Published work

Read my published work, including articles on a sinking fort being reclaimed by the desert, the value of mangroves, and how to overcome your fear of sharks.

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1. Plastic

GVI logo

All the plastic ever made still exists. 

Let that sink in for a minute. Every single piece of plastic made in the past century is still around in some form. So how can we go about reducing the amount we use?

One million plastic bags are used per minute. That’s 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year. In total, 300 million tons of plastic was made in 2018.


2. Teach.PNG

GVI logoAre you considering taking the plunge to teach English overseas? Perhaps you are a student on a gap year, a recent graduate, or you’re looking to have a career break.

Teaching English can be a great way to gain hands-on experience and increase your employability.

It is estimated that one in five people in the world speaks English, or around 1.5 billion people.


3. Mangroves

GVI logoMore than 35% of the world’s mangroves have disappeared, making mangrove forests one of the world’s most threatened ecosystems.

Once perceived as ‘swampy wastelands’, mangrove forests are now being lauded for some miraculous feats.

From curing disease, buffering coastlines from extreme weather, and fighting climate change, there is more to mangroves than mere mosquitoes.


4. Sinking fort

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Rising 350ft from the sand and flanked by 99 bastions, the Jaisalmer Fort is a formidable presence in the Thar Desert of India.

The fort, built in 1156, was an established trade stop of the Silk Road. Yet the past forty years of increased tourism has taken its toll on India’s last ‘living fort’.

Cracks are beginning to appear in the sandstone walls that have resisted sandstorms and earthquakes for over eight centuries.


5. Sharks

GVI logoI waited four long years to see my first shark. I was diving in Komodo National Park in Indonesia at Castle Rock, a pinnacle where the coral reef clung to the rock against swirling currents.

Without warning, a blacktip reef shark surged past me, making light of the strong current that battered me backward. Rather than fear, I felt awe. It had chosen to emerge from the blue.

I used to be scared of many things. Lightning, spiders, injections, and even the dark. I overcame each of these fears in turn, but there was always one remaining: sharks.


6. Pai.PNG

GVI logoThe town of Pai is nuzzled against green mountains. The place has a distinctly bohemian feel, with live acoustic music and independent artisan stores lining the river.

On a moped, take roads flanked by shining paddy fields. Slide down a waterfall. Visit a land split, and bathe in  natural hot springs.

The town is just three hours north of Chiang Mai, where GVI offers a range of volunteering programs and internships, from reintegrating elephants back into the wild to women’s empowerment working with a Karen hill tribe.


7. Nepal

GVI logoNepal has gained the moniker ‘Amazon of Asia’ due to the biodiversity of flora and fauna that inhabit its lands, from tropical Terai jungle to its snow-capped alpine climate. Yet fifty years ago, hunting threatened to push some of its species to extinction.

Despite occupying just 0.1 percent of the world’s land mass, Nepal wildlife includes the greater one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal tigers, red pandas, blue sheep, snow leopards, Himalayan tahr and its national bird, the danphe (or Himalayan monal).

In recent years, Nepal has been recognized internationally for its conservation efforts, especially its fight against the illegal wildlife trade of vulnerable greater one-horned rhinos, red pandas and endangered Bengal tigers.


8. Peru

GVI logoCollins Dictionary recently announced that their word of the year is ‘single-use’, reflecting the current zeitgeist of finding more sustainable ways to live, both at home and while traveling abroad. This shift in thinking is a key part of responsible travel.

Being a responsible traveler means focusing on having a positive impact on the people, wildlife and the places we visit, all while having fun along the way.

When traveling to Peru, trekking to the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu tops the bucket list for many travelers, but Peru offers experiences beyond the llamas and ponchos of the Gringo trail.


9. FAQs

GVI logoInterested in making a positive impact by teaching English abroad? If you would like the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture, gain practical classroom experience and improve your employability, a teaching internship could be right for you.

If you are considering teaching abroad and developing your personal and professional skills, read our frequently asked questions to help you decide whether you should participate in a GVI teaching internship.


10. Wildlife

GVI logoThe United Nations (UN) recently revealed that 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, with that number estimated to rise to 68% by 2050. With more of us inhabiting towns and cities than ever before, the urge to reconnect with nature is undeniable.

While urbanization continues to skyrocket, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released a Living Planet Report this week that shows wildlife populations have plummeted by 60% since 1970.

In the last 30 years, half of the Earth’s shallow coral reefs have been lost. A fifth of the Amazon rainforest has disappeared in the past 50 years. Conservation projects are now more critical than ever to preserve the current biodiversity of species.


11. Costa Rica

GVI logoHave you ever imagined trekking in the rainforest to track an elusive jaguar, or helping hawksbill turtles hatch and return safely to the sea? Perhaps you would like to teach children English, then spend your weekends exploring waterfalls or climbing volcanoes?

Experience the ‘pura vida’ lifestyle for yourself when you visit Costa Rica.

Volunteering opportunities in Costa Rica are almost as diverse as its flora and fauna, with a range of projects from marine conservation, wildlife conservation, construction, community development and teaching English.


huffpost-logo-300x300ALL THE SINGLE LADIES

I’m filling out an official form, and one question asks for my marital status. I’ve been with Tom for almost a decade, but we’re not engaged, or married. So I tick ‘single’.

It gets me thinking – why isn’t there isn’t an obvious in-between phase for couples? Why must it go from official coupledom on Facebook to following Beyoncé’s advice and putting a ring on it, and why is there such a rush to get down the aisle?

The truth is, Gen Y is settling down much later than previous generations. The latest report from the Office for National Statistics cites that the average age for a man to marry in the UK is 36.7 years old, and for a woman it is 34.3 years old.  We’re not only getting married later – the average number of weddings in the UK in 2012 was around half of that in 1972. To put this into perspective, The Telegraph writes that ‘5% of men and 10% of women aged 25 are married, compared to 60% of men and 80% of women 44 years ago.’


huffpost-logo-300x300THE INSEPARABILITY OF TWINS

Twins are not that rare a phenomenon, with 8-16 pairs of twins per 1,000 pregnancies in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Of these, around a quarter are a subset called mirror twins.

There is a simple Thai phrase which sums up my experience as an identical mirror twin, ‘Same, same but different.’ Here are my thoughts about being a walking clone of my sister for the past 28 years:


 

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