This is the 6th installment in a series of Q&As with past TCT volunteers. The aim of this series is twofold: to provide information about what it is like to work with TCT to potential volunteers and to preserve our antics for posterity.
From: Rome, Italy
Currently: writing her final thesis and working in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)’s technologies for people with disabilities.
Enjoys: driving her scooter around the city, especially during summer nights.
Project volunteered for: Dilijan Armenia trailbuilding camp 2017
TCT: This is a grassroots project with a marketing budget of precisely zero. Given that, how did you first hear about the Transcaucasian Trail?
Bianca: It was found by a friend of mine who was browsing the Internet with the idea of walking each summer from Greece towards the East following the Silk Road, one milestone at a time. He spoke to me about the project, and I sent in the application right away.
TCT: Had you ever volunteered or worked on anything similar to this before?
Bianca: No, never.
TCT: It’s quite a commitment to travel to a brand new part of the world to contribute your time and energy to something completely new! What motivated you to join the project as a volunteer?
Bianca: Hiking has been an important part of my life since I was a child, and it gave me back both energy and direction during some moments of disorientation. I decided to participate for many reasons. I was feeling motivated at the idea of spending some time surrounded by nature while contributing in building something that supports walking culture. I was really intrigued by Armenia and curious to discover how the construction process works.
TCT: What were the best and worst aspects of being part of the volunteer trail building crew in Dilijan?
Bianca: The best part was seeing the path’s growth under our feet day after day and sharing this experience with different people bonded by similar passions, in a context that promotes a sincere and deep way to relate to each other. There were no worst aspects, I sincerely enjoyed every part of this journey.
TCT: Trail work is a largely thankless task, which, if done properly, will never be noticed by the people who benefit from it. Where, if anywhere, did your sense of reward come from?
Bianca: On the last Friday afternoon, our whole group of volunteers completed the final day of work by drinking a beer at Parz Lich, a small mountain lake provided with camping structures, where we had marked the last meters of the trail. After that, a few of us spent some hours walking back to the very start of the path we had been working on during the previous two weeks, remembering each and every landmark: where we had been sweating on rocky soil, where we had been chatting with someone for the first time. The possibility to enjoy the walk on that brand new trail I had helped to build filled up my heart.
TCT: The biggest trail building operation ever launched in Armenia was accomplished entirely by the labour of volunteers such as yourself. How does that make you feel?
Bianca: I am glad I had the opportunity to give my contribution to a project that can help to preserve and add value to Armenian natural heritage, and, in the long term, connect the Caucasus region through a walking path.
TCT: We’re assuming that if you’re willing to be interviewed, you mostly enjoyed your time with us! Who would you recommend our volunteer programme to?
Bianca: To anyone eager to spend some time in a natural environment while enjoying a very simple lifestyle within a group dimension, willing to physically challenge themselves, and above all have fun!
Click here to read more about volunteering opportunities with the Transcaucasian Trail, which include joining trail crews like this one, helping out at our trailbuilding HQ over the summer, and more…