Natasha Rodney: Initial report

Travelling to Ecuador with WorldTeach

Four months from today I’ll be jetting off to Miami, but my journey won’t be ending there as this is just thetransit country for my final destination which will be Ecuador! Why Ecuador? This is thequestion that I am asked every time I tell my friends, family and basically anyone who will listen about my trip. My response to this question has turned into a sales pitch, but it has also helped to consolidate in my head why I am going.

I’d alwaysplanned to do long term travellingonce I’d graduated, but there never seemed to be a right time to go. After 18 months of doing the typical 9 to 5 I came to the conclusion that the right time to travel would not simply present itself, I had to create the opportunity, so that is exactly what I did. I fell in love with the Spanish language after studying it at College 5 years ago, so I definitely knew that I wanted to travel to a Spanish speaking country and after much research I decided that Ecuador was the perfect place.

Ecuador is full of unimaginable varietybe it culturally, climatically, orbio-diversely. I am fascinated by the idea that I could experience winter in the morning, spring in the afternoon and summer in the evening all in one country that isslightly larger than the UK. The locals have a reputation for being friendly, welcoming and speaking clearly and slowly, which is perfect for me because my Spanish conversation skills are “muy mal“,andto top it off I have found a fantastic project with a US company called WorldTeach whoaid volunteer English teachers to travel to Ecuador for one yearto contribute to the development of the Ecuadorian education system.

It seems like only yesterday that I made the decision to take a gap year and the closer it gets to Christmas, the closer it gets to mytripbecoming a reality, and the more my anxiety grows. As much asI can’t wait to experience a different culture and reality from what I’m used to and as much as I’m excited about the prospect of becomingfluent in Spanish,I’m also aware that I will be stepping out of my comfort zone. I have no idea what my experience will be and what to expect. I’ve read all the guide books and internet articles that I can get my hands on, and I have spoken to many people who have travelled to Ecuador, but I know my experience will be unique and personal to me and I think it is the fact that I don’t know what this experience will be that is conjuring up these simultaneous feelings of excitement and anxiety;I guessI’ll just have to wait and see.

So for now I’ll be working my way through my every growing ‘To Do’ list, whilst improving my Spanish and gaining as much TEFL experience as possible, and before I know it, it’ll be February 2010and my journey to Ecuador will begin!