REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK
FROM GROWN-UP GAPPERS, CAREER BREAKERS AND RETIRED TRAVELLERS


Read stories, case studies and feedback by ex Travellers Grown-Up Gappers and Career Breakers on their experiences overseas. They're all 25 upwards, to over 70, showing that exciting travel, making a difference to communities and gaining new experiences is for everyone!

JACQUELINE WILSHER (60s), British
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

This was an amazing experience that I would strongly recommend to others. Of course it was fantastic to enjoy hands on/physical work with these beautiful creatures, to learn so much about their intelligence and capabilities. But also the whole range of activities we undertook and the knowledge we gained from the centre's staff was tremendous.

Obviously it is a very physical project which does require a certain level of fitness especially in the heat and humid conditions, however for me, I came away with a strong sense of personal achievement having coped well with all that was required.

I felt fulfilled,enthused,younger and fitter on my return.

If you'd like to read Jacqueline's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

PENELOPE GAIE MAHER (50s), Australian
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

I think this is a fantastic program. It has really broadened my knowledge of the plight of the orang utan and has given me such a precious personal opportunity that I don't know if I would have found anywhere else. The staff are fantastic both in the Centre and the the Lodge. The lodge could do with a little bit of an update if possible but all in all its great.

Thank you for this opportunity and I really think I will take home some very precious memories from this experience. I would be prepared to talk to any future volunteers re my experience.

What Experience do you feel you are Gaining? I am gaining much more knowledge of the orang utan (will call them orangs from now on as orang utan is longer to type).I have always had a keen interest in primates, but actually observing the orangs on a daily basis and being able to really get to observe their individual personalities is very enriching to me. Not only do I get to observe the infants and juveniles we work with, but also the semi-wild and other orangs at the centre who I get to see on a daily basis. I love watching the antics of them and how at ease they are with humans, but still very much individuals...

Would you recommend this placement to anyone else? Definitely. This whole experience is fantastic. The fact that we need to commit to a two month placement really allows you to immerse yourself in the program, and gain genuine knowledge and experience, rather than just a snippet that you would receive if you did, say, a two week program. It also allows you to get to know the orangs as well as the fantastic staff that work with them. I am very comfortable in my temporary home.

What type of person do you this placement would suit? Well, I know what type of person this placement doesn't suit. Older aged people that are too set in their ways to adapt to a new situation, without whinging and complaining about everything. I find it such a downer to be around complainers, about the weather, about the food, about everything.

The type of people this program would suit and people that are able to take things as they are. Appreciate the simple things in life. Not expect things to be the same as where they are from. People that realise this is still a third world country and we are not entitled. People who love nature, love hot, humid weather, love the simple things in life, love an adventure, are quite capable of handling a good treck, and have a genuine interest in the conservation of the orangs. Basically people who can see the positive in life, no matter what they have been challenged with.

If you'd like to read Penelope's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

SHARLEEN GILLIES (40s), New Zealander
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

Gosh, too many positive experiences to write down! I did have a wonderful time. The people I met have become long life friends and the support they gave me when I had my 'home sick moments' was very sweet.

What was your most memorable moment? The first time I saw an Orangutan on the platform. I'd only just arrived and was out scouting when an Orangutan came down form the trees and walked right past me. I have it on video.

What do you think was your biggest achievement? The fact that I went halfway round the world by myself to do something I'd been wanting to do for a very long time.

Case Study in Brief: I found the actual physical labour (cleaning cages, trekking) a bit challenging but I thrived on it. For me the best bit would have been the hands on - loads more than I was expecting. The Rangers are incredible people and what they do is fantastic. The way they work with the Orangs is a real eye opener and I think they have THE best job in the world.

The reason I wanted to do this placement was because I understand the plight of the Orangs with the deforestation of their natural habitat. I have also been palm oil free for a very long time now. This particular placement is something that is very near and dear to my heart.

What I also gained from my experience is the fact that I can do whatever I set my mind to and that one person can make a difference.

