Travel for a cause: Volunteering with refugees in Calais, France

Travel for a cause: Volunteering with refugees in Calais, France

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for volunteering with refugees in Europe.

There are many reasons why people give to those that are less fortunate. Some have been in similar situations and want to help others the way that they were helped. For others, it’s the knowledge that it could just as easily be them in that position one day. After all, there are many events that are out of our control, and even the most financially secure person might need help during an economic crisis or war.

I chose to volunteer with refugees because I wanted to do something positive after seeing all the negative headlines and hateful comments towards asylum seekers. I truly believe that we are all global citizens, and are only separated by the barriers and borders that we create. As I am currently based in western Europe, I decided to volunteer in Calais, France.

The experiences I had while preparing and serving food to refugees was profound. If you are thinking about volunteering or looking for other ways to help, this article will provide information about the current situation in Calais and the organisations I was involved with.


Calais and Dunkirk

Up until 2016 there were over 8,000 people living in a Calais camp, referred to as the “Jungle”. The majority of camp residents had traveled to the north of France from Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, and Pakistan. Their intention to cross into the United Kingdom and claim asylum on the basis of fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, or political views in their home country.

In October the French government destroyed the Jungle, deporting residents or moving them to camps in other parts of France. Many refugees remained in Calais, either sleeping on the city streets or in the surrounding woods. A new camp formed in Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, 44 kilometers (27 miles) from Calais and by March 2016 the numbers had grown to around 2,000.

Living conditions in the camp were bleak. Only a few hundred shelters were available – tiny wooden boxes that housed up to 15 people in each. Other residents were forced to sleep in one of the two community kitchens. As there was not enough space, they would sleep in shifts and had nowhere to keep their belongings.

The majority of the refugees in Calais are men who are making the long journey on behalf of their family. After receiving asylum status in the UK, they would hope to bring their family over. There are many dangers involved, and some have been hit by cars or trains, and even drowned trying to cross over into the UK. Despite this, there are still families with young children who were living at the camp, waiting and hoping for a better life.

Urgent update: The Grande-Synthe Refugee Camp was destroyed by fire in April 2016 and residents have been moved into temporary shelters. Volunteer teams are working tirelessly to provide food and clothing after many lost the little belongings the owned. The situation is ever changing – however, volunteers, food, and monetary donations are still desperately needed. See the links at the bottom of the post for how you can help.

For more information about the fire at the Grande-Synthe Refugee Camp and the events immediately following, there are two articles from fellow volunteers: The Fires In Dunkirk Were An Entirely Preventable Catastrophe and Up In Flames.

Volunteers give out food in Calais. Source - The Guadian. Photograph - Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Photo credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images (The Guardian).

Refugee volunteer organisations

I volunteered with Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK) at a warehouse in Calais, which they share with Help Refugees.

Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK)

RCK cooks and provides hot meals to the refugees living in Calais and Dunkirk. Until the camps were destroyed, they also provided food products through “free shops” so that residents could prepare their own meals in the community kitchens.


Help Refugees

Help Refugees is a non-profit organisation with over 80 projects in France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Lebanon, and Syria. In Calais, their warehouse received donated clothing which was then sorted by volunteers and distributed to the refugees in Calais and Dunkirk.



What is the cost of volunteering?

When considering to volunteer for any type of organisation, it is important to also think about the potential costs involved. It is great to be altruistic, however, not everyone has the same financial situation. Generally, opportunities can range from those that charge you to volunteer to those that pay. I would be very skeptical of any position that charges volunteers unless it was a reasonable sum to cover accommodation and living expenses.

Following is the information specific to my experience in Calais. Your volunteer organisation should outline whether food, accommodation and transport are provided.


The Help Refugees and RCK warehouse in Calais serve a large, nutritious lunch for all its volunteers on a daily basis. There are tea and coffee, as well as donated snacks and pastries. All other meals need to be sourced by the volunteers.


Calais is easily connected from Paris and London by frequent buses and ride-shares (such as Bla Bla Car). Ride shares can be found in the Facebook group, Uniting Volunteers, travel buddies (car & room share) – Refugee Crisis. If you are arriving in Calais at night, please be careful and don’t walk around alone.

