What a year and looking forward to travelling again in 2021!

Volunteering & Travel Advice / 23 December 2020 What a year and looking forward to travelling again in 2021!

It would be an understatement to say it's been a rollercoaster this year. Only last week, the brilliant work and incredible efforts to get vaccines developed was coming together and we saw the first patients receiving their vaccinations - from Joe Biden on American TV to my own Dad in London, it felt like a historic moment. Just as soon as we were celebrating though, COVID-19 produced a variant that has seen much of the UK locked down again. Another hurdle to overcome, but I know we can do it together!

Pod Volunteer is a member of the Year Out Group and these words of wisdom from their Chief Executive Stefan Walsh really struck a chord with me:

"For anyone with experience of walking in mountains, it will remind you of false-summits and the disappoint that the effort, enthusiasm and the sheer will power you have just put in to the last ascent, now has to be replenished so you can tackle what you hope is the final summit. You can't go back, and you can't rest too long. You just have take a breath, dig in, prepare for more pain and re-embrace the challenge that you set yourself long ago.

As tired as you are, this is the moment you discover more about yourself, why you are here, what's important and what, having reached the summit and then taken the descent back to normality, you will do next. You will have changed, as will the world around you and your perception of it."

This also made me reflect on the nature of volunteering overseas too - I have been so inspired over the almost 20 years of running Pod Volunteer by the amazing projects we support and the sacrifices that the people who work at them have made to help others, whether it be through caring for people, animals or the environment. And each individual volunteer, who has committed themselves to making a real difference to our world. We all have a part to play and together we can overcome anything!

A huge thank you to our volunteers who have stuck with us through the challenges and we are looking forward to 2021 - it's going to be a bit of a rocky road for travel until the vaccines are more widely rolled out, but I anticipate that as we reach Spring, things will start to feel quite different and that travel will start to more widely reopen again. We hope to get volunteers to many of our destinations in 2021 - but we will always put your health and safety first. I also want to say a heartfelt thank you to my team, I couldn't have done it without you and you have helped keep my spirits high even in the bleaker moments.

Finally, I have to also admit that I am really missing travel. Everytime I see images on the TV or internet of overseas travel, it triggers my senses and the sights, sounds, feel, tastes and even smells of adventure! I can't wait to start exploring our world again and volunteering overseas!

Wishing you, your family and friends a happy and peaceful 2021 from all of us at Pod Volunteer.

Alex, Managing Director



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