The daily camp schedule when you volunteer for the TCT is – theoretically – fairly straightforward:
- 6.30am: Wake-up
- 7.00am: Breakfast
- 7.30am: Finish breakfast and do morning dishes
- 7.45am: Gather at camp for daily briefing (this is where the Crew Leader will discuss the tasks for the day, the group will stretch, and the safety circle will be conducted)
- 8.00am: Hit the trail!
- 10.00am: First break (15-20 minutes)
- 10.20am: Back to the trail
- 12.30pm: Lunch (30 minutes)
- 1.00pm: Back to work
- 2.45pm: Last break (15 minutes)
- 3.00pm: Final push!
- 3.50pm: Stop working and set up a tool cache so that no equipment is lost
- 4.00pm: Head home.
- 4.15pm: Feet up for the rest of the day for those who did the morning chores.
- 5.00pm: Start dinner preparations.
- 6.30pm: Eat dinner (this may seem early to some, but trust us – you will be wanting a meal by this time!)
- 7.30pm: Clean up
- 8.00pm: Free time around the campfire until you want to go to sleep
However… there is much more to life on the trail than just the daily routine!
For starters, don’t forget that you will be stationed at a remote campsite for your time in the field, living in a communal environment and getting to know new people far better than you could usually expect.
While working on the trail, you will usually be partnered up with another volunteer or two, and you’ll doubtless find yourself chatting to your neighbours – provided it doesn’t get in the way of work – as tasks can sometimes get monotonous. It’s rarely long before riddles and ‘desert island’ questions start being passed around the crew, which all helps to keep spirits high.
And the schedule is of course subject to the weather and other concerns. We do work in the rain, but if the rain is too heavy, constructing trail often becomes impossible or unsafe, in which case we stop work until rain passes. And if a supervisor identifies a potential hazard, we might pause, relocate or stop the work day entirely.
At camp there is always plenty to do. You’ll be assigned rotating chores throughout the week so that each day there are different people preparing breakfast, preparing dinner, collecting firewood, purifying water, and – everyone’s favourite – doing the dishes.
Cooking out in the field can often be a lengthy process, as we are usually only using one or two burners and providing a large amount of food for some very hungry people. Help is always welcomed!
Plenty more happens throughout a normal TCT work week that doesn’t fit into the daily schedule. Group hikes after work for those who are up for it, weekly meals with local communities when we are working near populated areas, weekends at TCT base camp (for Armenia volunteers), plenty of pauses to take in spectacular views – and those spontaneous kind of special events you simply cannot predict!
A week on the TCT will be unlike any other week of your life. The work days are tough but truly rewarding – at the end of each day you will be able to walk back along the newly built trail and see exactly how much of a difference you have made.
And by the time your volunteering stint is up, we promise you’ll be amazed at how much trail you and your fellow volunteers have built.
Interested in joining us this summer? Click here for the full details of the programme and sign up before the April 15th deadline!