If you'd like to read Sharleen's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

BILLY RAY McCLELLAND (40s), American
Teaching Music to Children in Schools in Auckland, New Zealand

It has been fun, informative and an experience I will always cherish. These kids and this time are truly special!

I had a most wonderful time. I helped with the Music department. I focused on guitar mostly but was able to help with other aspects as well. Working with a competent teacher was a great experience for me. She really had a finesse with the children and made the music learning fun. I have to say I wouldn't trade my time there for anything! Thank you Travellers WorldWide for everything! It has been a blessing to do this Project in New Zealand!

What experience do you feel you're gaining?
I am gaining a wonderful cultural experience along with the experience of guiding young students on a positive path toward success. The best thing about my placement so far is being able to work alongside professional teachers and Principals with the goal of creating a wonderful learning environment and productive experience for the children.

Would you recommend this placement to anyone else?
Yes I would. It would suit someone who would like to immerse themselves into a variety of cultural backgrounds and someone who desires to learn from participating as well as directing their own input to a curriculum.

If you'd like to read Billy Ray's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

YVONNE KEAY (50s), British
HIV / Aids Orphan Care and Teaching in Gweru, Zimbabwe

What experience do you feel you are gaining?
Teaching experience with kindergarten, special needs and street kids.
Teaching reading, writing, comprehension, geography, conservation and also life skills such as STD's causes, symptoms and treatment.
Nutrition and regime adherence with HIV/AIDS children.

The best thing about my placement is the variety of the projects, every day is different.

This placement would suit anyone who is interested in social care, teaching or community work or just has a desire to make a positive impact on someone else...

I spent some evenings creating lesson plans and researching topics for discussion. Saturday nights always party night for volunteers, so I would recommend taking at least one "nice" outfit for that 😊

And be prepared to try everything! I have been white water rafting and ridden a horse for the first time in 40 years. Age is not a barrier, but you'll need to be emotionally resilient.

If you'd like to read Yvonne's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

DEANNE PETERSON (40s), American
Care Work at the Youth Centre plus Care at the Street Kids Project, in South Africa

I embarked on this journey in revolt to my recently turning 40. As a business owner, wife and mother of two teenage boys, a month long journey to Africa seemed like something far reaching and beyond my reality. My vacation experiences prior to this were always family oriented and/or resort style, including room service, umbrella drinks, amusement parks, cruise ships, and guided tours. I wanted to see and do as much as I could and experience as much of South Africa as possible but with family and work obligations, time was an issue.

My journey with Travellers Worldwide gave me the opportunity to see a do all of the things a vacationing tourist would do, while the volunteering gave me the chance to meet many local people, and get to know so more about the culture and the people of South Africa. I was able to see and do more than I ever imagined possible in one month ... All in all this was the most wonderful, fulfilling, and incredible, month of my life!

Before this journey, like many people my age, I was stuck in my regular every day rut of work and routine. But after a month of diving with great white sharks, working with orphans and street kids, animal safaris, zip-lining through jungles, and sky-diving(!!), I have returned fully invigorated and with a new lease on life! I also made friends from all over the world that I’m sure I will stay in touch with for years to come.

Travellers is an amazing organization that offers life changing experiences to people of all ages, I will highly recommend it to everyone, and I will be planning another volunteer experience for myself as well as for my sons. Thank you so so much for the experience of a life time!

If you'd like to read Deanne's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

EMILY BARCLAY (70s), British
Care and Community Volunteering with Orphans in Kandy, plus Turtle Conservation

I decided to undertake my first volunteering at my late age because (1) I had the time available as I had recently retired; (2) I wanted to escape the British winter; (3) I wished to get under the surface of a country, i.e. not just be a tourist; (4) I wanted to do something useful.

I chose to go to Sri Lanka because I had never been before - but knew and liked other countries in South-East Asia, and because the climate, weather, scenery, culture appealed.

I chose Travellers Worldwide because from my internet research and my dealings with the company, it seemed a reputable, professional organisation which would give me appropriate advice and support.

I chose the babies' and toddlers' orphanage project because (1) I wanted to do something to help people and (2) having had children of my own, I would have relevant experience. I did the turtle project in Ambalangoda for one week as light relief - and to get me to a different location.

