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The honest truth on how I afford to travel

‘But, how do you afford it?’

A question I get at the start of every conversation regarding my travels.

I’ve been on the road for a while. I’m 22 and spent the last three years traveling extensively through Europe, Asia and Australia.

I’ve done and seen A LOT.

Vietnam

*10 minute read

Forever on the move, exploring new destinations, living a fulfilling and exciting life.

Guess what, I’m not stopping anytime soon.

Tokyo

There are many assumptions about my lifestyle. We all assume.

This has to cost right? Of course, it does.

I will start with one thing.

I do not have any secret travel funds. I do not get paid to travel. I have no unique qualifications, no hidden help. I’ve not won any money, nor have I received an amount of money or any other financial help for whatever reason.

I finance my trips myself.

Despite the odd birthday or Christmas, I may receive £100 from my parents which I put towards my travels.

I want to travel. I want it badly, so… I make it happen.

If you are so determined to do something, 9 times out of 10. You can.

I have a lot less money than you think. A lot less.

There is a difference between happiness and having money. Some of the happiest people I have ever met have the lowest amount of money yet the ones with hundreds and thousands of pounds sitting in their bank, are the loneliest and miserable.

Traveling made me realise it’s not about how many fancy drinks I can have sitting on the beach, or how nice of a hotel I can find. Nor is it about finding the best restaurant in all of Indonesia and shopping whenever I want. That isn’t what travel is about.

It’s about finding the happiness in simple things, feeling grateful for the life we have. To create enjoyment from meeting people, seeing new things. I find experiences I love without breaking the bank.

I’m happy and surviving on sometimes the bare minimal. I have to make choices on what will enable me to travel. To create a life that right now, I am satisfied with.

Me: Food, Accommodation, Transport, Experiences.

People at home: Bills. Rent. Petrol. Tax. Transport. Insurance. Phone contracts. Memberships. Food. Shopping. Going out. Clothes.

Imagine if I turned it back around…

‘How do you afford to get your nails done every week, that must cost heaps’

‘How are you affording those new trainers, did your parents help?’

‘You must be loaded going out for drinks every weekend’

‘Where do you get all the money for all those new clothes every week?’

‘Having the latest iPhone will have cost a bomb’

‘You got a new car, but how an earth can you pay for that’

Once you escape paying for things you don’t actually need, you realise how much it amounts up too.

Even paying for parking for the day can cost £10. That’s 3 nights in a hostel in Thailand.

No one questions things like buying clothes, going out for drinks, getting your hair done and simply paying for big phone contracts.

Money

I left home with £4,000 ( $7000 AUS) on 26th November 2015. Getting on a flight from Manchester to Bangkok on my own. I had worked hard. Prioritized saving and worked three jobs.

Bangkok 2015

I had a flight into Australia for whenever I was ready and that was it.

It’s now 3rd July 2017 and I’m still going.

Osaka 2017

I’m writing this while sitting in Osaka, Japan in a funky coffee shop feeling grateful for my experiences.  Going through the ridiculous amounts of photos I’ve been taking over the last couple of weeks experiencing the crazy Japanese lifestyle and exploring one of the most unique destinations I have ever been too. I’m happy, healthy and completely satisfied with my life.

Indonesia

Read more on my first year traveling the world solo by clicking HERE

I have not been in the same place for longer than 3 months since I was 18. I have a constant desire to explore.

The honest truth

If you really want to travel, you’ll make it work.

Let’s quit any bullsh*t.

I hear never-ending excuses to why people don’t travel.

People have secure jobs, mortgages and rent to pay. Commitments they feel obliged to follow.

I knew for a while I needed to travel the world, so from early on, I made the decisions to not overly involve myself within things that would stop me leaving – From jobs to relationships, contracts to commitments. I was careful with what I got overly involved in.

It’s not possible for everyone and I do understand commitments need to be made, however, I am talking about how I afford to travel. If you are looking to head off on a long term adventure, have a think about what you can break away from. I’m writing a post on easy hacks for long term travel here.

Working

Like everyone else, I work for my money. Working at certain points of my time in Australia, where the hourly rate is double as to what I was earning in England. I had to save my money I earned on the farm in Queensland and when I popped home for Christmas, I was working some crazy hours back at the cocktail bar.

Again, it’s getting the balance. I have never had a life where it’s only been focused on work and saving money. Work to live, don’t live to work.

Living basically

Despite a rich life with the experiences I have, the people I meet and the things I do. I live basically.

This was my home while I was living in Pai for a few weeks. £2 a night. This was luxury living as I was used to large shared dorms.

and this was my view….

When I travel, I often get little privacy, choose the cheapest accommodation which depending on where I am in the world, it could be anywhere between £1-£20.

I RARELY shop. I make use of what I have.

I’ve had the same pair of shoes for years and when I eventually really needed to buy some, I got fake converse from a Bangkok market and I love them.

God knows how many times I have worn the same outfit.

I almost never get taxi’s. Don’t have uber, use public transport everywhere or simply walk.

I barely drink alcohol.

I don’t overspend on things I don’t need.

Use my toiletries carefully, barely wear makeup so don’t need to repurchase anything.

I have no phone contract and had the same old mobile device for years.

If I do buy any clothes, for example when I arrived in Melbourne during winter, I went to the charity shop and spent $20 on jumpers.

It’s getting the balance.

£3.3o for a delicious iced mocha and vegetable toastie in the middle of Pai, North Thailand.

I spend my money on experiences.

On things I need to survive and get me to new destinations, and I am happy with that.

15,000 Indonesian rupiah for my boat over to Lombok

That’s less then £1 / $2 AUS (The same price as a packet of Oreos)

It’s not always easy or convenient, but that’s what traveling is really about. Making it work.

Finding the cheap & cheerful.

I spend time exploring new cities and towns with my camera. I spend quality time with people simply hanging out on the beach or playing cards. Things that don’t cost just to ‘do’.

Convenience.

People pay for convenience. Taxi’s to save the hassle.

Eating out instead of cooking. Paying for someone to take us places, show us things instead of finding out for yourself.

People pay for things we want, rather than what we need.

I have definitely spent my money on some really stupid sh*t in the past.

We pay for a life we feel we deserve filled with unnessacary and over priced things.

We pay for ease.

I sacrifice certain things to enable me to travel.

Walked an hour with my rucksack to save on a few pounds, slept in rooms with no air con and no fans in horrible humidity as it’s the cheapest option.

I normally eat street food, avoid any type of tour our travel agency as it’s always things I can do myself, for a lot less money. I’ve slept in dorms with over 20 people, people I dont know. Use a bathroom that the entire hostel uses’.

Like mentioned, I get little privacy, but as it’s the cheapest option, I can’t complain.

I’ve couch surfed, volunteered and hitchhiked just to save a little bit of money. All this saving adds up, and it’s all part of the travel fun.

Flights

Flying is the most expensive part of our travels. Once I am over in a country or continent, I can easily get around by cheap buses, night buses or affordable domestic flights.

I find the cheapest flights and transport, even if it takes double as long.

People want a flight that works around them and if you’re short on time then this limits the options. Some have a limited time to travel however I will take a longer route and take minimal baggage in order to save money.

Sometimes, I don’t overly have a destintion in mind, just look for the cheapest flights on Skyscanner on the cheapest dates.

There are perks of having no plans. I can work around prices.

