A Cambodia Bound Wendy

Many of our volunteers want to continue to travel whilst doing their volunteering work. The best and easiest way to do this is to visit the beautiful and historical country of Cambodia. Most of our volunteers will spend the weekend in this amazing country, giving themselves just enough time to see, arguably, the most famous city, Siem Reap. A few days really doesn’t do this magical country justice though so I really do try to encourage volunteers to spend at least a week in Cambodia if they have time available at the end of their trip.


Tonle Sap Lake which drains into the Mekong River that runs through Phnom Penh.

A lot of people don’t really know much about Cambodia and what there is to do apart from see temples so I have put together a week long travel plan that will let you experience Siem Reap to the fullest. I have also made one for the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh and then a combined week long plan that encompasses the very best of both of these places.

There are obviously several other places to go in Cambodia that are beautiful, but if you only have a short time then I think that these two locations will offer you beauty, history and also some of the most famous sights of natural and historical significance that the country has to offer.


Ta Prohm Temple, home to the famous Banyan tree seen in the Lara Croft movie

If you are thinking of volunteering with Starfish Volunteers and you would like to have some time in Cambodia then mention this when you book your trip and our wonderful staff in Bangkok will arrange for you to have the travel week of your choice added onto the end of your trip. This not only ensures that you will be able to see the very best of what is on offer but will also take the hassle and worry out of you organising it yourself 😀

Win, Win, Situation!


Independence Monument in the capital, Phnom Penh

Visit the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page to take a look at the different projects we have on offer, don’t forget to mention the Cambodia Extension when you book as well 😀

Once you have done that take a look at my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages to see what else I am up to on a day to day basis as well as what you can expect on each of our incredible projects!

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


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.


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


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

porntip nakhirunkanok

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.


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


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


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

images (1)

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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 🙂


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 😀


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.


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

A Weekend Wendy

Last week I posted on Thursday about how I was going to be going down to Bangkok to pick up new volunteers, well I did just that and took a few photos to show you what each volunteers first weekend will be like with Starfish Volunteers, and also what it involves for me.

For volunteers their time starts when they board the plane, for me it starts when I get my volunteer pick up emails and then my trip down to Bangkok. It was really strange to have to force myself to take pictures along the way as I am now so used to seeing the journey down to Bangkok. But I did make an effort and so this will be my picture essay about what the volunteers first weekend involves for me 😀


Pre departure Goy Djab from Gois!!


Beginnings of my 7 hour bus journey 😀


Straight from the bus to a motorbike to get my first volunteers


My most visited BTS Station; Phaya Thai


This building always makes me think of sponge cake with jam layers 🙂



Trying not to fall asleep on the BTS


The ever changing skyline out of Bangkok to the airport


My second home at Suvarnbhumi Airport


First volunteers backpacks



Taxi to the famous Khao San Road



On the way to Khao San



Went to buy train tickets but there wern’t any left!!


Wonderfully helpful staff who helped with my train ticket fiasco


Managed to get some bus tickets sorted!


Waiting for another member of staff called Moon, to get some money to pick up the volunteers



Another motorbike journey


Hello again Phaya Thai station!


Even in Bangkok there is still jungle 🙂


Met this cute boy on the BTS


Suvarnabhumi Airport; again……………………….



Second trip down to the volunteer hotels


So many stairs climbed this weekend!


Finally get a chance to sit down and watch some AFL!


Reminder notes for my volunteers


A bit of Pokemon before bed I think


I definitely don’t want to get out of bed this morning



Ate SO much breakfast!!


On the way to the Grand Palace for the Bangkok Tour




Enjoying the beautiful silk at the Queen Siriket Musem of Textiles



Enjoying some Pokemon whilst waiting for my volunteers


The boat over to Wat Arun; this man is enjoying his paper



Turns out Wat Arun is having some gardening work done 🙂



Wat Pho is one of my favourite temples in Bangkok


Got to drive up front with the Tuk Tuk driver; WIN


On the way back to the hotel, and then BACK to the airport again!


Oh hello stairs, why do I have to be on the third floor!





Crazy busy on the BTS today!!


IMG_0790Realised the ceiling in the airport was pretty interesting 🙂


Driving back in the dark is always nice in Bangkok


Finally on the bus back to Surin 🙂




Finally back at home!!!!


Playing even more Pokemon before bed 😀

So hopefully you guys liked this post, it is the first attempt at a picture essay; probably not a very good attempt but still…………. I tried right? 🙂 I didn’t want to take pictures of everything that volunteers see whilst on the tour as I think that that would give everything and wouldn’t leave anything for volunteers to experience on their own. Plus I also forgot to take a lot of photos that I had

If you want to know in better detail what you will be doing on the Bangkok tour or to book yourself onto a project then please take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page.

Then head on over to my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages, which I always update with everything I am up to, silly adventures and odd anecdotes about my day 😀

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


A Travelling Wendy

Tonight I will be travelling down to Bangkok to pick up EVEN more volunteers and I thought it would be a fun idea if I were to make a sort of video diaryish, montage sort of thing of the whole weekend that volunteers have when they arrive in Thailand.