I would recommend it to other older people - but carefully chosen people; they would need to be pretty flexible about living conditions and tolerant/non-judgemental.

I hope to volunteer again - overall, I loved it!

If you'd like to read Emily's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

ALISON BRISTO (50s), British
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

From my initial interest shown to Travellers, up until the day of travel the UK office was helpful, friendly and professional. They provided me with all the information I needed both on-line and on the telephone. I was particularly happy with being able to pay for the project in any amount I wished at any time through their payment scheme.

Once on the project I was greeted by Travellers representatives in Borneo. A representative ensured the whole group settled in and were always available by phone if anyone had any questions or problems. Someone was available to come to the guest house if it was necessary and we were also kept in touch with local problems via email or in person by a Travellers representative.

Within the first week whilst we were in quarantine a representative escorted us on the excursions and we were given some in house training so as we were ready for starting work. The project was the most amazing experience of my life. Borneo is a beautiful country and the people are friendly...

Meeting new people and learning to live amongst a diverse bunch was interesting, fun and rewarding. I have met people who I now class as friends ... There is no doubt in my mind that Travellers Worlwide contributed not only in making my journey to Borneo an exciting one but also allowed me to feel safe and content whilst I was there. Thank you to everyone who works for Travellers Worldwide.

If you'd like to read Alison's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

WENDY FRANKCOM (50s), British
3 Different Projects in Sri Lanka: Turtle Conservation, Elephant Care at Pinnawala, Elephant and Wildlife Conservation at Wasgamuwa

I spent 2 months in beautiful Sri Lanka, working as a volunteer with 3 different placements. Having recently retired gave me the opportunity to do something exciting. Last year, my granddaughter had a gap year and went travelling. I loved following her adventures; when I was young, few people were able to have that kind of experience. This year she looked after my house and cat while I had my turn.

I'm not an experienced traveller and would not have had the confidence to go solo backpacking, but did not want to just experience a tourist, hotel based holiday. Volunteering with Travellers Worldwide enabled me to gain a far richer experience, learning about the country and culture, working with local people and feeling I was making a useful contribution, as well as having a great holiday and meeting other volunteers and travellers from many countries ...

I've had a fantastic time in Sri Lanka and volunteering gave me so much more than just a holiday. Travellers information enabled me to be well prepared and choose projects that were right for me, and all the arrangements worked smoothly and stress-free. I'll definitely do it again; the only difficulty will be deciding where to go when there are so many possibilities!

I'd be happy to talk to anyone else thinking about volunteering: it's not just for teenage gap years. I'd love to encourage more oldies like me to give it a try.

If you'd like to read Wendy's full feedback on each of the different projects she did, please

JANE HELEN BEWS (40s), New Zealander
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

My most Memorable Moment: Wow, hard to pick one memorable moment as there were so many. It was a truly unforgettable experience. Everyday was filled with fun new experiences ... Everyday I thought to myself "How lucky am I!"

Your BiggestAchievement Although I have traveled extensively, it has always been with my husband so I guess that was the thing I was most nervous about. It is nice to know I can do it on my own. Travellers you made it easy!

What Positive Impact do you think you had on the Project? Sepilok is an amazing place. This project gives you a real insight into the huge amount of work and care that goes on at the centre. The staff are so kind and dedicated to the rehabilitation process. I felt very privileged to be trusted by the staff to be able to work so closely with the orangutans ...

If you'd like to read Jane's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

KATHRYN WEBSTER (70s), British/Australian
Teaching in Schools in Perth, Australia

I had the most amazing experience on my teaching placement at the Primary School, Perth, WA. The staff were very friendly and welcoming and I felt a valued member of the team.

Meeting the teachers and working with these awesome little children was a rewarding and life changing experience for me. What joy to see them change in just a couple of weeks from shy and not speaking a word of English to fun loving, interactive and eager to learn little children.

the age of 70 I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and do something different and on my own. It was scary but with the help of Travellers Worldwide I was able to achieve it. I would like to thank Gemma for all her support during the application, and for her friendly reassuring response to the numerous phone calls I made to her. It has given me the confidence to do more travelling and volunteering in the future. I have met such alot of interesting people of all ages and made friends with people who I will stay in touch with. I would encourage anyone of any age to do a teaching placement, I assure you that you will not be disappointed.