I still need things to be convenient occasionally. I have booked my own room, payed too much for a cab just to get me somewhere and paid for the internet when I could have gone without.

Again, it’s getting the balance.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

I treated myself to a Christmas starbucks and a tuk-tuk to the airport when I headed home for Christmas. I had payed for my flight home and back to Australia with the money I had made from working on the banana farm in Queensland. I deffo deserved this coffee.

Taking risks:

I booked my flight to Japan while I had $700AUS / £500 in my account during my East Coast trip in Australia. I was waiting for my tax rebait to come through and just had to hope I would get it back in time.

I made it to Japan.

I booked my flight leaving Australia into Indonesia with less then $300 / £200 in my bank.

I made it to Indonesia.

I left Asia and entered Australia to start my working holiday with $200AUS/ £120 to my name.

Byron Bay, Australia

I completed my full first year in Australia.

I got on a flight to Singapore with less than $400AUS / £250.

I had a blast in Singapore on my last few days in Asia

Some people could say I was stupid, I don’t have any major back up’s or savings.

I’m lucky to have friends & family to bail me incase of a serious emergency or get me home if I really needed too. I am lucky to have a family to head back to for when I get home. For that, I am grateful as many people don’t.

I had to trust it all worked out. I had to make it work.

Costs

This meal I shared on the idylic beach on Gili Air, Indonesia cost 150,000 rupiah. That’s £8.

This private beach bungalow directly on the beach cost 300,000 rupiah, which I shared with a friend. 150,000 each is £8.00 (Which was our treat for our last few days together)

My bike rental in Kampot, Cambodia for 24 hours cost £2.50 (Insurance included)

This yummy latte in a coffee shop cost £1 in Cambodia

This scuba dive on the paradise island in Malaysia cost £20

This incredible day cost me nothing

This meal in St. Kilda, Melbourne cost £2.50 / £1.70

My cat cafe experience in Bangkok cost me £4. That’s with coffee and cake included.

My motorbike taxi over over to Khao San Road across the capital city cost me 50p. Less than $1AUS

So many things are cheaper than people think.

Things are free. Yes, free.

Sunsets on the beach with my new furry friend – FREE

Wondering Brisbane – FREE

Checking out the street out in Penang, Malaysia – FREE

Meeting the wild wallabies on Magnetic Island – FREE

Checking out the views over Tokyo – FREE

Exploring Melbourne – FREE

Discovering abandoned Bokor City up in Cambodia – FREE

Meeting the locals and exploring the rice fields in Hoi An, Vietnam – FREE

Blog work

I received a few tours while I was in Australia in return for some blog work. This included a $500 AUS skydive over Mission Beach, Australia.. for free.

A Whitsundays tour on an amazing catamaran boat sailing over two nights which would have cost me $400AUS, a few surf classes and other bits and bobs. I guess hard work does pay off.

Whitsundays, Australia 

 I’m happy with fewer things. Less convenience, basic living. Experiences over belongings.

It enables me to travel and that is the richest I can feel.

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Being the girl that never stays.

Some might say I am brave, some may even say selfish. Maybe a little crazy or, simply intrigued at the world.

 

(3 minute read)

I could call myself a somewhat gypsy yet in reality, I just crave adventures and new experiences.

There’s an urge in me to meet people all over the planet and see for myself what the world has to offer.

I crave to witness all the different ways people live from all different ways of lives.

 

After life lessons you can’t teach by textbook, to learn things about myself in the most random and unexpected ways. I want to simply enjoy life.

 

 

Moving every three months since I was 18, I’m almost 23 and still going. Writing this on a one way flight up Australia’s East Coast with absolutely no plans and nothing booked when I land.

I’ve said my goodbyes, and I am off again.

 

For those at home, I‘m one of the few. When I’m backpacking different continents, I know I am among thousands of backpackers all over the world just after the feeling of freedom with a serious case of the travel bug.

I don’t need to follow the footsteps of modern world society or what my friends think is normal.

Go to uni, get a job, get a house, have my group of friends and just get on life. I need something different.

We are privileged.

I am able to have many choices in my life. I have a British passport. English is my first language. I have a home in England where family supports my choices. I have an education, a chance to act. Countless people, just don’t.

I realised I won’t be doing this for the rest of my life. I don’t want to.

Travel will always be involved with me whatever age. Whatever happens but I will want to settle one day. Have a base with a partner and they’ll be times where I will have to be at home, but for now, living out of a rucksack with an ever changing mobile number, address and new passport stamps becoming monthly, I’m satisfied.

 

I‘m on the go a lot and there is no stopping soon.

So, it’s really hit me recently how much I actually, never stay around.

Over Christmas, I let out a ‘Oh I need to get myself a boyfriend’ Truth is, I guess I would like one.

My friend replied.. ‘Maybe if you actually stay, you’ll find someone’

I’ve been thinking…

I’ve become so used to goodbyes, not getting too comfortable with people.

It’s becoming easy letting go of relationships and putting friendships virtually on hold.

Constantly packing minimal stuff and missing out important events at home. Not seeing people for months on end and this seems to have become the norm.

I’m getting used to not seeing friends and family and sometimes hardly being able to communicate.

I’m so used to saying goodbye and not having a clue when it’ll be until I see them again, which is now most people I ever meet.

I’m constantly packing my bags and hugging someone goodbye.

I’m seeing loved ones through a screen and sometimes struggle to crack the time zone sh*t.

I’m messaging people so I know what they‘re doing but i’ts turning emotions and experiences with people through a video camera.

I’ve become the one that never sticks around, forever on the move.

Knowing that saying goodbye to people, is never really going to get easier.

It becomes manageable. It becomes the norm to know I ain’t going to be able to around for long.

Even if I wish to be. I don’t always want to be on my own and had my fair share of experiences I crave having friends from home.

I want someone to come on adventures with me, I need to be around people who understand.

I’ve made a promise, and a lifestyle, something I am passionate about. It’s not all adventures and fun. It’s making memories with people you’ll never meet again. Knowing the relationships worth holding on to and seeing who still wants contact.

It’s being able to sometimes simply let go, know things aren’t going to be forever.

Never the less, it’s an adventure of the unknown, keeping an open mind and deep memories with the people that mean the most, it’s all pretty exciting, just not always easy.

The girl that never stays.

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5 ways to think if you really want to travel

Traveling is done in all sorts of ways. Short term, long term. Group, couple or solo travel. You could trek, fly, sail, catch trains or just drive across to different destinations. Anyone can travel.

If you’re really seeking adventures, you’ve caught the travel bug, you need to explore or just crave traveling the world, like me, I wanted to let you know in the ways I think, hopefully they may help.

 

 

I’m not trying to change your thought process, nor am I telling you what’s right and how you should think. I simply strongly advise a few things on the mindset of travel.

If you are serious about pursuing long term travel, or even just fancy backpacking some new destinations this year, here is what I think.

You need determination, an open mind, accepting a challenge, knowing its not all going to be easy peasy.

Have drive in yourself.

It’s designed to test and teach you, to open your mind to the rest of the world. No bullsh*t.

 Enjoy everything

Sometimes you just have to take things for what they are. See the good in everything and just enjoy yourself. There is no point finding fault. Keep your mind open and positive.

No, unfortunately this isn’t possible all the time, if only however try and keep a strong mind from the get go. Focus your attention on the good stuff that’s happening. Take in the moment.

