So, while you’re busy not knowing what to do with your life, try doing that some place else. It might offer some perspective.
Last March (2013) I went to Los Angeles for a month. I had just graduated, it was a super cold winter and I wanted to experience a new (and warmer) environment. Also, I craved to see whether all stereotypes concerning L.A. were true..
I had no real connections in Los Angeles: I didn’t know anyone there, apart from this cool girl I sometimes wrote for. She owns a website and programme concerning positive body image and a modelling agency. I thought, let’s just be brave and ask her whether I could possibly help her out. She turned out to be really optimistic and enthusiastic about the idea of me coming over and I arranged to ‘rent’ a room in her mom’s house for a reasonable price.
This way you get to:
- help out/volunteer somewhere of your own choice
- live with people who actually know the city/town you’re going to, so will be able to help you around and show you nice places to go
- meet locals far easier
- experience a different way of living
- add something to your resume
- pay way less for your trip than you would otherwise
The downside is that I knew this girl solely from Facebook. I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have a really good grasp of who someone really is. I must admit (though I trust people easily) that it is a tad scary. I landed at LAX at night and booked a place on a Supershuttle to bring me to the place I would be staying at. I was in one of the biggest cities on earth, alone, going to sleep in the house of someone I’d never met.
What I always do in situations like this, travelling alone, is saving phone numbers in my phone. These are the numbers of two different taxi companies and two different hotels in the neighbourhood. Would I feel unsafe, I would just call a taxi to bring me to a hotel.
Luckily, the woman I was staying at was the nicest person and her fat little pug Al really liked me. She lived in the Hollywood Hills and the actual first day on my new ‘job’ had me stand on their big roof terrace watching the Hollywood sign. Over the rest of the month I helped out with the website and social media, assisted on photoshoots and model for one myself on a beach and in a park in Malibu. I met four awesome girls who I still regularly chat with through social media and I really feel like I was a part of that little piece of L.A. society for the month of March.
Discuss work duties
One thing I should add is to really discuss what you’re going to do when you’re there. Me and the girl I was working for were so excited about the prospect of me coming to L.A. that we forgot to create tasks for me to do. A tiny bit. So we improvised. If you don’t want to improvise, talk about this before you go.
Also, remember you’re not getting paid, as that would require a US working visa. So see it more as an experience, and doing something for a friend. Learning.
I can recommend travelling like this to everyone, if you’re handling it carefully.
Necessary preparations: Get to know the people you will work with or visit, google them, google their companies. Look up telephone numbers of taxi companies and hotels in the neighbourhood and save them on your phone. For more prepared social situations: I asked whether people would be in L.A. in March on Facebook, and through this met up with two lovely Dutch girls while I was there.
+ fun, cheap, work experience, lots of social advantages!
– little scary on what to expect