Do I have what it takes?

First of all I would like to thank each and every one you for all the positive feedback from my first blog post. Your support means a huge amount to me!

I have been seeking the answers to a few questions including:

  • What does being an aid working mean?
  • Could I actually do it?
  • How do I become an aid worker?

I have spent the last few days reading various blog posts, and stories from people who have done aid work in one way or another, gone from full time jobs, have families, yet still undertaken the path of aid work.

One thing I knew when I was thinking about pursuing this was that not all aid working is easy, fluffy and completely full of happy times. Being an aid worker I don’t believe for one second is going to be easy, you would have to be very naive to think it would be!

The truth is you have to deal with some very difficult situations, whether its disaster aid where you are in an area of the world recovering from a natural or man made disaster or development aid where you are working with communities helping them build sustainable living where living conditions are hard. Also it involves a lot of hard work which will often involves working 7 days a week with little recreational downtime and having to deal with sights and situations which will be hard emotionally to deal with.

This brings me to the topic of ‘Can I do it?’. This is a two fold question, I have spent a lot of time over many years thinking about the answer to this question, I am quite a sensitive person but I am good at hiding emotions and dealing with issues at hand.  I am often called a bit of a workaholic, I don’t like idle time, so the amount of work which would be required is not an issue for me. Can I survive in places with little running clean water? and basic food supplies? Yes and Yes! I would have no problems and consider myself good at being able to adjust to any environment.  The other side of this question is the areas out of my control, like would someone hire me? This leads on the the last question I want to approach in this blog ‘How do I become an aid worker?’

I left college with a BTEC Diploma and entered my job.  I never went to university, I have always been a more ‘hands-on’ learner and I’m quick and picking things up, and learning new skills, but how would this trait help me in my Journey, would this pose to be a huge hill to get over? only time would tell. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, I have seen a lot of mentions about networking, key skills, degrees in required subjects. Seeing the mention of degrees worries me.

Networking is definitely something I can work on, and I will be looking at conferences I can attend, contacting people who are aid workers seeking advice and also some charities to find out what they would require from me.

As more questions get answered, more questions require answering and I become more committed to getting to the end of this Journey!

Dan. :)

My Journey

My Journey starts today. I’m 28, nearing 30, I own a house with a mortgage in negative equity, I have debts and after a good number of years I have come to realise that the way my life has gone is not the way my life should have gone, but now FINALLY I have come to realise what my end goal in life should be.

I am starting this blog to express thoughts of my journey, gather feedback on my thoughts and progress but ultimately provide a resource for other people like myself who are in the same situation. I will make mistakes in my journey, but it’s the recovering and keeping the motivation going which is the key to any Journey.

I currently work in IT, as a programmer for a large software company.  I have been here for 11 years, and although I enjoy what I do, BUT I don’t leave work every day thinking ‘I have just made a difference’. My skills are mainly around IT, but have strong project/task management skills. I feel this is not the most ideal starting position.

I’m calling this my Journey because of the amount of work I have to do to accomplish the end task, to finally reach my final destination, to become a full-time humanitarian aid worker. I have done basic research, and I understand that it’s not easy to break into the aid working environment. ‘Why would anyone trust you when you have no experience’ is the general feeling that I get.

For the last 18 months I have been following a charity which I hold close to my heart. Restless Beings, the charity is relatively new but has a pro-active and dedicated team and the people behind the charity echo everything I believe in. They are truly inspirational.  After speaking to a good number of friends, family members and good acquaintances I finally took the step to approach the charity. If they agree to take me on as a team member it will give me a huge insight onto what it will take to progress the full distance of my journey while helping an amazing charity!

Next step I feel, is further investigation. What do I need to do to develop myself?  Who do I need to talk to?  How can I learn what is required? One thing I do know is this is what I have REALLY wanted to do my whole life.

I really hope you enjoyed reading, and I look forward to your comments, feedback and hopefully your support.

Dan :)