While traveling you will see a variety of different things and feel many emotions.  Enjoy even the bad times, one day, they won’t seem all that bad. Let your life just work itself out and go with it. Trust me, it makes it all a lot easier.

 

Listen to your gut

Everyone should listen to their gut however when you travel, especially on your own, you have to listen and trust yourself.

It’s important to value your own thoughts and opinions as well as others. Try and feel a vibe from someone and be honest with yourself about situations.

As much as i’m really not trying to sound like some life guru, or even just your mother, seriously.. learn to listen to yourself. You have to be able to make decisions, make choices and be active on your own.

 

Do what you enjoy and do it with passion

I’ve always been quite strong in regards to what I want to do and why.

I’ve always been able to pursue what it is I love doing through massive amounts of support and self determination. I’ve had no hidden help or secret funds, just passion.

Traveling, dancing, photography, having new experiences, learning, blogging, bartending, exercising, socialising and simply going out for brunch are some of the simple things I love doing.

Guess what, I live my life doing that.

Whatever it is you enjoy, go and do it.

 

Get your priorities right

This really got me when I started working abroad at 18 in Crete.

I really learnt was was important to me. My family & friends who sustained their love and time. The people that genuinely wanted to support me in all sorts of ways.

I needed to decide what I wanted to spend my money on and what I didn’t.

I had to decide what I wanted for myself. I didn’t want to spend my time and money on booze or belongings. I wanted experiences and flights, adventures and new friends.

When you travel, you learn what your priorities are. You see the world at such a large scale you really how insignificant you are to the whole world.

Try and focus on what it is you really want for yourself.

If you really want to travel, you’ll make it work.

 

Be active

Monday morning dive • Malaysia

There is so much to do going on in the world. We all need to be able to chill, relax and rest, I’m all for that never the less go out and do things.

Legit, just get up and go explore. The fulfilment of experiences over belonging is unexplainable.

Spend your money on experiences and make memories. Not everything has to cost a lot.

 

So there we are. My 5 ways to think if you really want to travel. These are just my thoughts and opinions and any feedback is welcome!

Like this read? Make sure to check out my 18 helpful tips to traveling alone by clicking here!

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18 helpful tips to traveling alone

Traveling alone is my favourite way to travel. It’s freedom, independancy and courage.

It isn’t for everyone but it’s sure one heck of an experience.

Exploring the Tomb Raider Jungle Temple at Ankor Wat


1.Stay in big mixed dorms

First thing first, they’re always cheaper. Large mixed dorms are normally filled with a diverse load of backpackers. It pushes you to meet other people and an easy way to start a conversation, after all, you are sleeping in the same room.

I find the types of people who book these types of room are more on the same trip as me so it’s great to meet people doing the exact same as you.

Privacy is low and it’s not for everyone but the best way to meet people!

I normally opt for the biggest mixed dorms. There are many places that also provide female rooms.

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Click here to check out what hostels are where! #Hostelworld

2. Make friends

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As daft as that may sound, make genuine friends. I don’t mean small talk and just having company around hostels.

Spend time with people, go out on adventures with others and actually keep in contact. These guys will become some of your closest friends, and sometimes the most helpful. Some of the people you meet are sharing once in a lifetime experiences. These people are important.

3. Do things on your own

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Traveling on your own means you have the freedom to do what the f**k you want. Make the most of it. I enjoy my own company and really don’t mind spending time alone

Spend time doing what you want to do. Trust yourself and learn about yourself.

Magnetic Island / Australia

5km weekly run through the banana paddocks / Queensland

4. Don’t be afraid to tag along

Don’t be too shy to just tag along. There’s millions of times you’ll have to ask and theres so many people in the same boat. Get over it.

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Backpackers are always keen for getting together a good group. There’s other solo travelers looking to hang out together.

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5. Eating alone is absolutely fine

When traveling on your own there will countless times you will eat out alone. Maybe start going out for some lunch by yourself. This is one of my favourite things to do.

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Tons of travelers are out solo. Go places you enjoy. You’ll meet people who enjoy the same thing.

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6. Keep something comforting with you

Have something with you that may remind you of home or have some sort of comforting belonging.

After 9 weeks working and living in the middle of nowhere, We are escaping for the weekend! No normality, tough graft, bush life and basic living, I am free to explore Cairns for the first time! Now for the 4 hour drive back to the real world!! #Travel #Queensland

A pillow, photo, blanket are great. Any belonging is great, aslong as you can travel with it. Sorry guys, your pet probably wont work.

I have Grumpy. My favourite, old, dirty, funny looking Grumpy from Snow white and the seven drwarfs. Anyone who know’s me will know of him. He has traveled over 33 countries with me.

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7. Let someone know where you are

There will be times when you’re on your own, you’ll go off radar a tad. It happens however it’s important to send over details over long journeys, and places you’re staying. Even just keeping up to date with facebook and contacting with family & friends is great for everyones benefit.

8. Self timer is genius

I get so many comments on my photos and I really couldn’t get so many of them if it wasn’t for self timer. I have to grab some of these amazing moments and there isn’t a person in sight.

I use GoPro Hero3+ for my timed images.

Not a fan of them myself but selfie sticks are great to use when on your own. Others don’t mind taking a few photos for you, if you say please of course.

9. Listen to your gut

You have to listen to yourself. This is the time in your life when you can actually learn about yourself. Simple as. Trust yourself, you need too.

10. Stay in sociable hostels

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Pai Circus Hostel / North Thailand

If you need to a push to mingle, head to sociable places. Get ideas of places to stay when talking to other travelers. See what the reviews are. I’m not a massive boozer wanting to go out every night, I prefer chilling in hammocks and jamming any day however they are an ideal place to get chatting. They don’t all mean its constant partying, but give some busier places a go.

Sometimes smaller hostels are easier to meet people as there are less people to approach.

11. Take responsibility

I am not going to sit here and tell you to take responsibility, but I’m going to remind you that you’ll have to make decisions that will carry large responsibility, just for yourself. Things may not be the same then at back home.

12. Tours on your own are fine

I tend to avoid tours when away. A lot of tours are things you can do yourself, that just save the hassle of the research and resources you may need for an extra financial cost. Saying that, there are numerous trips that are totally worth it.

Someone double booked and ended up giving me a day out in Queenlands rainforest, I joined a big group and loved every second!

13. Have some sort of back up map

Remember you won’t get internet everywhere. Even if its a drawing, noted down address or directions. A screen shot maybe, have some back up if you’re arriving somewhere completely new.

Even having an adress in the local language can help you if lost.

 

14. Know the place of where you’re staying.

When you’re alone you don’t have many looking out for you. Like mentioned earlier, you need to take responsibility so therefore it’s best to know where you’re staying. In any situation, if you get lost or really don’t know where you are, at least you know where you need to get back too!

15. Leave details at home

I always leave a copy of my passport, any insurance details and random bits like my visa documents, National insurance numbers and even important passwords and personal files I may need. It’s helpful to keep copies back with people you trust.

16. Be respectful to the locals

Wherever you travel its important to be respectful to the locals. You’re entering there local towns and communities. Immerse yourself into there traditions and live within there cultures. It helps to meet people and can really keep you out of trouble.

17. Not everyone needs to know you’re alone

One tip my mum mentioned to me once, not everyone needs to know. If you’re uncomfortable, occasionally mention a boyfriend. family member thats traveling with you. Don’t always draw too much attention that you literally don’t know anyone, because sometimes, you don’t.

