As I have decided to travel by using the Helpx website, which is a site for volunteers to exchange work for board and lodge with hosts, the last few weeks since I made my decision has been dominated by reading the profiles of and corresponding with some wonderful potential hosts who are willing to accommodate me from July 15th which will be my first travel adventure.
So far I will be going to Flintshire in North Wales to help a family with an artisan food business on the 15th July for a month then I will be back in Kidwelly which is near my hometown for a couple of weeks to tie up loose ends, see the family etc. before I spend the next couple of months visiting a lovely family in Galway, Ireland and then on to Scotland.
The beautiful church at Curry Rivel where my hosts UK home is.
But the most exciting adventure I have is in Thailand in November, even though I am really looking forward to the other positions it doesn’t feel as exciting because I have been to these countries before but not seen enough hence the return. Anyway to get back to the Thailand job, the lovely Julie contacted me after reading my profile and realised that I might be suitable to work for her and her lovely partner Marcus on their Ultra Marathon in Thailand.
My home while in Thailand.
When I first found Helpx I sent quite a few messages to hosts in the UK just to test the water but when I had the message off Julie about Thailand it sort of made my mind up. I have worked on many similar events in the past and loved every one of them but to do the same in Thailand is a dream for me. So we corresponded and arranged for me to go to Somerset which is where they live to meet them and speak about the job and what it entails. I had pretty much decided that I was definitely going to do it after speaking to Julie on the phone and realising that we had a lot in common and I could really fit in. But when I went to see them it confirmed my thoughts immediately.
I arrived late at their house due to meeting with an old friend prior to our arranged meeting. My friend used to live near me and we were close friends for many years before she moved away, we stayed in touch via phone, Facebook and email but hadn’t seen each other for almost ten years but the years just melted away when we got together and it was as if we had never been apart, consequently we ended up chatting for hours at lunch and the restaurant didn’t have good wifi or phone reception, so I couldn’t contact Julie and Marcus to explain what had happened, anyway I really regretted turning up late although Julie and Marcus were very understanding at least to my face.
When I got there they had two helpx people staying from California in the USA, so I met them too and we all had a wonderful evening meal and chatted until late about travelling, the job I would be doing and our lives in general. I just felt so at home with them talking about all the adventures I was due to have and which they had already had.
The place they lived was called Curry Rivel in Somerset and they were very interesting people who had built a life for themselves around their travelling. Julie and Marcus met in Chiang Mai 23 years ago after both being dumped by previous partners (their words) they spent some time travelling alone and then decided to travel together. They also have a retail business which they take to festivals in the UK and have been doing for 20 years and then they spend their winters in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Marcus is an ex runner and has run ultra-marathons himself before knee injuries curbed his athleticism. Julie has a passion for horses and helps people to train their horses especially those who are hard to handle.
Last year for the first time they organised an ultra-marathon in Chiang Mai, Thailand, at a place they stayed when they lived there many years ago, it was a huge success after much worry and stress and this year it will be in its second year www.thailandultramarathon.com. I will be in charge of one of the waterstops. There are two events called the Beauty and the Beast, the Beauty is 50KM and the Beast is 100KM and it’s very tough, it’s in a very hilly part of Thailand. It’s not just about the event itself, as a thank you for letting them have the event running through many tribal villages, Julie and Marcus’s company visit local schools prior to the event and hold craft sessions with the children to try and involve them in the event. Part of my role will be to visit these schools and take part in the craft activities with the children which I am really looking forward to. The whole event and volunteer role that I will be taking on will last for about three weeks which will be a fantastic time to spend in Thailand. I am hoping to hire a scooter and spend a few days sightseeing all over the area before moving on to Cambodia or Vietnam and Bali.
My visit to Somerset proved to me that I definitely want to do this, these people are on my wave length and I feel at home in their company, they know so much about travelling and have given me many tips already and have put me in touch with a few people who can possibly employ me for money whilst I am on my travels. Life has a way of making your dreams a reality if you just see the opportunity, it doesn’t always come in the way you might think but when it comes grab it with both hands.
For more information on the Thailand Ultra Marathon go to www.thailandultramarathon.com