Travel advice from an amateur

1. Pre-departure meditation.

It is really important to do some mental work before travelling. In my opinion, you should never have pre conceived notions about a place (or try not to have any). I never try to have expectations. WHY? Because you’re already setting your mind up for comparison. If you go thinking “oh it is going to be like this”… and its not what you thought, your mind will be left battling the reality. What I mean by that is…. you won’t get to experience THAT MOMENT for what it is. There is a reason “surprises” are a positive thing. They come out to no where, we see them for what they are when it happens. Therefore resulting in a happier experience and one that is PURE. So, in less confusing english, I am saying….DROP THE EXPECTATIONS and TAKE IT ALLLLLLLL IN. The good and the bad. 🙂

2. Open dat mind!

It is probably making some people cringe as I wrote “dat” instead of “that”. Loosen up a little! It is REALLY important to stay open minded when in a different environment. YES this doesn’t look like home, YES these people are strangers, YES you want your normal stomach activities back. But if you spend more time thinking about what you miss about home and less time about what is new out there, you’re going to set yourself up for a bad time. New experiences bring about new opportunities! Treat every new day as a new opportunity and LEARN from it. If something goes wrong, treat is as something that is PART of the experience. I think bad things just add a little taste to the travels ;). All in all, you never heard a good story out of a perfect, by the book, experience. Things don’t always go as planned, people don’t always act as you thought they would, SO WHAT? The more your open up your mind , the more room you have to love everything around you.

3. Make a connection!

This one is kind of hopeful. Once again you’re reading this from a person who’s only traveled to a handful of countries and is pretending to give travel advice. But this one makes sense to me! Something that adds to each trip, each experience is the QUALITY of the experience. Whether you’re travelling for pleasure or work, make a connection that will constantly make you smile about the memories you have of that place. Whether it is a person you can relate to, a spot that made you feel alive or even an object that you found there that made the experience that much BETTER. “Success is when you think back to your memories and they make you smile”. A successful trip is when I leave behind a piece of my heart with someone or something that I know will keep it safe. 🙂

4. La deeeee daaaaa moments

WRITE THEM DOWN.  I cannot stress enough how amazing it is to refer back to something in the future and be able to read how you felt at that moment. Yes, it is nice to look at pictures, and trust your memory to remember how happy you were. But it is a whole new level of reminiscing when you can open up a journal and be like “Omg, i totally forgot thats how i felt that day.” I know writing is something you might have NEVER done before, but there is a first time for everything. During a new experience, you need at least 15-20 minutes (longer the better) per day to reflect on your amazing accomplishments that day. These special moments can stay with you forever and remind you that your happiness doesn’t have to stay behind in that country, you can take it home with you, and feel that way everyday!

Maybe these are things you already knew! And maybe these are things you need to think about in the future. I just wanted to share my two cents on how I perceive new experiences!

Plan a new adventure.

Speaking of an adventure… Come out to our open house on Feb 2nd/2014 at 1pm to our burlington office! Check out upcoming events at http://www.solidarityinaction.ca

-Mansi Parasher

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Future Leaders

We had our very first trip leader meeting, and it was awesome to hear everything that has been going on, and what the near future holds for all of us!

Congratulations to Jamila, Roxanne, Lauren and Breanne for being trip leaders for next year! This will give us all a chance to introduce a beautiful opportunity to other people. All you ladies bring in your own unique feature into SIA and I am so looking forward to sharing ideas with all of you. 🙂

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missing Rox and Jamila

I guess this will be a good time to share some advice from our past trip leaders. This might help our new trip leaders, or just people in general. To be a leader is a life skill 🙂

As much as you can prepare, remember that not everything will go according to plan. Stay confident, stay positive, smile, and know it will all work out. These moments offer us the greatest type of learning we could ask for.Julie Ingriselli 

Embrace your fears and believe in yourself. Trip leading can seem like an overwhelming responsibility at times, but can be so rewarding if you let the experience challenge you.
Be calm, be patient, and be optimistic. Tell yourself ahead of time that there will be things that you can’t control – and that’s okay. You’ll roll with the punches and everything will eventually fall into place.Avantika Mathur

It is a totally difference experience transitioning from the role of a participant to that of a Program Leader and I believe that the 2014 Program Leaders will make the transition into their new role seamlessly. They have demonstrated strong leadership skills and shown their passion for Pacifico de Villa and SIA in so many ways – I encourage them to remember that they have been selected for a reason and to use their prior experiences in the community to guide their decisions prior to and during their programs in Peru. SIA has an incredible team of talented individuals both in Canada and Peru that are excited to work alongside this group developing the upcoming programs. Natalee Freeborn

Being a program leader is about finding a balance: a balance between challenging your participants and making them feel comfortable; keeping to the schedule and being flexible; sticking to your ways and being open-minded; and of following your head and following your heart. If you can find a natural balance between each of those, you will be a successful and effective leader – Heather Law

My advice would be to always smile and have patience. Sometimes it can be challenging to meet everyones needs and that can be stressful. But just stay positive and do your best.Nabila Kanji

You can check out more information on how to apply! http://www.solidarityinaction.ca

-Mansi Parasher