Depending on where you stay in Calais, you might need transport to the warehouse but there will be other volunteers going back and forth you can carpool with.


For volunteers that commit for more than one month with Help Refugees or Refugee Community Kitchen, free accommodation may be provided in a shared trailer at the local camping grounds. For short term volunteers, the options range in cost:

  • Calais Youth Hostel (over 20 per night for a bed in a twin or triple room, includes breakfast)
  • Airbnb or share houses (starting at 10 per night for a bed in a shared room)
  • Les Palominos campsite (starting at 5 per night for a bed in a shared trailer).

Shared houses can be found in the Facebook group, Uniting Volunteers, travel buddies (car & room share) – Refugee Crisis.


How you can help

No matter what your situation, there are ways that you can help. Last year I wasn’t able to volunteer so I donated money to various charities. Donating on behalf of friends and family is a great gift idea as well.

Donate money: Make a donation to Help Refugees or Refugee Community Kitchen.

Donate goods: Donate goods to Help Refugees and food to Refugee Community Kitchen.

Donate time: Register as a volunteer for Help Refugees or Refugee Community Kitchen.

Buy a Help Refugees shirt: Get your own Help Refugees shirt or sweater.


Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure's recommendations for volunteering with refugees in Calais, France with Help Refugees and Refugee Community Kitchen.

Have you ever traveled for a cause? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.

Packing list for warm weather travel

Packing list for warm weather travel

Adoration 4 Adventure’s packing list recommendations for warm weather travel, for both females and males, to fit into one carry-on suitcase per person.

My packing list was for 9 weeks of backpacking in Central America, however the list could be used for other destinations. The clothing packed was multi-purpose to cover different activities from beach days to hiking. In total there is enough for 14 days of wear without washing.

Heading to a cooler climate? Read my packing list for cold weather travel.

Warm weather packing list for her


Warm weather packing list for him


Toiletries (for 2 people)


osprey-porter-travel-backpack-bag-black-46-literCarry-on backpack

My backpack of choice is the Osprey Porter Travel Backpack Bag, Black, 46-Liter. I am able to fit all of these items into this carry-on size bag (one per person).

Packing tips for Osprey Porter 46L:

  1. Roll smaller items and store vertically inside pockets first (e.g. tank tops, shorts or men’s briefs)
  2. Place heavier items like shoes at the bottom of the bag
  3. Lay any items that need to stay flat on the bottom of the bag (e.g. shorts that don’t roll well)
  4. Put a larger item (e.g. travel towel or toiletry bag) at the very front of the bag where it is curved.
  5. Fill up space in between with larger items. Roll clothes first before placing in the bag.
  6. Place any other flat or bigger items that don’t roll on top
  7. Store your laptop in the back pocket.
  8. Put any smaller items that you need easy access to in the front pockets.

This page contains some affiliate links. I may receive a small commission from purchases made through these links, however, there is no extra cost to the reader.

Adoration 4 adventure partners with quality brands that are relevant to readers. I only promote what I believe in, which is why the A4A audience can trust my recommendations.

For any queries relating to the products I have included on my website, please refer to the disclaimer and privacy policy.

Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure's packing list recommendations for warm weather travel for both females and males, to fit into one carry-on suitcase per person.

What are your packing tips and tricks? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.

The ultimate guide to finding travel accommodation on a budget

The ultimate guide to finding travel accommodation on a budget

Adoration 4 Adventure’s ultimate guide for finding travel accommodation on a budget.

In addition to flights, one of the biggest costs associated with travel is accommodation. I am always looking for ways to save money and rarely ever pay the full price for a hotel or hostel. This means that I can travel to more places or spend longer in destinations for the same amount.

Here are the methods that I regularly use to find low-cost or free travel accommodation.

Working for food and accommodation

What if I told you that you could get free accommodation by working for a few hours a day? The idea of an exchange of goods or services is not new, however, there are now websites that make these transactions even easier to find.

The most commonly known platforms are Help X, Workaway and WOOFing. Each of these usually has a yearly subscription fee but once you sign up, you can then browse for exchange opportunities in the location of your choice. I’ve used another platform called Worldpackers, which charges a small fee for each assignment. By referring friends you can receive discounts off your placements.