18.Drink in moderation

Im 22 and really not trying to sound like a Grandma, for those who know me, I love going out. I’ve partied, a lot, worked three seasons abroad and worked in the nightlife of Leeds city centre since I was 16 and work within cocktail bars however, I rarely drink.

When traveling on your own, you just need to be a little more aware of where you are when drinking.

 I get other enjoyments from the places I go and things I can go and do!

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Traveling the world solo. Year 1

Here I am. 12 months later after traveling the world solo, non-stop, for a year.

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Traveling thoroughly through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bali, Singapore, Laos and Australia, it’s been the most unbelievable year.

Every single day has been an adventure. Some kind of lesson, a new experience, a new friend, another story. It’s been constant.

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I left 21 years old, on the 26th November 2015 with nothing but my rucksack and a camera.

Little strings attached to pretty much anything, leaving behind great friends, a loving family, and a great job and lifestyle. I was settled and had no reason to leave.

Since turning 18 I’ve hardly been in the same place for longer then three months.

I’ve got the travel bug.

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Despite interrailing Europe, seasons abroad and various other trips, I seem to be in it for the real deal now.
I have no intentions to stop traveling the world anytime soon.

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 A year. Well.
Where do I start?

Beforehand

I was nervous to leave. Of course I was, however, it wasn’t about what was going to happen to me. I didn’t feel unsafe or scared. It was more of, I don’t know when I’ll be back, I don’t know when I’ll see people again. Unsure when I’ll next be home, when I’ll run out of money or even where I’m going to be heading, however, the excitement was overwhelming.

I had five nights booked in Bangkok, and the rest, well, I can only describe as the most fulfilling, busy, eye-opening, genuine and phenomenal year of my life.

Today James and I woke up late, ventured into the centre for coffee & pasty and headed to the floating markets. 40 minutes out of Siem Reap we drove past remote villages, streets of poverty and run down communities. Instead, we decided to not pay $20 each for the markets, go back into the villages and took the families fruit, sweets, water and balloons. We played with the children, met the families & cared for the puppies. Cambodia is such a fascinating, beautiful but remote and poor country. The fact people can live happy like this, shows how much we don't need possessions. Family, friends, hope, love and strength was what I witnessed today. No profit organisations, no tourist attraction. Just a basic community.

I promised myself I would let the world take me on one big ride and just go with it. No plans and open to all sorts of wonderful ideas.

I had already booked a flight to Australia but had no set date. Whenever I was ready, so I knew that was my plan once I was done in Asia.

I talk a lot about mindset and determination.

Click here to read my post on the mindset of travel!

When you start a trip to this extent, you have to stay positive.

You have to genuinely want this for yourself.

I wanted freedom, adventure, independencey.

I needed to explore.

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I didn’t have anywhere near enough money as I wanted, I left with almost half the amount I originally planned.  I was unsure how long my money may last and knew it was going to be a highly budgeted trip.

Finances were tough but this is where survival mode, value, priorities, and general money management skills kicked in.

I wanted it that bad, I had to do it.

Click here to read ‘you really want to know how much’.

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I worked hard to save and committed to my priorities. Cut down booze almost completely, expensive meals and much sense of luxury were a no go. It was cheap and cheerful.

Still managed a few treats of course.

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What have I really been up to the last 12 months?

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During this year I’ve swum with sharks, turtles, sting rays and experienced the world under water learning to scuba dive.

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Found the most magical places and secluded & secret destinations.

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Bokor City / Kampot

Trekked with elephants, img_0097

worked on a banana farm in the tropical bush of North Queensland,

New job role: Driving the tractor // 7am out in the banana paddys with the lads ☀️

New job role: Driving the tractor // 7am out in the banana paddys with the lads ☀️

trekked through the Malaysian mountains, volunteered at animals shelters, img_0545

trekked through rainforests and tried all sorts of weird and wonderful foods.

Spent my Sunday chasing waterfalls. Even managed to get to the famous 'herbal essences' and 'Mysterious girl' waterfall / Millaa Millaa

Spent my Sunday chasing waterfalls. Even managed to get to the famous ‘herbal essences’ and ‘Mysterious girl’ waterfall / Millaa Millaa

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Ive been stranded in open water on a kayak, spent Christmas on the beach.

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I’ve dated a Kiwi, lived with an aussie in Cambodia, had a little fling with an hawain firefighter, hooked up with a Danish and even had my heart broken a little.

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I’ve seen wonders of the world,

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cruised down the Mekong delta,

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been running through the outback next to wild wallabies, ridden motorbikes through tropical jungles and hired motobikes all over Asia.

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Attended the worlds biggest three day water fight for Thai new year in Chiang Mai, Songkran.

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I’ve sailed around a yacht through Sydneys harbours,

Sydney has been unreal so far! Had a day of luxery being driven around in our own private yacht! #TravelAustralia #Sydney #sydneybridge

tried all different modes of transport and stayed in alsorts of accomadation.

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First motobike taxi, Bangkok.

I’ve seen the most intense thunder storms, acres and acres of forest fires and sunsets from all over.

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These are just some of the things I’ve managed to do, properly, all within a tight budget.

Spending time talking to people has helped me with all different experiences and had alsorts of weird and wonderful ways of oppurtunties, help and support. A lot of what I get up too seems to be the ‘It’s who you know, not what you know’ and a matter of asking.

Managed to blag my way on the farm owners plane. What a way to watch the sunset in the middle of the tropical outback!

Managed to blag my way on the farm owners plane. What a way to watch the sunset in the middle of the tropical outback!

I’ve laughed, cried, gained weight, lost weight, taken risks, made mistakes, learnt things about myself I don’t like and learnt things about myself that I do.

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I’m defiantley not perfect, I’ve had days I’ve felt homesick and a little lonely, days where I felt unsure and lost and plenty of financial worries.

Backpacking isn’t supposed to be easy, I have had some crazy journeys on my own, long flights and crazy bus rides. I’ve met some of the strangest people and witnessed a variety of events. Risks have been taken and of course, made some silly mistakes.

I have put my trust into complete strangers, shared experiences with randomers also on their own and made life long friends.

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Unfortunately lost friends and drifted apart from others, but I’ve accepted this is part of traveling.

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It’s not always easy to keep in contact and I’ve had days of feeling let down by friends and people I really cared for.

I’ve stayed genuine, positive, outgoing and friendly, majority of the trip, and it really helped me get to where I wanted to be.

It’s all part of the experience.

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All in all. My trip has gone pretty bloody smoothly and I’ve stayed aware and focused on my goals.

A little on Asia

Asia was my main priority. I had been backpacking with my family when I was younger but I had some serious exploring to do, this time as an adult, on my own.

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Koh Phi Phi / 2004

Asia is a magical place. Filled with craziness and culture. I took a ride on an Asian adventure and I was not let down.img_1149

Every single country in Asia is different in it’s own way. All different currency, languages and traditions. The beauty within the continent was almost overwhelming. dsc_0047

I found places I could only call paradise and felt welcomed. Despite all the serious scams, busy capital cities and some of the poorest communities, I fell in love. Everything about each country was interesting and was always being suprised at each destination.

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 A little on Australia

Australia was a safe option for me. It allowed me to continue traveling, however it put in a position I needed to be in, employed.

It was a western country I could settle in. A ginormous country with tons of things to do, I knew there was a lot of Australia to travel!

