Camp America – An Announcement

Note: When you read this, I will already be on my way to the USA.

Camp America is an organisation that provides cultural exchange programs for young people from the age of 18. Every year thousands of people from all around the world travel to the US in order to work in a summer camp for kids and teens.
Since American students have 12 weeks of summer vacation, it is very common to spend some weeks in a summer camp.

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In camp there are different job positions, you can be a lifeguard, a general counsellor or a specialist.
As it is a cultural exchange program, you will be working with Americans who are often former campers at their camp, probably many Britons (everyone in Great Britain knows this program), people from western Europe and even Australians and New Zealanders often take part.

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Types of Camps

There are different types of Camps and if you have preferences, you will be able to add this in you application. These are the camp types:

  • Private Camps
  • Jewish Camps
  • Christian Camps
  • Special Needs Camps (e.g. working with children and adults who have a disability)
  • Underprivileged Camps (Free of charge for the campers)
  • Girl Scout Camps
  • Day Camps
  • Single Sex Camps

I had no preferences in my application and I know have the honor to work in an underprivileged camp in New York.

YES, I WILL SPEND NINE WEEKS IN FREAKING NEW YORK!

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Working at Camp

You can either work as a counsellor, or as Campower.
Working as a counsellor means looking after the kids and you usually share a bunk with them and your co-counsellors. You will also be involved in different activities the campers have every day. Another option is being a specialist and teaching the kids something. You can basically be a specialist for every kind of sports.
Dance, soccer, basketball, equestrian, ropes, tennis etc.
But camps need also specialists for arts and crafts, nature, they need lifeguards, or even specialists for girl power.
In general, working at camp can be a very, very rewarding experience!

Campower staff can be working in a kitchen or be part of the maintenance staff. Basically they experience camp in a different way than the counsellors, since they are not responsible for the kids.

I will be working as a general counsellor and also as an arts and crafts specialist, which means I will be doing arts projects with the kids and also be a counsellor.
I really hope that I can also occasionally teach ballet or jazz modern classes, but the dance counsellor job in our camp mainly focussed on hip hop and street dance, which I am definitely not good at 😂

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How to apply for Camp America

If you want to spend your summer working at a camp in the USA, you need to apply on the CA-website or if you are German, at AIFS. You also need to be free at least from mid June till September. The application process is quite extensive.

You have to write a lot about yourself, why you want to work at a camp, tell them about the experience you have with children, you need at least two skills you can write about (sports, art etc.) and need two references from your teacher or trainer (must not be part of your family).
Additionally, you need to film a video about yourself, presenting your skills and your life, you have to fill in a medical form with your doctor’s signature, you need a certificate of good conduct and CA or AIFS will interview you.

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After your interview with your organization where they will make sure that you are capable of doing such a job, your application will be uploaded and all camp directors have access to it. If they are interested in hiring you, they will contact you and arrange a interview via skype. If they think you are suitable for a job at their camp they will ask if they can hire you. Now that you are hired, you have to apply for a VISA and go to a local embassy to get it approved. During your summer, you will have a medical insurance and if you are a „first year“, they will also book your flights and care of almost everything.
Now you can prepare yourself for camp, get in touch with other counsellors and be over excited for the hopefully best summer of your life 😄!

After your time at camp, you will have another four weeks to travel in the country, usually internationals will travel together, but you can also travel alone or book a Camp America-Track. This part is of course optional and you can choose the amount of days you would like to spend travelling.

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What do you think about this program? Would you be interested in working in a summer camp in the United States?

xx, (overly-excited) Sophie

 

Pictures in this post are not mine, they are from the movie „The Parent Trap“ with Lindsay Lohan from 1998. If you click on the images, you will directly get to the source where I found them.

Zero Waste Project – A Brief Introduction

img_0030Did you know that there exists a huge island consisting of plastic trash in the pacific ocean?
Probably yes, many people know that we produce and use way too much plastic in our daily lives and that this lifestyle damages our beloved earth.
However, there is still no solution for this problem besides from reducing the use of plastic.

 

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Visiting Indonesia was eye opening. I’ve never seen so much trash lying around and it was heartbreaking to see plastic bottles floating in the ocean and stepping into plastic bags while surfing in paradise. During rain season, all the trash gets flushed into the ocean and beaches are full of trash every morning. We need to change.

 

img_0029Why do I need a straw to have a drink?
Why do I have to buy food to-go wrapped in plastic?
Why should I get a new plastic bag every time I go shopping?
Why do I buy packaged food even though processed food isn’t even good for us (in many cases)?
Why do we rely on plastic?

