Morgan Applegarth prepares to volunteer for Ocean Stars in Sri Lanka

The first is slightly selfish. For years, I've wanted to go travelling; to quit my job, fill a backpack and see the world. But, with my career and other commitments the chance never really surfaced - until now.

OceanStars :: Monday 5th September 2016 :: This Story

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Long story short, I've quit my job, bought a backpack and am now planning to see the world.
I've always wanted a purpose to my travels that went beyond sampling the best beach bars in Southeast Asia. I wanted to do some good, give something back and experience day-to-day life of other cultures.
The second factor is my first (and, so far, only) visit to Sri Lanka. In December 2015, I toured the country with my sister and brother in law with help from a local guide. One of the many highlights of the trip was spending time with our guide, who shed light on many aspects of Sri Lankan culture. A topic that came up occasionally was the 2004 tsunami and how areas we were visiting were still coming to terms with that fateful event.
Hearing tales from a proud Sri Lankan about the devastation caused and driving through towns that were shadows of their former selves really humanised the scenes that I'd seen on TV. The more we talked about the tsunami's impact and the longer I spent in the country, the stronger my feelings toward the event grew. The stories and scenes were sad and I didn't like hearing or seeing them about a country I was quickly growing to love.
In planning my travels, I decided Sri Lanka would be my first destination. I spoke with a friend who's not only well travelled in the country but involved with OST. Knowing my motives for travelling she suggested I read up on, and got in touch with, OST.
I took her suggestions and learned about OST; what its done and continues to do. Not only was I impressed, but drawing on how I felt during my December trip I wanted to get involved. OST seemed like the perfect opportunity to give back to communities of a wonderful country, once so wrongly hurt.
I'm really looking forward to visiting OST projects in Batticaloa and am sure this is the start of a long relationship between myself and the charity.