Thank you to Travellers Worldwide for your support from the beginning to the end of my placement.

If you'd like to read Kathryn's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

CAROLINE ROSE (50s), British
Caring for and Rehabilitating Abused Mustang Horses in Florida

I needed time to think after a drastic change in my personal life, so a few weeks away volunteering was 'my time'.

I spent 3 weeks trying to learn as much as I could about the Centre, the weeks flew by, learning from the best, Diane and her co ordinators Alisha and Malthida also Malice, who spent ages trying to teach me western horse riding.... I was rubbish.

Three weeks wasn't long enough but I had bills to pay, so returned home, straight back to work, I didn't feel any different about my personal changes but I had gained a huge affinity for mustangs and had piece of the Centre in my heart.

Funny, isn't it, how going away from your problems doesn't change them at all but puts them into perspective, and allows you to find real treasures like the Centre! Thank you, Diane, for graciously having volunteers like me into your home to have a tiny glimpse of the hard work you do.

If you'd like to read Caroline's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

ANNE FRANCES MANSBRIDGE (50s), British
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

Case Study: For many years I had wanted to travel to Borneo and help the plight of the Orangutans. I never thought I had the courage to do it. However, I decided that it was a dream I had to fulfill.

It is a challenge, and it certainly takes many of us out our comfort zone, but it is a challenge to embrace and the experience is a life changing, totally amazing, wonderful one. Helping these beautiful intelligent adorable and sometimes extremely naughty and mischievous animals is a delight. They will steal your heart forever, they will become your little orange friends and helping to save them is what we have to do!

You return home with having a humbling experience, I guarantee your life will never be the same again - you look at life in a different way - and it is all good!! And ... maybe you will be like me, and as soon as you get home, you will book up again to go back!!

Enjoy the experience and cherish every moment in the mystic wonders of the rainforest and help make a difference to this awesome little planet we live on for such a short time , as we spin around the sun.

If you'd like to read Anne's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

FERNANDO ROBLES (30s), American
Teaching Hearing Impaired Children in a Dead School in Cape Town, South Africa

Thank you and Traveller's for everything. Arriving to Cape Town was arduous (flights were long) but so worth it. Eleanor was a pleasant sight and extremely helpful. So much so, that she went above and beyond, and was able to get me some eye contact solution and gluten free bread (among many other favors).

The backpackers was clean and the people working there were very pleasant and helpful. I made so many friends there.

The students were wonderful, we became friends rather quickly. I enjoyed teaching and working with them.

All in all, this trip was magical because of the people, staff and drivers showing me around. I enjoyed all of my day tours and will work with you all again in the future. At the moment, I am thinking of additional ways to collaborate with the school to help their children.

If you'd like to read Fernando's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

HELEN CLAYPHAN (50s), British
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone, Zambia

I wanted to volunteer in Zambia because I was born there. 56 years after leaving Africa and living in the UK I wanted to return to the country I was born in but not just as a tourist. I wanted to meet the people of Zambia and find out more about the culture and way of life. What better way of doing that than in a school with 400 children. I learnt about how different the Zambian education system is, how many children get so little education and the obstacles in the way of so many youngsters of getting an education at all. A school place is highly prized in Zambia.

I knew that with a two-week placement I was not going to be making a big impact on their learning so I spent a lot of time before I went choosing school equipment to take with me that could really make a difference. The pens, pencils, colouring books, paper, rulers, stickers, protractors, chalk, gaffa tape, sellotape, blue tac, story books, maths books etc etc were enormously appreciated by a school that had so little of anything. [The children] also wanted to know what animals there are in England. Cats, dogs, foxes and squirrels seemed a sorry inadequate lot versus their lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffe, hippos, crocs, buffalo, zebras, rhinos and elephants! And the children were thrilled every time I brought a new football out at break time....and a pump!

