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Finding Purpose: Chloe’s Second Raleigh Expedition

What Inspired Chloe to Go on Expedition:

In February 2024, 40-year-old Chloe embarked on a twelve-week Expedition in South Africa in hopes of rediscovering her sense of purpose while deciding what to do next in her career. Having taken part in Raleigh before, she knew how transformative Expedition could be, so she decided to sign up as a Volunteer Manager for the second time.

I felt like I was at a crossroads in life, and when I did Raleigh the first time I felt I had great mental clarity and direction… It felt like that would be a good thing to do to gain some mental clarity and purpose again.

A group of Raleigh Volunteers gathered together, smiling and posing for a photo.

Before going on Expedition, Chloe was working as a hotel manager at a ski resort in Canada. While working with young adults at the resort, many of whom had taken gap years, she was inspired to take a break from work to realign with her goals and detach from the distraction of technology, and a Raleigh Expedition proved to be the ideal opportunity.

There has been a lot of change since I was that age. But they (17 to 24-year-olds) are an age group that are a lot more attached to their feelings and able to detach a bit more from the modern world. They recognise its benefits and the troubles that come with it, that we had to learn first-hand.

I think I would like to transfer to working in the charity sector or NGO area. (A Raleigh Expedition) is a good experience for that as well. I had a break, and it’s good to do something useful with that, rather than letting time fritter away.

Raleigh Volunteers assembled in a field for a group photo.

Chloe’s First Experience of Expedition in Costa Rica:

Having already volunteered as a Volunteer Manager in Costa Rica, Chloe was confident she would enjoy the experience again.

We were in the Amistad International Park, down on the border with Panama, trying to build some trails to help the spread of ecotourism in Costa Rica.

Two Raleigh Volunteers working together in a field.

The highlight of Chloe’s first Expedition was the epic Dragon Trek, a challenging hike through multiple different climate zones where Venturers begin on the Pacific Coast and head inland up Dragon Mountain.

I did Dragon Trek, which was so cool. We went up to Sierro Dragon and did a loop around the Costa Rican countryside. We started in a national park and then ended up on the beach. It was incredible. I got to see a lot of change in the countryside. There were homestays in Costa Rica, so it was different from here (South Africa).

Raleigh Volunteers standing and holding trekking sticks.

Chloe’s Second Expedition in South Africa

For her second Expedition, Chloe was drawn to South Africa for its rich and diverse culture.

I had never been to South Africa before. I am always interested in experiencing new places, new cultures. So it was going to be more of a step into the unknown. But it’s a really cool country and I am really glad I got here.

Three Raleigh Volunteers sitting in the back of a pickup car.

Directly seeing the impact of her work in the Community projects gave Chloe the sense of purpose she had been seeking.

You can see the benefit of what you’re doing. I am not a religious person, but I found church incredible. I had shivers down my spine. Also, seeing a different way of things being done. The building is really basic but it’s more about the people and the community being together there. In the Western culture, there’s a lot of pomp and ceremony about the buildings, but this is more naturally about celebrating religion, which feels more pure.

Raleigh Volunteers gathered together, engaged in conversation.

The Adventure Leadership Trek is again Chloe’s favourite Expedition phase.

With the trek, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Volunteer Manager or a Venturer, it’s a personal feat. You have to do exactly the same as each other. Having done a trek before, I know it’s so fulfilling to be able to get people through. The highs are high and the lows are lows, and there are definitely points where people don’t want to continue. But seeing people get to the end is such an achievement.

Going to bed at night aching and exhausted and having no idea what you’re going to do but then the next morning you do get up and you feel fine… It’s about putting one foot in front of the other, and sometimes it’s longer than you’d like and it’s the heat that can be a struggle but at the end of the day, it’s so rewarding.

Raleigh Volunteers posing together for a group photo.
There are a number of different Venturer Manager roles available on our Expeditions in South Africa and Costa Rica. Find out more and sign up!

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Expedition guides

Find out all about Raleigh International and Expedition in our helpful information guide and sample itineraries.