Home for the next 3 days 🙂

This means that I will be filming and taking photos from the very moment a volunteer meets us in the airport in Bangkok, to the travel to the hotel, the Bangkok Tour, dinner on Khao San Road and then the trip up to Surin. When I try and explain the whole journey to volunteers it sounds like a lot so I think having a series of photos and videos will make it miles easier and be a fun way for upcoming volunteers to have a glimpse of what they will be experiencing and might even inspire a few of my readers to sign themselves up for one of our life changing projects.

I also think that I will start to do intros of our volunteers as well, so whenever I go down to Bangkok I will introduce all of the volunteers we have and have a little but about them, which project they are doing and why they chose to do it 🙂 It is all well and good to hear me prattle on about how awesome our projects are but when it comes from the mouths of the volunteers it will be less biased and give so many other opinions and ideas that I might not have.


Bangkok has such a wildly differing skyline depending on which way you look

It will also give me the opportunity to share the blogs of people who are travelling, blogging is such an amazing platform to keep people involved of what you are doing so if I can make a sort of mini Starfish Volunteers Blogging community I think that would be loads of fun!!


Part of the Grand Palace

On top of that it will also mean that for people who don’t have the opportunity to travel to this beautiful country I call home, that they can see some of the most famous places to see in Bangkok as well as the difference in the landscape and the country as a whole as you travel around.


Going from the bustling streets of Bangkok to this, a waterfall in the beautiful Khao Yai National Park, is an incredible and astounding journey

Plus I have really grown to enjoy blogging and speaking to people about their travels and experiences and think that more people should read about these. So stay tuned for a picture book blog over the next few days of a Starfish Volunteers First Weekend in Thailand 😀

In the mean time, if you haven’t already, get yourself signed up to one of our projects on the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page.

Then head on over to my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages, which I always update with everything I am up to, silly adventures and odd anecdotes about my day 😀

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


Even More Frequently Asked Wendys

So this is Part 2 of my FAQ, hopefully this, and Part 1 will be helpful for your travelling and volunteering 🙂

Once again these aren’t in a finite order but I have tried to bunch them all together in a vague sort of order; sort of; just go with it haha

Do we get air con? – The houses that volunteers stay in don’t have air con but each room does have fans in it.


I like this funky old lock 🙂

Do I need locks on my stuff? – When travelling anywhere I would always advise people to lock their luggage, both hold and carry on, as well as any backpacks they will be taking with them. This is just to be safe, after all you don’t want anything to go missing do you? In terms of the houses volunteers stay in, I would say you don’t need to lock anything, when I was a volunteer I had a MacBook Pro, and iPad and an iPhone and I didn’t lock them away. It is obviously up to you if you choose to further lock your belongings when at the volunteer houses.


Can I bring laptops/tablets/iPads? – I have mentioned before that I brought all of these things with me when I was a volunteer and didn’t come up against any issues. It is up to you if you want to risk expensive equipment but as long as you are safe with them and don’t flash the cash a lot nothing will happen to them. Tablets and laptops are great ways of keeping in contact with family and friends and an even better backup for photos and video that you certainly don’t want to loose.

What is the voltage in Thailand? – The voltage in Thailand is 220-240AC, 50 Hertz.


Either of these plugs will work perfectly in Thailand, if your plugs aren’t the same then get a converter that turns to this plug type

What kind of plugs does Thailand have? – Thailand doesn’t have standardized plugs as most other countries do, you can get double or triple pronged plugs. If you are bringing plugged devices with you then get an exchange plug that goes to an American standard pug. These work perfectly here, but as with the Thai issued plugs be careful when using electrical items in Thailand, you often get surges when you plug something into the mains and some appliances will often build up huge static energy or simply just electrocute you. Just be careful 🙂


Do the volunteer houses have WiFi? – Yes they do. It is a standard modem though so don’t be downloading loads of stuff and thinking twenty of you can all be on Facebook and Skype at the same time. Be respectful of others and log off the wifi when you aren’t using it, if someone mentions they are having issues with the Internet then log off and let them use it, they might want to talk to their family and friends as much as you do. Make sure you don’t just restart the router when there are several people using the Internet as this is selfish and often people can loose valuable information when this happens. It can also reek havoc with the router, so just leave it be.

internet cafe

Internet cafes in Thailand are great, they have really fast connections, comfy chairs and are SUPER cheap

Are there Internet cafes? – Surin has hundreds of Internet cafes, the closest being by the side of Big C, so only a 5 minute walk. They are 10฿ an hour and are normally Skype enabled with cameras and microphones, these are great alternatives to getting online if the house wifi is proving to be problematic. You could also cross the street outside the volunteer accommodation and visit Cafe Amazon, a coffee shop that has free, fast wifi.

post office

Is there a post office? – Surin does indeed have a post office that you can pick up and send from. It can be a bit of a confusing place so if you need to visit then I would advise you to take a Thai member of staff with you so that you get or send exactly what you need to.

What do I do about getting a phone? – Phones are very easy to pick up in Thailand, Big C, as well as several local vendors sell cheap phones that are perfect for a stay in Thailand. They are normally around 500฿, which is around £10, and they come with a Thai number. The people who sell them will normally change the settings to English if you ask the, nicely as well 🙂


Typical phone that volunteers pick up in Thailand

What is mobile phone coverage like? – Surin has great mobile phone coverage, even in the mountains at Khao Yao and the jungles around the elephant village I have never had a issue with getting signal. Mobile Internet coverage is not as good as it is in Bangkok but that is due to our geographical location; my iPhone normally has ‘E’, not that I know what that means, but that loads reasonably fast when I am not on wifi.

