The venue is Z Hostel so I was naturally thinking about the gory slasher film, Hostel while trying to locate it, more of word association rather than the fear of getting disemboweled of course. I was told to go to the rooftop because that’s where the “party” is. I saw a willowy figure on top of the stairs wearing a big smile; turns out to be Cai, one of the online people I’ve been in contact with of late after I signed up to be part of this new volunteering group called, Backpacker Teacher.
Backpacker Teacher is a volunteer project created by the working-on-the-road couple behind the travel blog, Two Monkeys Travel Group, Kach Medina and Jonathan Howe. I’m following their Facebook page where the first announcement has been made, calling for people who may want to travel and volunteer to teach at the same time. Save for the technical writing training I conducted in our company, I have no formal teaching experience, but I am confident I can teach English so I passed my application. Next thing I knew, I’d been assigned as one of the two PR Managers for Team Luzon. Part of our tasks is to write articles for the group to be published on our official website.
The response to this endeavor was so great, three chapters were created: Team Luzon, Team Visayas, and Team Mindanao. The “party” I went to on April 7, 2015, that’s the official launching of the Luzon chapter. There were 56 attendees, so many, I’m not sure exactly how we fit ourselves on that rooftop. I noticed that people were so animated and excited to be in the event. Because it’s the first time I’ve met these people, I kept to myself most of the time and hang out with the first person who greeted me, Cai.
Normally, in a social setting, the first question people would ask you is what do you do for a living. In this crowd, it’s different. After the required pleasantries, the first question that popped from their mouths is, “where is your next travel destination?”
Thankfully I have something arranged in the last part of April so I had a ready answer, “Boracay.” When they started sharing theirs, my Boracay travel suddenly sounded too mainstream for me. There’s one who would go to Hanoi, Vietnam, one is heading to Cambodia, and a guy said he’s going on a solo backpacking trip to Calaguas. Then it hit me, I’m in the company of hardcore travelers. Talking about these things for them is as normal as the talking about the weather.
But this time, we are not just travelers, we are also volunteers, and probably, future English teachers. Backpacker Teacher aims to go to places where education is not readily available to teach children even adults, who are interested to learn the English language.
The program was simple, the core team of Team Luzon was introduced, we got a chance to hear from the founders, Kach and Jonathan via Skype video chat, we engaged in a “find your mate” game, and we anticipated the raffle that gave away free trips to Calaguas, Sagada, and Baler. I won neither the game nor the raffle (sigh).
The remaining hours were spent on socializing, photo ops, and more socializing. Like I said, I kept to myself but I wasn’t really bored. I stayed til the event was over and the last of the attendees have gone home. I know I need to work more on my social skills but please don’t pressure me, haha…
I am happy to meet new people and quite excited to begin my adventures with the Backpacker Teacher. Oh yeah about teaching, I will find a way to get the TEFL certification soon.