A Culture Shocked Wendy

After spending a couple of weeks on one of our projects, no volunteer wants to go home. I know I would rather wake up with a baby elephant in my back garden, playing with children who appreciate your love more than anything or helping those who are much less fortunate than myself, than spending 9-5 in a stuffy office worrying about staplers, invoices and work politics.

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Mr Incredible, certainly has a hard time adjusting to office life

Heading home is never easy when you have been having the time of your life for the past few weeks. In the same way that volunteers have to adjust to the customs and everyday life of Thailand, they also have to re-adjust to their lives back in their home countries. This is otherwise known as;

Reverse Culture Shock

I know that I had a really hard time when I first went back to England after being in Thailand. I found Thailand to really fit my personality and the way that I think that people should treat each other. Being back in England with a culture I am not fond of, weather that is bad to say the least and people who don’t treat each other as nicely as they do here, made me genuinely sad.

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When I visit Suvarnabhumi Airport I see a lot of people not looking forward to going home

I found it difficult to merge myself back with the routines and expectations of a Western county. For some people, they manage to slip back into their lives very easily, being only enriched with their time as a volunteer but some people however, myself included, find life lacking.

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Reverse Culture Shock can manifest itself in many forms from;

– Boredom

– Reverse homesickness

– Misunderstanding of your behaviour from others

– Feelings of alienation

– Negative feelings towards Westerners and

– Restlessness and being irritable

There isn’t anything wrong with feeling like this, but it can be very hard to adjust to going to back to your previous life after having such a life changing experience. The best ways I found to deal with Reverse Culture Shock was to just leave the country as soon as possible. I understand however that this is incredibly impractical for most people though so if you aren’t able to just up sticks and move then you can always try some of the following ideas;

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Talk About Your Experience

When you first get home, everyone you know will be desperate to hear all about your experiences and the adventures you have been getting up to. Embrace this time. Use it as a means to relive some of your most incredible, hilarious and meaningful memories. Sometimes just talking about what you miss will be enough to stop you missing it for a while; just be careful not to turn into the person that is always saying ‘When I was in Thailand…..’, ‘In Thailand…’, ‘That reminds me of when I did_____ in Thailand…..’. Your stories can become boring for people when you constantly tell them 😀

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Skype to the rescue; as always

Stay In Touch

Make sure to keep in touch with all of the people you met on your journey that mean something to you. Who knows when you might be able to meet them again. Losing connections with people that were involved in an important part of your life is terrible and something I hope never to do. Talking and keeping in touch with the people you met along the way is also a great way of reliving your experiences together so that you don’t ever feel too far away from your adventure.

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Scrapbooks or Photo Albums

I know this is definitely more of a girly thing to do but I can assure you, that if you pick up lots of small trinkets during your trip, like napkins from restaurants, cards from hotels, postcards or even something simple like leaves and keep hold of them, then you will be able to create something that you can look back on in years to come and smile at. I keep everything, so I have a lot of scrapbook type things, but if you aren’t the hoarding kind like me then photos, quotes or even written notes can have the same effect. Writing down hilarious things in the moment will ensure that you don’t forget them and when you look back on it in a year, five years or even fifteen years, you will remember that ridiculous moment.

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Stimulate Your Senses

A great way to get over Reverse Culture Shock is to eat your favourite foods from your trip. For me that would be any of the food I eat at Gois everyday, she has the best Goi Djab, Salads, Pad Thai and dishes I don’t think even have a name. If I went back to England and managed to find somewhere that could make those dishes I know that I would feel like I was back in Thailand; something that would definitely make me happy!

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Be a tortoise for a bit 🙂

Take It Slow

If you really are struggling to integrate back into your Western life then take it slowly. I know it can be terribly overwhelming to visit something as normal as a Walmart or an ASDA, when you have been used to living in the Elephant Village, or spending time with children who will never even hope to have access to such a large amount of food. I found it difficult to adjust to how much the Western world wastes in comparison to Thailand, here people make a living from recycling, where as in England people don’t really care too much about what happens to their trash. Don’t try to push yourself to adjust quicker than you feel you can and let people know that you are having some trouble so that they can help you as well.

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Plan Another Trip

This doesn’t always have to be back to the same place, for some, travelling itself it the thing that they miss. By having something to work towards that you know will make you happy will provide you with a distraction and also motivation; two things that will really help you with dealing with Reverse Culture Shock.

If you are wanting to experience our life changing volunteering projects for yourself then just take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page, there you will find everything you need!

After that you can always relive your Thailand experience or get excited about your impending one by following my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages.

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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A Fact Filled Wendy

After having so many ‘How To’ posts over the last few days I decided to do something different.

Thailand is a very beautiful country, parts of it are never seen by tourists or travelers and even now secrets are still discovered in abandoned temples. There is so much of this country that people just don’t know about so I thought that I would share a few of my favourite ‘little known’ titbits about Thailand.

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1. Thailand means ‘Land of the Free’ and is the only country in South East Asia that hasn’t been colonized by a European nation

2.It is considered uncultured to place your bag on the ground. This is because both the floor and your feet are considered filthy

3. It is illegal to leave your home if you’re not wearing any pants

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4. Thailand is one of the largest producers of pineapples in the world – good thing as well, as I LOVE me some pineapple!

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5. The Miss Universe pageant has been won twice by Thai contestants; once in 1965 and once in 1988

กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตรโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์

6. Bangkok is the Western name for the country’s capital. It is in fact the longest country capital name in the world… Krungthepmahanakhon Amornrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharat Ratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amornphiman Awa-tarnsatthit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. The name itself is a story about Thailand, when translated into English can be read as;

The Capital City of Angels, The Residence of The Emerald Buddha, The Great City of Impregnable, The Gracefulness of the city is steadfast and thriving, The Grand Capital which is abundant with The Nine Noble Gems, it is a Pleasant Capital, The City is abounding with the enormous Royal Palaces that resembles as the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated God, Home of the Gods Incarnate, which was Erected by Vishnu at Indra’s Behest.

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7. Thailand has around 35,000 temples! Better get yourself some good walking shoes to see that all

8. One tenth of all animal species can be found in Thailand

That’t about 870,000 species!!!!!

9. It is forbidden to touch a Monk if you are a woman

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10. The Beach starring Leonardo di Caprio was filmed on Phi Phi Island

If you fancy discovering more of Thailand’s secrets then you should take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page for projects that will allow you to experience this amazing country yourself.

Once you have done that then take a look at my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages to see some of the unknown sides of Thailand that I discover everyday 😀

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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A Couple Of Wendys

I am always really touched when I see couples come to volunteer with us, to be able to share an experience as amazing as volunteering with someone that you love is an idea that makes me smile. I do know though that spending that amount of time with someone can become stressful and even cause issues. Even travelling with one or two close friends can present the same issues of always being with the same people and suddenly discovering several things they do that really irritate you; like nail biting, that’s a huge personal pet hate of mine.