Can I get camera film? – In all honesty I haven’t ever seen camera film in Thailand but this is probably down to everything now being digital. If you do need film then I would recommend you bring it with you from your home country, just be careful that it doesn’t get too hot and effect the film.


One of the age old questions about Thailand; Tap Water?

Can I drink tap water? – Water in general is always a topic of concern for volunteers. People hear horror stories about dysentery and all sorts of other horrible waterborne infections and I can tell you that I brush my teeth with tap water and shower in regular pumped water everyday. It obviously gets in my eyes, any cuts and I have used it only tattoos and I certainly don’t have any horrible infections. I wouldn’t suggest you drink tap water on a regular basis but if you are brushing your teeth then you will be fine. The water in all street restaurants is fine to drink as is the ice, they are normally brought in from an outside seller so are perfectly safe.

I am vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian, what can I eat? – As much as I hate to admit it, Thai people don’t understand vegetarians, every time I take a vegetarian or vegan to a restaurant the staff can’t quite come to grips with the fact that a customer doesn’t eat meat. But don’t worry, you can eat food in Thailand still. It is much the same as it is in the Western world, just make sure you tell people you are vegetarian and they will supplement oyster sauce for mushroom sauce, chicken for tofu and fish sauce for soy sauce. It comes across as daunting to be a vegetarian in Thailand but it really isn’t too bad.

I have food allergies, how do I know my food is safe? – Volunteers must always tell us if they have any allergies or intolerances so that we can make sure that you know what to look out for when going for food without a Thai speaking individual. One of the best things you can do is have a piece of paper with your allergies or intolerances, written in Thai that you can show to restaurants or vendors so that they know what not to give you. You can also just learn what the Thai is, something that I would advise in case you loose your piece of paper; learning one phrase might be the difference between a reaction and a safe eating experience.


Everyone’s best friend; Mr Mosquito!!!

Do I need to being malaria tablets? – I am not a medical professional so everything I tell you in terms of medical advice is not verified by a doctor, my is just my own experience and that of the Thai staff here. I didn’t take malaria pills and still don’t, I have been here for 7 months and haven’t gotten malaria 🙂 Pills often have very bad side effects including headaches, dizziness and can even make the mosquito bites you will get even worse. You don’t want to look like a red Dalmatian so me and the Thai staff would advise you not to take them whilst volunteering in Surin; other places in Thailand will obviously have a different threat level so research any individual travel locations before you leave. Borders and major jungle areas and mountains are the sorts of places you will need malaria pills.

medical kit

Medical kits are a good idea but something this size is a little excessive haha

Shall I bring my own medical kit? – Being prepared is never a bad thing, I would always encourage volunteers to bring maybe a packet of paracetamol, plasters or their equivalent and also some diarrhea and stomach settling tablets. Chances are you will get Thai tummy in your first few days and having tablets will just make you feel so much better. I would also recommend people to have re hydration sachets on hand but these and all other medication can be purchased in Thailand so don’t freak out if you didn’t pack any.


A dog that salivates does not constitute Rabies. If you do ever get bitten by any animal, you do need to make sure that you inform a member of staff immediately.

Do I need to get a rabies shot? – For my degree I was working very closely with dangerous and exotic animals and I didn’t have a rabies shot, I am famous for playing with every animal I come into contact with, and I still haven’t had a rabies shot. There is the tiniest chance that you will ever come into contact with rabid animals whilst on one of our projects, obviously if you go on to do other work with animals then it might be advisable to get your rabies injections. It’s entirely up to you, but it is an incredibly expensive series of injections that I think you realistically don’t need whilst being with us. If you ever do think an animal is rabid then don’t pet it 🙂 simples.


Is it true that HIV is prominent in Thailand? – HIV is an issue in Thailand. But as with any country the best way to protect yourself from HIV is not to be having unprotected sex with anyone that you don’t trust. Granted you may get drunk one evening and meet the man or woman of your dreams and forget to use protection, it does happen, chances are you won’t contract HIV but you do need to be responsible and not let yourself get into that situation in the first place.


Haggling is a way of life for a lot of people in Thailand

Can I bargain/haggle with people? – In general the answer would be yes. You obviously can’t haggle with people in shops like 7/11 but street vendors and markets are normally perfectly accepting of haggling. There are obviously establishments that won’t haggle so just check with a member of staff if the one you are going to does haggle. Just be respectful when you haggle, £5 to you might not be anything but could be food for a family for an entire day so I normally stick with going to the nearest 50 or 100฿.

What is the least amount of money I can survive on each day? – I live of 100฿ or less a day. This buys meal a huge meal at lunch time which tides me over for the day and a couple of bottles of tasty apple juice. Granted I don’t eat a lot and always have water at my house so when it comes to volunteers I would say the least you can live comfortably on is about 150฿ a day, but you can stretch money as much as you want here, it is easy to be thrifty here as it is so cheap.


Yes Thailand is hot but it isn’t a music festival so dressing like this ^^^^ is not appropriate for Thailand.


