Camps Ambassador Emily was lucky enough to travel on not one, but two, Camps International expeditions. She tells us how her experiences in Cambodia and Ecuador have impacted her future.
On an autumn day of 2015, as the days were starting to get darker, I remember walking in to an assembly in our school presented by a representative of Camps International. The next 25 minutes created an air of excitement, one which resulted in 16 students from our school signing up to what was guaranteed to be a summer of a lifetime in the magical kingdom of Cambodia.
The fundraising, which seemed at first to be the most daunting part of the experience, helped to create a group dynamic which lasted for the duration of our time away, and even extended to form strong friendships that last to this day.
On the morning of the 9th July, we boarded a flight from Manchester to Singapore, the first step in a two-day long journey that took us to the other side of the world. We started our time in Cambodia on a bus, rattling over firstly the wide main roads, and then the winding side roads, spotting grand entrances to local temples, cows, tuk tuk’s and a glimpse of Angkor Wat on the way.
Upon arriving at the first camp, Camp Beng Mealea, we were welcomed by the local children and the camp’s local hero, the man, the myth, the legend that is Han. A normal day in camp involved an early morning, with a hearty breakfast of eggs, noodles, rice, toast and vegetables. We would then pack our bags and head to project. Some of the projects that we were involved in whilst in Cambodia were planting (and naming) saplings, building the foundations for a local house, building walls, painting the outside of a school and plastering. Often, after lunch time, the local children would come to the camp for English lessons, which was one of the most rewarding, and at times hilarious, parts of the experience.
Half way through our trip, we took a five-day trek through the hills and communities that make Cambodia a beautiful and diverse country. We camped in Buddhist pagodas and bathed in scenic waterfalls that were overcrowded with lush green vines.
Contrasting with this remote and idyllic experience, we also spent some time in Siem Reap, visiting the monumental Angkor Wat temple and vast Tonle Sap lake, meeting the villagers and traders who live on its water. We also had time to look around Phnom Penh before flying home, and tried to get to grips with the tragic but horrifically recent political history of such a small and friendly country. Our time in Cambodia may have only been one month, but the memories and skills that we took from it will last a lifetime
And so, the next autumn day in which Camps presented a trip in the school assembly hall, it was impossible to say no.
This time, it was to Ecuador, a trip that took us to the sweltering depths of the Amazon, the high grounds of the Andes, the colourful cities of Quito and Otavalo, and the magnificent Galapagos islands, brimming with wildlife.
I will forever be grateful to Camps International for not only providing trips to far flung and exciting places, but for making them accessible through the encouragement and support of fundraising. My experiences in both Ecuador and Cambodia have shaped the decisions that I have made since; for example, I am now studying for a degree in Education.
I chose to apply to become a Uni Ambassador for Camps because I felt it was the perfect opportunity to enthuse more people to go on their brilliant trips, increasing the impact that they have worldwide!
If Emily’s story has inspired your inner travel-addict, check out our range of trips to see where your adventure could take you. Request a brochure today to find out more.