I travelled to Greece in June 2018 and had the best two weeks of my life.
Despite a rocky start of being refused boarding onto the airplane, from the moment I landed I felt both welcome and appreciated. Arriving many hours late, a GVI staff member waited for me all day in the airport and then sorted us accommodation in Athens, having missed our bus earlier! The warmth I felt from this lovely woman was immediate and continued for the whole trip...
Once we had finally arrived at the campsite the next day I was introduced to the rest of the staff as well as the other volunteers and within a few seconds made friends that, even though they live far away from me, are still part of my life now.
We stayed at a campsite on the most beautiful beach, surrounded by sand dunes and with stunning sunsets every single night. And this was the beach where our daily surveys took place. Each day we ventured out to locate and protect the turtle nests that had been dug the previous evening. Seeing the tracks they leave in the sand, and coming to understand them really makes you feel special!
By the end of the two week experience a significant goal had been reached. Over the summer the GVI team, along with Archelon (a neighbouring turtle conservation charity) had helped to protect over 1000 turtle nests, ensuring the hatchlings had the best chance of survival. There aren’t words to explain how rewarding it is to be involved in work like this. The celebration that evening was one to remember.
Volunteering for GVI was such an incredible experience. The scenery is reason enough to go to the area, but meeting new friends who also care about conserving nature, and knowing that we’d done some good for the turtles was the highlight of this fabulous trip. I cannot wait to get back!