Sign up for Worldpackers and search for your first host.

Alternatively, you can search for exchanges the old-fashioned way by contacting the host directly. We all have skills that can be valuable to others. Consider your own experience and what could be useful for an accommodation provider then get in touch with them to see if they are interested in the offer.

Jobs can range from manual tasks (such as cleaning and construction) through to experienced (such as website design and photography). Depending on the level of skill required, each job will have different requirements and provisions. The higher the skill you have, the fewer hours you will need to contribute and the more you can expect to receive in return e.g. meals, drinks, activities, etc. It is important to note that as these are exchanges, usually no money is paid and it is up to you to secure the correct visa for that country.

Worldpackers exchange in Barcelona Spain

Paying with points

If you participate in any points programs (hotel or air miles) then you may be able to redeem these points for a stay in a hotel. When visiting Portland, Oregon I used my frequent flyer points to pay for a two nights stay in a 3-star hotel with no extra cost for tax or fees.

Before choosing this option, I would recommend considering the value of the points as there may be better ways to spend them, for example, flights with a greater monetary value.

Discounted hotels and hostels

Last minute booking sites will often give great discounts on hotels. In the U.S.A., I mainly use Priceline or Hotwire, however, I’ll still shop around at other websites to see if I can find a better deal. By using a discounted hotel website, I was able to stay in a luxurious hotel on the Vegas strip for a fraction of the normal price.

The Luxor, Las Vegas

I also like because it’s easy to use and usually has a flexible change and cancellation policy (check before you book). While on a 5-week backpacking trip around Europe, I had to cancel 5 hostel bookings which I did with a few clicks in the app and no penalty fees.

Make your next reservation and receive a $15 USD ($20 AUD) credit after your stay.

When using booking sites, always make sure you check for additional cleaning fees, resort charges, and taxes which may not be included the advertised price. I have been caught out before and had an exorbitant cleaning fee waived because it was not obvious when I booked online.

Hotel alternatives

For long-term stays (3 nights or more) I like to use Airbnb. This is a great concept where you pay to stay in someone’s home. Depending on your budget and level of comfort, you can rent a whole house, private or shared room. For my first month in Vancouver, I rented a master bedroom with en-suite through Airbnb. It was great because it’s fully furnished and the utilities are included in the costs. I received a discounted rate because I booked for a whole month.

Airbnb also has a program that lets you earn credits towards your next stay when you refer friends or family. They receive a credit by signing up and you also receive one. By using my Airbnb credits, I was able to rent a private room in Barcelona, right near La Rambla for less than AUD $20 per night.

SIgn up to Airbnb and receive a $20 USD ($28 AUD) credit for your first stay.

Most Airbnb property profiles are filled out in full, however, you can also read references left by previous guests to get a better idea of the owners and the property. As with the booking sites, check for additional fees before booking.



While on road trips, I will camp as often as I can (weather permitting). There are often free campsites which you can find on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website in the U.S.A. or using the Wiki Camps app in Australia.

Camping in National Parks will often have a nightly fee attached however it’s a small price to pay to experience the wonder of being close to nature.

Mt Ashland, Oregon, USA

Camper van

For the ultimate freedom, try hiring a camper van for your next trip. Not only will you have your own set of wheels, but also a bed and cooking implements. This can help you save money on accommodation and eating out.

Read my six day road trip itinerary for Ireland and Northern Ireland including budget breakdown.


Hospitality exchange websites

Hospitality exchange websites are more than just about a free place to stay – it is about a cultural and sociable experience where you will spend time with and get to know your hosts.

Since 2010, I have used Couchsurfing to host over 20 surfers, stay with over 20 hosts, and make countless friends all around the world. Other hospital exchange websites include BeWelcome and Warmshowers, however, have not personally tested them.

