Field report


The most important thing for you as a new participant is to be open to other perspectives and cultures. Get involved and you will have the adventure and the time of your life. With this experience report, I would like to motivate everyone to embark on an individual adventure.

January 2022 - April 2022
Joschka in front of palm trees

Just travel far away and get to know a new world. Joschka thought so too and decided to set off to Latin America for four months with WanderWorld Travel. There he supported our children's aid project on Tierra Bomba in Colombia and the Animal Shelter on the island of Holbox in Mexico. He has summarized the many unforgettable experiences, feelings and knowledge he gained during this time for you in this report. He talks about the projects, the free time on site and the culture.


My preparation time

Juntos hacemos mas = together we can do more. This saying best describes my adventure and can be applied to all situations and problems. Every situation, no matter how tricky, can be solved better and more easily as a team.
As early as mid-2020, I decided to go abroad for a longer period of time after my studies and volunteer in projects. After a lot of research and a few phone calls, I finally decided on WanderWorld Travel. After looking into the individual projects for a while, I decided on the children's aid project in Colombia and the work at the animal shelter in Mexico. I chose Latin America because I wanted to get to know the culture, the language and the people and broaden my horizons. I booked the trip at the beginning of January 2021, exactly one year before the official start. WanderWorld was always at my side during the entire preparation time and I was able to contact Lisa and Sophia with all my questions on various topics such as flights, insurance, vaccinations and travel planning. The participant webinars also helped me a lot with my mental preparation for the trip, because they provide important information and you can quickly make contact with other fellow travelers. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos and blogs from other travelers during the preparation time to shorten the waiting time for my adventure.

The first days

I flew from Frankfurt via Bogota to Cartagena at the beginning of January. I already knew in advance that another participant would be on the same plane as me. However, we only met in Cartagena at baggage reclaim. Together we were picked up at the airport by our contact person and taken to our hostel. The next morning, we were picked up by our contact person at around 10:30 a.m. for a guided tour of the city. There we explored the old town of Cartagena, the city walls and the artistic Getsemaní district. We also received our SIM card and withdrew money. The introduction ended in the afternoon in a typical Colombian restaurant. In the evening, two more participants arrived and the day ended with a fun evening. We had Sunday at leisure and I explored the old town of Cartagena. On Monday morning, myself, another participant from WanderWorld Travel and another volunteer from France took an Uber to the port of Boca Grande. A member of staff from the project was already waiting for us there. Together we took the lancha (small boats) for about 15 minutes to our island Tierra Bomba. There we were warmly welcomed by the other volunteers and everything was shown and explained to us. We also had our first contact with the kids. The organization received a large number of donations and so 15 rucksacks with pens, pads, glue, scissors and much more could be distributed to the girls and boys. During the first week, we were told everything we needed to know about how to deal with the children and life at Tierra Bomba. Looking back, I can say that I didn't feel homesick at all at the beginning. You are just so overwhelmed by the new impressions, plus the tiredness from the journey and the jet lag, so there is hardly any time to miss home. Once I had settled in, both in Colombia and in Mexico, and found a routine, it was nice to talk to family and friends on the phone and even if it was only one WhatsApp message a day, I knew that I could always get in touch if I missed them or needed advice.

A day at the Youth Development & Animal Shelter Project

In the development aid program at Tierra Bomba, our main task was to prepare and run the various workshops. These were held on various topics such as English, technology and art with recycled materials. The aim is to give children and young people better opportunities for the future and to create a more conscious approach to waste. A special highlight, not only for me but also for the children, were the surfing lessons that took place twice a week. The kids were really enthusiastic and motivated and were already waiting outside the project site an hour before they started. Even the youngest participants can feel the connection to the sea. We also spent our free time with the children, playing with them, going to the beach or helping them with their homework. We were very free to organize our own activities and could also use the time to relax with a clear conscience. We also often spent our evenings with the children and young people and cooked together. Working with the other volunteers was a great pleasure for me. In the end, we were one big family and so it was hard for me to say goodbye. What I enjoyed most was seeing the children's eyes light up and their positive attitude to life despite living in poor conditions. This satisfaction with the little things in life, as well as the sharing and willingness to help, are definitely important insights that I have taken with me for my life in Germany. The staff were available around the clock to help with questions and difficult situations and were more of a friend than a superior.


