1. Expanding my perception of this wonderful world. I want to fully immerse myself in a completely different culture. The language, the music, the sense of humour, the customs that seem incomprehensible, and the food (except chicken feet, I draw a big line there).
2. My instincts have never lead me astray. They were doing the can-can at the idea of volunteering in Jamaica, and I trust they were leading me to something important, even if there are many baffling twists and turns along the way.
3. Using my powers for good. There is an incredible sense of fulfilment that comes from using your skills to positively support and empower those who face far bigger challenges than ourselves.
4. Letting go of first world problems. I want to know first-hand what it is like to live without clean, running water. No instant Google/Facebook/Gmal access. No shopping centres. No perfectly sealed roads. No reliable, safe public transport going anywhere you want any time of day or night.
5. I am all I need. Although I have unwavering support and love and encouragement from so many beautiful people in other parts of the world, I am ultimately completely on my own here and the more self-reliant I become, the more positive the experience will be.
6. You can call me Cucumber. It is fairly likely that after this experience, I will be cool, calm and collected in any new and challenging situation. That’s gotta be a plus!
7. An attitude of gratitude. After just one month here I know I will forever be grateful for showers, dark chocolate, hugs from those I love, flushing toilets, takeaway food (especially Thai and sushi!), a perfectly made Campos cappuccino, and so much more. I can only imagine what things I will be grateful for after eleven more months.
8. Getting back to basics. I am experiencing a slower, simpler life here. I cannot imagine ever again going back to a nine to five job, a big city where no one says hello or wearing makeup every single day.
9. International BFFs. I am meeting the most kind-hearted, joyful, passionate, hilarious friends. And had I stayed at home I would never have had the privilege to know them.
10. A life without ground-hog days. Each and every day here is different, surprising, filled to the absolute brim with memorable moments. How could I possibly prefer the dull blur of a year lived in comfort and familiarity?