Before sending a CS request, I would suggest doing the following:

  • Make sure that your profile is completed in full. Tell your future hosts and surfers who you really are!
  • If you don’t already have references, ask a close friend or family member to give you a personal reference.
  • Use the filters when searching for a host. I personally only look for hosts who have their profile set to “Yes” (not “Maybe”) and only contact hosts who have over an 80% response rate.
  • Read your potential host’s profile very carefully. Are they someone that you can see yourself getting along with? Do you have interests in common?
  • Check their references. Even if they don’t have negative or neutral references, it pays to read the positive references to get more of an insight about the person.
  • When sending a request, include a short introduction about yourself and why you are traveling there. Highlight why you think it is a good match. Make references to multiple points on their profile to show that you have taken the time to read it.
  • Avoid sending copy and paste requests. And don’t forget to include their name at the beginning!

See an example of a completed Couchsurfing profile.

Once you are accepted by a host, I would also try to take a gift along (such as wine, cake, etc.) as a token of our gratitude. Some surfers will offer to cook a meal instead, to say thank you. Recently I couchsurfed in Ibiza, Spain for three nights and we shared many meals and good conversations together.


Staying with friends and family

One of my favorite things about traveling is the people you meet along the way. I have made some incredible friendship connections which have lasted long-term from a long distance.

While traveling in Europe on a 5 week backpacking trip, I planned the majority of my stops around where my friends were living. I loved hanging out with them in their city and having a personal tour guide.

I have been so lucky to have such amazing friends and been welcomed by incredibly kind hosts, whom I hope we can also return the favor when they come to visit.

Staying with friends in Edinburg, Scotland

This page contains some affiliate links. I may receive a small commission from purchases made through these links, however, there is no extra cost to the reader.

Adoration 4 Adventure partners with quality brands that are relevant to readers. I only promote what I believe in, which is why the A4A audience can trust my recommendations.

For any queries relating to the products I have included on my website, please refer to my disclaimer and privacy policy.

Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventures ultimate guide for finding travel accommodation on a budget. Methods I regularly use to find low cost or free travel accommodation.

How do you find travel accommodation? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.
Close to death: Travelers share their scariest stories

Close to death: Travelers share their scariest stories

Adoration 4 Adventure’s collection of travelers’ scariest stories – “Close to death”.

This collection includes travelers’ most frightening experiences that occurred while traveling. Tales from Spain, India, Mongolia, Cambodia and the United Kingdom.

Want to avoid common travel blunders? Read my top 10 travel mistakes.

Rescued off a cliff face by emergency services

Chantell Collins

Until earlier this year I’d thought I was pretty educated about the dangers of hiking in the wilderness. Back in Australia, you often hear of people who wander off the track, get hopelessly lost and need to be rescued. However, this was the last thing in my mind when I decided to go on a hike in Mallorca, Spain.

My Couchsurfing host told me about a cave that had a hole in the roof called “Avenc de Son Pou”. He had been before and said it would be about an easy one hour hike each way. I invited another girl, Maggie, that I’d met through Couchsurfing to come along. She was visiting from Berlin and had never been hiking before.

We arrived at the entrance of the track, a little after 2:30 pm. We had come along with a small backpack with water, snacks, and our cameras (or camera phones). Everyone was in great spirits, chatting and laughing as we walked along the trail. In the first 15 minutes, we saw a beautiful waterfall that had us beaming with huge smiles.

After the waterfall, my host seemed a little confused about which path to take. He’d done the hike before but starting from a different entrance. Maggie and I were so relaxed and busy chatting to each other, that we let him make the decisions about which direction to go in. After all, he was the local and we were just visiting. We trusted his judgment.

Soon the path disappeared and we were climbing over rocks, heading towards a large mountainside. Maggie and I became a little concerned and made our thoughts known. My host responded that we should keep going in that direction, as the path was just over the hill and it would be quicker rather than go back the way we came. I remember joking “How do you know we aren’t going to come over the top of the hill and find ourselves on a cliff face?”.

Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. We scrambled our way along the side of the mountain and came over the ridge. It was very slippery and Maggie lost her footing a few times. It was starting to get a little scary but we kept trusting that our guide was leading us in the right direction. Once we came up over the top, the descent was very steep. There were many trees and bushes, so at first, it was hard to see exactly what was in front (or below) us. Our guide helped us climb down a small slope onto a ledge. The brush cleared and we could see that we were actually on the side of a cliff.

