The finish line is insight


So since i last blogged, as lot has happened. I have been back up home to Newcastle and spend some quality time with my nearest and dearest, watched the Opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, been over to Isle of Man to visit Cheryl and her parents, watched a lot of Olympics on the TV, came back to then watch a lot of Olympics in person (wow) and then got to see the closing ceremony as well. All in all it hasn’t been a bad 4 or so weeks.

We still have a few more hurdles to get over including the Carnegie Challenge Cup and Leeds Festival being over the same weekend, which we brand the whole of Wembley for the CCC Final and send 150+ volunteers and interns over to Leeds festival. Alongside that we still have the Olympic internship to manage and the Paralympics to see through. Although its been a daunting task, its certainly been worth every minute. I will certainly look back at this summer as one of the greatest, including all the high and all the lows, the people i have met along the way and the opportunities that have now came along.

Although it is still 5 months away, travelling feels much closer now and the more i keep thinking about it, the more it is really starting to settle in that we are really doing this, which is quite scary. Leaving the world behind and essentially shutting off from everyting!!! So i am now into the final sprint (yes i am dropping Olympic puns) and with only 4 weeks to go of the Olympic internship, i am quite sad that we are so close to saying bye to this place and these people. I will then only have 2 weeks left in the office before again i find myself saying bye to yet another place of memories and finally wave Leeds Met goodbye after 5 and a half years of service (including being a student). The final hurdle will be in November when me and Cheryl finally wave goodbye to our house and to Leeds, potentially for a very very long time.

—Stay Classy World—ACastling—

Part of the infrastructure


So i have now been on camp clean for over 4 weeks now, we are based just off the Olympic park from what i gather is classed as Bow. We have great links into central London and there is plenty to see and do here in westfields too. As far as Stratford, Bow and Newham itself goes, they are not the most attractive areas, even after the millions of pounds spent on re-generation (which still isn’t finished!).

I found out that at the Westfields centre (Stratford City), all of the businesses, hotels etc only have a lease until December and then depending on how business is doing, they can choose whether or not to continue that lease! It just makes you imagine that come February 2013, that place will be a skeleton full of wilkinsons, poundland and anything else that usually could be found across the road in the Stratford centre. It is quite an interesting insight into the overall idea of the Olympics and its impact on the local economy, why pick an area for regeneration, which afterwards will only go back to what it looked like before! Very odd cycle.

The interns are really settling into their jobs now, we have had one guy sit in on a LOCOG meeting, somebody else working with the media team creating a Olympics video, including trips to Wimbledon, Wembley, o2 and Silverstone! As well as Interns running their given areas, creating and presenting induction presentations to 100’s of new comers, the list goes on. A true testiment to how well the guys have settled into the programme and got on with the job in hand, where some are now beginning to flourish and truly exploit their talents.

It doesn’t feel like i leave camp very often now, as it has become my new home/office, which although on face value sounds bad, but everything here is paid for and certainly doesn’t cost London big bucks. I feel that i have managed to network well with all of the management that are working on camp, as well as those that come in and out. It is certainly beginning to feel like my home away from home now (apart from the misses not being around ofcourse) and i am becoming part of the infrastructure of this place

Welcome to camp clean

—Stay Classy World—ACastling—

Things are coming along


So its official, in mind and on paper. The severance has come through and i am officially departing the University on the 30th September 2012. So my 6 year stint of Leeds Met (study and work) is officially over!

I have been managed by somebody who although sturn at times and although feared by many, has tweaked and tuned me to be ideal for the events industry. A cut throat industry that involves determination, grit and resilience. I wouldn’t class the time i have spent under Patsy’s wing as work and more as a mentor programme. She has literally turned me into somebody with an interest in events to a person who now lives their life by events. Not only has she shown me how to survive and thrive in the industry, but also given me the opportunity to meet some of the best contacts i will possibly ever meet in my life. For that alone i am forever in her debt (which she knows!!) and will always be thankful.