...and then, of course, there were my days off which I spent as a typical tourist. You'd be hard pushed to beat the Victoria Falls from a helicopter for its WOW! factor or a safari walk to track the white rhino, or a gentle morning stroll through the bush with lions...holding onto their tails!..and cheetahs...and the elephants forever holding up the traffic. So much awe and wonder, such lovely gentle people. Zambia is a beautiful country.

If you'd like to read Helen's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

JENNA MATTHEWS (20s), British
Lion Research, Rehabilitation and Release Project in Gweru, Zimbabwe

Back in July (2016), I found myself with a career break ... Although I only had a couple of weeks to organise everything, Travellers Worldwide were amazing. They were able to get everything sorted in time and still able to brief me on everything. They were very supportive and the whole expereince ran perfectly ...

I was worried about making friends since I was travelling out to Zim on my own. I was worried that all the volunteers would be 18 year olds on their gap year, which did not appeal to me as a 25 year old career breaker. However, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a big range in ages (from 18 to 50) of the volunteers and I made an amazing group of friends. I read a lot of cliches before going to Zim about "making friends for life" and did not buy in to it. But I have actually returned home with some of those.

If you'd like to read Jenna's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

NAOMI JONES (30s), British
Caring for and Rehabilitating Abused Mustang Horses in Florida, USA

What experience do you feel you gained on the Project? During my time at the the Centre I learnt a lot about the care of the horses & the history of the programme. I was lucky enough to spend time with Diane who is wonderfully passionate about these animals & has dedicated her life to making the Centre a success.

Come week three I decided to enrol at the Rescue Centre School in order to train two horses from the Centre so that they have the opportunity to be adopted & so that I could learn more about horses from a training perspective. The School is a collaboration with Rafter P Training. While at the School I learnt so much; everything from saddling, to grooming safely & riding. It was incredible & I cannot recommend it highly enough - even as a total beginner I developed so quickly. Chezz is a fantastic horse trainer.

What is the best thing about your placement so far? The people & the opportunities to make a difference in these animals lives while learning yourself - you can't beat it.

Would you recommend this placement to anyone else? Yes, anyone who is interested in the care & welfare of horses. Even if you have little or no riding experience. But, if only enrolling at the Centre, be prepared for some very hard work & be aware that depending on the weather there may be no or very little horse work (e.g. riding or training). It's certainly not a holiday, but it's a fantastic project & you are supporting a great cause. Everyone at the Centre was very welcoming.

If you'd like to read Naomi's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

GINA RIZZO BISHOP (20s), American
Care Work at a Youth Centre plus Care at the Street Kids Project, in South Africa

I currently spent the last month in Knysna, South Africa working at a Youth Development Center in the township of Khayalethu. My experience with both the children and staff of the Center, as well as the staff from Travellers Worldwide, far exceeded my expectations. My stay ended, in my eyes, much too soon but the entire journey will always be a part of me...

Sharon, the Travellers Volunteer Liaison, was more than willing to help me fill my days by arranging and allowing me the opportunity to volunteer time at the Orphanage down the street. After a fulfilling day at the Center, I was able to share my love for dance with a handful of orphaned children. The enthusiastic response I received from those kids was just an added treasure to my stay. Helping with bath time, letting them braid my hair, laughing, and playing were sources of so much reciprocated joy ... I am very grateful for the opportunity to have experienced and connected with the children at both the Youth Center and the Orphanage ...

My heartfelt thank you to those who contributed support on my behalf, the staff and kids at the Youth Centre and the Orphanage, Travellers Worldwide, Sharon, and all of the other volunteers. I am forever changed and eternally grateful.

If you'd like to read Gina's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

FIONA McBAIN (30s), British
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

... I feel I have acquired a lot of experience from this placement, especially working with people who do not speak English. I have learnt how to communicate with people better and managed to work as part of a team. It is really character building and helps you to appreciate what you have.

I would definitely recommend this placement to other people. This is such a mind broadening experience and you learn so much about the local culture and also the dangers and issues that are currently going on with the Orang-utans.