At the animal shelter in Mexico, our working hours were much more relaxed and so we had a lot of free time on the island of Holbox. There we were split into two shifts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We were responsible for our own schedules and we had the flexibility to decide who worked when. As I enjoyed the work so much, I usually worked not just one, but both shifts. My tasks included feeding and caring for the dogs and cats, cleaning the facility, cleaning the bowls and leads and supporting the vets. We were also responsible for looking after the tourists, answering various questions and taking the dogs for walks. We were also allowed to take the dogs for walks on the beach, which was the highlight of working on Holbox for me. We experienced a special moment at Punta Coco beach at night. You can see glowing plankton there when the moon is low. Words cannot describe this feeling and I thought I was walking in stars. I also got on really well with the staff from the shelter and made new friends. I mainly spent my free time on Holbox with the locals on the beach, in bars and restaurants or we explored the jungle of Solferino, which is around 20 minutes away from Chiquilá. The support provided by the local staff was also good and I was always able to contact the relevant people if I had any questions or problems.

My free time in Mexico & Colombia

As some activities and workshops in the Youth Development Program in Colombia took place at the weekend, we mainly spent our days off in the city of Cartagena. We spent the days there shopping, visiting the beach and going out in the evening. I also got to know the sights of Cartagena. The city has become my second home and always has a special place in my heart. I was most impressed by the visit to Tayrona National Park with its beautiful beaches and the two nights in the jungle of Minca. Both can be reached within half a day by bus from Cartagena. I also visited the cities of Santa Marta, Barranquilla and Medellín. I was able to experience these adventures with the other volunteers from WanderWorld Travel and my new friends from Colombia. It's hard to single out one adventure, as every day in Colombia was a new and exciting experience in itself and I wouldn't want to miss a day of it. One situation that I was able to experience for the first time in Colombia was swimming with small sharks. It was a strange feeling at first, but as time went on I enjoyed this amazing feeling more and more. I would like to thank all the people who made my time in Colombia so special.

I had over 2.5 weeks at my disposal in Mexico, so I was able to get to know even more cities and sights. You can reach some well-known towns and sights from Holbox. My route ran from Chiquilá to Mérida and Valladolid via Tulum to Playa del Carmen and Cancún. I was also able to visit the two paradisiacal islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres. My activities in Mexico ranged from kayaking tours, city tours, relaxing by the sea to swimming in cenotes. The cenotes were definitely one of my highlights in Mexico. I also learned a lot about the culture and way of life of the Mayas during my visits to Chichén Itzá (Wonder of the World) and Uxmal. Mexican cuisine is also very varied and therefore highly recommended. I got to know many travelers from all over the world during these weeks, so I never felt alone. As I still had a lot of time to myself, I was able to think about and reflect on the experiences I had gained. This enabled me to gain some new insights for my life back home. During my free time on Holbox, I often went to the beach, sometimes just stayed at the hostel to talk to the many interesting visitors or went for a walk around the island. Watching the sunset on the beach in the evening was never missing and was part of my regular routine.

My experience with culture

The culture and the people can best be described in three words: warm, open and happy. I felt welcome and part of the community in both countries after just a few days. The local people make an effort to talk to you, even if you only speak a little Spanish. They immediately try to get in touch with you and tell you something about their country. They are also very helpful and support you with all your questions and problems. I was also impressed by their serenity and enjoyment of the little things in life. This made me rethink my own views and question which things are important in life, namely happiness, health, a home and food and drink. Material things such as money and possessions became less and less important in my thoughts. As a result, I was able to take a lot with me for my personal development and further strengthen my self-confidence.

