Is This How You Adult?

For those of you who are just tuning in, I am Jill. I just graduated from THE University of Georgia with a Special Education degree. I run a nonprofit called, Something Amazing, that helps bring education to 3rd world countries. I am a strong advocate for people to experience the amazing things in life. Oh yeah, the most important thing I am moving to CHINA to teach English. In my blogs I will talk about my experiences abroad and explain ways that the average broke college student, or person can save up and see the world. I hope you are ready to travel the world with me.35145948_2105896163022403_9087326130255429632_n
(Flashback to Monday night) In less than 24 hours I will be starting my 30 hour journey to China. I have done all the avoiding that I possibly could do. My brain has gone into over drive and refuses to concentrate on this move. I am unable to fully process what I need to pack, how I need to prepare, how I should mentally be preparing because I have never done this before. Although I make it look flawless I am extremely nervous and uneasy about the entire situation. Yes, I have traveled to other countries for several months at a time, but this time is different. I moved out of my apartment, I sold 90% of everything I owned, I have a one way ticket and I don’t quite know when I will be coming home.35145352_2134358563271669_5978129120620445696_n.jpg
Spoiler alert I eventually figure out what I needed to pack, I had 5 melt downs before leaving, but I finally made it to my plane. Now let’s fast forward to now, I am 5 hours away from landing in China and the nervous jitters have not gone away. I am getting extremely restless and have not been able to sleep. After traveling for about 30 hours all I want is the best Chinese food, a nice hot shower and a long nights sleep.
For those of you who think I have figured this thing called life out, please do not be mistaken from the fabulous pictures and adventures. This trip to China is very ill planned, and every day will be an adventure. The only Chinese I know is how to count to 3 and Hello. Unless this Chinese can order me the world I may run into a little trouble. Although I don’t know any Chinese or relatively anyone in the country I think this is what makes for a great adventure.


Each day will be new, and I will take each lesson learned and create new experiences.
I am on Earth to have an amazing time regardless of everyone else.
Tune in to Jill takes over China.
Experience Something Amazing
Until next time
Stay Awesome
Jill

 

New Things to Come

Everyone says 2016 was their worst year yet. For me, 2016 was one heck of a roller coaster. This year may have had its downfalls, but I enjoyed every curve ball, crying nights, laughing mornings, new adventures, and scary moments. This will not be a blog where I tell you about every amazing or not so amazing things that have happened in the last 364 days. (If you are interested in those adventures, read my previous blogs.)

But I will tell you 3 things I have learned this year:

  1. Travel as much as you can

There is nothing more satisfying in the world than traveling to new destinations. If you have always wanted to travel someplace book your plane ticket. Travelling doesn’t have to be super expensive, nor do you have to wait until you are established in order to travel. In 2017 I am trying to reach as many countries as I can. This year I went 3 (South Africa, France, Bahamas) next year I will aim for 6. I have already booked my ticket for an awesome summer in Southern Africa, but I cannot wait for the other adventures to come.

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  1. You never will have enough money

The biggest thing I learned is money always comes back. Stop working every day and not enjoying life. Take that vacation you always wanted, go to the restaurant you never got a chance to try, buy that shirt you love. In 5 years you’re not going to look back and think I wish I didn’t spend all that money; instead, you will remember the memories you are making. Start saving. Each check after all responsibilities put 50 dollars to the side and after 4 months do something fun with what you saved.

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  1. Meet new people.

Stop being shy and talk to people. 85% of the time if you start a conversation with someone they will answer back. I do not know why people have lost hope in humanity, but not everyone is a serial killer. If you like a person’s shirt, say something,. Want to hang out with someone, invite them over. Stop being shy and staying home alone, meet new people. It is okay to meet new people. Some of my best friends are people I have met overseas, or someone I started a random conversation with.  Start small, all you have to do is say, “Hi.”

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It’s a new year to become a better person than you were last year. Embrace all the downfalls and cheerful times this year has to bring. Something Amazing has some awesome things planned for this year. Including, but not limited to our very first group trip to Malawi. My plane ticket is purchased and I am more than excited.  5 months to go, and a lifetime of memories. 2016 is was amazing and now I am ready for 2017.

 

Happy New Year

Until Next time,

Stay Awesome

Jill

Why Change?