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So as with the last few post I thought about things you can do to make sure that you and your partner or best friends don’t kill each other; killing isn’t good after all!

Laugh It Off

By laughing everything off, and making light of the bad situations you will drastically lower the chances of having arguments. Not only that but you will also find that things become less daunting when you make light of them.

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Me and two friends were attempting to walk home once in the middle of the night with pretty much no idea where we were or which direction we needed to go in, but as soon as we started to look at the funny side of everything it immediately made the whole experience a funny one.

Turn That Frown Upside Down

Everyone has annoying habits, whether it be nail biting (the bane of my life), knuckle cracking, picking your nose or chewing with your mouth open. The thing about habits is that they are always going to happen and you can’t do anything about it. You do tend to notice these habits in others when you spend a lot of time with them so when you discover that your boyfriend grinds his teeth or your best friend has a nasty habit of drumming their fingers on a table top, the best thing you can do is either let it go or make a joke about it.

Don’t let the small things people do irritate you to the point that it becomes unbearable. Not only will it make you upset and annoyed but chances are it will begin arguments as well. So just smile and make a joke out of it and you will soon find that it becomes funny as opposed to being annoying.

Have Your Own Time And Space

We all love our significant others and friends, that’s why we have them after all right haha But being in constant contact with them can become too much. Make time to do something on your own or with other people, whether it be going to different places for dinner, having an hour or two to read your favourite book or watching TV. This absence will give you time to enjoy your own company and not be constantly on each others toes.

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that jazz right?

Work Together

When you’re in an unfamiliar environment doing something that requires you and your partner or friends to work together can enforce the bond that you already have. This can be anything from going hiking, undertaking something one of you is scared of or even just playing a simple but always competitive game of Pictionary. Working together will not only strengthen your bond but it will also give you someone who can push you to do something that you might not otherwise do.

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Being able to see this view was all down to the support from another

I went to New York with a boyfriend at the time and I had arranged for us to climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty, something which I had always wanted to do, little did I know that I am actually rather claustrophobic. If I had been on my own or with people I didn’t know then chances are I would have struggled a lot and might not have even been able to do it. Having someone who cared about me there, giving me the encouragement I needed, being patient and pushing me was the reason that I managed to make it to the top and see the incredible view.

As much as I dislike the guy now, if it weren’t for him I might not have ever done something I had dreamed of doing for a long time.

There Is No ‘I’ In Team

Sharing responsibilities and decisions can sometimes cause big problems for couples when they travel. One person is normally a natural leader in the relationship but when you travel the decisions you make are ones that you won’t normally face and can therefore be stressful.

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Sometimes they aren’t even big decisions but small ones like who gets to go in a hammock first or who has to go and buy the bus tickets this time. But no matter the size of the decision it is best to compromise and share the responsibility.

Many times when you are traveling you don’t want to make a decision in case it is not what the other person wants. Be clear on what you both want and remember that time when your other half gave up something they wanted to do so that you could enjoy something.

Don’t leave it to one half of the relationship to always make the decisions.

Remember Your Other Half’s Interests

When you travel you will probably already have an idea of a couple of the things that you want to do when you get there. Chances are you and your other half aren’t going to want to do exactly the same things, so there will be times where you might just need to suck it up and do something your aren’t interested in in order to make your other half happy.

I can remember booking tickets to see Wicked in the Gershwin Theater on Broadway knowing that my boyfriend at the time wasn’t that bothered about going, but agreed to as he knew it was something I wanted to do. The same goes for when me and some of the staff from our other location in Thailand were all in Bangkok and the boys wanted to go and see the newest Jackie Chan movie, something that I wasn’t fussed about but I still went as they wanted to.

You never know, you might end up enjoying yourself anyway!

Be On The Look Out For The Tired Face

Couples tend to fight more when one or both people are tired. Travelling is incredibly tiring at times and this makes you grouchy and not very much fun at all. We can all think back to times where we snapped at people we care about for no reason other than our being tired.

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Tiredness and frustration will bring the worst out of anyone so always keep an eye out for the ‘tired face’. When you see that your loved one is getting tired and frustrated make a note of it and try to be as sensitive as possible. Sometimes keeping your mouth shut can also be the best thing to do.

Alternatively you could just drink LOADS of Red Bull and not be a sour puss 😀

Don’t Be ‘The Couple’

Whilst traveling as a couple it is very easy to stay together. After all you already know each other and obviously enjoy each others company enough to be in a relationship haha The only thing is, when you stick together you begin to isolate yourself from other people. The couples we have had volunteer with us have managed a good balance of being together and being part of the group.

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Not always sitting together, going to bed at the same time or constantly being attached at the hip will make others feel more comfortable and socializing will become more fun as you won’t be ‘the couple’. Being able to spend time apart and with others will provide you with some amazing and beautiful friendships that you wouldn’t have if you had just constantly stuck together.

Don’t Forget To Have Time Together

Travelling is an incredible adventure that will give you some amazing memories, it can also be a tornado of getting caught up with meeting new people and discovering the unknown. So make sure to have some ‘couple time’ as well.

Go out for dinner, walk along the beach, get massages or even just have a movie night.

Having an hour or so to just enjoy the moment with the person you care about is something you should always make time for and enjoy, plus if you come to Thailand, it is a very beautiful country where it is hard not to find a romantic spot to sit down and remember all the things you love about your other half.

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If you and your other half are planning a trip away and want to make it something that will not only be an adventure but will also make a difference to others then you need to take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page.

Once you have done that then take a look at my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages, I am always updating them will all the silly things I do and experience on a regular basis.

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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A Girly Solo Wendy

I know that I already did a post about single travel but one thing that came to mind when I was writing, and is always a question I get asked, is about sole female travel. I know that there are some places in the world that are dangerous and are even more so for female travels so I know there is a concern when it comes to solo female travel. I decided to write this post to tackle the most regularly mentioned concerns by female travels and how best to deal with them and make your traveling experience the very best that it can be.

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Don’t Think About The Possible Dangers

There are a million things that can go wrong, no matter how you are travelling. In fact, there are a million things that can go wrong in your life just by stepping out the front door. But, that doesn’t stop you from getting on with your life right? So when you are travelling do the same thing!

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Be Aware

Keep your wits about you and an eye on your surroundings at all times. Spend time looking around you and taking note of what you see. Be present in every moment. This will help alert you to any potential dangers. Don’t make the mistake of suspecting danger or problems that aren’t there though. Simply walking down a dark street will not end up in you getting raped and kidnapped, trust me, I do it all the time and I have yet to be raped or kidnapped.

