Today we speak to a future Frontier volunteer, Sam Axford, who will be going out to the ever-popular Fiji Marine Conservation project. We asked him a few questions about his upcoming trip to find out what he's excited about, what he'll be taking along and a few other bits and pieces.
Frontier: Why did you choose the Fiji Marine Conservation and Diving project?
Sam: The whole thing just sounds really cool: the tropical climate, the scuba diving, its isolated and distant location, the culture. I love the diversity of cultures and that’s what attracted me to Fiji – it’s got influences from all sorts of cultures, including India and Europe.
Frontier: What do you hope to achieve in your time abroad?
Sam: My main aim is to learn about species identification and all the different wildlife out there. I studied General Illustration at University and in my second year I specialised in Wildlife Artwork. Ideally I would love to be able to keep a sketchbook of all the different wildlife I learn about.
Frontier: Have you done much travelling up to now?
Sam: No, I haven’t done any travelling, so it’s a big step for me – I think I’ll learn so much from being independent. Last time I went abroad was when I was 12, to Orlando in Florida. If I’m going to go travelling I might as well go all out, and Fiji is one of the best places to go scuba diving.
Frontier: Besides Fiji, which other countries would you like to visit?
Sam: The Rift Valley in Kenya, where the oldest human remains were found.
Frontier: What do you think will be the most important item in your backpack?
Sam: That’s a good question… I guess drawing equipment and my sketchbook. As it’s a marine project I definitely want to take a waterproof camera, so I can draw the marine life I see.
Frontier: Which music will you listen to while you’re away?
Sam: Something chilled… Moby maybe.
Frontier: Do you have a good book to take?
Sam: New Earth by Ed Harpol. It’s a psychology book about a new way of thinking: not dwelling on your past and thinking about the present rather than the future. It’s basically about thinking positively, getting in touch with your inner self and being aware of your consciousness rather than your self-consciousness.
Frontier: What’s your favourite holiday memory?
Sam: Going on the different rides at Universal Studios in Orlando. My favourite rides were King Kong and Men in Black.
Interviewed by Alex Prior