I have officially been home for three months. These three months have been a heap of fun, heartbreak, changtable mountain.jpges and anything else that could have turned my life upside down. Through these three months, I have learned the true meaning of adapting to change. Many of us hate change. As people, we get comfortable in how we live. We tend to stray away from anything different from the usual routine. Coming back home to simple Georgia was one of the hardest things I have done. The transition back to an everyday life of not being in a foreign country has taken a toll on my mind and soul. Some days were extremely difficult and in order to get through the day I reminisced on my adventures and time with my kids.
Other days were great, especially days I ate all the food I missed while aboard. I even went to the extreme lengths and cut my hair off, I am loving my new cut now, but that decision rocked my world for a few weeks.cut hari
Every day for the first month I yearned to be back outside of these country’s borders. Of course, as soon as life started to settle down, and being home didn’t weigh as heavily on my heart, life took another turn. We live in an age where pictures tell a story, every picture is a memory that won’t be lost. I lost majority of my pictures from my South African trip due to my IPhone crashing. It took a few weeks to mentally recover, but I had to realize that the pictures of my kids weren’t the only thing I had left of them. Every day for the second month I did everything I could to find internships in another country. Once presented with an internship in Costa Rica, I was excited to branch my talents and explore a new environment. At this point everything was falling into place, everything I asked for was given to me. Everything does not come at the correct timing’ therefore we must make further adjustments.

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On the third month, everything changed again. I thought Costa Rica was exactly everything I needed at this point in my life. Working alongside a nonprofit as an intern and learning everything needed to properly run a nonprofit. Sadly, I had to turn this opportunity down; in order to study at THE University of Georgia. For those of
my readers that aren’t from the Southern parts of the United States or Georgia, THE University of Georgia is one of the best universities in Georgia and the Southeast. At first, I couldn’t understand why good opportunities kept presenting itself for me to make hard decisions. I was devastated when Costa Rica had to be turned down, but when one door closes God always opens another. Now I am all moved into my new apartment in Athens, Ga and I couldn’t be more excited about the new opportunities awaiting for me at THE Unversity of Georgia.
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I cannot be abroad right now, but everything I do now is to make a better future to travel the world later. Something Amazing has been working hard to secure our trip for next summer. If you or someone you know is interested in going to Malawi please fill out the application.
UPDATE: Freddy has been sent to school with the help of our supporters. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram in order to get weekly updates.
Until next time
Stay Awesome
Jill, Ceo of Something Amazing

Umhle Kakhulu, You are Beautiful.

Our ultimate goal on this road trip was to reach Coffee bay. The only thing we kept hearing is Coffee Bay is amazing, unsure of what we were to expect we drove open minded to one of the best surfing spot in the world.13187846_1164315830275952_1739072613_n
The further we drove to the east coast of South Africa the worse the roads became. Pot holes, sheep, cows and people were casually everywhere on the streets. There were times that a cow would just decide to walk across the street with no warning and each car would have to stop immediately. As we made our way closer to Coffee Bay we were leaving the normal way of life, just by watching how many people walked for hours to a small 3 store town. The houses along the road started to form villages painted with bright florescent colors.

I had an opportunity to hang out in one of the villages with a local drummer. The name of the town translated to “Look Out” because tourists visit because of the colorful houses.
I do not have any pictures of this portion of my trip because  these are just average people living their lives. Many companies take people on tours and watch the locals in their village like a human zoo. This is not fair to the people because they are merely living life. While walking to the village, I ask Zuko how he felt when people would take pictures of him or his family. His simple response was, “Why don’t people just ask to take my picture instead of being a paparazzi?”13235758_1164316190275916_1946271984_n

As we continued the journey one hill away which was a SHORT walk of thirty minutes. We came to the top of the hill where everyone in the community was, ranging from the oldest to the youngest running around dancing to music and enjoying each other’s presence. We came to a circle of about 10 guys who were sitting on a plastic cartons, surrounding about three large beers, just enjoying a chat about life. We walked around the village and saw where his whole family lived: aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters. His entire family stayed in the same area together. My misconception when I first saw the clay houses was a vision of uneven floors, simple furniture and humble surroundings. To my surprise his grandfather’s house had marble counter tops, beautiful floors, a gorgeous dining room set and a flat screen TV, with many rooms inside. There was electricity and running water inside each hut that was hand made by the owner.13235711_1164316246942577_379499897_n

Many people from the city depict people that live in the village as the most dangerous, and scary people you will ever meet. Every single person we walked said, “Molo, Unjani?” (Hello, how are you?) Then would follow with “Umhle Kakhulu,” (You are beautiful.) The respect level for the elders was high and their words were treated as valuable. I was greeted with cool drinks and a Xhosa lunch, Samp n beans, that everyone in the village eats, which was extremely good. The family bond is extremely strong.  Although the sense of community was powerful, there were the inherent issues. It was 2 o clock in the afternoon and almost every adult was not working, they sat around, drank, and talked all day. No one ever wanted to leave the village. This village was their home and no one could take that away from them. There were things that needed to be fixed and not being addressed.GOPR2259.JPG

The one thing I have taken out of being in Coffee Bay is happiness comes from within, money can solve problems, but in the end its internal happiness. This village in Coffee Bay has stolen my heart and I will return. I do not know when, but I will accomplish this task. Zuko and Akhona have promised me a spot of land to build my colorful hut.