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Trust Your Intuition

It always knows best. If something doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. There is a reason why you get that unsettled feeling in your stomach when you meet that strange person on the beach, in a club or restaurant. Don’t freak yourself out by imaginary monsters, but definitely pay attention to those little messages our animal instincts give us. They are your friend but don’t mix them up with nervousness, nervousness can be an amazing emotion that when beaten gives you the most incredible adrenaline rush.

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Walk Assertively And Confidently

You know when you walk down the street and you see people who just give off that vibe of ‘don’t screw with me’? You need to become one of those people, or at least fake being one of those people. If you walk with confidence and don’t make yourself look like a target then you won’t be.

Possible con men and attackers look to those who seem vulnerable. Walk with your head held high, and confidently greet people and look them in the eye. I have done this many times when I have felt that familiar pang of fear in a situation where you don’t have control, and it instantly made me feel very strong and brave.

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Keep People Informed

This is especially important for solo women travelers. When you are travelling with someone else, you always have someone watching your back and looking out for you, but when you are own you need to have someone who knows where they can find you if anything happens. Let people you know and trust know where you are going and when. With today’s social media this can involve something as quick as an email, Facebook message, twitter update or Skype call.

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Remember You’re A Girl

This might sound stupid but you have to remember that if you are a girl, guys are going to look at you. Whether it be a night out or a trip to a temple, guys will always be on the look out for girls. I know that I notice when cute boys walk past me, they might not be trying to get anyone’s attention but, your face is your face and there isn’t much you can do about that.

If you don’t want to be getting unwanted attention from guys or even girls then just remember how you may be being perceived. If you are wandering around wearing a small skirt and a low cut shirt then people will naturally assume you are looking for something you might not be. Don’t take this as you have to dress like a nun the whole time but just be aware that if you were tiny shorts when you go out then chances are you will be greeted with whistles and comments. So just be conscious of how other will see you.

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Don’t Be That Drunk Girl

No matter where you go in the world, there will always be ‘That Drunk Girl’. You know the one you just feel the biggest sense of pity for, she has lost one of her shoes, her hair is a mess, smells like sick and look, now she is getting hit on by someone she will definitely regret in the morning.

Remember which drink is yours, keep and eye on it and don’t ever let it out of your sight. These are standard rules in life but when we travel and begin to feel safe and comfortable we can all get a little careless. You don’t want to become that drunk girl now do you? So just watch how much you are drinking and stay aware of your surroundings, like where the exits or security are.

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He Isn’t The One

I know that some people do meet the loves of their lives whilst traveling but you do need to remember that in countries where white skin is coveted, like Thailand, Cambodia or the Philippines, that guys find it an achievement if they get a white girl into bed.

Yes he might be charming, handsome and speak a little English but you have to wonder how many other girls he has been like that with. If someone is trying to get you back to theirs, kiss you in public or get you to leave with them, they probably aren’t the best person for you. Having lived in the same place in Thailand for a while now, I know the sleezy guys that just want to bang a white girl, so when I see them on a night out where volunteers come with me, I make sure to let the girls know; as well as the sleezy guys!!

Also just remember the view you leave of white girls with the actions you do. If you go home with some guy the night you meet him, him and all the people who see, are going to think that that is what white girls are like. I know from being friends with Thai guys that the general opinion is that white girls are easy. For the girl it is just a fling on holiday but for the guys and the other people who see, she is fueling the idea that white girls are easy. So just be conscious of the things that will be said about you.

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Listen To People In The Know

If I was in a situation or country that I hadn’t experienced before then I would always make sure to trust and believe what the people who have been there before, live or work there say to me. I find so often that female volunteers will say ‘Him putting his arm around me in a photo is fine’ or ‘Its just a kiss on the cheek in a photo’. Yes this might be what it is to you but when it comes to local customs and displays of public affection you REALLY should listen to the people in the know.

In Thailand you DO NOT show public displays of affection. You just don’t. This is Thailand, not your home country. Things are different here. When a guy puts his arm around you in a photo it means MUCH more to him than it does to you. He will use that photo to show his friends, and when you look that close to him, he can make up anything he wants to his friends. So on a night out, or any situation in fact, if someone in the know tells you not to do something, you should listen to them.

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Just Trust This Face ^^

I think what I am basically getting at with this whole post, is just to be aware of what you are doing and don’t make yourself a target. It really isn’t scary to travel as a single female traveler, I know, I have done it several times, but you do have to have a heightened awareness that guys don’t have to, purely because you are female.

To see how I cope as a female in Thailand with the situations that I get into then take a look at my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages.

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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A First Time Wandering Wendy

I have had a few emails and Facebook and Instagram messages recently from volunteers who will be arriving in the next few weeks who have been asking for some quick advice about traveling for the first time. I can’t quite remember what it felt like the first time I was preparing to travel, only what it was like when I finally got to my destination, so this post has meant I have really had to sit down and think about what advice I would give to first time travelers.

So here goes;

Planning and Packing

If you’re not sure if you need it, you don’t.

If you’re pretty sure you need it, you don’t.

If you’re absolutely certain you need it, you probably still don’t.

Take more money.

Take more pairs of underwear.

Take fewer pairs of shoes; trainers and flip flops are fine.

If it can’t be worn for three days then washed and dried in a hostel laundry room, don’t bring it.

Your airline’s baggage allowance is a limit, not a challenge.

Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel. Pick one.

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If you can’t carry your luggage up a flight of stairs easily by yourself, it’s too heavy. See hints 1,2 & 3

Make sure your passport has enough pages and validity (> 6 months) to last your entire trip.

The best experiences are often spontaneous – detailed itineraries don’t allow that.

Aspirin, Band-Aids and Imodium. The traveler trifecta.

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Contraceptives are not the stupidest idea in the world either.

Take another memory card for your camera. You’ll need it.

In transit

Arrive early. Airports suck, but missing your flight sucks a lot more.

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Jokes about security are hilarious. Spending time in jail is less so.

The only thing worse than the taste of airport food is the price. Eat beforehand.

Having a few drinks on the plane is fun. Being hungover on the plane is horrific. Your call.

Earplugs are your friend.

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So is an eye mask, even if it makes you look like a dork.

Mild sleeping pills complete the arsenal, for when the people beside you really just won’t shut up.

Learning to eat using plastic utensils, with your elbows tucked in and your knees bumping the table is an essential flying skill. Start practicing now by sitting in a cardboard box during your next meal.

Take something that can entertain you for several hours. A novel. Playing cards. An iPod. A ball of twine. Whatever. Just take something.