This is the more appropriate way to dress in Thailand, it is very important to remember that this isn’t your home country and people here, think about clothing in a different way

How should I dress in Thailand? – In Surin you don’t have to worry to much about what you wear. In some areas of Thailand you do need to be very respectful and show no bendy bits but Surin does not follow these restrictions. You can wear shorts and a tshirt if you want, just don’t be wearing hot pants and a bandeau shirt; this is still Thailand so you do need to be respectful of others. I would always suggest you have your shoulders covered in some way, vest tops are ok but spaghetti straps tops would be frowned on. Nights out in Surin are similar to the western world, again no hot pants and bandeau tops but don’t be afraid to look glamorous with what you wear.

What do I wear when I go swimming? – At swimming pools it is acceptable to wear bikinis and costumes but if you are at the Elephant village or the lake where people go to swim then you need to be more covered up, shorts and a shirt are advisable; this is to show respect to Thais, you are in their country after all.


Thai language always makes me think of the Pokemon ‘Unknown’

I don’t speak Thai, is it hard to learn? – Thai isn’t too hard to learn once you get the hang of it. Like with most things practice makes perfect. As a volunteer I would just make sure you get simple phrases like, ‘hello’, ‘how are you’ and ‘thank you’ memorised. Simple gestures like this will impress Thais and bridge the gap between you and them. In Surin people don’t speak English so you will need to learn a little Thai in order to live the respectful life that Thais lead. If you want to learn more Thai then the Internet will be your best friend, I am currently teaching myself Thai from a combination of my friends help, the Internet and English language learning books. I follow the topics that they cover in the simplest books and just do the Thai version instead of the English 🙂

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A super smiley Thai hill tribe woman. There is so much variation in people across Thailand from the hill tribes people to the crazy bustling metropolis of Bangkok

What are Thai people like? – Thailand is known as the ‘Land of Smiles’ and that name doesn’t come from nowhere. Thai people are incredibly friendly and welcoming and always smiling. They are also very respectful people who are very spiritual, as with anyone in life, treat people as you would wish to be treated and you will get on just fine.

Can I bring an elephant back with me? – No, they are all mine and I will not have you taking them from me 🙂

thai puppy

A lot of the animals are very cute in Thailand; if you are wanting to take one home with you then make sure you check out your countries animal transport rules. One think you can do is check out the Soi Dog Foundation for the best ways that you can help.

Can I bring an animal back to my country with me? – I will go with no to this one. Obviously if you contact the relevant people in your home country as well as in Thailand then I am sure it is perfectly feasible, but I have no idea how to go about that. Animals aren’t toys though and do live entire lives so please remember that, what seems like a good idea at the time, might not be such a great idea when you are back in your home country.

How do I get rainbow hair like yours? – You must be born half elf and have magic pixie friends that come in the night and make your hair represent the pixie seasons 🙂

Hopefully all of these questions and their answers were somewhat useful to you all; they were questions that I was asked when I was thinking about writing this post, as well as ones that I ALWAYS get asked by prospective and new volunteers. There may be hundreds of questions I didn’t answer so feel free to ask me anything you still want to know 😀

Don’t forget to take a look at the  Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page for all of our projects and how you can make a difference.

And as always make sure you check out my own TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages, they are a fantastic way of seeing all the other silly things I get up to every day 😀

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


A Questionable Wendy

Seeing as 99% of people who read my blog don’t know me and I am terrible at writing a bio I thought I would do one of those old Facebook question note thing instead 🙂 I found this on my own Facebook from nearly five years ago and cringed at the answers I gave 55

Enjoy 😀

Pick out a scar you have and explain how you got it – When my face gets wet you can see on my left check that there is a lot of scar tissue that came from a very bad ice skating accident with me being the only girl playing British Bulldog. Needless to say, I went about 6 feet on the ice, on my face, because a boy couldn’t face being beaten by a girl 🙂

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My resulting face – beautiful right

What is on the walls in your room? – I don’t actually have anything on the walls in my room at the moment, I am going to be filling them with all of my Thai language revision though

What does your phone look like? – It is a 64GB white iPhone 5 in a green edged case with a lots of blue heart stickers that Nikki gave to me yesterday

What music do you listen to at the moment? – I have developed a huge love for Thai and Asian music in the last few months


Bodyslam, possibly the most famous band in Thailand

What is your current phone lock and home screen? – At the moment my lock screen is Rainbow Dashs’ cutie mark from My Little Pony, and my home screen is the reflection of water on a thatched roof at my friends lake house.


My lock screen


Home screen

What do you want more than anything in the world right now? – To be fluent in Thai

What time were you born? – I think it was some time in the mid afternoon

What are you listening to right now?Kook Kao by Cocktail (click the name to check them out, they are really good; I promise)

Are you scared of the dark? – I am scared of the dark when I am inside but outside doesn’t bother me

What colour hair/eyes do you like on the opposite sex? – I have no real preference but everyone knows how much in love with Asian boys I am 555

Coffee or energy drinks? – Energy drinks, but I would always choose an ice smoothie over anything else

Cats or dogs? – Dogs are number 1!

What is your favourite pizza topping? – I can’t get pizza in Thailand sadly, but my favourite in England was the Chicken BBQ with bacon, sweetcorn and onion with a BBQ sauce base and stuffed crust. God I miss pizza!!

If you could eat anything right now, what would it be? – Well now I am desperate for pizza

Do you speak another language? – I am getting pretty damn good at Thai now

What was the last gift you gave? – I bought my big brother a crate of beer the other night

Are you double jointed? – In my thumbs I am yes

Who is the person you call the most? – Nangfa


Miss her face so much!!!