I will be posting more blogs and stories shortly. I was limited on my wifi due to the areas we were in.

Until Next time Coffee Bay,

Stay Awesome

Jill

 

We are Lost.

 

Day 1.

Three Germans and an American have set off onto our crazy road trip along the coast of South Africa. It is scary to think we rely on my English to help get us through our trip. The different mix of personalities should make this trip very interesting.  I have never been on a road trip with friends before so this is all very new to me. We plan and plan, but it is very obvious our calling in life is not to be travel advisors. In the first 15 minutes we missed our exit and got turned around. The next 45minutes we were going in the wrong direction.  Eventually we found our way . The way consisted of driving for an hour on dirt roads and missing the exit, but we were finally on our way.

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I tend to meet more people who have no idea where they are going in life then those who have everything planned. Obviously ,there is no right or wrong way to go about life. Along our travels we stopped in Betty Bay, Hermanus, the Southernmost point in Africa and Mussel Bay. Each of these small towns held foreigners and locals all just seeking a life filled with in seeing something different. I find family where ever I go whether in the big city or small villages.

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The extreme difference between the less fortunate and the wealthy is the hardest thing for me to understand while being here. The most interesting thing I have seen is the beautiful multi-million rand (South Africa dollar) houses sitting on the coast, only 500 meters away from people living in tin shack houses. The small tin houses have limited water and electricity. While travelling into the rural parts of South Africa we have passed many people walking on a road that is many kilometers away from any towns. Nobody knows how far or how long these people have been walking, it could be hours or even a few days. I guess the important part is they always find their way. Regardless of how the journey begins or ends things tend to fall into place.

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At the end of my trip I will post a rough itinerary that we followed/Got lost on. I’ll include the many different hostels and activities that we have completed on this crazy trip.

until next time

Stay Awesome,

Jill

Everything Teaches Lessons

Lately I have been watching cartoon movies on repeat. The countless lessons I am learning from these movies are amazing. Who would have thought at 21 years old I can learn from a cartoon movie. Many of these movies have underline themes and morals that they try to teach the kids. I am not getting paid to talk about these movies, I just love being a kid. It is amazing how in each movie the character develops and mature in the short 90 minute movie.12992181_1142444625796406_884762753_n.jpg

Here is what I am learning:

  1. Home

This cute movie is about an alien species that comes to earth and takes over. You watch how a little girl tries to find her way back to her mom. The main character Tip is challenged beyond her wits, while dealing with the Oh, an alien that doesn’t quite fit in. I learned that it is okay to stand out. It is okay that even though everyone believes that there is only one way to live they are wrong. While coming to South Africa midway through my studies is abnormal and unheard of I did it anyway. What I have noticed is everyone eventually ends up okay, in the end it doesn’t matter about the end point, but rather the journey.

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  1. Turbo

The racing snail that has a dream bigger than his whole existence. Turbo is a snail that wants to race in the Indy 500, after he receives magical powers. Through all his trials and tribulations he makes it to the Indy 500, at the last 50 meters he loses all of his super powers and has to rely on himself to finish the race. I completely understand Turbo’s mindset he has had nothing, but doubters his whole life telling him to just be a snail. Everyone just says go to school, get a job, have a family and just live. But is that really living? Do not get me wrong this works for most people, but there is so much more out there. The last few weeks everyone has wandered how I am sustaining living while in South Africa, I have confidently said each time “I OWN a NGO that is sponsoring my trip.” Each time without a doubt they said, “Wow it is so nice to WORK for a NGO.” Some people do not understand that just because of my age does not mean I can’t accomplish big dreams just like Turbo.

  1. Megamind

My favorite movie hands down is this cute animation. Megamind is about a super villain that is destined for evil due to the fact of growing up in a jail. Throughout the movie his heart begins to change and he realizes that he has control over his own destiny. The bad guy wins in this situation. I love this movie because my kids are growing up without direct parental figures; which causes a lot of damage to them physically and emotionally. My main goal is to let the kids know just because you are born into a bad situation does not mean they are destined for a bad outcome. Each individual person has control over anything that happens in their life time.