I would like to tell you about two experiences that particularly stuck in my memory and showed me the real Colombia away from tourism. These include, above all, life in Tierra Bomba, in poor conditions. The people there are nevertheless happy with what they have and how they live. The sharing of food and toys from a young age also made a huge impression on me and is something that is rarely seen in Germany. Another experience that shaped me and brought me closer to the culture of Colombia was a visit to a poor suburb of Cartagena. Our surf instructor showed me life and his house in his neighborhood. I would never have been able to have this experience without the young man's openness and at that moment I simply didn't have the words. Thank you very much for that.

In my opinion, by participating in such projects, the participants get to know real life in South America. I was also very impressed by the culture in Mexico. The people are just as open and friendly as in Colombia and yet very different. You can tell the difference between the bright, passionate Colombians and the reserved Central Americans with their big hearts. I am grateful that I was able to live in these very different countries for a while.

My accommodation

In Colombia, we volunteers lived and worked on the organization's project site. There is space for eight volunteers. Each participant has their own room with a small bathroom and toilet. There is also a communal kitchen with the most important appliances. The overall standard of the accommodation is simple but clean. A cleaner comes once a week to clean the rooms and the kitchen. One of the things I had to get used to was that there was only cold water for showers and the electricity could sometimes go off. These circumstances were a big change for me in the first week compared to my life in Germany, but it quickly became normal. The supply on the island is also not comparable to that in Germany. There are no supermarkets here, just small stores with the most basic groceries. We received a delivery from the mainland once a week. We were able to provide for ourselves with the food we ordered and learn how to budget properly. You think twice about what or how much you eat, as there is a certain responsibility towards your fellow residents. However, the nice thing about it was the feeling of community and I learned to share even more and to put my own needs to one side.

On Holbox, we lived in an apartment booked by WanderWorld Travel. This consisted of a kitchen with a lounge, a bathroom and a shared bedroom. The water supply and electricity are much more developed here than on Tierra Bomba and the standards are similar to those in Germany. We were responsible for cleaning the rooms ourselves. As far as food supplies are concerned, there are many supermarkets and stores where you can find everything you need. As the food and drinks in the supermarkets were relatively expensive, I mainly went out to eat in inexpensive restaurants and cafés during my time. Due to the simplicity and the local supply system, you learn to appreciate even more the good conditions in which we were allowed to grow up and live. The accommodation on Holbox was very close to the project, as everything on the island is just a few minutes' walk away.

Why I love Latin America

As you have probably already heard, I can recommend a stay in Latin America to everyone. No one can take away the experiences you gain and they will shape you for the rest of your life. Not only do you develop personally, but you also make an important contribution to developing countries. Furthermore, the locals are delighted that you want to get to know their country, their culture and their language. The most important thing for you as a new participant is to be open to other perspectives and cultures. Get involved, just try to communicate with your Spanish and you will have the adventure and time of your life. The encounters with people and the new friendships you make will also enrich you. With this experience report, I would like to motivate everyone to embark on an individual adventure. I can highly recommend WanderWorld Travel and would like to thank them for everything they have done for me over the last few months. Thank you for the quick availability before, during and even now after the trip. I could turn to them with any questions or problems and they always had a solution ready. When I came to Latin America, this continent welcomed me with open arms. I was able to step into a completely new world. I will definitely be back.

Security on site

I never felt unsafe during my entire four months. On the contrary, I felt welcome and in good hands from day one. Of course, I was careful about valuables, but keeping your eyes and ears open is often enough to get through everyday life. I was generally out and about alone in the tourist areas during the day. At night, however, it is always advisable to stay at least in pairs or even in a group.
I would like to allay the fears of every future participant and encourage you to take on this adventure abroad. I had my own fears and concerns at the beginning, but the experiences you miss out on are absolutely not worth it.

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Sophia, founder of Wanderworld Travel

Lisa, Coordinator & Participant Support 

Amanda, Support and advice before departure


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