 

Two weeks ago I watched a Ted Talks about Zero Waste, the speech was held by Lauren Singer, a young women who inspires other people to „go Zero Waste“.
I was so excited about this idea to reduce waste and immediately made a plan how I can stop producing so much waste and improve my ecological footprint.

img_0015The first step is probably to become aware of how much plastic we are actually using. It’s a lot.
Toothbrush? Made of plastic.
Toothpaste? Plastic.
Shampoo? Plastic container.
Even most „eco-friendly“ products are packaged in plastic.
Yes, it is really hard to completely stop using plastic, but we can at least give it a try.

 

Here are some of my ideas, on which I will elaborate in future posts:

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  1. Minimalism, having less and buying less leads to a decrease of demand, consequently less stuff will be produced.
  2. Buy unpackaged food, f.e. in package-free-stores, use your own bags and go to your local market
  3. Shop second hand
  4. Go digital and try to use less paper
  5. Learn to recycle and to compost

6. Grow your own veggies (might be a bit difficult, depending on where you live)
7. Make your own beauty products and use hair and body soap instead of buying big shampoo plastic bottles.
8. Make it a hobby, reducing waste should not be a burden, you are doing something great today that our earth will thank you for in the future! 🙂

 

img_0006I am very excited to start this new project and can’t wait to tell you more about it. I hope you enjoyed reading this and be prepared for my next „Zero Waste-themed“ articles.

Have a good week,

Sophie

 

Sendepause, Jubiläum und fünf Tage in Sydney

Guten Morgen Ihr Lieben,

ich bin heute Morgen um fünf Uhr aufgestanden, einfach so weil Morgenstund‘ hat ja Gold im Mund. Oder auch „Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm“… meine ich mal gehört zu haben. Das Projekt, um fünf Uhr morgens aufzustehen, gehört zu meinem „Changing my Life“ Projekt, welches ich gerade gestern gestartet habe.
Etwas ironisch oder? Ich glaube sein Leben verändern ist heutzutage ein Trend, genau so wie jeden Tag grüne Smoothies zu trinken, Instagram zu seinem Tagebuch zu machen und Reisen zum Inhalt seines Lebens.
No offense, ich finde mich ja selbst darin wieder. Wie auch immer, ich werde in Zukunft sicherlich über diese -um fünf Uhr morgens aufstehen- Tortur schreiben und darüber, wie sich jetzt alles in meinem Leben zum positiven wendet (okay das hört sich gerade sehr sehr deprimierend an, vielleicht eher „noch mehr zum positiven“…).

Spaß bei Seite. Ich bin nun seit fast zehn Wochen wieder Zuhause, das ist fast schon die Hälfte der Zeit die ich weg war – schon ziemlich traurig.
Seitdem habe ich mir einen Job gesucht, wieder angefangen zu Tanzen, meine Ballett Stange repariert und mir 120cm breite Spiegel ins Zimmer gehängt, acht Bücher gelesen und das Reisen sehr vermisst. Auf der anderen Seite habe ich bemerkt, wie sehr ich mein „Zuhause“ zu schätzen gelernt habe und wie wichtig es für mich geworden ist, einen place to be zu haben.

Arbeiten ist anstrengender Reisen und meiner Meinung nach auch anstrengender als Schule, was vielleicht auch einfach daran liegt, dass ich nicht für die Gastronomie gemacht bin. Sophie arbeitet jetzt nämlich im Bio Gewerbe und das nicht wenige Stunden die Woche.
Daher fehlte es mir die letzten Tage, oder auch Wochen, oft an Kraft und Motivation mich hinzusetzen und etwas zu schreiben.
Die Motivation und die Ideen kommen zwar wieder, aber wie einige vielleicht beim Lesen bemerkt haben, schreibe ich gerade auf Deutsch und nicht wie sonst, auf Englisch.
Immerhin möchte ich auch nicht meinen Blog gerade nachdem er ein Jahr alt geworden ist (jaa, am 28. März hatte Aperture & Wanderlust Geburtstag) schon wieder hängen lassen.
Außerdem erstaunt es mich immer wieder, dass es tatsächlich so viele liebe Menschen im Internet gibt, die mein Gedanken- und Reisewirrwarr doch tatsächlich lesen mögen. Für manche mag es natürlich nicht viel sein, aber ich bin sehr glücklich und dankbar für die positive Resonanz die mich im letzten Jahr erreicht hat.