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I could write all day about the many movies I have watched over the last few weeks and the lessons I have learned. These characters all faced a problem, they did not run from the problem, but instead face it head on. Sometimes facing the problems were scary and hard, but they overcame these feelings. I am learning these same life lessons throughout my travels. Sometimes you will meet great people other times people turn out to be jerks. Many times people do not like to face trials or problems but what many fail to realize is problems make you stronger. I encourage trials because without a doubt I will be wiser and stronger after that problem is resolved. Life without a little excitement to stir your soul up is boring.

Until next time

Stay Awesome

Jill

Conquering Fears

I guess you can say I am conquering all fears while I am here in South Africa. I have the biggest fear of falling, not heights just falling. What’s the best way to conquer that fear?  To Jump out of a plane of course.

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We went up in a small aircraft that could hold 6 people, each person jumped with a professional guide. The butterflies started to creep into my stomach as we climbed into the aircraft, but to hear that I was the first one to jump I became nervous. As the airplane crept up into the sky the view became more and more beautiful.

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We could see the entire coastline of Cape Town, everything looked every small and not important. The entire time my friends kept asking if I was okay because my face completely showed the fear through my eyes.

I am scared of falling. I do not know where this fear has come from, but I do not believe in being crippled by a fear. As we sat on the side of the plane to jump out I just prayed I did not pass out from this fear.

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I keep talking to myself saying it wasn’t that bad. Next thing I know we were free falling for about 1 minute. It was that bad. The worker kept telling me to look and smile for the camera, but I couldn’t.

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Falling and being in the air for that period of time I did not like. He pulled the parachute and we were just floating in the air, at this time I was ready to be on the ground. The worker did his very best to make me comfortable and kept asking if I was okay. The view was impeccable and I wouldn’t have wanted to see Cape Town from any other view.

I was pushed out of my comfort zone and I didn’t like that feeling, and that’s okay.SLR Pic 0054.JPG It is okay to step out of your comfort zone and not like it. I feel there is a lot of pressure to like everything that is amazing and loved by most people. I prefer being on the ground, and that’s okay. My friends enjoyed jumping out of the plan, and that’s okay. Right now at this point in my life I am willing to try everything. I do not know what I truly like and do not like; therefore trying new things is a must. I cannot form an opinion on things if I never give it a chance. My opinion on skydiving is I will stay on the ground. My life’s work is does not include me jumping out of anymore planes. I did not get over my fear of falling and that is okay. All I ask of everyone reading is to try new things. Do not let your fear cripple your actions; instead conquer your fears.SLR Pic 0119.JPGSLR Pic 0148.JPG

I’ll be staying on the ground for now

Until Next Time

Stay awesome,

Jill

My dreams are now my Reality

I am living my dreams out. For years I imagined what it would be like to travel abroad and to help other while I am there. Exploring Cape Town is amazing.  I am enjoying meeting all the different people from different walks of life.  I have been in South Africa for about a month now and things couldn’t be any  better.  I have wondered if people think I am having too much fun, and not doing enough volunteer work.  Here are my thoughts on that; I came to South Africa to help, develop, love and care for my kids.  I also came to South Africa to be immersed  in the culture, to learn about what makes this country amazing, and to appreciate life in my motherland.  Therefore, I am taking an opportunity to do all of this.  South Africa has taught me several things that I can implement into my everyday life.12735720_1096635057044030_814386520_n

  1. I can play hard, but work harder.  Working in an emotionally draining environment can affect your emotional health and the quality of work.  I have fallen completely head over heels in love with my kids. When I am out of sorts, they can pick me up and brighten up my day in an instant. They can make my troubled heart melt with a smile.  I have found my calling in life. Yes, this is not a job that pays a lot, nor a job that is always rewarding with happy endings, but this is a job that I absolutely love.
  1. Asking for help is okay.  Although South Africa is an English speaking country, the simplest tasks have become difficult.  People do not always understand my dialect of English or my accent is too strange; therefore I have to explain things a bit more. Whether it was to help me with my kids or help me pick out a product; I have found that asking for help from people is necessary.
  1. Americans are privileged.  In South Africa there is such a large gap between the “middle class” and the “poor.” There are people living in a small four wall house made out of tin metal with at least 8 people residing inside ( below is a picture those are houses).  Many people are begging on the street asking for food and money.  There are areas in town where I must be extremely careful because people will mug me just for my cell phone.  I have learned that I would never travel with an IPhone again to a country that majority of the people cannot afford one.  American Privilege, allows you to take advantage of things that make life easier such as a washer and dryer, 3 day mail service, air conditioning and unlimited WiFi.  My experience volunteering here has made me more sensitive to the luxuries that many people around the world do not have.12714342_1097584710282398_965429818_n
  1. Exploring is a must. Getting lost in Cape Town for hours, seeing an amazing view at Lion’s Head or trying sandboarding with new friends are all a part of what makes this trip awesome.  I find it very important to explore where I am volunteering to understand and experience the culture more.  While I build the structure for Something Amazing, I will always have activities and outings for the participants to see other parts of the country in which they are volunteering.