Sunday beach day. #Australia #Queensland #travel #paradise

Archer Point / North Tropical Queensland

I arrived into Australia with $300 AU. I luckily had a close friend I crashed with in St. Kilda and got myself back in the cocktail scene, bartending on Chapel Street, Melbourne.

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It was a culture shock at first, and bloody freezing. Confusing almost and it all felt so fucking expensive however I adapted and had a couple of months in Melbourne in a flat share. I eventually decided to do my farm work visa, flying up to Cairns I headed to a farm the next day.

I worked on a banana farm for the next 13 weeks living right at the top of Queensland. In the middle of nowhere with around 50 other backpackers in a shared accomadation I went to save some money, make some more unforgettable memories and get my second year visa!

Farm life // bush life // banana life #Australia #Travel #Farming

A challenging experience but with an easy, hot and different lifestlye, there was so much to love.

Friday's off. 35degrees.

Friday’s off. 35degrees.

I find Australia an easier place to backpack but with so much to do and a diverse range of experiences on offer, it’s a great place to explore. I can’t wait to head back and travel the east & west coast.

And now?

I’m coming home for Christmas! Over a year away from good old England and I’m flying back in December, stopping in Thailand for two weeks inbetween, of course!

Home is just for a few weeks and it’s back to Australia to do it all over again. Another year traveling solo around the world heading to Indonesia, Japan and South America in 2017!

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It feels like I’ve been gone years, just with the amount of things I’ve done and how I see things differently.

People change all the time, that’s part of growing up, and I’m not going to come back some brand new person, but boy do I feel different.

The more I travel the more I do feel as though England isn’t the place for me. England has always been home and my friends and family are so important to me. The way certain parts of the world lives has really given me an insight on the kind of lifestlye I want for myself, which makes me unsure if England is the best place, but who knows!

I seem to have friends all over the world and I’m still bumping into people I’ve met in random hostels in cities I’ve only just turned up in. There are so many more places to see and things to do. I couldn’t do it without the love and support from my family which means the world to me, quite literally.

I have developed a passion, a curiosity to only see more of the world we live in.

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I’m overwhelmed with excitement. To see my family and friends and of course my dog! Just to have a lovely hot bath, put my pyjamas on and get into my own bed, in my own room!
I’ve missed the little thing things in life. Basic home comforts, being around people who really know and love me. Having home cooked dinners and complete privacy is something I havn’t had much of.

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It’s going to be strange seeing everyone, things will be different but very little would have fundamentally changed.

I’m most nervous for the cold weather as I’ve been living in 45 degree heat.

I have an entire bucket list of things to do, places to go, things to try and experiences I don’t even know of yet and there is no stopping anytime soon.

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Traveling isn’t supposed to be easy, it’s risk, leaving your comfort zone, trying new things. Like everyone, I have my own problems, money worries etc. It’s totally normal for things not to always go so smoothly, in a way, enjoy the bad times. Learn from them.

You don’t learn to travel, you travel to learn.

If I can do it, so can you.

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7 steps to starting your travels

Starting a trip can be pretty daunting. Not sure where to start, where to look first, what to book.

I get tons of questions from first time travelers or even just people unsure on where to start when booking the next big trip.

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I am going to make it short, sweet and simple.

Here are my 7 steps to getting that trip sorted.

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My first week in Bangkok

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Research & decide.

Where is it you want to go? What do you really want to see and do? Looking to work or just explore?

There are so many fabulous destinations and I know the feeling of wanting to go to them all, nevertheless, find out the places that fit your personal criteria and make a decision on where you will be going.

Maybe it’s exploring the wildlife in Africa, Interrailing around Europe or backpacking India. Driving around Vietnam, Camping in Australia or even skiing in Canada, the decision is yours.

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Find out if you need to apply for a visa or need to apply/pay for any entry requirments. Depending on where you are from and how long you want to stay in a country, there may be various costs. Take into consideration the time of year and weather seasons and conditions and current affairs around the world.

Book a flight

The first big step you should take is getting that first flight booked. This will really trigger the excitment and reality of you pursuing the trip.

Flights can be pretty pricey but once this is out the way, just focus on living costs/ spending money for the trip. I normally only book a flight and leave the rest for once I arrive.

Get saving

This is where you need to be strict. Start cutting down on unnecessary spending, think about the amount of money you are going to need. I never sacrificed too much to travel, I still wanted to live my life and do certain things however I barely drink, don’t buy myself new clothes and shoes and despite a rich life in the places I go and the people I meet, my outgoings are minimal. It’s all priorities, you just need to decide on yours.

If you know you are leaving to travel, you don’t need to be buying new shoes and clothes. Cut down the booze and put the money towards your trip.

I normally try and set a goal each month of how much I try and put away depending on my income. Work hard, play harder type thing..

Groups. Blogs. Pages.

If you are wanting to find out more about the places you are going too, If you’re traveling solo and want to chat to a few people, even if you want to read other peoples journeys, join the facebook groups and pages, read peoples blogs, just like you’re doing now! They are here to help.

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Vaccinations/Injections

Depending on the countries you’ll be visiting, you may need vaccinations. It can get pricey but check what you can get any on your local healthcare. For Asia I needed a Hep A booster, Rabies jab, Enchafilatus and Malaria tablets (Which I never even took). This did unfortunatley take a chunk out my travel funds including basic first aid bits.

Detatch yourself

If you really want that sense of freedom, you really want to get lost in the that real travel vibe, detach yourself from a lot of things. Slower the better but get rid of that phone contract, don’t have constant outgoings with the bank. Don’t attatch yourself to un-needed contracts, or even relationships. Be prepared to not have too many contracts or unnecesary bits. Certain friendships will fade and certain feelings may fizzle out, this is totally normal.

I ended my phone contract as soon as I could and stopped any direct debits for whatever I had.

Final preparations

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This is it. We are getting close now. Checked your healthcare, got any prescriptions, any visas needed beforehand? Got any copies of passports, important information? Got your camera sorted, currency changed? Any perticular equiptment you may need?

Think about the last people you need to catch up with, the last places you want to eat out and don’t hesitate to do everything you know you will miss.

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

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My 8 biggest travel tips..

There aren’t really any secrets. No myths or hidden meanings. Taking these things traveling simply entitled me to the best travel..

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1.Give yourself as much time as possible.

I had no end date,  little at home that I had to go back for, other then friends and family of course. I detached myself from most things meaning I had all the time in the world. Literally.

So many travellers do 2/3 months which is sweet but the opportunities you’ll miss out on is crazy.
The less time you have, the more you’ll feel you want to plan. Wanting to fit everything in leads to not letting go as much. My favourite thing is turning up somewhere and staying for however long I feel. I understand we have to make the most with the time we have but try to just go with the flow.

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2. – Don’t plan anything.

Maybe a train ticket or a busy hostel but most things you really don’t have to plan.
It’s great to have some idea of things, especially if your on my own however planning less leaves less room for an adventure of the unknown.

I turn up in cities with no idea where I’m sleeping, I don’t plan most activities and like to get myself ‘lost’. Things and people are popping up in all places, new adventures and random memories will happen if you just go with the flow. Trust me. It works.

3.Don’t expect anything.

I mean nothing. Easier said than done sometimes. I get it, if you’re paying 20 dollars for your own room, you will have expectations of value. It’s a difficult one to grasp, rather then have little expectations, have none.

Let things surprise you, let it blow your mind more then you thought it could.