Set your watch to your destination timezone as soon as you get on the plane, and use that time when deciding when to sleep. It’ll help with the jetlag.

After 20 hours in planes and airports, toothpaste will change your life.

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Distinctive luggage is a good thing. Surprising as it might seem, yours will not be the only black suitcase on the conveyor belt.

Having a change of underwear in your carry-on will be the smartest move you’ve ever made when the airline loses your bags.

At Your Destination

Being polite goes a very long way.

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A smile goes even further.

If somebody doesn’t speak your language, that’s your problem, not theirs.

Manners are universal. Use them.

Just because it isn’t your culture doesn’t mean you don’t respect it.

Leave a positive view of your own culture.

Lack of a common language does not equate to deafness. Speaking more loudly will not help.

Be alert for scams and danger but don’t let that dictate your trip. Most people are not out to harm you.

Opening your heart and mind does not have to mean opening your wallet.

You can say no.

Get out of your comfort zone. Eat, drink and do things that you wouldn’t go near in your normal life.

Bum bags / fanny packs are the stupidest travel accessory ever, for more reasons than I can even list.

Money belts aren’t much better, but if you must use one, don’t keep diving into it every five minutes. Hiding your valuables isn’t much use if they don’t stay … y’know … hidden.

Things will be different to how they are at home. That’s kinda the point.

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Public transport can be awesome. It can also be the bane of your life. You will experience both.

Meet the locals. If you’d wanted to hang out with people just like yourself, it would have been much cheaper just to stay home and go to the pub.

Have an emergency source of funds hidden away somewhere, and treat your passport as if it were made of gold. It’s not quite the end of the world if you lose it, but it’ll feel like it at the time.

Don’t be afraid to screw up. It’s OK. We learn a lot more from our failures than we do our successes.

Don’t be the one who comes back to the volunteer house smashed after a big night out, turns on the light and wakes up the rest of the dorm. No really, don’t. Payback isn’t your friend in the morning.

When looking for somewhere to eat, find the one where there’s nobody that looks like you inside it. Bonus points if it’s not in the guidebook, and extra bonus points if the menu isn’t in your language (or there’s no menu at all). The food will be better and cheaper, and the experience more memorable. Trust me.

There will be times when it’s all too hard. Tough it out. You won’t remember the bad times in a couple of months, but the good times will stay with you forever.

You aren’t the only person to travel; don’t be that person who thinks they are super cool.

Do one thing that scares you everyday.

Learn how to toilet squat. You’ll need it.

I know this isn’t a huge list but being a first time traveler really isn’t as big of a deal as people think it is. You just need to have fun and experience everything you can. Make sure to take a couple of these tips to heart, I promise you that it will make your experience so much more rewarding!!

If you haven’t ever booked before and are unsure of where to start that take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page, where you will find the perfect thing for you.

If you can’t decide which project you want to do then take a look at my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages where you will see snippets of every project we do 😀

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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How To Stay A Healthy Wendy

Having had a sudden increase in the numbers of sick volunteers, leading me back and forth to the hospital and hotels, I was thinking about what they must be doing to get so sick. Chances are that they aren’t doing anything and thinking that standards are the same as in the Western World. As much as I will go on and on about the safety of the places I eat and drink from everyday, I obviously haven’t been to every place in Surin so can’t vouch for them all.

I know that I am terribly neglectful when it comes to health and safety of myself not only with food but just in general life. I am well known as the strange rainbow who does stupid stuff hahaha This is, in all fairness, a very apt description of my life. If there is a 50% chance I will survive I will do it.

My famous line is:

‘I’ve had a good run, so you know………..

it’ll be alright’

I do understand that 99% of people aren’t like me and actually regards about their own safety so  after some thinking I came up with a couple of tips about how to stay healthy and not get sick when travelling Asia.

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Wash Your Hands Often

This is one of those things that I was always discouraged from doing as a child, my mum knew I was going to get dirty and realised that getting me to clean my hands after every situation I got into would probably cause a drought in our area. I am incredibly resilient though so for the normal population I would recommend that you do wash your hands often whilst in Thailand. It is also a great idea to carry around one of those small bottles of hand sanitizer if you aren’t sure whether or not you will be in the vicinity of a bathroom, which chances are, in Thailand, you won’t be.

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Keep An Eye On The Water

In Surin all of the restaurants use purified water in their cooking and as their drinking water, this is also true of the ice as well, so please don’t feel as if you can’t be drinking any of the water or ice here!! For places you haven’t visited before, just ask them if the water is purified or not, if they say no, then obviously don’t drink it and if it tastes weird, don’t drink it. Simples 🙂

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Cooked Is More Reliable Than Fresh

As with everywhere in the world, cooked food is more reliable than fresh produce. Don’ t let this fact deter you from eating fresh produce jut make sure you wash it before you eat it. When it comes to restaurants, again the ones I take people to regularly in Surin, are clean and you won’t get sick. Don’t let the initial Thai tummy convince you you are sick though. Everyone gets sick in their first few days but that won’t be from the quality of the food, it will be your body getting used to the sudden temperature, climate and dietary changes.

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When In Doubt, Take It Easy On The Meat

Meat does attract more bugs and flies than anything else you can buy, this means that it can turn quicker. If you aren’t sure of the restaurant then just stick to vegetarian dishes that obviously contain no meat. If you ever go to one of the incredible Thai BBQ places you do need to make sure that the meat that you pick up is cooked properly. This is where pretty much all of our currently ill volunteers got sick. They didn’t cook their food properly and obviously their bodies were not one bit happy with it! Just follow the same rules of cooking you would in your home country.

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A Little Bacteria Is A Good Thing

The only way you will ever be able to achieve my iron stomach is to constantly maintain a layer of good bacteria within your system. You can’t possibly hope to fight off any kind of infection or illness if your body has none of the antigens or intelligence about how to defeat it. It is kind of like going into a test without revising. You will definitely fail if you don’t try in the first place.

Obviously be careful with your creativity and food choices, you don’t want to end up in the hospital now!

So consider keeping things clean, but don’t sanitize everything you touch – living in an anti-bacterial world can put you at risk when you leave the bubble more than a little bit of exposure.

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Look For High Turnover And Low Fly-count

When you are looking for street restaurants to visit, this is a great rule of thumb to have. If you see a high turnover of food that means that the people cooking are always doing so, so ingredients won’t be left to get walked all over by flies or other beasties. This doesn’t mean however that quiet places aren’t clean or safe though, so if you see somewhere that is quiet and you fancy trying it, then take a look at the level of flies, if there are a lot then it probably means they have a lot to eat. If food is covered then flies won’t hang around, ain’t no fly got time for that!!

