Plan for a sabbatical year in 2019-2020

I had just finished my studies, and on a whim, I decided to go abroad for a year to discover and visit new countries.
To make my journey, I registered on a site specializing in volunteer missions around the world. Later, I discovered that volunteering was not necessarily legal in all countries. These volunteers allowed me to find new professions (in stables, mussels, sheep, chickens, bakeries, restaurants, grocery stores, hostel …), locals, other volunteers from all over the world, and benefit from housing (more depending on arrangements).
Not having anticipated my project, I had to stay in Europe for three months to create my passport. So, I focused on Anglo-Saxon countries to improve (learn) my English.
The 1st mission was the most atypical and allowed me to set up golden rules:
Always have a backup solution
Stay a maximum of two weeks in the missions to not rely on what you have learned. Keep the momentum and the magic of the trip.
Choose the missions according to the opinions of former volunteers before the description of the tasks.

Scotland: I’m looking for Nessie
During this mission, I also realized that 80% of my suitcase was not valuable and had to revise my basics.
Once I started, the experience was magical; I was lucky always to be surrounded and have time to visit with the knowledge of the locals.
Socially I have learned a lot from others but also myself. Yes, we can be sexy and have pajama parties. I was also shocked by the kindness and sincerity of my interlocutors. All the French people I met gave me very useful “tips,” and foreigners forgave my English (we are famous).

Liverpool by night
I was also trained to STOP, and I loved the experience so rewarding that I hitchhiked all over Ireland on my own. The beginnings were difficult because of my apprehension as a woman accustomed to the Paris metro. After several tries, I passed the course and left my finger up.
The covid was in Italy and discreetly arriving in France. The media did not talk about it with any genuine concern. It was still the time of bars and hugs.

I returned to France to go back to Canada, followed closely by covid.
My arrival in Canada was complicated for the passage of customs as a tourist. The first weeks went by without restriction. I was able to visit several cities in different states despite the border closures to Europeans.
During this period, I was surprised by the great openness of the big cities and disturbed by certain mentalities of the inhabitants of more remote places.
France is walloped by covid and confines itself. Canada is gradually imposing strict restrictions but without confinement.
I volunteered at the front desk of a hostel, 90% foreigners, and felt discrimination against Europeans and then foreigners from Canadians (we were “covids on legs”). To not increase tensions, we burned down the hostel and forbade customers to stand in front of the buildings. At the reception, several times a day, I received threats, and we underwent police checks to follow up on complaints from citizens for non-compliance with health protocol or organization of parties.

A beautiful message from Canada
After several adventures, I decided to return to France because the situation was getting complicated. We were no longer allowed to leave the cities. We had scheduled to go to common areas such as the kitchen and the right to go outside. Only for the 1st necessities.
As in France, we did not know how to react. I was perturbed about my relatives in the “war” in France.
We were all crowded together on the return plane, without masks, and no tests were performed on our arrival.

Iceland – Black Beach
The dark period passed, I returned to Iceland respecting the required protocol.
This trip was revealing !! I went in a backpack/tent without any preparation as my plans changed depending on the opening of the borders.
The 1st week, I was not alone, and we could not understand the insistent stares and stares. Then quickly understood that our mask was a significant cause for concern as the country was not faced with covid. Leaving the big cities, no one hitchhiked us with the mask that reminded us of the emergence of the pandemic and the danger of hitchhiking strangers.

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