If you'd like to read Fiona's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

ANGELA SPENCER (50s), British
Wildlife Rehabilitation Programme in South Africa

I am 57 years old and last year I worked as a volunteer with elephants in Sri Lanka. This year I chose South Africa. I am not a student, I am not doing this because I want to be a vet, I am doing this because I have always loved animals and I now have the money and the time to spend my holidays volunteering. South Africa was a country I had always been interested in so this year I chose the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in KwaZuluNatal, Durban.

I knew it would be hard work, but I was prepared for it. I was not wrong, It was incredibly hard, manual work but I loved every minute. Cleaning out cages and feeding the animals in their care. The people who work there are so dedicated, they are permanently on the go, either rescuing or releasing the animals they have saved and reared. Some are too badly injured and have to be put down, but they do this with such care and gentleness. I cannot speak too highly of these wonderful human beings...

I could go on for ever, this has been such an amazing time. I will never forget this experience and I miss them all terribly. I loved every minute!

If you'd like to read Angela's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

KAREN HERRING (40s), British
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

This has been a totally amazing and life changing experience. From our arrival at Sepilok Rest House, all the staff made us feel so welcome straight away it felt like it was our home. Living in a different culture, sampling the local cuisine and seeing the happy smiling faces of all the people was a humbling experience. I've made so many friends and I've learnt so much from the rangers about the orang-utans and the staff never tire of our endless stream of questions.

If you'd like to read Karen's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

MONIKA GRABER (50s), Swiss
Vervet Monkey Care and Rehabilitation Project in South Africa

I had an amazing and wonderful time, raising orphaned baby Vervet monkeys in Vryheid. After a warm welcome from Bruce and Sandi, the owners of the centre who both have devoted all their time to the Vervet monkeys, I got introduced to the first baby 'Tjokker' ...

I am very grateful for the time I could spend there and being a part of the monkey family.

If you'd like to read Monika's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

SARAH BATTY (30s), British
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

... I felt devastated having to leave, but I feel so grateful to have had such an amazing experience whilst hopefully at the same being of good use to the Centre.

Thank you again for all your and the rest of the Travellers team have done in making a dream come true. I really did have an experience of a lifetime and if I could, I would go back tomorrow. It's bizarre to think it was a year ago that we were in Sepilok, but the memories are as vivid and special as ever. The experience made me seriously think about taking up a course in Animal Care after I finish my Art and English degree. I had been searching to do something like the orang-utan project for years and had always come to a dead end - this completely made up for that - I only wish I was still there!!

If you'd like to read Sarah's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

KATIE WALLEY (30s), British
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

This has been a life changing experience. One that has allowed me to see some fantastic things ... I have become more sure of who I am as a person and what I want to do with my life. This placement has given me the perspective I needed. I honestly cannot praise this placement enough so anything else I can do for you, please just yell. Thank you so much for letting me do this, I have loved every second of it. I started crying about a week ago about leaving so I can't imagine what I am going to be like tomorrow on my last day.

If you'd like to read Katie's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

HEATHER SANDILANDS (40s), British
Teaching Township Children in Knysna, South Africa

>Well, my expectations have certainly been exceeded during my stay here! Firstly, I would like to acknowledge Travellers Worldwide and especially Sharon [Travellers' SA Manager] in terms of their excellent planning and organisational skills resulting in me getting the best experience I could have wished for. The school is fantastic, the children make the best of what is available to them and the teachers are very friendly and have been so appreciative of what I’ve been able to do for them ...

... Thank you, Sharon, once again, you have been a real gem and given me so much extra knowledge with respect to their lives in the township, Knysna, the area and South Africa all which has enriched my stay so much more. I will miss you and you’re always welcome in Bristol anytime.

If you'd like to read Heather's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

ROBYN HOWES (30s), British
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

I have gained an experience of a life time! One I won't ever forget! It was an experience in itself just going out there and not knowing anyone. I feel I have learnt how to be more independent and how to work with such amazing animals, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

All I can say is that these 2 months were the best 2 months of my life, and I don't think anything will ever top that in the future. What made the placement even better was the fact that everyone was so lovely - we all got on so well. I was so happy to be sharing the experience with such great friends - we all had such a laugh! The staff at the Rest House made us all feel so welcome - it really did feel like our second home! I miss them all so much!