I feel I grasped this and my satisfaction and experiences have hugely improved. I’m not feeling let down, I’m not wishing it was something else.

I know when something isn’t substantial, I’m not saying settle for something you shouldn’t but in regards to travel, it could be a beach, a hostel, a meal, a tour, an adventure, expect nothing.

4.Stay open minded.

It’s easier said then done.
Try not to close off options or even have too much of an opinion. Stay strong to your beliefs and keep your passions strong but don’t restrict yourself. Embrace the cultures, the traditions, the odd foods and different ways of living. Immerse in different experiences and talk to people from all different backgrounds and countries. It’s part of the fun.

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5.Speak to people.

Okay, Everyone speaks but really go out your way, speak to people from all around the world. Chat to the locals, get to know the staff in your accommodation and of course, all the other backpackers.DSC_3296Made friends with these two little ones in Kampot, Cambodia.

Backpackers are your biggest help while traveling, they offer advice, support and most importantly, tips on where to go and what to do. I never looked at lonely planet. That’s a secret I guess?

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You’ll find most backpackers are chatty, friendly and also want company. Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. Hostels are the best places to meet people so get out your comfort zone and just say hello.

6.Don’t ever say what if.

Well, maybe if you’re about to launch yourself of a building.. Not literally, but 90% of the things we do when we travel has some element of risk. Everything we do has risks but travel is here to take us out of our comfort zones.

If I said what if, I’d still be sat in my bedroom in England rather then be in the middle of South East Asia having the time of my life. I’m alive and free and loving every single second.

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– which leads me onto my next one.

7.Enjoy the bad times. You’re having the trip of a lifetime.
I’m doing more things in South East Asia over 6 months then people do in their entire lives, let alone the seasons abroad and other travels however everything doesn’t go perfect. Despite the happy travel photos and wonderful check ins, we do have down days and things arent all sunshine and daisies.

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£3.00 a night for a shared hut on the beach, with no fan but I was living in paradise.

It’s about memories and experiences we make building us passionate personalities.
Even the random long journeys or the stuffy accommodation.

Life isn’t perfect, backpacking isn’t about luxuries. We have to embrace and just enjoy every second. Live in the present. Even when things don’t go to plan or something may not work out, one day you’ll be thinking back to that time and wishing you were back.

Don’t take anything for granted.

8. Life isn’t too short. It’s what you do with it that makes it short.
I’ve just reached my 6 month point and it feels like yesterday I left my home in England and boarded that plane to Bangkok. Time flies when you’re having fun but that’s the thing, for every second you have, you won’t get it back. There are 6o seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours a day. That’s 1440 minutes in 24 hours. Enough with the bullshit. Don’t waste your time away.

8. Say yes as much as possible.

Hold up. Don’t go buying meth from the dodgy Tuk Tuk man or purchasing bloody everything on Khao San. It’s easy to hold back due to finances or avoided situations but sometimes you should try saying yes even when you really don’t feel like it. You never know where it could lead you, who you’ll meet and new oppurtunities.

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A very emotional day volunteering at the KohPhangan Stray Animal Care.

Your travels are the best time of your life.

Enjoy it & embrace it! IMG_9997

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The reality of long term travel. Dear home, I miss you.

There are countless reasons to travel. There’s no right or wrong way but if you’re like me, you’re in for the long hall.

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No shortcuts, no hidden help or quick flights back home.c9e2a84ae0026bf72a3940f2256a43f3

In an ideal world, I could travel indefinitely. If only I could visit home whenever I wanted. Long plane journeys don’t bother me and my friends & family will always be more important than any destination.

What about when you’ve been gone for a while. Don’t know when you’ll be home? What if you’re desperate to get away but not sure when you’ll be back or even have a fear of going home?il_340x270.634250082_8szm

I want to chat a little more about the reality of long term travel.

I miss home.

Home may not have the tropical climate of Asia, it may not have perfect white sandy beaches and I may not be able to eat the delicious local foods I’ve found all over Asia. England definitely doesn’t have the places I’ve come to fall in love with all over the world.

Ko Tai. 13/01/16England may not have the adventures that Australia can offer, the streets of Paris or the laws (or lack of) of Amsterdam, nor does it have the traditions, cultures and experiances travellers crave all around the world but home will always be home.

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There’s a reason I’ve hardly been in England since I was 18.

I have a constant urge to explore, a passion to travel, a heart full of wunderlust and I know this is what I have to do.

Comfort. I miss you.IMG_8125Despite how priveliged I am in being abe to travel, I do miss my creature comforts. I miss my overly large and cosy bed, my wardrobe full of clothes and dressing table with my perfume and luxury make up. I miss clean running water and instant hot showers, having mobile data and signal everywhere to message my friends. I even miss going into Sainsburys knowing that everything is clean, fresh and hygeinic.

IMG_1420Days just laying infront of the TV with my favourite little doggy.

Life lessons
After six months in South East Asia, I’ve finally truly realised the importance of experiences and relationships rather then belongings and possessions. That unforgettable memories are priceless compared with unnecessary shit we feel we have to buy. Even though I often miss what is familiar, easy and comfortable, I do not need my material possessions from back home.

Thinking of all my beautiful friends and loving family. I may be the other side of the world but you're in my heart. Merry Christmas to friends, other backpackers, my perfect family and everyone wherever you are in the world. #christmas #thailand

No Christmas presents under my tree. No christmas dinner served and living in a basic jungle hut but i’m happy as I can be.

I miss my family. My lifelong best friend. My gorgeous Cockapoo doggy Darcy. All my bartending friends, my dancer friends. Childhood mates and all people I’ve known to love and care about.

Their birthdays, engagement parties and leaving do’s. When they need someone to cry too or have boy trouble and need advice, I’m not an easy phone call away. It is these relationships that I need and could not live without.IMG_0206

I’m here online, I have facebook, Skype, FaceTime etc. I’ve told everyone numerous times that I’m still here and contactable if they need me. But I’m not quite there.
Plus the time difference is a bitch sometimes!13231067_10153466435312751_932283755_n

I speak to my Dad almost everyday but we are no longer doing things together. We aren’t out walking the dog or going to a random movie splashing out on sweets & popcorn. Im not celebrating with friends on special occasions or popping round to visit my grandparents. I’m not going for wine and pizza with my mum (well I was in Vietnam as the fabulous Mrs Cole came to visit). But you get the jist..IMG_2298

My gorgeous younger cousins are growing up fast and my fantastic grandparents are luckily both alive, but when will I see them next? In another 6 months I’ll be gone a year, and who knows what’ll happen.

I’m thankful everyday for the wonderful friends and family I have and all the support I get from everyone but I can’t help but think..

Am I selfish? Am I ignorant? Jetting off all on my own, leaving everyone behind to have this fantastic life filled with adventures spending endless days doing whatever I want in beautiful destinations.

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No. I’m living my life but it sure does come with some reality checks.

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My friends and family may see the photos and hear my stories however they’re not there at the countless experiences I’ve craved them to be at. My friend Aiden would love the Reggae bars, my friend Lana would love all the beautiful resorts and pools. My beautiful city Ruby would love all the sunsets and tropical jungles and I my friend Alice would love to explore the gorgeous hidden cafes, the individual coffee shops and cute cocktail bars not to mention Saskia and our shared love for animals, finding new places and raving at festivals.11902454_10152986649632751_102517351787863013_n

I’m learning and growing everyday and I hope my nearest and dearest can see this.

