Teach English abroad

Most people who teach English as a foreign language have a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA qualification. You have to pay to do these but you get the training and practice necessary to teach. The TEFL is cheaper than a CELTA which is the Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (How they think that works as an acronym I don’t know.)

I took the CELTA and thought it was great: very intensive, a lot of hard work but good experience and preparation for teaching.

More on this soon…



When my friend said that she was going wwoofing in the summer my parents looked at her as if she was disclosing a sexual preference for strangers in car-parks. But WWOOF actually stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms and it’s a brilliant way to see the world, meet new people, and have a holiday where you pay with your time and effort rather than money. The idea is that: ‘in return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.’

A few of my friends have done it. One of them worked in a vineyard in Tuscany. Another worked on a goats farm, which was actually pretty hard work, but a hilarious experience. Another helped paint and decorate somewhere in Portugal. My cousin recently worked on a vast garden of native trees in New Zealand. Some farms expect more work than others, so make sure you find out how much work you will be expected to do.

Have a read of this to see how it works and see where it takes you, or check out this list which The Guardian published: Their top WWOOFing destinations in Europe.

Get inspired

Here are some social innovations I’ve stumbled across that might inspire you. If you want to help a particular project, try getting in touch with them. Or, look at Good for Nothing, to see if you can collaborate with other people to bring someone else’s project to life.

This list of social innovations, published by YearHere on Twitter is also the perfect list of who to follow to hear about opportunities, jobs and experience.

-If you’re a medic, you already know what you want to do with your life. But you might want to get involved with this amazing project. Anyone else, be inspired by Street Doctors. They teach ‘high-risk young people, who have either been involved in crime or are at greatest risk of it’ essential First Aid skills. This, in turn, seems to boost confidence and change attitudes towards violence.

– Rootless Garden are ‘a travelling troupe of garden enthusiasts who use nature as a medium to reconnect generations and promote wellbeing in elderly care.’ They take nature and greenery into care-homes to help improve the atmosphere, give the elderly people some enjoyable responsibility, and run workshops on all-things nature inspired- even blending herbal teas.

We Are Nana ‘is a comfort food and craft cafe hosted by lovely older ladies from the local area.’ They ‘hate the thought that just because you retire, you’re expected to sit at home waiting for Deal or No Deal to start. Although there are activities provided for over 65’s, they don’t suit everyone, especially those who still feel like they’re 40 and are keen to get stuck in to something that benefits their community.’

Fare Share is a charity which tries to challenge food poverty with its alter-ego, food waste, by redistributing surplus ‘fit-for-purpose’ food to those who need it. They also offer PAID internships.

Spoken Word

Watching Spoken Word videos is OK because they sometimes spur you to stop watching videos and go and bloody write one yourself. Something to do with the rhythm or the fact that they often talk about what life is about actually motivated me. Go and watch Spoken Word live: Visit Apples and Snakes to see what’s on.

Here are my favourite videos to motivate and inspire you:

1) Kate Tempest’s poem Renegade actually got me writing Spoken Word a year ago. There’s a line in it that gave me goosebumps and really struck me: ‘Blake showed me/ That those who don’t exhibit their influence/Ah, they’re just holding candles to the sunshine’
Stop talking about your project- go and make it because you owe it to the world to share it!

2) Joshua Bennett. About poetry and creativity, this is absolute lyrical genius. Best line: ‘mimic Bojangles and tap-dance/ Just to have the half-chance of making some dough/ Forgetting that man was never meant to live on bread alone’ 
3) T Miller has such powerful delivery and has you clicking your fingers along with the audience.   

Writing competitions

It’s not a good idea to rely on competitions, but they can be a good way to set yourself a deadline to finish your masterpiece. There’s usually a money prize and sometimes good feedback for runners up.


The Roundhouse Poetry Slam is an amazing event to go and watch and to participate in. Spoken word is a beautiful art form because it has elements of poetry, music, theatre and performance in it. The final is televised, the judges are incredible artists themselves and the prizes are great. 

The Hippocrates Prize is a competition for poetry on a medical theme. There is an Open category, a category for past or present NHS workers and Young Poets prize. The first prize for each category is £5000. This year the deadline has been extended to 10th February 2014.

Pighog have an amazing poetry competition for a complete pamphlet. Today (31/01/14) is the last day for this years comp but look out for next time too. You can win publication by Pighog, and 40 complimentary copies of the pamphlet.

