In January 2022 I was involved in the GVI Chiang Mai project. As part of the project I helped with the collection of health and behavioural data on a group of Elephants in the mountainous village of Huay Pakoot. Each weekday we hiked to where the elephants were eating their breakfast and observed them, recording their behaviour and interactions with other elephants at set intervals. Seeing these creatures in the wild gave me a greater understanding of why it's so important to protect them. I didn't fully comprehend the complexities of the tourism industry surrounding Elephants but speaking to the locals and GVI staff has educated me on the most ethical ways to experience these animals- in their natural habitat! I was lucky enough to be able to complete this project and travel to and around Thailand with my boyfriend. I'd highly recommend having a travelling companion because it's wonderful to share the experiences together and reflect on the trip when back home. However, I wouldn't let a lack of travel buddy stop you from travelling! You meet so many amazing, like-minded people along the way that you soon have a great group of friends to share your time with. Before deciding to volunteer, I had no idea what I wanted to do with the next stage of my life. I thought I'd enjoy doing something that involved helping others and protecting the world around me but I wasn't sure what that looked like. Having this experience has reassured me that I really want to be a part of something important and impactful. If you have the opportunity to volunteer with GVI, take it.