There was never a day that went by when I didn't realise how lucky I was to be there! It really was a dream come true for me. I won't ever forget all the amazing memories I had out there. Thank you, Travellers, for helping me make my dream come true!

If you'd like to read Robyn's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

BILL RAY (60s), British
The Elephant Experience Project at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

I am unable to find the words to praise the whole experience highly enough!! It was everything that I expected and far more. Everything was perfect. We spent a very pleasant evening at the house in Ja-Ela, and Niranjala [Travellers' Organiser] cooked us a lovely meal. The following morning, because we were awaiting the arrival of another volunteer, we had time to spare, and Naranjala arranged for us to go into Colombo by Tuk-Tuk with one of the other volunteers.

Once the new arrival had been collected from the airport, we set off on our journey to Kegalle. Although the journey was hot, the company was excellent, and the time passed quickly ...

On our final day, after we finished work, returned to the house, showered and had lunch, it eventually hit me that I wouldn’t be at the orphanage again the next day. Although I am 67 years old, I confess, that I took myself off to a corner of the garden and cried!

Every day we experienced something new, and I can not speak too highly of all the staff... I am still in email and text communication with them all, and can’t wait to go again next year.

If you'd like to read Bill's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

SOPHIE WINTER (30s), British
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

I did have the most AMAZING time. Absolutely loved every moment and am so sad to be back. I feel like I have left half of my heart there, so struggling a little bit now I am back to reality! I cannot say a bad word about anything and have recommended it to absolutely everyone I have managed to talk to so far. AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING!

DEBORAH WELHAM (40s), British
The Elephant Experience Project at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

Wow! Where do I start? Everything about this particular placement is amazing. I can honestly say I enjoyed every bit of my elephant adventure, from cleaning the sheds in the morning to watching the elephants bathe at the river in the afternoons to the fun and laughter enjoyed by the volunteers in the evenings.

I feel I have gained confidence in myself just by deciding to take on this adventure alone! I had never travelled alone before let alone to a country as far away as Sri-Lanka.

I would recommend this placement to anyone of any age. Any person with a love of elephants would find this project amazing (Over 30’s – don’t think this is just for students, anyone from 18 – 80 would enjoy this project.

If you'd like to read Debbie's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

TERRY BRITTINGHAM (50s), British
The Elephant Experience Project at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

Hi, my name is Terry, from Australia. My Daughter and I recently undertook a 1-week Volunteer placement at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka. It was an amazing experience ...

I would totally recommend this project to anyone who is young at heart, doesn't mind getting their hands dirty, for a great cause and loves animals. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life, at 53, it was wonderful to share it with my daughter.

Niranjala [Travellers Assistant Organiser] was very good on our Orientation, and the 1st work day she explained things well and made sure we settled in to our Project. My Daughter and I were really happy with the Communication with Travellers and all questions and emails were answered very promptly. Information provided to us was very good.

If you'd like to read Terry's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

JANET DUCHESNE (50s), British
The Elephant Experience Project at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

This is the perfect introduction to volunteering as it can be done for as little as one or two weeks or as much as wanted. Not only was it a good experience living with local Sri Lanka people and getting involved in their culture (and cooking!), everyone was extremely friendly and we felt we really bonded ...

I feel that in such a short time we were privileged to learn so much from so many people (both volunteers and staff) - all there to do their best to look after these amazing creatures.

Really pleased we did this!

If you'd like to read Janet's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

MARI GRIFFITHS (60s), British
Panda Conservation in Chengdu in China

I'm home now and had a wonderful but sometimes challenging time, but I guess that's what it's all about. I would certainly recommend the placement to other volunteers, I think it should be emphasised that it can be hard physical work but only for a short time in the day ...

I think this placement is suitable for all people who have a fair level of fitness, as a 60 year old I had no trouble with anything that was asked of me.