What annoys you the most? – That it isn’t ok in Thailand to tell someone when they are being prat; sometimes people just need to be told that!

What is your biggest weakness? – That I am probably the most stubborn being on the planet

What is your favourite Western and Thai holiday? – Oh this is an easy one, Western holiday has to be Christmas and favourite Thai holiday is hands down is Songkran – the worlds biggest water fight

What were you doing before writing this? – Writing even more blogs 🙂

What do you get complimented on the most? – Thai people are obsessed with my skin being white and girls are always telling me how jealous they are! Western people always say I have nice eyes

What do you want for your next birthday? – I would really love a pair of high tops, sometimes I get tired of wearing flip flops and want to wear socks

Who are you named after? – I’m not so much named after anyone, it was just that my mum never knew a Wendy. My Thai name, Rung, is because I always have rainbow hair

Worst habit? – Definitely that I stay up for way to long on an evening

Where is your second home? – My big brother, Dooks house


My big brother Dook and his beautiful niece, Per-sia

What was your favourite toy as a child? – It would have to be my stuffed lamb, very aptly named Lambsy

Most treasured memory? – I think that it would have to be when my sister and her family and my best friend, Aron, and my mum came to the airport to see me off. Everyone was in tears and I have never not wanted to stop hugging someone so much. My sister gave me a note that I read whilst waiting for the plane that made me bawl my eyes out!!

Best live music you have seen? – Speed hahaha But I think it would have to be Atreyu, they were so good, and made a huge effort to talk and interact with so many of their fans

Do you have any pets? – I did have a beautiful puppy called Skylar for a month or so but then was told I wasn’t allowed to have her anymore, definitely one of the worst moments during my time in Thailand.


I miss my baby, Skylar, SO much!!!!

What is your favourite colour? – Always has and will be, green

What was the last book you read? – I have recently read every Game of Thrones book, which makes it very confusing for me when I periodically hear about events on the TV show and knowing that far worse things happen later on

What was the last thing you ate and drank?-Me and a volunteer called Alice went to Swensens, a beautful ice cream company, for dinner last night. The last thing I drank was water 🙂

Who was the person you spoke to on the phone? – I am always on the phone with Nangfa!!!

Do you believe in love at first sight?– I believe in love at first sight with Thai boys haha

Best present you have ever received?  – Even though they came from an idiot, the best present I ever got was my CCM Ice Skates

Do you have any siblings? – I have a beautiful older sister called Emi. A younger brother called Josh and my Dads wife is currently pregnant with a baby girl 🙂


Sibling in progress


Baby brother Josh


Big sister. Emi, and her son, Reuben

What colour hair do you have? – I have every hair colour!

What was the last thing you watched? – I have been obsessed with Jeremy Kyle lately haha

Summer or winter? – I adore Winter but now live in a constant Summer state

What is your favourite movie? – Tangled is by far the best movie of all time, oh and Josie and the Pussycats, and Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves!

Have you met any life changing people in the last year? – I think my two best friends in the world Aron Jackson and Anya Gartside would be at the top of that list, closely followed by my big brothers Dook and Tee.


Aron on his recent volunteering trip to Africa


My homeslice Anya


My brothers, Tee, the one on the left, and Dook on the right

Morning or night? – Always night

What is your full name? – Wendy Ann Victoria Reece

If you could be an animal for a day, which animal would it be? – It would have to be a snow leopard as they are the coolest animal on the planet!

You get granted one superpower, what do you choose? – I think teleportation would be the best thing in the world, I could go to all the places I have always wanted to go!

What is your favourtie smell? – Bacon. Bacon and bacon.

Hopefully these silly questions will give you a bit more of an insight to me and my life and will mean that you understand my madness a little better from now on 😀

If you want to volunteer with a mad woman then take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page.

You can also always check out my TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages for more of my silly antics!

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


Frequently Asked Wendys

When people come to Thailand they naturally arrive with lots of questions that often they think are to silly or to strange to ask, well chances are we have heard them all before so I thought it would be a fun idea to write up some of the strangest and most frequently asked questions that we get about volunteering and about Thailand itself.

These are in no particular order but I tried to bunch similar questions together, I have had to turn this into a two part blog as there were just TOO many questions to answer in one SUPER long blog.

Is Thailand safe? – This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions that we get. I can tell you from my own experiences from living here for a while, that Thailand is safe. There are obviously the same dangers that there are in other countries like traffic and robberies but these are so far and few between. Bangkok is naturally more of a dangerous place than Surin is because it is a big city where there are a lot of people, the more people there are in a place the higher the chances that there will be undesirable people wanting to make a quick buck. Just take sensible precautions like don’t flash your cash and you should be fine. I walk around in Surin on my own in the dark all the time and have never had any problems, Surin is safe, just be careful of the traffic, Thai drivers are notoriously mental!!


Fun traffic in Bangkok

What happens if the Police pull me over? – Chances are that during your time in Thailand you will not come into contact with any Police, if you do it will normally be a hello and a quick conversation, many officers are desperate to test out their English skills. If you do get pulled over for any reason just make sure that you explain that you can’t speak Thai, call a member of staff and let them talk to the office. Staff are available 24 hours a day for events just like this. Just make sure you don’t do anything silly enough to attract Police attention.