Haiku Jam

If you are going to procrastinate, why not be creative about it. Haiku Jam is an app that you can download onto your phone and then write haikus (3 line poems that are a Japanese art-form) collaboratively with other people using the app. You can start your own poem or finish someone else’s. I found it was a really good way of reducing big concepts into a more manageable size, and that some of the poems made stuck with me like little pearls of wisdom. Watch their video here 

Sell your art

Marbles and Ware are transforming the auction world, stripping it of dust and replacing it with glitter with their venture Bidders Bizarre. It promises to be an ‘immersive auction experience as well as a creative platform for young aspiring designers, artists, upholsterers, jewellery makers and all those with an eye for the unusual to get their work showcased and sold.’ They also want photographers, painters, graphic designers, sculptors etc.

The event is April 10th and submissions need to be in by Monday 10th February, so fill in a form at the bottom of their page and send it to info@marblesandware.com

Courses, societies and info

IdeasTap is basically the numero uno place to look if you want to see what projects there are out there to work on, which jobs in the arts world, which competitions etc. They advertise projects to do with: performing arts, film, writing and publishing, photography, visual arts, journalism, design, music, collaboration and dance.

The Roundhouse have an amazing 11-25 scheme (sorry if you’re 26 and I just made you feel worse) where you can go to workshops, rent studios to record music, make radio shows, take part in spoken-word workshops and competitions, make films, dance etc. I can’t remember how much it is for membership but I vaguely remember that renting a studio for an hour was like less than £6. I need to check that though.

The Barbican have loads of opportunities for people up to the age of 24. You can take part in their Young Poet programme, their Young Programmers scheme or other workshops that are shorter and sporadic.

The Lyric Hammersmith have some good schemes for young performers and writers too, but it only goes up to the age of 21 (boo hissss)

Apples and Snakes for everything you want to know about Spoken Word in the UK (not just London). They also have a Young Poets with Bite programme for 16-25 year olds, with more workshops, mentoring and a chance for your work to have a good platform.

Although I wanted most of the things on here to be free, The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2014 is an investment worth making. It’s like this Bible of information, contact details and deadlines for all things to do with writing. It has interviews, lists of publishers, magazines and newspapers, lists of competitions, lists of all organisations and societies, tips, even law to do with writing and all from ALL OVER THE WORLD.


Learn stuff for free

One of the hardest things about graduating is the fact that you are probably no longer surrounded by lots of young people eager to debate the world and its ways. Suddenly the most mental activity you have is working out the days until payday or working out what you can make with the ingredients in your fridge, and your brain makes a sound like a PC dialling up to a modem when it starts thinking. You try to console yourself with the fact that your parents and their peers wouldn’t know the first thing about the significance of the ass in that short story by relatively untranslated author Massimo Bontempelli and his ‘900 project, and that should old Massimo come into conversation you would be able to make some damn astute observations and probably sound very quick and witty too. But maybe it’s also a good idea to give your brain things to do, just so that you can move away from your dissertation and not live in the past like a jilted lover.

And, even if learning was never your thing, it can still be an unpleasant sensation when your brain starts turning to mush. If you’re craving some brain stimulation, then have a look at these links below.


As I’ve said on the ‘Too Much Choice’ page, the RSA Animate videos are all worth watching. Philosophers and thinkers make philosophy and thinking easier to swallow. They also have free public lectures which look very interesting.

Sheldrake on Shakespeare

James Sheldrake, with the voice most grown men wish they had, has recorded a series of 15 minute podcasts on Shakespeare’s plays. If you, like James, think that ‘the body of literature written by William Shakespeare is one of the best things about being alive,’ then take 15 and reassure yourself with the fact that you aren’t watching Australian Masterchef.
You can listen online, or better still, you can download them off iTunes for free!


I’m always surprised when people don’t know about TED because I have watched so many of their videos that I feel like everyone must have. Their motto is ‘ideas worth spreading,’ and there are inspiring talks on everything from neuroscience to feminism, rap and robots. TED stands for Technology, Education, Design and it covers everything that falls in between.

My favourites:

Ken Robinson on How Schools Kill Creativity

Chimamanda Ngozi AdichIe on Why We Should All Be Feminists

Evelyn Glennie on How To Truly Listen

If you have more free learning experiences to recommend then please tell me which ones they are by emailing restoflifecrisis@gmail.com. Ta.


Someone emailed in with a few song lyrics which helped them think about what was next in life, and motivate them to get going (probably thinking OH GOD don’t let this be me.) They’re a few lines from 

‘We wish our week days away,
Spend our weekends in bed,
We drink ourselves stupid
And work ourselves dead’

Actually I listened to the rest of the song and it’s not as dark as all that. The recurring line is: ‘feel like you still have a choice’ and that is important. Remember if you’re having a quarter-life crisis, there is still PLENTY of time but now’s the time to begin it. Have a look at the Positive Procrastination, and the Change the World pages for inspiration about where to go next. 

Also, The Dalston Years blog has a post about quarter-life-crises which was funny.
Read it and have an epiphany.