It’s odd, when thinking about all the things that could cause me stress ahead of changing my entire life for 6 months it has been the question of what to pack that has been keeping me awake at night. Ever since a previous volunteering trip, when I turned up with a host of baggy trousers only to discover that only long skirts were acceptable, I’ve been fashionistically scarred. Will I wear something that’s offensive, not be warm enough (it’s cold in the winter), have sufficient trekking wear, sportswear, something to wear for a formal gathering?! Verging on the ridiculous I know.
Maybe it’s because it feels like it is something within my control – something that I can at least grasp hold of as a tangible concern, whilst I float nonchalantly through the more challenging aspects of flight booking, visa requirements, job description changes, accommodation uncertainties, leaving family and friends (okay so not totally nonchalantly).
So where am I going and what I am doing that causes all this packing dilemma. Well I’m going on PULSE assignment, which is GSK’s skills-based volunteering project to work with CARE international in Nepal. I’ll be based in Kathmandu and travelling around the valley visiting the project and providing strategic support for the GSK sponsored women’s healthcare initiative. The project targets the most vulnerable, poor and socially excluded women to provide better access to healthcare, a truly worthwhile project.
It is with excitement and some trepidation that I write this from my new office, safely arrived, suitably attired, a little bit sleepy and with 1.2kg luggage allowance to spare…