10 January 2012

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Tracking Jack Bauer On An African Gap Year


Jack Bauer II

Jack’s back!  At least he will be soon. Jack Bauer, the hero, or anti-hero depending on which way you look at it (but I know which way I look at it!) of hit TV series 24 will be returning to our screens in the not too distant future. This year, shooting for the long promised film version of the addictive series will finally begin. And I’ve finally worked out that if I’m going to find him in the meantime I will have to volunteer abroad.  It makes perfect sense.  Last time we saw Jack he was given a chance to disappear – again - so where will he go?  He’ll go and hide and assume a new identity, silly.

 If your grip on reality isn’t quite as tenuous as mine you might still consider the options of travelling abroad and taking part in voluntary projects. You can absorb the culture, broaden your horizons and grow as a person, and if you happen to come across a certain ex-CTU operative while doing so, all the better.

Last time he escaped, Jack emerged somewhere in Africa helping out underprivileged children so that has to be a good place to start.  Although, as I recall, with Jack Bauer, there’s guaranteed to be some sort of trouble.  Anyway, how about Swaziland?  It’s one of the smallest countries in Africa, meaning it’ll be easier to search, but it also really needs as much voluntary help as possible.  

A high percentage of children in Swaziland live in orphanages due to the high mortality rates caused by HIV and AIDS, and spending some time volunteering here will provide some much needed hope to the people of one of the world’s poorest countries. Plus, not only will it put things in perspective, but if you’re like me it might help you to regain that grip on reality.


Teaching the children maths and basic English while you’re there will greatly help improve their prospects for finding a job and working their way out of poverty, and while it’s hard work in the week, the weekends give you the chance to go horse riding, mountain biking or immersing yourself in the culture.  If you’re really exhausted at the end of it all, there are longer breaks available to St Lucia or Mozambique.

Staying in Africa – and still living in hope of finding Kiefer Sutherland’s doppelganger – for the more practical out there, head to Kenya.  Do something useful and join in one of the community building projects, helping the poverty stricken people of Nakuru.  Building a house properly is a painstaking and steady process so depending on the length of your stay you may not get to see the final results of your efforts.  Expect to work for up to six hours a day too. 

  But again, it’s not all hard work and no play. Regular trips on a Kenyan bus, or a matatu, will be an enlightening and fun experience and probably more reliable than your local bus company in England!  You may also want to visit Lake Nakuru National Park on your weekends off and see some of the incredible wildlife on display. There’s also the Menengai Crater close by, a thankfully dormant volcano, and don’t forget, Kenya is the perfect place for a safari. Just keep a close eye on the guys running the building project - one of them may just be Jack!  And please let me know if you spot him.  


I know the old saying that you should never work with children and animals but you know we have to look after both. Try spending time in South Africa and caring for lions, cheetahs and tigers on a real big cat experience. This is not for the squeamish; preparation of the meat for feeding time can be quite a gory experience.  It’s also a physically demanding project so be prepared for some long, exhausting but ultimately rewarding days.

So that’s my gap year sorted.  All planned to coincide with Jack’s until the new movie comes out. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to track him down – and do some good in the process of course!  There’s only one thing that baffles me.  As it’s only a two hour film, are they going to call it 2?



About today's Guest Writer:
Leonie is a huge 24 fan with a passion for travelling and sharing her global experiences online.