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Check Your Glass And Silverware

Don’t obsess, but give it the once-over. It may be better to drink your soda or beer directly out of the bottle than from a glass (or wipe the glass if you must). You can always ask for a straw to drink fruit juices or sodas, chances are you will be given one anyway when you are in Surin and other places in Thailand. Thinking about it, I never see Thais drinking direct from anything but a beer bottle haha Don’t be scared to ask for new cutlery if the ones you are presented with seem unclean. Many places in Thailand have their cutlery stored in small pencil case type boxes on the tables so they aren’t susceptible to flies.

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Peel Your Fruits And Vegetables

When everything you eat is cooked, you will crave fresh fruits and vegetables, I know I ADORE pineapple! Make sure you try it when you are in Thailand as it arguably has some of the best pineapple in the world. When you buy fruit, buy the kind you can peel – bananas, cucumbers, carrots, papayas, avocados, etc. Avoid lettuce or anything with a skin you eat (e.g., tomatoes), but if you really fancy one, don’t think that you can’t just because of the skin, just give it a wash and it will all be good 😀

A lot of the time though, no matter how clean a place looks, you may just be the unlucky one that gets something that your body doesn’t agree with. I know that I have eaten at restaurants I know are clean and safe but have managed to end up getting a little ill, not for any particular reason, just because I was unlucky that’s all 😀

One major tip I can give you to keeping your stomach and everywhere else in check it be consistent. If you are eating Thai food, stick to Thai food. I’m not saying you can’t have pizza or KFC if you fancy it, i’m just saying that your stomach gets comfortable digesting one kind of food, so if you mess around with that then you will pay for it.

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I know that if I eat western food that I do get a little ill, not because of the quality of the food, just because my system isn’t used to it anymore 😀

Just don’t worry too much about getting sick, it is very rare that people end up in the hospital, most people get a day or two and then they are perfectly fine.

If you still haven’t planned your trip to Thailand and want an idea of what you can do then take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page, for some incredible volunteer projects from Medical Care to Elephant Conservation.

After that, pop on over to my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages for more of my sillyness 😀

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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A Jet Lagged Wendy

So over the last few posts I have been talking about how you can save in order to travel and then how to save whilst you are traveling.; hopefully these were helpful for your planning, decision making and your wallet.

Now it is onto one of the most important and irritating issues that occurs with traveling;

Jet Lag

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What Is Jet Lag And How Do You Get It?

Jet lag is extreme tiredness and other physical effects, like memory lapses, felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones, which disrupts the bodies 24 hour rhythm. It is basically the spawn of Satan, nothing good ever comes from jet lag. It can take a few days to a few weeks for your body to adjust to a new time zone. This can make things difficult if you are bouncing from time zone to time zone in a short period of time.

You don’t even have to be flying in order to get jet lag, don’t let the name fool you 🙂

Travelling in general will have this same tiring effect, that can often have a HUGE effect on everything from your sleeping pattern to your health.

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When Is Jet Lag Worst?

For me I would say that travelling backwards in time screws me up the most. Traveling East disrupts your natural body clock as your body thinks it is much later than it actually is and it is very difficult to adjust. Traveling to the West is often not as bad but jat lag effects people in different ways for different directions.

My Secret Jet Lag Cure

I was looking up how to deal with jet lag a couple of years ago and found this article on the best ways to deal with it. A lot of the advice was preparing your body before you even left your home, not sleeping on the plane unless you were in the ‘sleeping time’ of the country you were visiting and lots of other stuff, that realistically, most of us don’t do.

Most people continue to work up until the day before they travel so adjusting your body clock, even if it is a good idea, is not something most can do.

One thing I did find worked though, which I NEVER thought it would, is something very simple, and to quote my sister ‘crunchy’. ‘Crunchy’ is a term my sister uses for natural things in life, like not letting her children play with plastic and encouraging them to get down and dirty in every situation.

So are you ready?

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Get earthed

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Confused?

Yeah, I was as well when I read it. ‘Earthing’ yourself is something that connects your body with the earth and its natural magnetic field after traveling above it for such a long time.

Once you land in your destination and you have gotten to your hotel and checked in, you need to find somewhere with grass, dirt or sand, then kick off your shoes and immerse your feet in it. Have a sit down or a lie down, just make sure you are connected with the earth for about 30 minutes. Once those 30 mins are up just go about your daily business.

How does earthing work?

There is something about ‘being at one’ with the Earth that resets your body clock and allows you to beat jet lag 🙂

I try earthing every day which I generally achieve my sitting at my friends house and relaxing in his garden. I have noticed how I am not as tired after travelling or a busy day once I have ‘earthed’

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A very simple explanation of how it works is that the Earth holds tons of negative electrons and when we connect with our bare skin, most notably with your feet, they buzz on up inside of us and overpower all the positive electrons (the bad stuff) that is wreaking havoc on our body causing inflammation, imbalance and general all round wackiness; including jet lag.

You probably still have that specualtive look on your face right?

I figured as much haha

Just try it

You never know

What do you have to loose anyway?

If you want some less ‘crunchy’ ways to get over jet lag then maybe these tips will help you 🙂

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Sleep BEFORE you leave.

Sleep deficit will make jet lag worse.

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Drink Warm Water

Drinking warm water for the duration of your flight is an Ayurvedic technique. You know that ancient Indian philosophy that created meditation and yoga; it was their idea. I feel as if they know their stuff (They also did the whole bare foot ‘earthing’ thing too).

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Nap During the Flight

Take short little naps on the flight when you feel sleepy. It will help build those reserves. If you can sleep for longer make it so that you sleep during the sleep time of your arrival time zone.

Obviously don’t deprive yourself of the sleep your body needs, but if you can time it to your new country, you will feel the difference I promise

As soon as you board your plane set your phone to the new time zone and play to that if you are unsure of the time difference 😀

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Eat Small Meals Frequently

Make sure you are filling your body with lots of healthy food and avoid junk food as much as possible when flying or traveling. The sugar will make you crash, which is never a word that sits comfortably on a plane right? Having sugar highs and crashes will screw your body clock up, try to eat slow releasing energy foods like pasta or bananas if you can, but small plane meals are good as well.

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Go For A Wander

Walking and stretching will get that blood flowing. It’s great for so many reasons, plus you might even be able to talk your way into business class!

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Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

Caffeine is the stimulant used by millions to keep them awake or to wake them up first thing in a morning. Don’t use it whilst travelling. Nothing could be worse. It is like having nothing but sugar but it ends worse than a sugar crash. Just trust me with this one.

