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Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all

Author -  Rose Coleman

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all

Before 2018 I had minimal travel experience; most of all solo travel experience. 

I’d been on family holidays to Australia and some Pacific Islands, but my parents did all the organizing, and one trip with my best friend to Australia. So, leaving the nest for the other side of the world was a very big deal for me.

Rose Coleman 2.jpg

I had just finished my university degree at the end of 2017 and I didn’t feel that I was in the headspace to find a career and settle down yet. I wanted to see stuff and do stuff, not set up a 9-5 job straight away. So I decided to knuckle down for a few months and save to do some travel in the latter part of 2018.

It took very minimal researching time to find out what I wanted to do. I was pretty set on going somewhere, I was just looking for something I was interested in that would allow me to save enough money beforehand and have me away for a few months. Once I had decided on what I was going to do I booked it straight away, without thinking about it too much; probably much to my parents’ dismay. 

I had heard of Camp America a few times in the past few years, from people I knew doing it but I hadn’t really looked that much into it. 

I stumbled upon International Working Holidays (IWH) when I was searching for NZ based travel companies who offer placement jobs for kiwis overseas. And Camp America was on the list. I had a read and for the first time I thought that that would be something I was really interested in. 

I messaged a couple of friends who had done it before and both their responses included in some form the words’ best experience of my life’ and ‘just do it, it will be amazing’. I was pretty much sold from then on. And the application process is so seamless and easy. 

I’ve always wanted to volunteer with animals, but because I had just been a student for 3 years and funds weren’t exactly high I had always envisioned that it would be something I would do a bit later in life. But while I was browsing the IWH website I found the huge range of volunteer projects and I pretty much just decided it was meant to be and that I was going to find a project that could take me after my time in the states was up. 

The hardest part of that process was deciding which project to commit to. I actually ended up doing - eenie meenie minie mo- to decide because it was too hard! I have no doubts that all the projects are incredible but my time at South Africa Wildlife Sanctuary was indescribably surreal.

I expected to feel a lot of nerves before I boarded the plane. But mostly I was just excited. Probably because I was sick of working every day and I was finally going overseas to do something exciting. Being away from home has never been that big of a deal to me because I went to boarding school and went to university at the other end of the country. 

These days with Facebook Messenger and FaceTime you are crazily connected to home anyway, even from the other side of the world. I can remember being on my flight from Auckland to Houston and as it left the runway I thought ‘holy bananas I’m really doing this!’ 

It’s an incredible feeling of being nervous for what’s ahead but the nerves are overshadowed by a huge feeling of excitement. 

You don’t really get that feeling in that magnitude from any other situation. It’s pretty incredible. 

Rose Coleman 3.jpg

I could be a huge cliché and say the highlight of my Camp America experience was the people I met, and while that is very much true, I’ll be different. A huge highlight for me was the location of my camp, which was about an hours train ride from the middle of Manhattan, pretty much on the New York/New Jersey border. 

At camp it was very much in the wilderness, with trees and animals around but a short taxi ride and we were in a typical small American town, and a slightly longer train ride and we were in the middle of Midtown in Manhattan. Being so close to the madness of NYC meant we could explore on weekends rather easily and doing that was incredible. 

Another huge highlight was when my camp arranged all the staff tickets to a Mets baseball game. It was so cool being a part of a baseball game which is such a big part of American culture and seeing and experiencing it first-hand.

In South Africa every day was a highlight pretty much. It is so incredible to be surrounded by the wild animals I’d only ever seen on television and for the day to day routine to involve any one and any number of them. But I will always remember the first time I saw an elephant. 

Rose Coleman 5.jpg

The three teenage elephants that live at the project are not even fully grown; they still have about 1.5 metres to grow up, but nonetheless I was blown away seeing them up close and getting to interact with them. There are no words for how incredible that was. It’s something you must experience. 

Something I learned from my trip was that if you want to do something you have to just do it. 

From booking a trip in the first place to wanting to try a new food or experience; when you’re by yourself nobody is there to talk you into it or encourage you. You must be all of that yourself. 

It’s incredibly empowering traveling alone and making the most of that experience involves being out of your comfort zone pretty much the whole time. And nobody ever said that was a bad thing. Something I like to think about now, that I learned while I was overseas is that the worst thing that could happen in a situation is in no way as terrible as you first think. 

As cliché as this is, diving right into things is the way to go. There’s no point in tippy toeing around things. “A ship in a harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for”. (William Shedd)

The most challenging moment I experienced is a very easy albeit a bit traumatic one for me to recall. When I was in the States, I had to apply for my visa to South Africa because of the application time restrictions. 

A very long story short, my application got rejected twice due to various reasons and then they didn’t release my passport back to me for 2 months. I didn’t even know they still had it; I couldn’t get a hold of anyone at the consulate and didn’t know if it was lost or just at the bottom of some pile of documents. 