Did I mention that I am terrified of heights? I found myself sitting on a small ledge, looking down at a sharp drop. To go back up, would mean scrambling up a rocky ledge and putting ourselves in danger. If that wasn’t bad enough, it was also after 5:30 pm and already getting dark and cold. I could see that my host was really out of his depth but was trying to keep it together. At that point, Maggie announced that she could go no further and it was an emergency. I agreed with her.

The emergency service workers in Mallorca were incredible. They responded to our phone call immediately and told us not to move from our location. They continued to keep us updated via Whatsapp messages on the progress of the rescue workers. A team arrived by car and two experienced men climbed up to us and checked on condition first. Maggie had a few minor cuts and scrapes and was a little shook up. They gave us something sweet to eat to get sugar into our blood and made sure we had water.

The men used their flashlights to locate the best route down, which was back over the ridge. At this point, it was very dark and although we still were slipping over, it was far more safe than if we had of attempted to get down ourselves. Once we reached the path, we were greeted by the rest of the team including a police officer and firefighters. A few tears of relief and hugs were shared. The workers then pointed to an opening in the mountain and asked if we wanted to go in and see the cave that we had been searching for. Worn out and still in shock, I laughed and responded “proxima vez” (next time).

Close to death- rescued off a cliff face by emergency workers

A forced dip in the frozen river during Chadar Trek in India

Medhavi Davda

Chadar Trek is a frozen river trek on the river Zanskar in Ladakh, India. It is considered to be extremely difficult because one has to walk on the frozen river in winter when the temperature ranges between -15°C and -30°C. The ice on the river keeps forming and breaking and in such cases one has to take an alternate route through the snow-covered steep rocks. It can snow at any time and leave the trekker guessing if there is ice or water beneath the snow cover.

One of the days, I fell into this trap while I was walking on thin sheets of ice. My leg broke the thin layer of ice and made its way through to the water flowing beneath. The ice cold water numbed my leg and my brain together. I controlled the panic inside me and tried to lift up my leg only to realise that my other leg sunk in too. I was inside the flowing river chest-deep and my hands above the chadar. It was this moment when everything around me became blur and I sensed the rare possibility of my survival.

I somehow gathered my senses and waved my trekking pole and called for help. There were locals on the trek carrying food items and other necessary camping equipment on the sledges. They saw me and ran towards me. They pulled me out alive and took me away from that trail and made me rest on the sledges to let me catch my breath. They even helped me change into fresh clothes soon. My boots were filled with ice. Socks, double layer of pants, down jacket, gloves, camera, everything was frozen, rock hard. Luckily I had clothes waterproofed in my backpack. And the only way to warm myself again was to start hiking again. I remember how happy I was to have experienced this “FORCED DIP” in chadar and survived too!

Medhavi Davda

Don’t Trust the Mongolian Horse Meat

Meg Atteberry

My eyes opened slowly, the scene gently falling into focus. Where am I and what on earth is that music? Some barley-English rendition of Celine Dion’s “I Will Always Love You” was coming from beyond the headboard. I groaned and tried to roll over. Tubes. Needles. Monitors everywhere. So that wasn’t a dream? I mused. I glanced around the dark room, listening to the soft beep of the machines. I looked at the clock 2:30 am. I didn’t have the effort for much else, so I succumbed to the sounds of karaoke and passed out again.

Flashback to 8 hours earlier. The 4×4 was bouncing along through the gates of the city of Ulaan Bator. The sudden influx of cars, people, and pollution overcame me quickly after spending a week out in the remote steppe of Mongolia. My stomach started to churn, and I had a headache. My newfound road warrior buddies and I arrived back at the hostel.

“I’m going to lay down and get some rest, I’m not feeling well. Amy, would you mind taking my wallet and picking up some camel felt slippers for my brother while you guys are shopping?”

“Sure thing.” She replied. Without thinking I handed her my travel “wallet” which consisted of a bag with handful of cash, my credit card and passport.