I wasn't aware that activities would be arranged for us in Chengdu city. This would have been useful to know as I was considering organising a trip for myself to fill that day. The co-ordinator Stella was exceptional, very helpful and nothing was too much trouble. Taxis were arranged for us at the weekend to go exploring, this was an extra cost which everyone knew. There are no shops near by but you can take a bus to the tourist centre or a taxi into Ya'an city the driver will arrange what time to pick you up.

Chinese culture is very different and instructions were often shouted at us but this is not aggressive or offensive it's just the way things are. Safety of volunteers whilst in contact with the pandas is a priority.

If you'd like to read Mari's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

SUSAN SUTTON (50s), British
Social Work, Psychology and Counselling Work Experience in South Africa

I discovered FAMSA through Travellers Worldwide who organise gap year type placements. This project was of particular interest to me as a qualified counsellor. My aim at the start of the placement was to be exposed to as much counselling as possible, to learn about the culture in South Africa and to be as useful as possible to the project.

My initial impression that first Monday morning when I arrived for the 8am staff meeting was one of warmth and laughter. Throughout my time at FAMSA I have found that the staff team feel like a family. The 'family' is strong, caring and communicates well with each other. Each family member knows their worth and the care, respect and support for each other is evident. Each member of staff made me feel welcome in their own way.

... Overall this has been an extremely positive experience for me. I have learnt much about counselling in different cultures and the challenges that raises. I would like to view this as an initial visit and the start of a long term working (volunteering) relationship with FAMSA. To use the family analogy I hope I am the cousin from the UK who visits regularly!

Thank you to everyone who has welcomed me into the FAMSA family.

If you'd like to read Susan's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

ALISON COLE (50s), British
Orang-Utan Conservation and Rehabilitation Project in Borneo, Malaysia

The whole experience of working with the orangutans has far exceeded my expectations. Sepilok is truly a magical place. It is full of love, laughter and happiness. The work the rangers and the team do is wonderful. They were so patient and helpful with the volunteers.

There are so many memorable experiences, like the first time you are standing in front of a cage and the door is opened and this long arm reaches out to hold your hand to be walked to the outside jungle gym, or when you give the babies their milk bottle and watch them guzzle it down whilst looking at you with these huge dark brown eyes, or watching the daily antics of Ceria, an 11 year old male, as he tries to steal the bananas or pick a lock, or helping Uniko climb the ropes at Sepilok for the first time. There are so many wonderful memories.

The work is easy but very hot and sweaty. It involves cleaning cages, floors and feeding platforms, preparing and giving food, ensuring the OT stay on the ropes when they are outside (much easier said than done) and anything else that may needed. We got to wash the babies which was very much a highlight...

Our volunteer group got on really well and on our rest days we went scuba diving, hired a car and went to Kota Kinabalu NP and overnighted on the Kinabatangan River.

If you'd like to read Alison's full feedback, click here and scroll down to "Reviews"

Volunteers on the Spanish Language Course in Argentina
Volunteers taking a break during their Spanish Language Course in Argentina.
Travellers' Romulo and a volunteer packing donations to be given to projects in Brazil
Travellers' Romulo, our Volunteer Liaison in Rio de Janeiro, together with one of the volunteers, packing donations to be given to projects in Brazil.
Sharon, Travellers South Africa Manager, with a volunteer helping to raise funds for one of the projects
Sharon, Travellers South Africa Manager, with a volunteer helping to raise funds for one of the Care projects.
Kathy from Travellers UK Office on a project inspection trip to the Dive Resort Management Internship programme in Malaysia
Kathy from Travellers UK Office on a project inspection trip to the Dive Resort Management Internship programme in Malaysia.
Travellers New Zealand Volunteer Manager with 3 volunteers in a teaching project classroom
Travellers New Zealand Volunteer Manager with 3 volunteers in a teaching project classroom.
Instructor preparing to give volunteers a stand-up-paddle lesson in Brazil
The Instructor preparing to give volunteers a stand-up-paddle lesson in Brazil.
Volunteers and staff collaring cheetahs on the Game Reserve Expedition project in South Africa
Volunteers and game rangers collaring cheetahs on the Game Reserve Expedition project in South Africa.
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