I managed to go sans passport in the USA for the last month of camp and then for the majority of the 30 days traveling afterwards. I cannot even put into words how stressful it was and how many times I had emotional breakdowns. I don’t deal with things well when I don’t know what is going on and what is going to happen, and it is out of my control. 

Enormous credit to Vicki at International Working Holidays for replying to my thousands of emails and being an absolute SAINT sent from above in those 2 months, helping me locate my passport and then coordinate it being sent home to get the South Africa visa and then sent back again. It was a very stressful and worrying 2 months to say the very least and honestly without Vicki I don’t know what I would have done. 3 days before I was due to leave the States, I collected my passport from a FedEx depot in Houston and I have never been so relieved.

Rose Coleman 1.jpg

What moment are you most proud of and why?

I’m proud of myself for saying yes to things I normally would say no to. Whether that means getting up at 4am to start hiking, taking a long train ride somewhere I didn’t know about, staring through binoculars for hours on end or trying foods that I had previously written off. 

And those moments that don’t seem to be much turn into seeing the sunrise from the middle of the Grand Canyon without all the tourists, and coming upon views of a city unlike any other, and seeing meerkat pups making their first steps above ground and finding out your new favorite food. There’s no singular moment that I can pinpoint where I found myself feeling proud. It was the whole trip. 

What did I get from this experience?

Where do I start? Firstly, about 6000 photos from all the incredible things I was able to see and now remember hopefully until I’m very old. I met countless inspiring and incredible people, many of whom I will continue to stay in touch with and meet up with in time. I met my boyfriend. 

I saw so many different landscapes and natural wonders in the USA, many of which literally took my breath away. I saw every animal I envisioned I would see if I ever went to Africa, but I got to help them thrive and put things in place to ensure their longevity, which I never ever imagined I would do. 

I found newfound strength within myself and the realization that I can do so much more with my life. I could go on forever. Even when I was little, travel was something I wanted to do, especially solo travel.

I don’t need to say all the good things that come out of travel; Google can explain that better than I ever could. What I can say is how unbelievable, incredible, inspiring and life-changing my experience was. And I have no doubts that anyone who travels wouldn’t say similar things. 

Now I’m going to finish this post with another quote because other people’s words sound so much better than mine do!

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

If you are interested in finding more about Africa Volunteer Program , check on the pages or our Camp America website.

Fill out my online form.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all

Before 2018 I had minimal travel experience; most of all solo travel experience. I’d been on family holidays to Australia and some Pacific Islands, but my parents did all the organising, and one trip with my best friend to Australia. So, leaving the nest for the other side of the world was a very big deal for me.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all

Before 2018 I had minimal travel experience; most of all solo travel experience. 

I’d been on family holidays to Australia and some Pacific Islands, but my parents did all the organizing, and one trip with my best friend to Australia. So, leaving the nest for the other side of the world was a very big deal for me.

Rose Coleman 2.jpg

I had just finished my university degree at the end of 2017 and I didn’t feel that I was in the headspace to find a career and settle down yet. I wanted to see stuff and do stuff, not set up a 9-5 job straight away. So I decided to knuckle down for a few months and save to do some travel in the latter part of 2018.

It took very minimal researching time to find out what I wanted to do. I was pretty set on going somewhere, I was just looking for something I was interested in that would allow me to save enough money beforehand and have me away for a few months. Once I had decided on what I was going to do I booked it straight away, without thinking about it too much; probably much to my parents’ dismay. 

I had heard of Camp America a few times in the past few years, from people I knew doing it but I hadn’t really looked that much into it. 

I stumbled upon International Working Holidays (IWH) when I was searching for NZ based travel companies who offer placement jobs for kiwis overseas. And Camp America was on the list. I had a read and for the first time I thought that that would be something I was really interested in. 

I messaged a couple of friends who had done it before and both their responses included in some form the words’ best experience of my life’ and ‘just do it, it will be amazing’. I was pretty much sold from then on. And the application process is so seamless and easy. 

I’ve always wanted to volunteer with animals, but because I had just been a student for 3 years and funds weren’t exactly high I had always envisioned that it would be something I would do a bit later in life. But while I was browsing the IWH website I found the huge range of volunteer projects and I pretty much just decided it was meant to be and that I was going to find a project that could take me after my time in the states was up. 

The hardest part of that process was deciding which project to commit to. I actually ended up doing - eenie meenie minie mo- to decide because it was too hard! I have no doubts that all the projects are incredible but my time at South Africa Wildlife Sanctuary was indescribably surreal.

I expected to feel a lot of nerves before I boarded the plane. But mostly I was just excited. Probably because I was sick of working every day and I was finally going overseas to do something exciting. Being away from home has never been that big of a deal to me because I went to boarding school and went to university at the other end of the country. 

These days with Facebook Messenger and FaceTime you are crazily connected to home anyway, even from the other side of the world. I can remember being on my flight from Auckland to Houston and as it left the runway I thought ‘holy bananas I’m really doing this!’ 