“I’ll see you guys in a couple of hours.” Wrong. What ensued over the next several hours I can only describe as the most violent illness that has ever overcome me. I’ll spare you the details. But between vomit sessions and bathroom trips, I managed to get the attention of the hostel owner.

“I think you’ve been poisoned!” She exclaimed. Rather quickly my situation deteriorated and I could no longer stand. Before long I couldn’t feel my face, arms, legs, or even open my eyes. Things were getting pretty dire. A Peacecorps worker phoned the hospital and the embassy. It turns out Mongolia has only two western hospitals in the entire country – and they needed to open one for me.

“Western doctors take a long time to get ready. Do you mind if I use traditional medicine?” The owner asked. She could have told me that she was lopping off a limb with a rusty saw and I would have agreed. A few pin pricks to my knuckles later and the acupuncture was done. Suddenly, my stomach felt some relief as the indescribable pain subsided. But it was too late – I had lost too many fluids – I needed an IV and fast. Before I knew it the doctor was ready and I was holding on for dear life en route to the hospital.

That’s the story about my first real solo trip to Asia. Upon my arrival to the hospital, I was treated despite having no ID and no cash. My new found travel friends showed up a few hours later – wallet in tow. Both of them stayed late to take care of me in the coming days and make sure I made it home safely. It took me nearly 2 months to fully recover.

Don't Trust the Mongolian Horse Meat - Meg Atteberry

Fighting with dengue fever in Cambodia

Karin Ardila

I never thought I would ever be the one to catch a tropical disease; I had all my vaccines in check and besides, those things only happen to the other people, right? I was so convinced of this that when high fever struck me in Cambodia, I attributed it to the common flu or a food poisoning. I could not have been more wrong!

Along with serious pain and temperature at almost 40°C, I had to run (better say, crawl) to the bathroom every few minutes. Still, I wouldn’t go to the hospital – I did feel bad (I never felt so much pain in my life before or after) but for some reason, I believed a dengue would hurt more.

After three days of sweating and shaking in my hotel room, I finally gave up and decided to seek a doctor. I was barely able to walk – fortunately, my travel buddy helped me downstairs, loaded me into a tuk-tuk and dealt with all our luggage.
At the hospital, I found out that not only I did have dengue fever, but I also contracted a nasty kidney inflammation. My immune system wasn’t able to deal with it as it was struck with the virus and as the doctor informed me, would I have waited more, it could have caused me lifelong consequences.

While it is almost impossible to completely avoid dengue fever in hot and humid regions, recognizing the symptoms would have made me seek medical help a bit earlier. I spent three more days in the hospital bed and a week more sleeping day and night and barely walking, however, it took many months until a somewhat complete recovery.

Hopefully, you won´t have to deal with the same problem, however, knowing a little bit about the symptoms of local illnesses is always helpful – and so is traveling with an insurance.


Missed airplane landing

Joanna Davis

“10 minutes until landing!” the captain announced, while the big bird was descending slowly from 36000 feet. After 12 hours in the enclosed metallic tube, crossing the Atlantic, I was happy at the thought that I would be with my feet on the ground again, back in control. Even if I travel very often, I am an extremely nervous flyer and I go through a million emotions at every takeoff. Landing is usually very comforting.

As the plane approached, I could see Heathrow airport and the runaway underneath us. The flight data on my screen was showing an altitude of 25 feet. A few seconds and we would be on the ground. But all of a sudden I could hear the engines roaring and in a fraction of a second the angle of the plane changed and we were going back up. I was violently pushed into the chair by the force of gravity and all I could see was the airport getting smaller and smaller. A few seconds more and we were back into the thick grey clouds, at 6500 feet.

I freaked out. I grabbed the hand of the woman sitting next to me and squeezed it hard. My heart was going 2000 miles per hour, my eyes were watery, my entire body was trembling and all I could think about was that we are going to crash and I am going to die. The woman next to me was trying to comfort me but I felt like I was in my worst nightmare.

It was another 10 minutes until the pilot talked again. He said that we didn’t receive landing permission and that we will try the approach again. By now, I was terrified. No permission to land? Why where we 25 feet from the runway then? Why did we almost land? Was there another plane in front of us? Did the pilot go back up so rapidly to avoid a crash?