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Find The Sun

Being in the sun fills your body with lots of healthy and happy vitamins that basically cheer you up, so as soon as you get to your destination, try to find some sun. This might be hard if you fly to somewhere that isn’t sunny or it is night time. but as soon as you can, go out into the sun and soak up the goodness

These are the things that I have found most useful from my own travels, if you have any tips or insider ideas then please feel free to leave a comment below. I am always on the look out for ways to not feel crap after travelling 😀

To see what you can do when you hit your destination, take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page for some amazing volunteering opportunities that will change your life 😀

And as always take a look at my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages, to see all the silly junk I get up to.

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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What Would You Buy A Wendy

After looking at the essentials and getting lots of people asking about what else would make your journey more comfortable I thought I would look into what I always tell myself I will get and always forget to, these ideas are great for when family and friends ask you what you want as a gift to take travelling with you.

I know that before every trip I take, both my mum and my dad ask me about what I think I might need for my trip, in all honesty I never really give it a thought because I have traveled so much with all the things that I usually take that I never give thought to new things in the market that might be really useful for travel.

Having had a look around the Internet and on some of my favourite travel blogs I have noticed that there is a definite trend for what people now use as their staple travel items. So when your parents or friends are fussing and asking what they can give you to make your trip easier then just hand them this list of useful items and let them pick out whichever thing they think will be best, just make sure to remove anything from the list that someone buys you or you might be stuck with several of one item 🙂

Now the things on this list vary from relatively inexpensive to the more pricey side of life, this is mostly down to ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. Some people are very lucky to have more money in life than others so this list is made to accommodate everyone, no matter what their monetary income.

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Portable Harddrive

As I have mentioned before, a portable harddrive is one of the number one things that everyone should have when they travel. Harddrives vary in size from as small as 1GB up to a 1TB, chances are you won’t be needing a one terabyte harddrive, but 16GB to 32GB is a perfect size. It will allow you to free up so much space on camera memory cards by transferring pictures over to a hard drive, not only that but you can fill a harddrive with movies as well which can be great to watch when you are stuck in an airport or on a bus or car for a long journey. You can get harddrives from anywhere on the Internet and they vary wildly in prices but you can expect to pay around 40GBP for a 16GB portable hard drive

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Swiss Army Knife

My Dad gave me a Swiss Army Knife when I first traveled to Thailand, I must admit that when he first gave it to me I did give a look that I often do with my Dad. My Dad is a cross between Liam Neeson, Bruce Willis and Grant Mitchell, he is very protective of me and is constantly concerned that, much like Liam Neeson, he will need to come and rescue me at some point in life. Over the years my Dad has been the person who has wanted to put a tracker in my phone, have direct numbers to ‘friends’ at the Embassy and to break the legs of every boy that’s ever made me cry, so needless to say when I told him that I was going to Thailand he insisted that I have a Swiss Army Knife, to use not only for the useful tools it possesses but also as a weapon if I ever get into a situation. Now I haven’t had to use it as a weapon but I can’t count the amount of times that my Swiss Army Knife has come in useful as a screwdriver, bottle opener and pair of scissors.

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Back up ATM or Bank Account

Credit cards and debit cards are totally fine to bring out to Thailand with you when you volunteer, the one thing I would suggest that people organise is a secondary back up account that has emergency money in. The details and card for this account should always be kept separate from your normal account, if anything happens to your regular card and account then you have a back up there to help you. This isn’t really something somebody can buy for you but many people are concerned about volunteers when they leave for Thailand, having an account which they have put money into for an emergency can ease people’s concerns about your safety and also provides you with some help if you need it.

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Travel Towel

This might sound really silly to some people but everyone should bring with them a Travel Towel, a normal towel is perfectly ample, but if you get a specific travel towel they are normally very compact, light weight, made of quick dry material and nearly always have their own pack away bag. I have one of these and it is great to just clip onto whichever bag I am taking with me for the weekend, the week or however long you are travelling for; especially as not every hotel or hostel will have their own towels. These kinds of towels are also great to use as blankets on flights or buses and as pillows as well, the amount of times that I have been sat on a bus absolutely freezing is just too high, but thankfully I have had a travel towel on hand to keep me snug, warm and comfortable.

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Adapter Plug

You HAVE to have an adapter plug for when you travel to a new country, it is just something that comes with travelling, not everywhere has the same plug and voltage so having the right plug is important. The best one you can buy is one of the universal plugs that you can make every other plug from, but if you can’t get one of these or just don’t think you need one that makes every plug then you should pick up a US adapter. Thailand uses the two prong plugs so US plugs work just fine here, they cope well will the voltage difference as well, I have two that I use every day and they haven’t failed me yet.

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Power Box

There are never enough sockets in any room that I have ever stayed in, in any country in the world, so having a power box that allows you to increase the amount of outlets you have is a god send and will save you time with charging everything up at once as opposed to one at a time. I personally always carry with me an iPhone, iPad, 3DS and my Thai phone so I need at least 4 plugs in my room, something which never happens. I normally have to unplug a fridge or TV in rooms I stay in to individually charge items which is not only a pain but is time consuming; having a power box eliminates the need to wait for one thing to charge at a time.

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Amazon Kindle

I personally don’t own one of these, yet. I keep looking at them when I have a snoop about on Amazon for things I need, and I keep wanting to buy one. They are so small, lightweight, robust and have access to thousands of books through Amazon. They work in the daylight as well with some strange magic technology that, in all honesty, sort of freaks me out, I always think the screen looks like it is just one of those paper ones that phone shops put on phones back in the day when you didn’t have real phones to test. At the minute I use my iPad as my e-book reader, it is great and has all the books I want but my iPad gets heavy and chunky when I read from it for a long time, so I think if you are just wanting an e-reader for your trip and you don’t already own a tablet then a Kindle will be your best friend. Here is the link to the current Amazon Kindle section.

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Books

Some people just prefer to have a physical book in their hands as opposed to an e-book reader or tablet, I can completely sympathize with everyone who thinks like that. I really miss having an actual book in my hands, the smell of the pages and the glue and the actual feel of turning the pages and being able to see how far you have read through a huge tome of a book.

Books are hugely space consuming however and also weigh your bag down more than you will realise, but if you insist on having books then just be prepared to deal with the weight of them. I always have to have a physical copy of Lonely Planet guides, I find they are perfect to travel with and read through when you have a spare hour or so and I can also highlight and mark the places and things I want to see.

Don’t think you have to have just travel guides with you though, bring any book you fancy and when you have finished it you can swap it with the books that we have in the volunteer houses. I personally have recently finished reading all of the Game of Thrones books, which I can tell you are much better than the show gives credit too. They are however very large books in part so I read mine on my iPad.

Here is a link to the Lonely Planet Travel Guide section of their website so that you can have a look and pick out the guide you think will suit you best.