I mean which 24 year old gets to work at the 2012 London Olympic games as an Intern manager, looking after 63 students, working as venue manager assistants for 13 weeks based in London!!! With a backstage pass to the games itself!!! Without being related or paying somebody off, these kind of opportunities don’t come very often to people like me.
I am now based just down from Stratford, outside the Olympic park in camp clean for 13 weeks managing the students, which some are a lot older than myself to put it in perspective. I couldn’t be more over the moon about what i have been given and don’t under-estimate it for one minute (just i am shit at expressing feelings)

Its scary to think that in 11 weeks time this will all be over then on 3 weeks time i will be finishing work and then in 2 months i will be leaving the country, potentially for a very extended period!!!
Until we leave, i will keep these blogs about the 2012 intern programme and everything else that happens this summer

For now its another day another dollar

—Stay Classy World—ACastling—

How it all came about…


We will be leaving the UK on the 10th of December 2012 and waving goodbye to all of our beloved friends and family. This trip has nearly been 2 years in the making, but the wait will be totally worth it. I have managed to write off my student overdraft debt/s (managed to end up with two, school boy error) and (with my help) Cheryl has managed to renovate her house and bring it upto a rental standard.

Since graduating from University in 2010, we have both had one goal…..travelling. We didn’t want to rush into it and didn’t want it to be one of those trips where we ran out of money half way and had to come home, jobless and with CV’s with the same experience as a 14 year old. Therefore before we embarked on our adventure we needed to gain as much work experience as we possibly could, whilst also saving enough money to pay everything off (flights, insurance etc) before we left the UK and sustain ourselves for atleast 12 months without working. Also Cheryl owns the property that we lived in and therefore we needed to renovate the house whilst living in it whilst saving, so that before we leave it can be rented out to young professionals or a family.

Cheryl got a job at a school in Holbeck as an Early Years teacher and I got a job working for the marketing department of the University, but only on a part time salary! Within months we were both presented with opportunities we couldn’t refuse. Cheryl was offered the position of unit leader, after only working there for max a year (by luck more than judgement; maternity cover) and I was offered to once again work on the Festival Volunteering partnership with the University which takes over 500+ students in the summer to Hove, Latitude and Leeds festival, but still only on a low part-time salary, meaning not enough to pay rent, bills, food and save!

Throughout 2010-2011 we slowly renovated the house,whilst also gaining and losing new housemates, as they embarked on a new adventure in Leeds to only be offered work else where. So housemates came and went, until one of my best friends who I see as a brother moved in with us and this only emphasised the need to go travelling, as his dreams were to work in Aus. So our daily conversations were all about travelling the world, getting out the country and seeing new places. Chris left at the end of 2011 to embark on his own big adventure and left us with a huge gap of not only an empty bedroom, but also the realisation of our dreams, which is full of passion and drive to see the world.

Cheryl continued to work as a unit leader and went from strength to strength, becoming such a strong managerial figure along the way, learning techniques from her previous manager and creating some of her own, in terms of dealing with people, whilst also teaching young children. I was finally given the job I wanted, to work as the Partnerships Officer for the University on a permanent salary and to do something I enjoy………wooohooo

Since November 2011 we have both religiously saved our arses off, whilst also researching the ‘BIG TRIP’ which doesn’t come with a shiny brochure and doesn’t come as an A-Z, although there are books that claim they do, non of them can prepare you for the planning needed for a trip like this. The calling signs came when the University offered out voluntary severance and I thought to myself ‘it’s now or never’, if there ever was a sign to get up and go, this was it. Things were looking bad (job wise in the long term) and this couldn’t have spurred my decision anymore. The unit leader job Cheryl was doing was only maternity cover, so would also be coming to an end soon, so yet again another sign that this was the right decision.

We took the plunge and booked our flights with this news, going from UK>;Thailand>;Across land Asia>;Singapore>;Sydney>;Christchurch>;overland to Auckland>;Chile>;overland South America>;……..the world is our oyster, no return flight!!!!

—Stay Classy World—ACastling—