I guess I’ll never know….

The World In My Pocket Joanna

Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure’s collection of travelers' scariest stories - "Close to death". Including tales from all over the world. 

Have you had a scary travel experience? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.

How to travel with a broken heart

How to travel with a broken heart

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for traveling with a broken heart.

Travel is a mysteriously powerful experience with the ability to heal. Many people choose to take a trip after losing a dear one, whether it be a friend, family member or lover. But what happens if you go through a break up while traveling? How do you cope?

This exact situation happened to me on my recent trip to Portugal. I was halfway through a 3-week European backpacking trip when my relationship ended. I was alone, in a foreign country and staying in a shared dorm at a hostel – could it get any worse? (Of course, it could – I am being dramatic).

No matter what your situation there are things that can help you deal with heartbreak.

Take time out to grieve

Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean that you have to pretend your heart isn’t breaking. You might be tempted to hold it in because you’ve made great new friends and don’t want them to see you at your worst. Put on a brave face when you head out if you prefer, but make sure that you are taking time out to process the situation.

And if you feel like sobbing openly in the middle of the street, that’s cool too. You probably won’t see any of these people again anyway, so who cares? I cry on plane rides all the time. It’s practically a habit at this point and very therapeutic.

Either way, be gentle with yourself. Going through a break-up is a painful experience. Now is the time to take it easy and let all your emotions come out naturally.


Try to find some personal space

For all this grieving, you are probably going to want to have some privacy. Not a problem if you have the funds to check into a private hotel room with discreet staff who will bring you room service and not judge your tear-stained face. For those of us who are budget backpackers, this can be a little bit more tricky.

In my situation, I was staying in a shared dorm room in a hostel. On my first night, I was lucky to have the whole room to myself and could let all my emotions out. However on the other nights, when I had roommates, this kind of behavior would have been considered awkward at best.

So if you find yourself in the same situation, I would recommend upgrading to a private room if you can. At this point, you need your space and it’s well worth the extra bucks. Alternatively, try to find some private spaces in your hostel where you can be alone.

Reach out to loved ones for support

This is the time that you need your family and friends. If you were back home, your BFF would be on their way over with a tub of ice cream, boxes of tissues and an armful of DVDs. However, now that you are traveling it’s not so simple.

Luckily in this day and age, we have many communication platforms such as Skype, Whatsapp, email, etc. Use these without restraint. I spent countless hours on emergency Skype conversations with girlfriends from all over the world, including Brisbane, Vancouver, New York City and Ghana.

We’ve all experienced heartbreak and feel for others when they experience it themselves. Your friends and family will want to be there for you, especially because you are thousands of miles away. Let them support you, even if it’s not in person.

Don’t be afraid to stop or change your plans

Okay, so your world has ended. Or at least your relationship has and it feels like nothing will ever be okay again. That’s normal and it will pass. The question is “what to do now?”. Do you keep traveling or go home? The right answer is the one that’s right for you.

I know plenty of badasses who power through their break-ups, determined to continue on the path that they set off on. On the other hand, if you can’t go on, then that’s perfectly understandable. The world is going to be waiting for you once you get back on your feet.

For me, I knew that I couldn’t continue traveling as if nothing had happened. Rather than heading back home (where is that again, anyway?) I decided to fly to the closest city where I had friends living. I needed to be around people who cared for me. Even though I changed my plans and missed out on visiting the south of Portugal and Spain, I knew that I could do those trips again in the future. And I plan to!


Keep busy, busy, busy

Our minds are very powerful and left unchecked, they can run riot. Better to keep yourself busy with positive and constructive tasks. Or binge-watch the entire six seasons of Sex & The City (I’ve been there!). In my case, I was in Porto and Lisbon and needed a distraction but couldn’t string together a plan in my messed up state. So I went three different walking tours. It took my mind off the situation and I didn’t have to think too much about what I was doing.

Probably a good idea to stay off social media, especially if you are still friends with your ex. Also, it’s not so much fun seeing your friends’ happy couple photos plastered all over your feed. You’ll get there, but you definitely don’t need to see that right now.