Passend zum Thema beendete Reise, hier ein paar Fotos aus Sydney, unsem letzter Stopp in Australien. Sydney hat mir wirklich sehr gut gefallen, unser Hostel war super schön, günstig- und es gab sogar Frühstück.
Zwar gab es verschiedene Zimmer Kategorien und nachdem wir in zwei schönen Zimmern geschlafen haben, landeten wir in einem acht-Bett Zimmer.
In jenem wachte ich eines Morgens auf und musste eine platt gelegene Kakerlake auf meiner Matratze finden. Doch Gott sei Dank war ich nach fast fünf Monaten relativ abgehärtet was sowas angeht und bekam keinen Schreianfall oder ähnliches.
Außerdem war es ja nicht ich, die von einem Riesen im Schlaf zerquetscht wurde…trotzdem nicht sehr appetitlich.

Sydney an sich ist eine sehr schöne und aktive Stadt, wir konnten viele Ziele zu Fuß erreichen, oder auch mit Bus und Bahn. Infrastrukturell ist Sydney meiner Meinung nach auch sehr gut ausgerüstet und man kommt schnell von A nach B.
An sich reichen auch drei Tage in der Hafenstadt, denke ich, durchaus aus.
Immerhin gibt es auch nicht unendlich viel zu sehen.
Ein Muss für mich als Ballettliebhaberin war natürlich das Amateur Tanz Foto vor dem Opera House!

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Danke fürs Lesen und HAVE A GOOD WEEK ♥️!

Sophie

A Morning in Lamington National Park {German}

My dear readers,

today I will announce a new „project“ of mine, which is expressing feelings and moments through writing.
Two weeks ago, I have been to Lamington National Park in southern Queensland and it was a magical experience. The nature was really beautiful, when we woke up in the morning, there were Wallabies all around us, the campground was a bit remote which enables you to connect with nature and to embrace all the beautiful things this national park has to offer. As you probably know, German is my mother tongue, which is why my english writing is more „basic“ than advanced. This is why I wrote my „creative“ text in German. I hope you still want to have a look at the pictures, I took them during our hikes in Lamington and in the early mornings when we had breakfast with the Wallabies.
For my English readers: Stay tuned, my next post will be in English as usual, for the Germans: I hope you enjoy my little writing!

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5:53, Lamington National Park Queensland. Der Boden des Autos ist so hart, dass ich nicht mehr liegen kann. Trotz der Decke und dem Handtuch was sich unter meinem verspannten Rücken befindet, schmerzt mein ganzer Körper und ich beschließe aufzustehen. Die Fenster des Autos sind beschlagen und etwas klopft am Metall. Ich wische das Kondenswasser an der Scheibe vom Rücksitz weg und erblicke ein kleines Wallaby welches neben unserem Auto sitzt.

Meine Füße sind kalt, ich schlüpfe mit meinen Socken in meine FlipFlops und überlege noch wie komisch es aussehen muss, als plötzlich das Wallaby zwei Meter neben mir an mir vorbei hüpft, anhält, mich anschaut und weiter in den Busch springt. Momente wie dieser sind einfach wertvoll denke ich.

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Ich laufe den nassen Weg entlang zu den Toilettenhäuschen, als der von uns benannte Ufo-Vogel, ein Vogel der sich haargenau anhört als würde ein Ufo landen, laut schreit und ich mich augenblicklich wie in einem Film fühle.

Es ist noch sehr kühl, so kühl dass ich mir meine Ärmel über die Hände ziehe und ich eine Gänsehaut bekomme. Ich lege mir meine Kapuze um den Hals, wobei ich das Stechen meines Sonnenbrands am Hals und Nacken spüre, welchen ich mir an der Gold Coast zugezogen habe. Wer hätte auch gedacht dass man sich trotz T-Shirt dermaßen den Hals verbrennen kann, immerhin halten wir uns jetzt schon eine ganze Weile täglich in der Sonne auf.

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Die Sonne sucht sich langsam den Weg durch die grünen Blätter der Bäume und lässt mich leicht blinzeln, zu gerne würde ich davon jetzt ein Bokeh Foto machen denke ich.
Ich atme tief ein und es duftet wie an einem frischen Frühlingsmorgen, der Tau noch auf den Blättern und die Vögel geben ihr Konzert.