Police are normally a lot less intimidating than this I promise you 😀

Do I need a visa? – This should 100% be something you look at before you travel to Thailand. If you fly into any of the airports you will immediately be given a 30 day visa for free, if you travel in by land you get a 15 day visa, the price varies on which checkpoint you travel in from and which country. If you plan to stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days then you need to organise a visa before you travel, this will make your journey less stressful and mean you don’t have to travel to Bangkok to extend your visa.

Can I extend my visa? – Yes you can extend your visa whilst being in Thailand. It is something that has to be done in the main immigration office that is about an hours car ride out of Bangkok. A visa extension is normally 2000฿ for 10 days when you are extending from a standard tourist visa. If you have a per arranged visa that you wish to extend this is a similar price but the length of time is at the discretion of the immigration office, if they are having a good day it can be as much as a 30 day extension. It is much cheaper and easier to arrange a visa before you arrive, the one most typically issued is the 60 day visa.


Make sure you know what your visa situation is!!

Can I leave Thailand and come back in? – This all depends on your visa situation, if you have a 60 day visa that is single entry then don’t leave Thailand otherwise your visa will be cancelled. You can obviously leave and enter as many times as you like just be careful about visas, also be careful with doing land crossings at the same crossing more than twice in a row. Sometimes they get a bit funny about you just using the border for visa runs so try to vary your locations.

What places can I travel to easily? – From Surin you can travel very easily to Cambodia and then onto Vietnam. You can also head up to Laos pretty easily, just make sure you know what visas you might need for each place and any other information the might need, like a departure date for example.


The beautiful Angkor Wat

Is it safe to travel alone? – Travelling alone is as safe as you make it. I have always traveled alone and have never come up against any sorts of danger or major issues. Just be smart and don’t let people take advantage of you. Even if you don’t feel it, you need to act confident, the unruly people in the world don’t target confident people they target people who look lost and confused; don’t be that person.

Is there anywhere I shouldn’t travel to or should avoid? – Each country has recommendations about which areas are safe and unsafe to travel to. Take a look at your countries travel abroad website to see where it deems safe to travel. I general all of Thailand is safe to travel but the borders can sometimes be places of occasional conflict between countries, just steer clear of any trouble and you will be fine.

Is public transport safe? – Public transport in Thailand, from the Sky Train in Bangkok to the Tuk Tuks in Surin are all very safe. Tuk Tuks and motorbike taxis might not look in the best condition but as with all things in life, if you don’t think it is safe then don’t use it. I now that I have complete faith in the public transport in Thailand and I regularly use the Sky Train, taxis, motorbike taxis and Tuk Tuks and I have yet to report any issues, even when me and 6 others fit into one Tuk Tuk!!


One of the most quintessential forms of transport associated with Thailand

Can I take images of Buddha out of the country? – Legally the answer to this question is no. I however took out several, different sized, Buddha images, statues and pictures out of the country and didn’t face any issues. You obviously can’t take anything from a temple or anything that is a worshiped religious relic but small statues or trinkets shouldn’t be an issue. If you declare something at the airport then chances are they will confiscate it, so it is entirely up to you.

Should I buy ivory? Can I take it out of the country? – ivory is a sensitive subject in Thailand, if you get it from a reasonable and ethical source then there isn’t an issue, but as with everywhere in the world, not everything is as it appears. I can’t voucher for the validity of the ivory in Bangkok but know that the ivory pieces sold at the local silver and elephant villages comes from elephants who’s tusks have become problematic to feeding or have be damaged and need cutting. Cutting an elephants tusks does not harm the animal in any way and is often used as a means for handlers to gain extra money as well as improve the welfare of the animal. Just buy responsibly from hat are trust worthy, if you are unsure, check with a member of staff. If you are only taking a small piece of jewelry out of the country then you don’t need to have a certificate of authenticity but if you are planning to take large pieces of ivory out of the country then chances are you won’t be allowed to.


Ivory is beautiful, but make sure you check if you are buying from a good source

Should I go to any festivals? – Thailand has the largest number of festivals and public holidays of any country in the world, so chances are, when you are travelling or volunteering that you will come across at least one holiday. Holidays are nearly always religious holidays and are very important to Thais. Some holidays have huge festivals that accompany them such as Loy Krathong, the light festival which Chiang Mai is notorious for, or Songkran the celebration of Thai new year with a ginormous water fight, some smaller holidays include various days devoted to gods or spirits that might only be celebrated in local temples. If you are in Thailand for any festivals I would encourage you to participate and get involved in any way you can, they are great cultural experiences but are also normally loads of fun.

Can I use my credit/debit card in Thailand? – You can use cards here in Thailand, we have hundreds of ATM’s that accept foreign cards. Make sure that you check with your bank that you are allowed to use your card abroad and that you inform them of the dates of which you will be using it abroad. Chances are if you are using your card that you will get charged by your own bank but also by the ATM. Here ATM’s charge 150฿ per transaction for foreign cards so it is better to withdraw larger amounts than smaller ones, charges per bank vary hugely so make sure you inquire as to what these charges might be.