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I’m not rushing to move back. I have an endless list of countries, cities, towns, villages, islands and places to visit.
I won’t put a price on coming home, even for 48 hours. I’ve told my family that.

For now, this is my life. I am doing more in 6 months than people do in their lives. I’m free, alive and learning everyday.

Traveling has its ups and downs and in the end, makes us a better person but we always need to remember that we are exactly that – people. Human beings. Missing home reminds us of that and makes the time we have away even more special in the long run.

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You really want to know how much?

Over and over I get asked the same questions and comments.

How much is it costing you? How do you afford it? I cant backpack as I dont have the money too. You must be spending loads.

Traveling costs money. Of course it does. Almost everything we do costs something.

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To travel and experience. We pay…

 but that’s not the point as much.

It’s turns more towards the value.

I spend nothing compared to what I would in England. Despite being an a huge budget, we live well.

How's your Monday morning? #breakfast #coffee #pastry

Im hanging out on beaches, drinking way too much coffee in boutique coffee shops. Not too mention climbing up in the jungle finding waterfalls, diving, sipping smoothies on beach bars, wondering hectic cities, sunbathing in fancy resorts, finding fun hostels, living on remote islands, eating out every day and of course tons of other things.

I’m learning new things, seeing the word, making memories and meeting so many fascinating people. Read more

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Backpacking isn’t always magic and adventures.

Travelling the world, not a care in sight, meeting fascinating people, visit wonderful places and living your dream.

Found a slice of heaven. Up in the jungle lays a fancy Moroccan styled chill out bar with one sensational view of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Paradise.

What’s not to love?

Let me tell you, it’s full of adventures, magical moments, unforgettable experiences but it’s not all sunshine and daisies.

Backpacking – budgeting.

You have to keep things on a relatively low cost. Some people more than others but for the majority, cheap is cheerful. It’ll have to do.

This means big dorm rooms, slow ferries, long night buses, no aircon, basic accommodation and cheap meals.

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It’s difficult to complain while travelling as you realise how lucky you are. I feel unbelievably privileged for my home life. My health and support, my upbringing and love from friends and family. I want to elaborate I’m not complaining but we all know backpacking and long term travel comes with its negative moments.

Sh*t wifi. Dirty un-ironed clothes. Minimal belongings, dirty smelly bathrooms, stiff wooden hard beds, crazy temperatures and awful insects are just some of the things we don’t all shout about.

Bedtime.
Most of the time we don’t know who we are sleeping in a room with. We don’t know the country, city or town, the currency, the people. We just turn up with our bag, a smile, an open mind and time to explore. There’s no better feeling of finding a new destination and venturing out, making friends, discovering new places never the less there are tons of things we have to overcome.

Walking into a dorm of 15 other people, not knowing who they are, where they’re from, what language they speak and leaving your stuff. The bed you get given is your space. The one single bunk bed you will share is your new home for the night.

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Hostels can be the funnest or most relaxed places with the best environment to meet people, I’ve stayed in such awesome hostels all over Europe and Asia but if you’re one for personal space and privacy, you might struggle a little.

Traveling throws all sorts of challenges at us and it’s pretty fun embracing all the craziness but it’s not all luxury. We take the cheapest option and it’s not always the most comfy or cleanest.
We have one rucksack with minimal belongings, no wardrobes of clean ironed clothes, no big double bed, no quick 4G to message our friends.

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We get tired.

Yes we hang out on beaches, drink beers watching the sunsets in the jungle. We explore fascinating temples and discover busy cities.
Why would we get tired?

We don’t know the city, we don’t know the language, not always sure of the currency. Sometimes we don’t know where we are sleeping that night and always stay aware of what’s going on.

Traveling as a young solo female I have to keep my wits.
I can let my guard down, don’t worry about that and I know how to be silly but always having an idea of where your stuff is, knowing where your hostel is, who’s around you not to mention some of the crazy temperatures is constant. Backpackers know how to have a good time and how to chill out however we always need to have an idea of where we are and who’s around.

Slightly cloudy but spent the day having fun on the beach with new friends, eating French toast and drinking beer! #travel #thailand #gopro #ocean #beach

We take so much in, constantly exploring and discovering. Keeping your wits of your valuables, your health, your safety, your company, your space.

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No we don’t sit in an office all day and trust me, rather the backpacking life any day but we always have to be thinking of all these things.

For friends back at home they see all the photos of the stunning golden sunsets, the hippy reggae bars I find where I get to chill and watch the world go by, not to mention seeing all my new friends and exciting new experiences. I always like to try and remain positive and always want to portray my life and journey the best it can be as it is however there are sides we don’t all like to boast about.

It’s not a constant stress, I feel relaxed 99% of the time despite the odd random situation so it’s no big deal.

Managed to grab a beer on a hammock looking over the rice fields. Breathtaking views of fields of gold and green! #gopro #travel #ricefields

We don’t have days that we just relax in our own space, shove on the TV and watch pointless programmes. We don’t have our pets to cuddle when we are feeling a little low or tired.image

I did find this guy on Koh Samui however …

We have to be adapting almost every minute of every hour, every single day. I want to be 100% all the time but traveling all the time is mentally and physically pretty tiring.
Carrying our rucksacks, keeping hydrated and aware.

We are around cities who barely speak English.

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Where I am now I’m always having to keep things cheap, the weathers humid and sun is hot, wifi connection is poor and it’s not the safest of areas. I don’t feel unsafe or bothered but it’s learning to adapt on your own.

I don’t mind it and I kind of love the challenge but it’s not always easy peasy.
We have love hate relationships with wifi, depending on the connection, which in most developing countries is pretty useless, not too mention small islands. We try desperately to find somewhere with a strong connection just to speak to friends and family or book any accommodation.

When I feel a tad homesick it can take 20 minutes just to find somewhere to get some kind of connection to have a brief chat.
Despite the stresses there tends to be wifi in most places in south east Asia where I am now. Not that it always works but there’s always some kind of resort or Internet cafe with something slightly quicker.

Backpacking and traveling is fun, can be done cheap and there are thousands of us around the world doing it, it comes with challenges, struggles, down days, unpleasant experiences and crazy memories.

Today James and I woke up late, ventured into the centre for coffee & pasty and headed to the floating markets. 40 minutes out of Siem Reap we drove past remote villages, streets of poverty and run down communities. Instead, we decided to not pay $20 each for the markets, go back into the villages and took the families fruit, sweets, water and balloons. We played with the children, met the families & cared for the puppies. Cambodia is such a fascinating, beautiful but remote and poor country. The fact people can live happy like this, shows how much we don't need possessions. Family, friends, hope, love and strength was what I witnessed today. No profit organisations, no tourist attraction. Just a basic community.

Last night I left Siem Reap for the 11 hour night bus down to Sihanoukville, Cambodia. I got on the squashed bus, rucksack chucked in the boot and was greeted to a lovely Indian man on my bed. I payed 3 dollars extra to be able to lay down rather than slightly recline with space and a plug socket.

This is your bed and patted the space next to him.
So why an earth are you on it? I thought.

It’s mine too, look b6 & b7.

I could have easily flown in less than an hour with space, convenience, saving time and a shit nights sleep however that’s not how us backpackers work unfortunately. Cheap long ass night bus will have to do.

I awkwardly giggled and sat down slightly unsure where to put myself. We both sat and chatted and he was a lovely young fella who was working in Berlin, Germany from India.

