‘What do you wish someone had told you before you trekked?’

From time management and pushing your comfort zone, to remembering to bring stop-itch cream and avoiding bulk curry; our December Team Leaders know the drill when it comes to being a trekker! With some of them going into their first month as a Team Leader, and some about to lead over multiple months, the crew gave us the advice they wish they’d known before going into their first month trekking with Project Everest.

Timor Leste

I wish someone had told me to ask more questions.

I remember going into country with still not a great idea of what would be going on, so I cannot stress enough to get across crowdicity, read your project summaries, go through the drive and find out all that you can, so you can hit the ground running. Then after doing that on a word document write all the questions that you have (there should be HEAPS!) then go and ask your TL and your trekkers about these questions; that way you will have all the knowledge going into country!

Also, I wish someone had told me to get out of my comfort zone earlier. In country, there are many ways you can do this whether it be putting up you hand to go to a stakeholder meeting on the second day, trying to improve your phone calling skills even though you dread speaking on the phone, or simply trying to speak to all your peers as much as you can over the month, they are good growing opportunities and will all inevitably push projects forward. you’re only in country for a short time so make the most of it!

Nick Kappos

Nick Kappos

Everest Recycling Solutions | Timor Leste

Julia Marks

Julia Marks

FarmEd | Timor Leste

I wish someone had told me that I was going to actually have fun.

I was so nervous going into it, because I didn’t know anyone else going, or what to expect. I was really scared about making friends and what I was going to do the whole month. Once I got into country, and realised the people I was with were actually similar to me and super fun I was so relieved, and felt stupid for every worrying! No matter what the month chucks at you, with a great group of people, you are always bound to have a blast.

Get Involved.

Get around your project, get around your team, your country group and the country itself. The more you immerse yourself during your time in country the more you will get out of it not just for yourself but for your project and those along with you for the journey too. Don’t try to live in two countries at once by keeping up with everything back home, call your loved ones but past that throw yourself into everything your project and country has to offer.
Alex Teicher

Alex Teicher

Fuel Sustainability | Timor Leste

MALAWI

Jack Ryan

Jack Ryan

Hidden Hunger | Malawi

I wish I got told that the month goes real quick.

One minute you’re at induction, the next you’re at final dinner and you wonder how you got there. So make the most of every moment by throwing yourself into the project, hanging out with everyone and leaving your phone in your pocket as much as you can.

I wish I knew how much mileage was going to come from the gags that came about in country.

Before I trekked, I had heard a lot about Project Everest, however, there were still so many things I didn’t know of what was to come. I wish I knew how much mileage was going to come from the gags that came about in country. The amount of laughter we had, and continue to have to this day about the gags, and experiences is unreal. This ties into what I was also didn’t know, how bloody amazing all the people are! The friendships you form with people who are the only ones that can really understand the experiences you’ve been through together are phenomenal.

A Project Related tip I wish I had done, is to do much prep as you can before Project. You want to be utilising the time you have in country, so do as much work you can do back home as you can, and you’ll reap the benefits! For the new trekkers this summer, buckle up because you are in for one hell of a ride that you won’t want to get off of!

Patrick Edwards

Patrick Edwards

Solar Consulting | Malawi

Gabe Raubenheimer

Gabe Raubenheimer

Health | Malawi

Treasure the people around you, both in your team and in your group.

They’ll be some of the most beautiful and inspiring friends you’ve met. Everyone who comes on project brings their own perspective on the world, each of which is unique and fascinating. Open yourself up to them, because you will learn so much from doing so. You’ll come home seeing a little more of the world’s richness, and with a new group of mates who see the same. That’s an amazing thing.

I wish I got told to bring plenty of Vegemite.

 

In Malawi, avocados are everywhere. They are huge! Almost as big as your head and incredibly cheap and tasty. I wish I got told to bring plenty of Vegemite, because what better to pair with avocado on toast?

Sorrell Handforth

Sorrell Handforth

Social Consulting | Malawi

Fiji

Haziq Ahmed

Haziq Ahmed

Fuel Sustainability | Fiji

I wish someone had told me how addictive the whole experience is.

Nothing you do after will be able to give you the content and satisfaction that spending a month in a developing country and smashing sustainable goals does.

You will be anxiously waiting for the next PEV training, next Lead Gen Meeting, next Alumni drinks because no one back home is able to understand what that experience was like for you, apart from 30 legends that you’ve just spent an entire month with.

I wish someone would have told me how quickly the month goes!

Before you know it, you’ll be on the home stretch of the month where handovers are flying left right and centre and you are frantically trying to fit in everything you said you would do at the beginning of the month. Make the most of every opportunity, say yes to everything (within reason), develop those relationships even further, and join in on those group bonding experiences because trust me, it will enhance your time in country immensely.
Grace Blackford

Grace Blackford

FarmEd | Fiji

Brodie Leeson

Brodie Leeson

FarmEd | Fiji

Enter with minimal expectations and leave your comfort zone!!

I think the best piece of advice I could have been given for going into country would have to be to enter with minimal expectations (only that you are going to have a sick time with sick people doing some sick things ) and leave your comfort zone!! The most rewarding and significant growth you will achieve will happen outside your comfort, yes we are out there working on projects to create positive social impact but you are there to grow yourself as well. Think about it, you are there for a month, working on the project but the growth you get out of this will go with you for the rest of your life. The more you are, the more you can do.

You will end up loving it more than you could have ever imagined, if you push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

You really have nothing to lose. At the end of the day, there is no university grade riding on this and nobody is watching you over your shoulder to make sure you are doing tings exactly how they won’t them done. Be yourself and be selfish about the experience because it is a once in a lifetime thing. So embrace the challenge, the sweat, the tears, the hustle and the cheap ice-creams. If you embody your project and work hard, you will reap the rewards tenfold. When you have ideas to contribute, contribute them and where you don’t, take the opportunity to learn from so many other people from different degrees, life experiences, and ages. There will be hardly another time in your life where you will be able to work in an environment like this, in a beautiful country surrounded by friends that will become your family, on projects that are making the world a better place.

Believe me when I say, you’ll miss it when you are sitting on the plane home or going back to uni where you only ever get to practice things in theory. Always stop to remember how lucky you are to have the experience, and what a difference you are making in the world. Oh, and make sure you bring ‘stop itch’ cream for mozzie bites and stings into country because it will save your life.

Lauren Gallaway

Lauren Gallaway

Social Consulting | Fiji

Adam Metcalfe

Adam Metcalfe

Social Consulting | Fiji

Choose not to eat curry for lunch every day for four weeks, it catches up to you…

There is honestly not much if anything I wish someone had told me before trekking in Fiji, the leaders do a great job of getting trekkers across everything country wise.

Except maybe to choose not to eat curry for lunch every day for four weeks, it catches up to you….
BUT in hindsight, I wish I was told to really step back and appreciate the experiences I came across when visiting Fijian communities and meeting such welcoming people. Having individuals share their way of life so we can have the greatest positive social impact was incredibly humbling. So yeah, I wish I was told before I trekked to take the time to reflect your experiences in country because you may never be in that position again. And it’s sick!

I wish I had foreseen the level of community and support that PEV would become for me after trekking.

It’s been 2 years since I trekked now, and if ever I lose motivation or drop behind the PEV ball, simply engaging with the alumni and staff again who never fail to bring the energy, revives my desire to be a part of the team. I just totally underestimated how supported I would feel at PEV.
Andy Hvejsel

Andy Hvejsel

Fuel Sustainability Team 2IC | Fiji