What happens if I loose my card? – If you loose your card you to need to report it to your back as soon as possible and get it blocked. Depending on your length of stay with us you can always have another card posted out to the volunteer accommodation or staff office. If you aren’t with us for long enough for that to be an option you can always look to having money transferred to another volunteer or staff members account and then withdraw it from their account; and maybe buy them a beer for their trouble 🙂

What do I do if my card gets blocked? – If your card gets blocked, chances are your bank has done it due to your activity abroad. No matter how many times I tell my bank I am travelling they always block my card at least one time per trip, just call them and answer the security questions they are you and them they will unblock your card, normally with immediate effect as well.

Should I bring travelers cheques? – No. Simple as that. People don’t use them in Thailand, I am sure there are places in Bangkok you can use them but you will be there for a weekend which will be filled with volunteer tours and activities. Just don’t waste your time organising travelers cheques as you will not use them, especially in Surin; they wouldn’t even know what they were!!

Do you tip in Thailand? – Tipping is not expected as it is in the Western world, people’s livelihood is not based off them but it is considered polite to leave a tip. If I am at a restaurant then I will normally leave the coin change and only take the notes, my favourite restaurant waits until this equals a meal and then gives me one for free so I guess that isn’t really tipping haha When it comes to Tuk Tuks or motorbikes you will have already agreed on a price so tipping is not expected. Taxis in Bangkok would normally expect a foreigner to round up to the nearest 10฿ or so, for example, if you had a taxi fare that was 170฿, you would just pay 200฿. But as with anywhere in the world, it is your own choice.

Does Thailand really have Ladyboys? – Ladyboys are always something volunteers ask me about. Yes Thailand does have Ladyboys, Surin also has a very active Ladyboy community, chances are that when you are here you won’t even notice that they are the females they play so well. The Ladyboy friends I have are all beautiful and often more attractive and better dressed than the females I know!


The Ladyboy show we had at Speed for Valentines Day

Can we go to a Ping Pong show? – Ping Pong shows are something that Thailand is notorious for, take a walk down Khao San road on an evening and you will have several touters trying to get you into a cab or a Tuk Tuk to see a ping pong show. I have seen them on a couple of occasions and can say that there is two sides to ping pong shows. The first is the ‘wow’ factor, when travelers first get to the shows they are amazed at the things that the girls can do and find it incredible and very interesting or disturbing. It is a source of entertainment after all. On the other hand however, if you think about what the girls are having to do then it is extremely degrading, many girls come to Bangkok in the hope to make more money for their families and get sucked into the world of Ping Pong shows which walk hand in hand with human trafficking and prostitution. As much as the bar owner and touters will tell you their girls are happy and free to leave whenever they like, you can never be sure. You might think your one visit to a Ping Pong show won’t make a difference to these girls but if everyone thinks that then it does make a difference. It is entirely up to you if you wish to go to a Ping Pong show but just think about the repercussions it has on the girls and every person involved.

Can I drink in Thailand? – The legal drinking age in Thailand is 20 years old, the enforcement of this is often up for debate. I know that I have seen high school students in the bars and club in Surin over the weekend, the security are well aware of their age but as long as they give them drinks and keep out of trouble they tend to get away with. Getting drunk in Thailand is much easier than foreigners think, the heat and humidity mean you get drunk quicker so just make sure you are aware of your surroundings and what you are doing, nobody wants to be having to send you home at midnight do they???


Thailands most famous beer brand; Chang

Can I do drugs in Thailand? – I don’t ever agree with drugs in any way and this is very much mirrored by the Thai government. Police are very strict on drugs and can and will arrest you, there is the possibility of imprisonment and even the death sentence. Many police stations set up traps in order to catch both Thais and foreigners, you buy a packet of drugs from someone and then two seconds later you get arrested. It isn’t worth it I promise you. Some of the islands like Koh Pangan, Koh Samui and Koh Tao do have several bars and locations where Police allow drug use in order to contain it. It is obviously your choice to get involved in drugs but I personally don’t think it is worth the risk of being put in a Thai prison in order to get high; but I’m a square and don’t even agree with swearing haha

Can I smoke in Thailand? – Smoking is perfectly within the law in Thailand, there is some contention as to whether it is legal to smoke indoors in places like bars, so make sure you either ask or take notice of where the locals are smoking. Hookah is something that is smoked all over Thailand and is also legal, just make sure you know what you are smoking so that you don’t get yourself into a situation that might end badly.

I know this is a pretty long post so I will put up the second half of this FAQ tomorrow 😀

For the moment make sure you check out the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page for all of our amazing projects.

And as always take a look at my TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages, they are full of awesomeness and win!!!

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


What’s Been Going On With Wendy

I have been living and working in Thailand for nearly seven months now and I know that I this blog isn’t really about what I am up to, but what I think that it would be a nice idea if everyone reading this got to know me a little better.

These past seven months have been incredible, a learning curve, stressful, upsetting, fun and more than anything they have been life changing.


Ignore the boy, he is an idiot who we aren’t friends with 🙂

I can remember when I first went to New York and I thought whilst I was there that it was the place I wanted to move to and work and live, I didn’t realise however how much of an effect Thailand would have on me. I never intended to get a job from my volunteering, I came out to Thailand in order to do the placement part of my degree, I didn’t think that I would be quitting my degree, packing up half of my clothes and leaving my beautiful and huge Playstation collection and moving to a town in the North East of Thailand where I would get to work with incredible people and amazing volunteers, who like me, just wanted to make a difference and experience some of the incredible things this world has to offer.