Luckily I managed to somehow grab one spare bed just above the floor below two French girls so that was me.

Being 5’1 it was small enough to maybe fit another child, let alone two grown adults. I barely could sit up and my feet touched the end. I had a random blanket, a broken light above my head and slept right next to the driver and his assistant playing the radio all night, bear in mind this is an Asian station so no clue to what is being said or sung.
Sleeping wrapped in a hoodie, thick walking socks, attempting to block out the music, ignoring the wobbly roads, clutching my teddy and sleeping next to my camera and rucksack I got there in the end.
It all pays off when I arrive, repeatedly saying no the the shouting tuk tuk men, I made a friend, grabbed an iced caramel latte, found a cheap hostel and we headed down the beach where I’m writing this. It’s all part of the experience I keep telling myself. We can’t complain.

These things shouldn’t put you off but remember, it’s not all as exciting and luxury. Backpackers have struggles and challenges, seeing the world isn’t always easy, but it sure is an experience.

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5 reasons to travel solo

Traveling isn’t for everyone. Backpacking on your own can be pretty daunting.

There will be times you feel a little lonely or just want someone you know to watch your stuff, give their opinion and look out for you, however these minor little issues are overpowered with the opportunities, skills, lessons and adventures solo travel can give you.

Got sent this that someone took of me without realising. That was one sunset

1. Do what you want. Go where you want. Eat what you want. Sleep where you want. You have no one else you have to worry about.

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2. Most people are solo. I’ve met plenty of travellers in couples, small groups and in tours however 90% of people I come across are doing it all on there own. Lead your own adventure and it’s so much easier to meet people!

Decided to give Thai food a night off and treating ourselves to a pizza and wine night. Beautiful restaurant with fabulous people.

3. Change your mind? Want to travel with people. There is always someone willing to let you join them for some of the trip.

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Thanks to these awesome guys for coming on the trek with me. All staying in the same dorm in the city, we just decided one morning to all go together. A farther and two sons from Hawaii and 5 elephants including a one year old baby running along with us. Glad I shared the experience with such humble and down to earth guys.

Elephant trekking with three Hawaiian firefighters.

I’ve managed to meet people in the strangest of places and looked out for each other, even if it’s just a short boat ride down the Chao river in Bangkok. Even the longer bus and trains there seems to be people I’ve met in hostels and random backpackers and we stick together. Everyone looks after each other in some way!

Sky bar with an English, an ozzie and Dutch. #travel #backpacker #thailand

4. Be yourself. You’ve no one to correct you, prove yourself too, impress. Be real and honest with yourself and everyone around you.

Climbed the waterfalls, smoked a J, drank a beer, slided down the waterfalls with the locals.

5. You will develop certain skills that only traveling by yourself teaches you. Be aware, trust your gut, use your social skills and so many more. Want to know? Find out for yourself.

Had fun with the local children in the hot springs.

 

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All you need to know on Interrailing Europe

Inter railing Europe is a fun, convenient and interesting way to travel Europe.

I wanted to do the trip for a while but when planning, everyone I spoke to told me not to plan and this was not helping. What do you mean don’t plan? I just fly somewhere and take it from there?

The answer is yes.

It felt like the pass was almost like paying for freedom. Depending on what type of ticket you get depends on how often you can travel, in which countries and how long its valid for. Prices go from around £50 to £600 and you have to activate it within 3 months of purchasing.

Some tickets depend on the type of trains you can get on. (Regional trains or High speed and first class or economy class). Some tickets are limited to one country, or a section of Europe or a Global Pass which entitles you to go anywhere. I opted for Global. This gets you 10 days travel within 22 days and cost around £250. Travelling pretty much anywhere but just on regional trains in economy class.

Your pass is vital. DO NOT LOOSE IT!

If you do I am afraid there is nothing you can do. Keeping it with your passport and other important documents is a good idea. It will have your details on and this is your life! It is a big paper ticket.

What I adore about inter railing in my opinion, is the fact you travel everywhere by train. No traffic or expensive flights, you hop on the train that suits your needs and go to your desired destination.

The scenic side of things when travelling is a trip in itself. Train journeys can also be long yes, but transport around Europe is not the same as England, it is more comfortable and spacious. The one night train I got from Venice to Vienna felt like something from Harry Potter.. just without all the magic. This is your chance to meet a lot of other travellers. Especially for those wanting to go solo.

Being 5’1 with a very large rucksack was not easy. Walking was the hardest task of the day with my bag on, however I got used to this. I felt as though I had packed light, after the trip, I realised I had not. Packing for a month in one bag with no idea to what your going to be doing is pretty stressful but please make sure you get the correct rucksack for you and pack things you really need!IMG_4437

A piece of advice I heard is that take half of what you think. Gives me chills having to admit it, but this is true. Harder for the lovely ladies but pack sensibly. I cannot stress how little clothes and products you actually need. Later I will tell you what I took and what I felt was not needed. Majority of hostels have laundry rooms to do washing. Your rucksack is on your back a lot and you have to be able to carry it. Those who like to shop, make sure you leave room in your bag for presents or souvenirs. I am just grateful Camden Market in London was my last stop!!

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Hostel living is not something I had really experienced before and I was pretty nervous on what to expect. Sleeping on bunk beds in a room with up to 12 other strangers does not sound the most appealing. Those who think this, your wrong! It’s your chance to meet other people on a similar journey to you.

I met many English travellers but there are people from all over the world! Most hostels have lockers and safes. I was pretty relaxed about having my things out, luckily nothing of mine got taken but I did hear many unfortunate stories so please make sure you are very careful with your belongings. Some might say I’m naive, I am just a bit too trustworthy, finding most people I was staying with were in the same boat as me, travelling alone wanting to explore and to meet people.

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Money. Sure some of you are thinking, hold on a minute, how much does all this cost!? Dining out every night, visiting museums, renting bicycles, numerous pub crawl and day tours, keeping up with laundry, sleeping in hostels every night, endulging on cocktails, hopping on more transport within the city centres. Shopping and accomplishing plenty of tourist attractions. The honest truth is I was just careful. I made sure I knew how much I had to spend, and realising how steady I had to stay with my money.

I personally had just short of £1,000. This included everything I did including days after my inter rail pass- so Amsterdam, transport to London and then London to Leeds. All my food and drink the entire trip. laundry, accommodation, spending money etc. Not my inter rail pass and insurance(That was 20th birthday present while working in Greece) This is what I spent.. not what to take yourself! 

This is all the money I had in my account that I had saved in Malia. I could have spent half and could have spent double. Having no choice but to hold back on certain things was sometimes fustrating as I wanted to go everywhere and do everything but if you take the time out to search for certain student tickets/ Inter rail discounts/ cheap restaurant deals you can save a few euros here and there.

I did not miss out on much but budgeting is part of the trip. Backpacking is not supposed to be luxury. Managing to do almost everything I wanted was something I made sure of.

Walking everywhere became a normal thing to do, cutting out on fizzy drinks at dinner was something I had to do. Just aim for the slightly cheaper places to eat. If you are a little bit like me..naughty and sly there are ways to save money and not pay for transport. Shhhh!

 Hostels in Europe are pretty cheap, certain cities like Paris are more expensive so be aware of the type of city your visiting. Hostels I stayed in ranged from 6 euros to 45 per night. Booking hostels is easy, I would not suggest getting a travel agency to do it for you as they charge you extra.

Here is a video of my journey.