Auf meinem Weg zurück höre ich das merkwürdige Klopfen erneut und meine Beine lassen mich ein wenig schneller zurück zum Auto laufen. Ich blicke langsam um die Ecke und entdecke einen Truthahn der an unserer Mülltüte herumpickt, daneben auf dem Tisch sitzend, ein runder grauer Vogel mit einer gelben Kehle und einem gelben Bauch, welcher den Truthahn interessiert beobachtet. Als sie mich entdecken laufen und fliegen sie beide weg.

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Zum Frühstück kochen wir Haferflocken auf mit Banane und Erdnussbutter. Es tut so gut etwas warmes im Magen zu haben. Wir sitzen beide in unseren Campingstühlen, eingeschlungen in unseren Decken, blicken auf das dampfende Frühstück und ich überlege ob es nicht immer so sein könnte.

Während wir darauf warten dass die Sonne über den Baumen aufgeht, bekommen wir besuch von zwei Papageien. Sie setzen sich auf die offen stehende Kofferraumtür, ihren Kopf seitlich zu uns geneigt und schielen auf unser Essen.
So langsam verstehe ich warum man wilde Tiere nich füttern soll, denn nach zehn Minuten sitzen die zwei immer noch da und warten gespannt dass wir unser Essen für einen winzigen Augenblick aus den Augen lassen.

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Wenn ich darüber nachdenke dass uns nur noch wenige Wochen Reise bevorstehen, werde ich leicht melancholisch. Kann dieser Traum denn wirklich ein Ende haben? Diese angenehme Freiheit die man als Reisender hat, die interessanten Gespräche die man mit Menschen aus der ganzen Welt führt und diesen Schub von süßen Endorphinen und heißem Adrenalin den man erlebt wenn man gerade auf einem Boot über den Ozean braust, sich die Sterne anguckt, oder morgens im National Park zwischen Papageien und Wallabies frühstückt? Ich will nicht dass es aufhört.

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Have a magical week!
xx, Sophie

Watching the Stars in Byron Bay, Australia

Hello from Sydney, Australia!

I am finally staying in a hostel that has free internet access so I am now able to upload something. The past few weeks have been amazing, though I am really sad that I have to go back home quite soon. However, I travelled the whole East Coast from Cairns to Sydney and experienced some amazing things and saw beautiful places as Byron Bay.

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We rented a station wagon from Brisbane to Sydney and stayed on a campground in Byron, where we met some awesome Australian guys who showed us the town and spend two days with us. One night we drove up to the famous lighthouse and watched the sunset, which was really beautiful.
Next to the lighthouse there is a path that leads to the easternmost point of the mainland of Australia in Cape Byron.

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This post is probably more about the pictures than the text, but to be honest, I think I am better at taking pictures than at writing.
However, I love how these pictures turned out, since some of them have that old camera look I really like. I had to turn up the ISO which created this look, it was just too dark for my lens out there!
I loved running around, watching the ocean and listening to all the animals around us.
It may sound very cliché but watching the ocean really calms me down and I could spend hours doing it. (I think I will miss this a lot when I am back home…)

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Speaking of going home, I am still not quite sure what will happen to this blog after I have published all my travel posts, do not worry – I still have loads of things up my sleeve!
I will go to University in October and I do not get paid to travel so I will probably continue using this blog for photography and personal things, as well as for occasional travel posts. By the way, I have a “project“ going on which has something to do with the United States, but I do not want to go into detail, since nothing is fixed yet.
However, I guess I will just use this blog as my creative space, maybe also for writing and arts or even for university and book stuff. I like the idea of having a creative space where I can express myself. That is what blogs are for, right?

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Even though it breaks my heart that my amazing journey is almost over, I am so excited for the upcoming months, I have so many plans, dreams and wishes and I also like the thought of spending some months with my family before I will move out.
Additionally, my friend and I are already planning our next Australia and New Zealand trip, we want to do the Great Ocean Road, visit Melbourne and do the Kiwi Experience in New Zealand.
I am sure I will write some additional posts about my other travel plans. I am simply obsessed with planning…

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However, I hope you enjoyed these pictures, especially the last one. After we had returned from the lighthouse, I laid down next to our tent and watched the stars until one in the morning, it was so beautiful! To be honest, my camera managed to photograph even more stars than I actually saw which is so magical! I love to watch the stars, it is so thrilling to think about all the things we do not know about the universe…

Greetings from a happy Sophie!
xx

Self-Discovery or Self-REdiscovery – Nusa Lembongan

Many people go traveling in order to find themselves and to achieve happiness.
Through all these different influences, cultural experiences, inspirations and new ways of living, people do change during their travels.