It’s an incredible feeling of being nervous for what’s ahead but the nerves are overshadowed by a huge feeling of excitement. 

You don’t really get that feeling in that magnitude from any other situation. It’s pretty incredible. 

Rose Coleman 3.jpg

I could be a huge cliché and say the highlight of my Camp America experience was the people I met, and while that is very much true, I’ll be different. A huge highlight for me was the location of my camp, which was about an hours train ride from the middle of Manhattan, pretty much on the New York/New Jersey border. 

At camp it was very much in the wilderness, with trees and animals around but a short taxi ride and we were in a typical small American town, and a slightly longer train ride and we were in the middle of Midtown in Manhattan. Being so close to the madness of NYC meant we could explore on weekends rather easily and doing that was incredible. 

Another huge highlight was when my camp arranged all the staff tickets to a Mets baseball game. It was so cool being a part of a baseball game which is such a big part of American culture and seeing and experiencing it first-hand.

In South Africa every day was a highlight pretty much. It is so incredible to be surrounded by the wild animals I’d only ever seen on television and for the day to day routine to involve any one and any number of them. But I will always remember the first time I saw an elephant. 

Rose Coleman 5.jpg

The three teenage elephants that live at the project are not even fully grown; they still have about 1.5 metres to grow up, but nonetheless I was blown away seeing them up close and getting to interact with them. There are no words for how incredible that was. It’s something you must experience. 

Something I learned from my trip was that if you want to do something you have to just do it. 

From booking a trip in the first place to wanting to try a new food or experience; when you’re by yourself nobody is there to talk you into it or encourage you. You must be all of that yourself. 

It’s incredibly empowering traveling alone and making the most of that experience involves being out of your comfort zone pretty much the whole time. And nobody ever said that was a bad thing. Something I like to think about now, that I learned while I was overseas is that the worst thing that could happen in a situation is in no way as terrible as you first think. 

As cliché as this is, diving right into things is the way to go. There’s no point in tippy toeing around things. “A ship in a harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for”. (William Shedd)

The most challenging moment I experienced is a very easy albeit a bit traumatic one for me to recall. When I was in the States, I had to apply for my visa to South Africa because of the application time restrictions. 

A very long story short, my application got rejected twice due to various reasons and then they didn’t release my passport back to me for 2 months. I didn’t even know they still had it; I couldn’t get a hold of anyone at the consulate and didn’t know if it was lost or just at the bottom of some pile of documents. 

I managed to go sans passport in the USA for the last month of camp and then for the majority of the 30 days traveling afterwards. I cannot even put into words how stressful it was and how many times I had emotional breakdowns. I don’t deal with things well when I don’t know what is going on and what is going to happen, and it is out of my control. 

Enormous credit to Vicki at International Working Holidays for replying to my thousands of emails and being an absolute SAINT sent from above in those 2 months, helping me locate my passport and then coordinate it being sent home to get the South Africa visa and then sent back again. It was a very stressful and worrying 2 months to say the very least and honestly without Vicki I don’t know what I would have done. 3 days before I was due to leave the States, I collected my passport from a FedEx depot in Houston and I have never been so relieved.

Rose Coleman 1.jpg

What moment are you most proud of and why?

I’m proud of myself for saying yes to things I normally would say no to. Whether that means getting up at 4am to start hiking, taking a long train ride somewhere I didn’t know about, staring through binoculars for hours on end or trying foods that I had previously written off. 

And those moments that don’t seem to be much turn into seeing the sunrise from the middle of the Grand Canyon without all the tourists, and coming upon views of a city unlike any other, and seeing meerkat pups making their first steps above ground and finding out your new favorite food. There’s no singular moment that I can pinpoint where I found myself feeling proud. It was the whole trip. 

What did I get from this experience?

Where do I start? Firstly, about 6000 photos from all the incredible things I was able to see and now remember hopefully until I’m very old. I met countless inspiring and incredible people, many of whom I will continue to stay in touch with and meet up with in time. I met my boyfriend. 

I saw so many different landscapes and natural wonders in the USA, many of which literally took my breath away. I saw every animal I envisioned I would see if I ever went to Africa, but I got to help them thrive and put things in place to ensure their longevity, which I never ever imagined I would do. 

I found newfound strength within myself and the realization that I can do so much more with my life. I could go on forever. Even when I was little, travel was something I wanted to do, especially solo travel.

I don’t need to say all the good things that come out of travel; Google can explain that better than I ever could. What I can say is how unbelievable, incredible, inspiring and life-changing my experience was. And I have no doubts that anyone who travels wouldn’t say similar things. 

Now I’m going to finish this post with another quote because other people’s words sound so much better than mine do!

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

If you are interested in finding more about Africa Volunteer Program , check on the pages or our Camp America website.

Fill out my online form.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all

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