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Journal

I think that everyone should journal every day when they travel. I know it seems tedious to do it everyday but I promise you that when you get back to your home country you will wish that you had done it. If you make note of every hilarious quote and situation you won’t ever forget them and when you look back to your journal years later if will bring back all of the memories as if they were yesterday. For me, I love to have leather bound journals with recycled paper pages, I think they feel and look beautiful and filling them up feels amazing. Knowing that in a few years I can look back at my journals and remember everything makes me very happy.

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Cards

Playing Cards are an invaluable item to take whilst volunteering or traveling, no matter what language you speak or the people around you speak, everyone understands the universal language playing cards. They provide hours of entertainment without the need to have electricity or batteries, something which can be incredibly useful when you are in the Elephant Village on our Elephant project or you are on the journey to and from any other project. Cards can be as cheap or as expensive as you like, just as long as it is a standard 52 card deck of cards, Bobs your uncle.

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Waterproof Money Belt

Now I always have a little giggle to myself whenever I see volunteers with these money belt things, they always come across as really uncool and completely unnecessary to me. Thailand is not a place that has crime enough for you to need an underclothes money belt; I have lived here for 9 months, I can assure you that having a wallet is just fine.
I will say however that the money belts, especially the waterproof ones are perfect for keeping all your valuables in like your passport, money and booking confirmation papers in. You don’t need to wear them with you everywhere you go as the volunteers houses are secure and safe and you won’t get your passport, money or other possessions stolen.

I wish that I had had one of these at Songkran in April as I must admit that my phone and money did get absolutely soaked and having a waterproof money belt would have been a god send.

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Travel Pillow

Much like with a travel towel, a travel pillow might seem like a silly idea to some people but I can assure you that these amazing, squishy, comfy pieces of cloud can make a stressful, long and normally uncomfortable journey into one where you can sleep your way through it. They might look silly, but I assure you that they will make you so comfortable that you won’t care if you look silly or not. They are inexpensive and easy to find so there is no excuse to not have one 🙂

Now that you know all the smaller things that you can bring with you to enjoy your time with us here at Starfish Volunteers, you can go to the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page to find which volunteer program will be your once in a life time memory.

Then as always check out my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages to see what else I am up to on a day to day basis 😀

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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How To Contact A Wendy

Talking is always positive. That’s why I talk too much.
– Louis C. K.

Traveling is by far one of my most favourite things to do, I can’t even begin to describe the overwhelming feelings I get when I get to experience a new place, it’s smells, it’s sights and also it’s customs. For me, I grew up in a military family so I am used to not being around my family for long periods of time, I know that this isn’t the case for everyone though and that keeping in contact with parents, partners and friends is sometimes one of the most important things to do each day, so I thought I would write a post about the easiest ways to keep your loved ones informed of what your up to 😀

Thailand isn’t a backwards country, we do have the Internet. I do still get shocked by the looks of shock on some people’s faces when they realise that Thailand has WiFi and mobile Internet, you would think that some people think we all live in the jungle and spearfish for our food everyday???

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People do spear fish but then they put the pictures of their catch up on Facebook and Instagram!

Finding somewhere to hook up to the internet in Thailand requires a 5 minute walk in any direction, being a newly developed country, Thailand is exploding with modern technology as its young people are desperate to become tech savvy.

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Even tiny villages have access to the internet!

Keeping in contact with your family and friends back at home is something that is very simple to do and here are just a few ways to do it.

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There are more blogs about cats than humans

Blogging

One thing that I have noticed becoming more popular with the volunteers we have with us is blogging. Now I know a little bit about blogging, I don’t do it so much on a personal level like my volunteers do but I do it on a professional/travel level. I find that it is an amazing platform that not only let’s people who care about you see what you are up to, but also people from all over the world. I use WordPress as my primary blogging site but I was recently approached by a company called Glipho who have asked me to write for the travel section of their blogging network site; something that was both very surprising and humbling 🙂

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Take a look at my newly created Glipho account here.

There are two other very famous and useful blogging sites which are, Blogger and also Tumblr, I myself have a Tumblr which you can by clicking here >>> Tumblr. Tumblr is more of a photo based blog site which is great to see an overview of what people are doing, whereas Blogger and WordPress are writing platforms where you write blogs about whatever you feel like for that moment in time; I want to write about rainbows sometimes but feel as though people probably wouldn’t be interested in rainbows and what they taste like.

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Check out the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page!!

Facebook

Facebook is the most famous social networking site and is obviously now a part of pretty much everyone on the planets lives. You get up, you check Facebook, you’re at work, you check Facebook, you’re in the bathroom, you check Facebook. Facebook is very much ingrained in people’s lives that it is very easy to update in seconds with pictures, videos and statuses about what you are doing. I have also found that Facebook is a great place to upload photos to. I keep hard copies of all my travel photos, but for photos of nights out and amusing things that happen through my day I just upload to Facebook then delete them from my camera or my phone. When I was a volunteer I loaded all of my photos up to Facebook as a form of cloud storage which gave me so much free space to continue to take more and more pictures of my travels.

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Calling Cards / SIM Cards

Calling back to your home country is sometimes the number one thing volunteers want to organise when they get into Surin. SIM Cards are only 50B from any 7/11 and credit here in Thailand is incredibly cheap at only a few Baht a minute for calls both within Thailand and abroad. I always recommend people to get themselves a Thai SIM card even if they aren’t planning to make calls, because people who have a smart phone can still be charged for hooking up to the Internet by their home phone companies, whether that be Verizon, 3 or Vodaphone. Plus it is also MUCH, MUCH cheaper to call home countries from a Thai SIM than a home SIM; trust me you will be happy to return home without a massive phone bill waiting for you.

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Email

For me email is only used for business emails to companies and other members of staff, oh also to my Dad as well as he has absolutely no idea what Facebook is, how it works or even how it works. Emails are nearly as age old as letters these day but I think there is something quite nice about waiting for a few days and receiving a nice long email from my Dad about what him and his family have been up to.

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If you have any questions about any volunteer projects you can always Skype us!

Skype

Skype is probably the single greatest way of keeping in live contact with people across the world. I have so many friends that without Skype I would never be able to see or talk to them, the free calls that Skype provide are normally fantastic quality but this obviously depends on your Internet connection, speed and strength. I would recommend Skype to everyone, whether they are travelling or not, it gives you free phone calls that you can use on a laptop or PC but also on tablets like iPads, as well as on smart phones. I can call my Dad or my friends abroad from my phone like a regular phone call but it doesn’t cost me anything; which is my favourite thing 🙂

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Instant Messengers

As much as the messaging system on Facebook is great, actual text messaging is normally quicker and easier than doing the whole Facebook messenger thing. My favourite high speed instant messengers are Kik and What’s App, they can be used anywhere in the world and are instantaneous. You can send photos, videos, stickers and messages that are huge as well. In Thailand, and also across all of Asia, we also have an instant messenger called Line, Line is the same as Kik and What’s App but has a very definite Asian feel to it, I would suggest people to get Line if they are in Thailand or Asia for some time and want a way of communicating with friends they make locally, as people in Asia don’t really use Kik or What’s App as much as they use Line.