I have so many highlights in this first 7 months in Thailand, everything from the children at Childcare knowing my name, having an elephant remember me every time I visit her, making some incredible friends, learning and using more Thai on a daily basis than I thought I would ever learn, making friends with Thai people based entirely off my Thai skills and getting to see some of the most beautiful places in Thailand.


I can’t say that everything has always been roses though, there have been times where I have been more than frustrated with the way that things are done in Thailand when I know that the way that I would do it would be more efficient, times where I have felt that I am treated completely differently and that doing so is ok when I know that it isn’t. I have had to learn to build up my own self control as in Thailand, you don’t get involved in other people’s business, now if I see something that isn’t right and I think something needs to be said I will always do so, I was brought up to have an opinion and be proud and stand by it, not only that but I was taught to stand up for myself and others if I feel as if they are being mistreated or getting away with things that they shouldn’t. Here that isn’t something that is done which I find very hard to deal with myself, I am very opinionated and everyone that knows me will tell you that I never give in and I always stand up for myself, so this change is probably the hardest one for me.


Things are a bit different when you aren’t a volunteer anymore

Another huge change that I have had to adopt to is just the general way of life for Thais, when I was a volunteer I was living with other Westerners and could talk and do whatever I wanted and was used to but living with Thai people means I have to live by their rules, no matter how much I think at times that they are silly or need reevaluating. I am getting better and have stopped making the small mistakes that I did when I first moved over, like putting my feet up on things, moving things with my feet, stepping on doorways, and or tiny things that nobody ever teaches you not to do, you are just expected to know, which naturally I didn’t.

I do like the Thai way of life though and the respect they have for everything though I do sometimes feel as though certain aspects could benefit from a little more communication, for example in Thailand, if you do something wrong people tend to not say anything and then consider that forgiving you, but how can you know you have done anything wrong if nobody says anything?


I have met some of the most amazing people in the world and I wouldn’t change that for the world

But like with every journey in life there will always be good and bad sides to everything and anything you do or experience, you just have to weigh up the negative and positive things and see if you are getting enough of the positives to outweigh the negative. Here I think I have found far more positives than negatives so overall I am very happy and loving the incredible new experiences that I get to have everyday. I just have to adapt everything I do so that it works with my life here and hold my tongue at times where I know that I normally wouldn’t.


I miss my best friend more than anything


My beautiful niece Pixie, I wish I could see more of her and my nephew Reuben growing up but luckily my amazing sister loves photography so I always get to see what they are up to


My nephew Reuben enjoying the blanket his mama made 😀


My beautiful sister, I think the hair is the one family resemblance we have 555

Everyone always asks me who and what I miss about being in England and honestly I always reply with the fact that I was an army brat as a child so I have learnt to deal with people not being around so that’s not really a huge issue for me. Yes I do miss my family and my friends but I have friends and family here, I have two amazing boys who are my big brothers and care for me so much, they are my knights in shining armour who always look after me. I am also lucky enough to make friends with people everywhere I go, now I know this is down to the colour of my skin as it attracts a lot of attention, but I am a very social person so making new friends is always lots of fun for me; and hopefully for them as well hahaha

I do really miss certain foods and snacks though, I would do unspeakable things for a roast dinner or Yorkshire pudding, chips, sausages and gravy. Or Mattersons smokey sausage. Or real bacon. Or proper chocolate. Basically I want all the junk food, which realistically I don’t want I just want it because I can’t have it. I now eat so healthily here that I feel ill if I ever do eat any junk food, I had a McDonald’s when I was last in Bangkok and felt horrid for like two days!!! Even if I have Tim Tams, the super chocolatly Australian snack that is similar to Penguin bars in England, they make me feel ill, which is such a shame as they are delicious!!!


I am lucky enough to have some amazing friends who keep me occupied ALL the time!

I think that because I am constantly busy and doing something or going on some silly adventure, that I am distracted and constantly being entertained so I don’t really have the time to be missing anyone or anything in particular; but you know, if you feel sorry for me or you want to send me anything, then please feel free to 😀


House Gymnastics is always a fun way to pass the time; even if we were terrible at it!!!

Hopefully no matter how long I stay here, which I hope is for very much longer, I will keep having amazing adventures and learn even more Thai and make a real difference to the people on each and every project we work with and every person that I come into contact with. As long as I know that I have made a difference in my life then that is all that matters, I know that even though I may be one person and my contribution may not be as life changing as walking on the moon or curing cancer, I know that if you add my small difference to everyone else’s then it will be a fighting force that will change this world for the absolute best.


The few days spent fixing this water pipe in the elephant village is nothing to volunteers but makes such a huge amount of difference to the elephants and their mahouts

I have been lucky in my life to gain the experiences and opportunities that I have had and I know that if I can help someone else to have even a part of what I have had in my life then I have done what I set out to achieve. Your background, upbringing or personal history should never shape what you can do in the future. Everyone can do everything, you just need to dream it, work to get it and then help others to realise their potential.


Sometimes life is all about eating a rose and being at peace, do what makes you happy and everything else will fall into place

Life is what you make, so go out and do everything you want to do and make a positive change to the universe.

My TwitterTumblr and Instagram pages are jammed full of pictures of me being an idiot and just enjoying my life, so check it out!!

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