A day in the life of a Project Everest Trekker

You might remember Isabella from our article Meet the Project Everest Ventures comp winner. Isabella was the lucky Arts/Law student from Tassie who was selected to take part in an amazing international internship in Fiji.

Last we heard, she was “absolutely speechless, overwhelmed and on such a high” from the news that she had won the comp! Fast forward three months and she’s about to jet off on her internship. But before she goes, we asked her to give us a play-by-play on her training experience and how she was feeling pre-departure. Here’s how it all went down….

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My pre-departure trekker training session was the first step to making it to Fiji; it was also the first step to realising that this is actually real. I am doing this! I am going to Fiji in less than a month! The trekker training was not what I expected. To be honest, I don’t know what I expected. But from the very first interaction, we were welcomed by awesome people who were dedicated to their roles as either Team Leaders, Group Leaders or founders of the organisation, and they were just as excited to begin this journey as we were. Here is how my day kind of ran.

Please note that my travels started in Hobart, Tasmania the day before training. I flew to Sydney in order to attend the full day training. Thankfully my boyfriend came for the ride and we were able to stay at his brother’s place for the weekend.

6:30 First alarm. I press snooze

6:45 Snooze alarm. I get up and get dressed. I Organise my notepad, pens, water bottle, my apple and leave my accommodation.

7:00 Uber ordered and I’m on my way to Trekker Training.

7:20 I arrive at Trekker Training. I meet some of the other early arrivals and say my first awkward hellos.

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7:30 Starting this early was a shock to my sleep deprived, university student system, but it was definitely worth it. We signed in and found our in-country project huddles and introduced ourselves.

8:00 Another shock, our phones are collected we say goodbye to technology for 11 hours. WE have 1 minute to text our loved ones and let them know we were going to be off the grid. So naturally I messaged my boyfriend, “Hey, phones being confiscated, can’t talk all day. See you at 6:30”. We meet Jimmy one of the co-founders and are taken inside the lodge to our tables for the day of training.

9:00 – 11:00 Our first session was led by Andrew (another co-founder), as he outlined why, how and what Project Everest Ventures (PEV) is out to achieve and the company’s values. PEV was compared to other social businesses and to we understood why PEV is different from other organisations; organisations whose core revenue streams are independent of the intended beneficiary, and how they more involved with the attached social benefit, like Tesla, Zipline and thePadProject.

11:00 We go outside with our project groups and practice how to use the Design Thinking and Lean Canvas model for when we are in country.

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12:00 Lunch. Finally, I was currently running on three coffees, an apple and a bit of cake. I was an energised little bunny who was starving. We had sausages, coleslaw, salad.

13:00 – 15:00 Back into it. Jimmy teaches us emergency and highlights the key information needed if in the unlikely situation we are required to respond to a medical or security emergency. We even got to practice our first aid skills on each other. That was interesting.

15:00 – 17:00 Lucy talks to us about culture shock, cultural sensitivity and to remind us that we are supported while away, both by those at home and those overseas with us.

17:00 – 18:00 We huddle with our leaders and everyone coming to Fiji. This was our time to understand the basic knowledge of our accommodation, food, project, weekends and any other general questions we had. More importantly, we got our phones back, which was very exciting and kind of funny so see my boyfriend’s reply to my unexpected message about no contact. To end the training, we take a group photo, the only error I noticed all day, as it was pitch black. The photo was so dark!

18:00 I get a lift to the train station by Adelaide, a girl I made friends with in my project and begin my journey to Subway for dinner.

Upon reflection, the day went by so fast, but I can honestly say it was a worthwhile experience. We were taught so much information that will be beneficial to our journey and were able to feel comfortable and get to know the people who will be with us before we actually arrive. I was also reminded why I was here and how I can help people through social impact.

Thanks for sharing Isabella, we can't wait to hear what happens next!

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