Wow, long time no see, eh?
I felt that it might be about time for another “life update post”, since it’s been so long since the last time I can honestly say I was in the blogging mood. I think the last time was probably back in May this year.
So, I went back to camp in June, which was probably the last time I was really active on my blog, and from there, I just took a step back because… wow. What a summer it was. Camp was hectic and in all honesty, I can’t say I enjoyed it an awful lot. I hate to admit it, because when I compare it to last summer, it was so much better then. I felt like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Now, I may just be exaggerating slightly, because it wasn’t like it was the worst summer of my life. I met some incredible people, both campers and counselors alike, and I really do treasure the memories I’ve made with these people who are from all over the world.
I’m not going to go into the details as to why I didn’t enjoy my experience, because a lot of it is very personal, and obviously it was a job where I worked with kids so for confidentiality reasons I’m a bit cautious about writing about my honest experience at camp. Maybe in the future I’ll feel more comfortable doing so, when more time has passed and I’ve actually had time to try and figure out some of the reasons as to why I was often feeling down. It was one of those weird ones, where I couldn’t always blame my bad days on someone else, and I couldn’t figure out what was getting me down so much.
Do I regret going back? No, because like I said, I got to know so many more campers and counselors, and the memories I have with them always bring a smile to my face. But I think about the other opportunities I could have had this summer- I could have worked as an English teacher in an Italian summer camp, or worked with international students in London for the whole summer- and I just wonder would it have been better? But I know that if I hadn’t gone back to camp, I’d still be asking myself that question. I’d feel like I was missing out seeing all of my friends posts on Instagram.
However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom, and like I say, some things I’m still trying to figure out so I hope that in time I’ll look back on this summer in a more positive light. After camp, myself and four other counselors ended up in the same hostel for the same amount of time in NYC, and that really was a highlight. Last year I only spent 24 Hours in New York City which really wasn’t enough time to spend exploring a city, especially since the only other time I’d been there was about ten years previously, and that was only for a day. I really did have the best time with this group of people, and it was nice spending equal amounts of time with them, and on my own to do my own thing.
Some of the highlights from New York, for me were the following:
- A weird one, but the hostel itself. If you’re ever in New York, or any major American city, make sure to check out the HI Hostels. They’re a chain of youth hostels, and you really do get good value for money. They organise events every day and night, and if you’re a solo traveller these are great ways to meet people, and explore the city in a group.
- Central Park is quite possibly my favourite place on Earth. I even had the chance to go for a jog around some of central park, but my only regret was that I made a wrong turn out of the park and through some weird streets back to the hostel. But, it’s beautiful, it’s big, and it feels like you’re not in a city, even though the skyscrapers are still visible if you look up!
- Chicago the Musical, Times Square, Top of the Rock and the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Although these are all the “typical” tourist destinations, it’s nice to see them and at least do them once. I often avoid typical tourist attractions, because I want to see what else the place I’m visiting has to offer, but it’s a tourist attraction for a reason. And I’m glad I went to these ones, because they were all incredible in their own way. The 9/11 museum was emotional, for obvious reasons, and I was holding back tears from the moment I walked in. If you go to the Top of the Rock at night, you get to see New York in all of it’s sparkling glory, and though it’s fairly expensive for what it is, I’d recommend doing it at least once. Chicago the Musical was just awesome, and I’m so glad we splashed out a bit and got tickets- 10/10 recommend!
Then myself and one of the girls in our group went up to Boston for my last few days before flying home, and it was a very different vibe to New York. Part of me wishes I’d done it the other way around and visited Boston first, because after the business of the big apple, it almost felt underwhelming at first. However, it’s a great city to visit, and if you’re into history (especially American civil war/independence etc) then it’s a great place to visit! We managed to latch on to the end of a Boston Trail tour and it was really informative, even if our guide was… hyper… he was entertaining though! There was so much history based in Boston, which I had no idea of and that for me was one of the best days. Then, a few days later, I met up with a friend who I’d met at camp last summer, and we impulse bought tickets to see the Jonas Brothers, which was absolutely insane and I’m so glad I *cough* talked her into going with me! *cough*
And just like that I was back in England.
For 10 days.
Then I flew out to South Africa.
I’ve been here since the end of August visiting family and friends, and after about a year and a half of not seeing my South African family, it was definitely the kind of relaxed holiday I needed. I’m lucky in that I’ve been able to come out here most summer holidays since I was a child, and visit my family who I don’t get to see otherwise, and I realise it’ll probably get harder to do these visits as a family, because I’ve now left university, I don’t have a summer holiday anymore, and I have to start being an adult with a proper job at some point soon, so of course if I get the chance to come out and visit for any period of time, I won’t say no to it.
With a week left here, it feels like I’ve been here forever, and in many ways I’m excited to go back home and prepare for the next thing, but at the same time, it’s gone by really quickly, and I’m not really ready for it to end, because I don’t know when I’ll be able to actually see my grandparents and my aunts, uncles and cousins again. This is one of the things I’ll have to get used to now that I don’t have summer holidays with plans already set out for me.
So, what next?
I realise this post has become quite lengthy, so I’ll try and wrap this up shortly!
Well, my next plan, and quite possibly the biggest thing I’ve ever done, is that I’m going to Thailand in October to teach English for the next five months of my life. I’ve never been to South East Asia, and I don’t know what to expect, but I know that I don’t want to sit around at home, when I have the opportunity to do some travelling, and to get some valuable experience. I’m really excited, a little nervous (obviously), and I have a lot of work to do when I get home such as sorting out visas and getting vaccinations.
I definitely think that doing something different like this will be what I need after a year that has, so far, been somewhat average? I think it’s common after you’ve had an amazing year, the next has a lot to live up to and so you can be left feeling a bit meh. 2018 was absolutely one of the best years I’ve had in a while, and I think since 2019 has mostly been the year of me working full time, I’m bound to want something more, so here’s hoping that this will be what I’m looking for.
And with that, I really must bring this now lengthy blog post to an end. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and I’ve decided that when I’m away I want to write more frequent updates of life in Thailand, what it’s like teaching there, and that sort of thing, so let’s hope I actually manage to do that!