Man of The Year

I studied Business in college, I did a BTEC but I always felt that my heart wasn’t in it. I would plough through work as quickly as possible and in my study periods I would hit the gym and check out my abs in the mirror. When it came to finishing the course with D*D*D* I took a year out to qualify as a Personal Trainer. But when it came down to working as one I realised that although fitness was a humongous passion of mine – A life of working in a gym and training clients was not for me.

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Fitness: My passion, but not the right career

So what now?

The idea of a 9-5 Monday – Friday job terrified me as I imagined that once I stepped through that portal I would spend many years of my life engulfed in a realm that wasn’t for me.

My life had no direction; I would work part time and then spend all my money on nights out – a  lifestyle that sounds bloody fantastic in Lil Wayne songs but after a while it was a very destructive routine to stumble in to.

When it came round to New Years Eve I made the resolution to myself that by the end of  2016  would be in a better place than I was coming into it.

A couple of weeks later I found Balloon Ventures.

’12 Lifechanging Weeks at No Cost To You!’

I signed up instantly and from there my life improved in one big, beautiful flash– I met awesome people at Assessment Day and Training Weekend, learned new skills and was filled with enough vaccinations to make me a super human!

I could already feel that this experience was going to change my life for the better.

I was faced with challenges before I even landed in Eldoret with my group – On my home turf somewhere along the line my Provisional Driving License and Bank Card decided to jump out of my pocket (my group found this hilarious, but comforted me at the same time.)

And although I still don’t have a bank card to this day, Balloon Ventures give the volunteers a weekly allowance. From time to time I’ve need some extra cash for things like gym memberships or walking boots (do not be fooled by your assumptions, Africa can be a very muddy place to live.)

In these situations  I get money sent to to another volunteers bank account and they will withdraw the cash for me – Crazy to think that 5 weeks ago I didn’t know any of these people yet I would trust them with my life!

The day to day life is incredible – there’s always something to do; from working with our entrepreneurs to being laughed at by my Kenyan host family when I try speaking Swahili.

Upon writing this I’m only half way through the Balloon Ventures placement and I already feel like an improved person with new skills and a changed perspective on life – Most importantly I’ve learnt that there’s much better things I can be doing in the world than dedicating my heart and soul to Jager bombs and nights out.

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Revitalised: Joining Balloon, meeting incredible people and pushing myself to help the entrepreneur has given me a new sense of purpose

Thanks to Balloon Ventures I have a perfect opportunity to achieve my new years resolution; I will do everything I can do innovate my entrepreneurs businesses to the highest heights because if I do that I will have achieved the biggest accomplishment of my life so far – I’ll be the Man of my Year.

For anyone who is also on a gap year and struggling in a rut I would definitely recommend the ICS program; you will change and grow into a better version of you.

By Nik Froud

Balloon ICS Volunteer

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