout Guyana. Walking through Georgetown was as if I was walking through a cultural time warp block to block from the various styles of music blaring from a distance, the varieties of aromas available with each step, and the colorful sights to be seen. The combinations were endless. Guyana was unlike any place I’ve ever visited. Continue reading →
With the school year well under way, I know that next summer will lead to another inevitable travel journey abroad. It’s hard to believe that just two months ago, I finished an epic journey traveling around the world and visiting 22 countries. Although I am no longer able to travel full-time at the present moment, my job enables me to reach new destinations or to experience something completely different each summer and during school holidays. Prior to my sabbatical year, I connected my abroad travel with volunteering. Reminiscing about my past “voluntourism” opportunities has me wondering what responsible tourism vacations I’ll do next! I’m already planning my next trips! Here are the highlights of some of my past responsible travel tours. Continue reading →
Prior to my 14 months of full-time travels, as a teacher I was only able to travel on school holidays. Each summer I would travel to a new destination, often backpacking my way around the country. Each trip that I took, I tried to find an opportunity to volunteer while in that country. I felt it was the best way to get a feel of that place, by getting in with the locals. In Texas I volunteered at a soup kitchen, in Nicaragua I planted community gardens, in Honduras I built wells, in the Dominican Republic I volunteered at an orphanage, in Guyana I taught teachers, but my volunteer experience in Mexico was by far the most impactful–I volunteered at a dump.
In 2010, I traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and volunteered at the Children Center of Hope Orphanage and the School of Champions through Feed the Children Vallarta (formerly known as Children of the Dump). Most of my time was spent at the School of Champions volunteering at the summer camp. I had an amazing time teaching English and facilitating games and crafts to the many innocent, sweet, and joyful children who live in and around the dump. Approximately 200 families lived at the dump in the past and, through education and support from Feed the Children Vallarta, fewer and fewer families are depending on the dump for their livelihood. Continue reading →
– Arriving at the top of a roller coaster and going down the first hill.
It may seem as if these items should — or in some cases, should not — be on my “Activities & Adventures” bucket list. Yet, the feelings attached to each of these items reflect the rush of adrenaline I have felt after completing items on my “Kind Acts & Volunteering” bucket list. Of course, committing a crime or drinking alcohol shouldn’t be compared to doing acts of kindness, but the feelings that come with each item seem similar. Research finds that “altruistic (other-regarding) emotions and behaviors are associated with greater well-being, health, and longevity.” In other words, doing kind acts has been correlated with increases in happiness, good health, and life span. Continue reading →
In 2012 I added ‘start a blog’ to my New Year’s resolutions. Turquoise Compass did not come to fruition until 2013, not because I didn’t have the desire, initiative, or drive, but because I did not know what I was going to write about or what I wanted it to become. I love writing and much of my life revolves around writing. As an English teacher, I teach others to write. I am also actively involved in writing articles for my province’s teacher publications and district magazines. As some of you know, I just recently finished my Master’s in Education in June of this year and much of my program consisted of writing research papers and designing training modules. On average, for the last year, writing 7000 word papers every other week definitely kept me busy and delayed the starting of my blog. When I finished my Master’s I finally had the time (and guts) to accomplish my goal of starting a blog! Another bucket list checkmark for me!