Some people hope that they may find out what kind of job they want to do because after graduation they had no idea,
others hope that they can break bad habits and start something completely new,
some try new things and find new passions.

What if I tell you that in thirteen weeks of traveling, I have experienced „self-rediscovery“ rather than self-discovery?
Actually, I cannot completely explain this but I just feel more like myself.
When I left my town I thought that I would leave many things behind. Former hobbies, my old mind-set, stress and insecurity. And yes, I feel that through traveling I became more stress-resistant and I gained self-confidence. I learned a lot about myself and I know what I am capable of and what I should not do, or either what I do not need.

I rediscovered myself because I found hope that I can actually keep doing certain things and that I can trust myself.
For example, when I left I thought I would also leave my passion for dance behind. I assumed that I have to move on, try something new – I thought I was not good enough at ballet and dance in general and that even if I put a lot of effort into it, I would get nothing in return.
I was wrong. For thirteen years, dance has always played a big role in my life.
How could I expect my body to give up this passion that has always fulfilled me, a passion that guided me through good and bad times?
I cannot just let go of it and I do not have to. I love ballet and I cannot wait to start dancing again when I am back in Germany.

Additionally, I realized that I do not have to search for escape because there is nothing to escape from.
I love my family and I love my friends, which is most important because these people will always give their best to help and protect you.

I learned to love „home“ but I also appreciate being elsewhere, or even far away from home. As I already stated in my birthday blogpost, it will not matter where you are as long as there are your people surrounding you and you are able to do the things you love.
Of course, memories are often linked to certain places and situations, but maybe we must have to take a step forward and create new ones.

Sorry for this labyrinth of thoughts, which might cause some confusion, but I just had to put some thoughts on paper.
However, I hope you enjoy these pictures of Nusa Lembongan (click here to read my last post about this small island)!

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Have a good week!

xx, Sophie

Koh Lanta, spending my 19th Birthday in Paradise

Hello together,

I hope you are alright and had a good weekend. I am already in Christmas mood, even though it is still November. What can I say? I just love Christmas.
Family time, baking cookies all Sunday long, lightening candles, eating ginger bread, listening to Christmas music, watching American Christmas movies and drinking hot tea. Anyway, I am in Darwin at the moment and 34°C and 75% air humidity make it quite difficult to stick to my German Christmas traditions.
I mean, we will probably celebrate Christmas in Brisbane at the beach, which will be very exciting I guess.
I even have to admit that we already bought a small plastic Christmas tree in KMart for 5$, all Aussies buy plastic Christmas trees – we had to adopt this tradition.
We will take this tree with us while we will be travelling the Australia’s East Coast…stupid, I know.

However, I did not plan to talk about my Christmas obsession, actually I wanted to tell you about my time in Koh Lanta.
Koh Lanta is an island on the west coast of Thailand, located in the south of Krabi.
This beautiful island was our last stop before we took a flight back to Bangkok and from Bangkok to Australia. We spent four nights in two nice bungalows and celebrated my birthday on our last day.

I never thought of celebrating my birthday in Thailand, but it turned out to be really cool. We rented a scooter and had breakfast in our favourite french breakfast place „Faim de Loup“. After we had asian food for two month, we were really excited about western food again and enjoyed good bread, croissants and cheese omelettes. It was delicious!
Unfortunately I had a cold because of the air con and took a for three-hour nap before we went on our scooter beach hopping trip.
At this point, I would like to recommend my favourite app „Maps.me“ which really helped us discovering beautiful, hidden places in Thailand and Indonesia.
The app is free and you can download maps and use them offline.
The second beach we explored was really beautiful, there were only two other travelers and the scenery was magical. We took some photos and I daydreamed a lot while watching the sunset.

On this day, I realised that it only matters to a certain extent where you are on a day like your birthday. What matters the most is the people with whom you are spending your day. I am still really happy that I was able to celebrate my birthday with Lina, I missed my family a lot that day but she put a lot of effort into this day and made it really special.
We had a great day together, even though it is not the same as waking up early in the morning and having cake for breakfast with my family.
However, Lina and I enjoyed it to the fullest. After we had spent our afternoon at the beach, we had dinner at our favourite beach bar, the so called „Moonwalk Bar“, where we enjoyed cheesy Pizza. The evening was great and I will always remember it as the most extraordinary birthday I had in my life so far.

Now, I proudly introduce you to Nui Bay, my birthday beach:

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Have a good week!

Love, Sophie