 

My list of things I have learned could go on for miles (or kilometers, something else I had to learn). I will continue to add to this list as my trip progresses. I am extremely proud of how Something Amazing and I have grown since the beginning of this trip.  I cannot wait to experience more.

Something Amazing has been extremely busy with mapping out ways to help Christine Revel Orphanage and details on ways to help will be available shortly.

Stay awesome.

Are you happy?

If you have ever wondered what genuine happiness is, follow your dreams.  Since the beginning of high school I’ve wanted to travel.  Since 11th grade year, I’ve wanted to teach abroad and since 12th grade I’ve wanted to start a non profit which would allow me to help others abroad.  Each year the dream became a little more concrete.  I won’t lie to you and say the journey has been easy. I won’t lie and say I haven’t called off the dream and chased the party life or money. But now living and breathing my dream, I know it’s something that I want more than anything.

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This weekend I went to Muzinburg, with two Germans and an a fellow American.  I had a amazing time falling even more in love with Cape Town.  We went surfing for two days and it was such an amazing experience.  Surfing truly teaches you perseverance as the waves and wind will knock you down many times, but all you have to do is keep trying.  This weekend I found out my long lost hidden talent isn’t surfing. My goal is to still learn to surf while I am here, and I’ll keep trying until I accomplish that.

Also in Muzinburg I have an uncle who lives there. (Distant family, long story). Visiting him was really fun. I met a lot of people and everyone was very welcoming. We had a big braia (barbecue) for his birthday. There was a lot of singing and everyone is very talented in his family.  It was a little difficult for both of us to understand each other  but we persevered and figured it out.  I enjoyed being welcomed with open arms into his family and definitively will be back again.  Life is what you make it.  If you don’t like where you are in life, then change it.  There is not a single person stuck in a predicament that they can not change. I am glad to say this was the best decision I have made so far in my almost 21 years.

Until next time Jill

But you might die..

Here is my insight on solo female traveling. My number one pet peeve is when someone only has negative things to say about me traveling abroad or alone. I understand there are many risks of being a female traveler, but it doesn’t make it impossible. Safety is a big factor to why people discourage solo female traveling, but i encourage it. I encourage traveling alone whether female or male because it allows you to follow the wind, you can go where ever you like and do not have to debate it with anyone else. You can see the culture of the town and go where the locals go, or go where the tourist, or whatever catches your eye. Today was my first solo outing and here are the stories that go with my time alone.

My methods of traveling are not conventional and actually pretty crazy, but they work for me. I came initially to downtown Cape Town with no plan, and didn’t plan on taking local transportation. I decided throughout the day where I wanted to be and what I wanted to eat. I walked all through the street markets, it was interesting talking to the different vendors, all of them were from different places in Africa. They love to argue the price and forth, I love the different art, jewelry, clothing and cooking utensils, it intrigues me. Because I look like I’m a colored girl from Cape Town until I speak I tried not to talk in the less tourist areas. One moment I didn’t realize that I was in the market for locals and it got extremely unsafe very fast. I ended up getting lost majority of the time, but I eventually found my way.

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For lunch I went to a locals favorite eastern food Bazaar, it a similar to street food vendors in a long sketchy hall way. The first booth I went to I saw a giant rat crawling near the food so I politely went to the other side of the ally way. I have no idea the name of what I ordered, but essentially it was chicken in a semi spicy red sauced stew with long grained rice and this yellow pea curry stew on the side. It was amazing, I got all that food for about 3 dollars. I continued my journey back to the local street market where three men were playing instruments and a homeless guy was dancing, that was entertaining til I got kick out where I was sitting because I wasn’t eating.

Later I stumbled upon a street with different color houses, I’m not sure why they were different colors but they were so pretty. In route to meeting up with my friend My phone died so now I was walking around lost trying to find a Internet cafe. I graciously stumbled into R cafe, it’s a little hole in the wall with a very unique vibe, the staff was amazing and extremely friendly. I definitely recommend to stop by just to speak to the staff. The day consisted of me walking around and finding whatever pleased me. I probably walked 30 blocks in total, I’m exhausted. That’s all solo traveling is about, other than the one time of walking down the wrong street I didn’t fear for my safety. I definitely was carrying a knife in case anything broke out but luckily I didn’t have to use it.

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Until next time, stay awesome

Jill Bundy