Don’t do anything permanent

The first few weeks following a break up can be a roller coaster of emotions. You may experience anger, sadness, relief and many more feelings. There is no right way and we all process break-ups differently. These emotions might influence you to do something crazy like going on a silent meditation retreat or a booze-filled bender of nightclubs. Do whatever feels good but don’t do anything permanent.

Now is not the time to be making life changing decisions. So probably best not to sign up to the Peace Corps or get a lower back tattoo. If you really want to go wild, get a piercing – at least those come out easily.

Start making new exciting plans for the future

There is no rush to start thinking about the future. And in the beginning, it will probably be hard or even painful to imagine a future without your ex. However, as the weeks pass you will start to feel more like your amazing self and be feeling more hopeful about the future.

The positive of a break-up is that you are now able to do whatever you want without any input or consideration for a significant other. The beauty of being single is that you are free!

So what dreams have you been putting off because it wasn’t the right time? It could be a one-year solo backpacking trip or relocate to The Netherlands to learn Dutch. I recommend writing down a list of all your goals and aspirations. This could be for work, family, hobbies and of course, travel! Personally, I write and review my goals every three months. These goals include short-term and long-term so I can always be working towards the future that I dream of.

What is the future that you are envisioning yourself in now?


Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure's recommendations for traveling with a broken heart. Tips to help you cope with a painful breakup while on the road.

Have you gone through an emotional experience while on the road? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.

Saving money on clothing to spend on travel – Part 2

Saving money on clothing to spend on travel – Part 2

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations on saving money on clothing to help you travel more and for longer.

I want to do more than just inspire you to travel, I want to help you make those dreams a reality. And one of the biggest barriers to travel can be funds.

This is part 2 of how to save money on clothing to spend on travel. Some tips may seem simple, while others a little radical, however, you can pick and choose what works for you. The important thing is that you are making positive changes to the way you spend and putting it aside for your goals.

For more budget tips, read recommendations for finding travel accommodation on a budget.

1. Wear your clothes until their dead

A good way to save money on clothing is to maximize your use out of the items you already own. Basically as a piece of clothing starts to get worn, re-purpose it into clothing that you wear to go to the gym or clean the house.

When packing for my travels, I will often take older items of clothing. On my 9 week backpacking trip to Central America, I filled my backpack with clothes that were due to be trashed/donated. And then as I traveled and no longer needed the item, I would discard them, returning with a near-empty backpack.

This idea is great for so many reasons – firstly a lot of clothing would have gotten worn or damaged during the activities I was doing anyway. And secondly, this makes room in your backpack to pick up some nice souvenirs or local crafts! (Just make sure resist the urge to fill up your bag with more impulse-bought clothing).


2. Borrow and swap clothes

I will try everything I can think of before actually investing in a new item of clothing. I avoid it at all risks! Not only because I don’t like the activity of clothes shopping (who else hates trying on clothes?) but also because I would much rather spend that money on a trip!

Rather than buy new clothes, consider swapping or borrowing. Think about who is in your family and friendship circle that you could borrow or swap clothes with. I often borrow or exchange things with my Mum, as we have a similar dress and shoe sizes. I have also borrowed from a boyfriend’s wardrobe on more than one occasion.

While living in New York City, I used to attend regular “clothes swapping” events (found through the website Meet Up). These events had strict guidelines about the quality of clothing and swapping process (donate one, take one) to ensure fairness for all. Try searching online for clothes swapping event near you, or even start your own with some friends. I’ve also heard of these being organized for high-cost designer wear and handbags. It’s a great way to increase your wardrobe, while getting rid of clothes you no longer like, without spending a ton of money.
Staying with friends in Edinburg, Scotland

3. Thrift Stores

If I have to shop, then I prefer to hit up thrift stores (Op Shops). Often you will get better quality of clothing for less money. And the items are always well-washed and often in great condition. I’ve purchased many lovely brand-name sweaters (jumpers) and corporate-type clothing from thrift stores in New York City, Vancouver and now in my little city in the north of Spain.

Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure's recommendations on how to save money on clothing to help you travel more and for longer. Part 2 of 2.

How do you save money for travel? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.