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Snapchat

I had Snapchat about a year ago now I think and I just didn’t understand the appeal of only being able to send a picture once, that you can’t save, to people who can only view it for a couple of seconds. Apparently I know nothing though as Snapchat has exploded into a huge thing that has taken over the world, everyone from Brazil to Burma has Snapchat nowadays and even though I don’t see the big deal about it, it is apparently a great way to share something that you are experiencing in that moment with lots of people at once.

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One of the many stupid faces I make for the folks on Snapchat 😀

You don’t have to keep in contact with people when you travel, for me, I like to have little to no Internet access when I travel; I think it distracts from everything else you are doing. How can you ever hope to enjoy a drive from Bangkok to Surin if all you are doing is checking Facebook the whole time. You miss so much by spending all your time with your head aimed to the ground staring at your phone. This is just me obviously and I have come to terms with being one of those odd people in life who really isn’t like anyone else, so if you need to keep in contact with your friends and family then all of the above methods are great to use, don’t think that because I didn’t mention carrier pigeon that you can’t use it though. I would love to use smoke signals more regularly but understand not many other people do 🙂

In order to keep in contact with me then check out my Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram pages, if you would rather come and hang out in person then take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page to choose your life changing volunteer project 😀

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

 

A Hot Wendy

One of the things volunteers find most difficult to deal with when they get to Thailand is the heat and the humidity. I know from when I was a volunteer that when I left Suvarnabhumi Airport the heat hit me like a ton of bricks, it was similar to that wall of heat you get when you stand in front of an oven and open the door. You know that heat that makes you stumble back because it’s such a powerful force? That’s the exact same feeling you get when you take your first step not only out of the airport but out of your front door everyday.

Thailand is hot, there is no other way to put it.

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Nothing beats a beautiful Thai sunset, even if it is BLAZINGLY hot!

The standard 30-40C isn’t the only thing you will have to adjust to either. You should also be aware that Thailand is one of the most humid countries in the world, imagine that episode of Friends where Monica’s hair becomes dissimilar to a birds nest, and your on the right track.

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I know I don’t want hair quite that frizzy

Chances are, you won’t be used to this heat, so you will need to make sure that you prepare yourself for what can only be described as the sweatiest few weeks of your life, will be water.

It really is true that water in the single most life giving thing in the world. If you stay in Thailand and don’t keep on top of your hydration levels you will be having a bad time. So you NEED to make sure that you are drinking two to three of the large bottles of water a day, this may see like a lot to people who don’t drink a lot of water and something that seems like an unachievable goal but I can promise you it isn’t and it shouldn’t be.

Keeping yourself hydrated should be your number one goal for each day and if you think that you can’t drink three large bottles of water a day then you need to make sure that you pick up a decent supply of re-hydration sachets from 7/11 or Big C. They don’t taste that nice, I won’t lie, but they will supply with you electrolytes and sugars that your body will need, don’t think that because I use the word sugar that drinking fizzy drinks like Coke or Sprite will achieve the same thing. It won’t. Drinking only fizzy drinks in a hot country like this will make you more dehydrated and the amount you will need to drink will make you unwell so just do yourself, your skin, your hair and your teeth a favour and drink water.

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Chang, one of the MANY different drinking water companies

Another tip to getting acclimatised is to NOT drink freezing cold drinks. That old wives tale of drinking hot things when you are hot is very true. If you drink ice drinks when you are hot it will lower your core temperature and actually make you hotter in the long run. There is nothing wrong with drinking water or juice from a fridge but you shouldn’t be freezing everything you buy as you will never get acclimatised. I know that drinking a lovely ice cold bottle of water is refreshing at the time but I can assure you that give it 10 minutes and you will be wanting to have another one as you will still be hot. If you drink room temperature liquids will keep you cool and will still be refreshing as well 🙂

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Always amuses me that coconuts aren’t actually brown!!

A great a natural drink that is delicious and very good for you is coconut water. This isn’t the same thing as coconut milk, coconut water is the liquid that is in coconuts straight from when they are cut open. Not only is it very refreshing but it is also very high in electrolytes and potassium which will re-hydrate you very quickly and give you sugars your body graves when you sweat a lot. It also has Loric Acid in it which is a natural inflammatory, so it reduces bloating which can occur when you drink a lot of water or fluids.

My final tip for getting used to the heat and keeping cool is a product that you can buy from 7/11. They are the most useful little things and not many foreigners know about them, even if they should do. These amazing little things are cool towels that cost about 13฿. They are super cool and will make you feel so invigorated and revitalised within seconds, not only that but they are also reusable as well, just douse them in water and then put them in the fridge and use them whenever you need to. Sorted 😀

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These magic little towels are amazing and SO refreshing

Another tip is if you can’t deal with the sun and the heat, then stay out of it. The houses volunteers stay in all have fans in the rooms so if you get to hot then just grab a book and relax in front of your fan; even right now I am laid on a cushion in my office, right in front of a fan, it keeps me cool and also makes me look like I’m in a Loreal advert!

Not only that but if you think about the clothes you wear before you get here then you will be doing yourself a huge favour. The best things to wear. Light coloured, loose fitting clothes that if possible are made for this weather. Sports brands, fishing brands or just outdoor clothing companies sell the most appropriate clothing. You don’t NEED to have these kinds of clothing so just having loose and light coloured, natural fabric will make your life much easier.

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This is a cute dress but you WILL melt if you wear it in Thailand

These are the best pieces of advice I can give to people about getting used to and coping with the heat and humidity here in Thailand. Some people are very lucky that it doesn’t effect them too much and they can acclimatise very quickly with very few problems, but some poor souls are unlucky and never seem to get used to the heat.

Thailand only has two seasons, these are hot, and then hot and raining, we don’t ever get a cool or cold season. The rainy season is much cooler than the Summer but it is still upwards of 30C, the cloud coverage does make the days and evenings cooler, you will see Thai people wearing coats and hoodies, as for us, it is cold, but for foreigners it isn’t cold.

Just prepare yourself for the heat and you should be fine, just remember to drink water ALL day and you will be perfectly fine!!

Now that you know how to cope with the heat in Thailand you can crack on and sign yourself up for one of our amazing volunteer programs at Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page.

As always if you want more from moi, just check out my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages 🙂

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto