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My top tricks and tips for traveling Bangkok.

Woah. What a city. Facinating, busy, hot and simply a magnificent capital city.

I decided to spend 5 nights here. Others thought I was crazy. Why? It’s so congested and constant, way too humid and traffic is an absolute nightmare. Most people tell me they couldn’t stay for more then 2 nights. Should that put you off? NO.

It’s your mindset, where you stay, what you do there and what you want to get from being in the city.

I’m not in any rush. I’m starting the trip of a lifetime in one of the craziest, largest and interesting cities in the world. Why would I want to limit my time there?

Theres so much to see and do. I easily could have spent weeks there so I settled for 5 nights. I kept in mind that I may suffer from jet lag or sickness that some people get after arriving in Asia, which luckily I didn’t. If I was tired or ill and was rushing to jump on a crazy night train for 12 hours, it wouldn’t be the most terrific plan. I settled straight away and was it was go from the moment I landed.

45p to take me to Khao San from the river taxi

Ok, most importantly, for solo travelers like myself, Bangkok is the perfect place to start. You will find most backpackers will fly into Bangkok and will stay for a couple of nights before heading off. It’s an awesome place to meet people and get used to the thai ways. I booked a 14 bed mixed dorm at Bodega Hostel, highly recommended, situated in Sukamvit 23 near Soi Cowboy. I actually ended up in a room with 13 other guys from all over and we had a blast!

Gutted our little group has all separated today but I'll see you all soon lads! #pranks #Bangkok #hostel

Scam Scam Scam.

 If you do some research you’ll know Thailand is known for scamming the heck out of tourists. It’s actually pretty clever how they go about it. Sly and sneaky. Don’t let them manipulate you! I will be blogging about popular scams and also sneaky little ways the locals will tell get more money from you. Do your research about popular tricks they play. The Grand Temple is always open, his friend’s shop that sells over priced suites is a waste of time, you pay taxi’s by the meter, you don’t need to pay for a tour of the city with your lovely, overly helpful and friendly tuk tuk driver. Use your common sense. Don’t fall for it.

Maps & Apps.

 Download maps.me on your phone. It will save your life. Using your GPS for free, even without wifi, data etc.. Shows you exactly where you are, routes to take and can direct you to almost anywhere.Luckily a guy in my hostel told me about it on my first day and boy am I thankful. Download it and use it wherever you are in the world. Bangkok is so big with everything spread out all over you’ll need this! Download app here..

Know where you want to go!

 You’ll be surprised at how little the taxi’s know. They’re great drivers, friendly.. most of the time and always will do their best to get you to your desired destination however most drivers don’t know what places are, including the Grand Palace. They’ll know Khoa San and a couple more but if you’re far away, you might need to direct. Again, the app maps.me will help you direct them. Taxi’s are the cheapest way of getting about, only get in if they use the meter! Tuk Tuk’s are the priciest, always haggle them down! Motorbikes are fun, quick and easy however if you are not a local they will charge you way too much. Just hop on the back, tell them exactly where to go and just pay when you get off. It should work out around 10 baht (18p) per 10 minutes you would have walked. If you can directions in Thai it will be a lot easier as they can’t speak or read much english.

Taxi taxi taxi

Be prepared with your belongings.

So your limited for stuff with the lack of space of weight while backpacking. However stressful being so limited with your rucksack it’s also a cool feeling of having so little. Giving you freedom and less to worry about. When your travelling, most of the time you will not know what you’ll be doing. I try and keep things pretty lastminute and random and don’t overplan. It will always work out. In the ‘tip’, you have to take around the correct stuff while out for the day. For girls, always have some kind of light, soft scarf/cover. If you decide to head to a temple or a holy place you have to be covered up. I normally carry around a pretty, light scarf. Even if you headed to a park or beach and wanted something to lie on. Keep some kind of footwear in your large rucksack that covers your heel and toe also. I have been wearing some simple while old converse and sometimes take small flip flops in my bag in the day.

When attempting to go to Sky Bar at the Lebua Hotel, they won’t let you in unless your smart/casual. Some of the guys I was with had to go out and get trousers or borrow jeans. Don’t let you being lazy or unaware waste your time and stop doing things.

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

Do what the locals do.

Use there transport, eat where they eat, do what they do. Don’t be that unaware, naive tourist paying overpriced money for things you can do anywhere. It’s easily done, trust me, and theres no problem doing that but be prepared to waste money and not get the proper experiance of Bangkok. Thai street food is the best and so so cheap! Once you’re backpacking you realize how much ever 20p can make a difference. Get the water taxi, use the sky train, eat at local little stalls. It’s all part of the experience

Local Thai food restaurant

Don’t stay on Khoa San 

Khao San is where a lot of the partying is. I had such an awesome night here, awesome food, cool little stalls, loads of tattoo and known for being a number one hit for backpackers. I read somewhere that it’s best not to stay here. After some research I found a hostel in Sukamvit 23 which seemed pretty perfect for me, it was! It was a while from Khoa San however I could get there loads of different ways.

To be staying on this road is too much.

Khao San Road early evening yesterday

What are your and tricks? Comment below and let me know!

Just to remind you that these are my opinions and views. It’s not how to travel or what to do. Just how I have done it and my tips. Hope you enjoy!

Like this? Check out ‘backpacking, alone’ by clicking here!

Photo taken by Nikon. Bangkok City on Monday night. Unbelievably surreal experience

Bangkok City on Monday night. Unbelievably surreal experience. Sky bar.

Instagram • _littletravelbird

Twitter: @littletravlbird

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Why I blog.

Why do you do this? What’s it for? What do you get for it?

No I don’t get paid. Yes I love it. I don’t have to do it and I gain a lot from it. simple.

It’s more a question of, why wouldn’t I blog?

 

It all started when a very good group of friends mentioned starting a blog one evening and decided to look into. Now here I am.

Getting paid.

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Number one. I think I can speak for a lot of travel bloggers out there but it doesn’t really start like that. I’m not in the mindset with the ambition to get paid for this, however it would be utterly fabulous to have a career from it or even be able to earn some pocket money, however it’s not why I do it.

I write for myself.

It started when I was receiving a volume of questions about where I travelled and how. I was one of the few people in my area who flew off to work a season at 18 and I guess it stemmed from there.

 

One of the biggest reasons is purely for my own satisfaction.

I love being able to write and then take a step back and look at what i’ve done. I am able to view my stories and experiences in a different way. It’s like a little reminder of what i’ve been doing. I can piece it all back together in such a lovely way and its an easy way to share my stories.

It allows me to document my travels, easily share with friends and family and whoever else is interested. Think of it almost like a travel diary.

There is a huge bloggers, backpackers and travel comunity out there! From forums, groups, meetings all over the world. It’s so fun to be part of this awesome community which helps me understand more about traveling the world in all sorts of ways.

Time consuming.

It did surprise me how much time it took to do everything. From the writing to the coding, the format, the promotion of the site etc! It all takes time and effort and I can now see why successful bloggers get a lot of help! Thank you to my lovely friend Chris for all the help for my site!!

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I feel as though it’s quite a positive way or socialising, connecting with a passion of mine. I try and remain a very positive person and will do my best to never put any negativity on other people. I find I don’t portray my life in a bad way despite on what may go on. Again, this is a positive blog on real life travelling from myself.

A fishhhhhh

A fishhhhhh

My aim is for this blog to help me understand more about travel, the world and me as a person. To also connect better with other backpackers and travelers all over the world with the same passion we all share. My biggest aim is to show, help and explain how easy traveling can be. Many thoughts and perceptions of this planet and backpacking, hostel living, modes of transport and affordability are wrong.

Despite this remaining a positive blog I will be writing about real life situations and experiances.

Interested in my not so positive experiance. Want to know how I almost died and the ocean almost got me. Click here to read more!

 

Feedback!

One of the most positive and rewarding things I get from the blog is helping others. I’ve had so much incredible feedback about certain blogs that have helped people to book interrail tickets, flights, hostels and just to get up and go travel.

The amount of comments I get in a positive light helping other people with tips, advice and genuine talks of travelling and working abroad has been amazing. Ive had some incredible feedback from all types of people and by the looks of things, already helped people go off and travel. When I receive comments and responses like this, it really makes me want to work harder on the blog and help others.

I learn a lot from other bloggers, my readers and it really helps me see more of what goes on between backpackers and other travellers.

Any feedback is welcome and it means a lot to get responses from friends, family, fellow backpackers and other readers!

Socialise

As those who know me know I’m a huge social buttery. Having lots of different friends is important to me, meeting other people is a huge part of my life.

Blogging is just another great way to socialise. Especially with whatever category you blog about. I have already interacted with some awesome travellers around the world and if it can help me meet others while travelling then why the heck not! Since creating a twitter account, it looks like I might already have some new friends to meet the other side of the world!

Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

Follow me on Instagram, twitter and Facebook by clicking here! If you are ever in the same city as me, wherever that may be, make sure to give me a shout and grab a beer with me!

Facebook   Instagram   Twitter

Facebook-Instagram-Twitter

 

Having a travel blog has also improved my hurrendous english skills, shown me more in regards to writing, photography, blogging and opened up my knowledge to reviewing, WordPress, social networking and more!

 

I mean who doesn’t want their own site. haha, ok maybe not everyone but who knows where it’ll take me!!

I am determind to put the work into this site and have good hopes for the future!

29*c and lying in a hammock listening to soft jazz, going through all my photos and spending the day blogging. I have a Dalmatian dog to one side and a iced tea thai coffee the other. It's the little things

29*c and lying in a hammock listening to soft jazz, going through all my photos and spending the day blogging. I have a Dalmatian dog to one side and a iced tea thai coffee the other. It’s the little things

 

Like the blog? Make sure to check out Am I scared? Click here.

 

 

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9 things you should take interrailing.

We all have those personal belongings we like to take travelling with us.

Ideally, we want to take everything however we know this isn’t possible.

Picking the right things can be difficult but here is my list of things I feel you 100% should take when backpacking Europe.

The Railway

Ipod/Music device

This is so important to me. Music can take you on a whole different level. It can show you distinct emotions, comfort you and let your mind run free.

611rsfQE5HL._SL1024_There will be times when you have hours and hours sat on trains or coaches, when babies are crying on planes and all you want to do is switch off and enter your own little bubble.

When I was inter railing I didn’t have a phone. I did have an iPad mini with soundcloud however the only problem was that I couldn’t listen to anything without wifi. The only music I had was BLINK 182 which luckily I love! Make sure you have some of your favourite songs already downloaded onto your music device. I had one song that when I listen to reminds me of my entire trip which I managed to play despite having no internet! Everytime I listen to the song it takes me back this amazing trip!

A good camera 

I cannot express enough how much every backpacker needs one of these. Please don’t spend your entire trip taking photos which is easily done, especially in places like Venice, Italy. As much as iPhones can take awesome photos i’m talking a step up from that. Maybe a GoPro or a Canon with a basic lense to capture your trip. I now have myself a GoPro Hero 3+ and I love it! Shame I got it after my Europe trip!

Click here to check out my GoPro review!

A bucket list

This trip is for you to experience once in a lifetime opportunities. Write down a bucket list and get it done.

What do you want to do? Where do you want to go. Don’t wait about. Go get it done and have fun.

Click here to see mine!your-bucket-list

 

Something cosy

Whatever the weather we all need something cosy. Weather you’re on a long train journey, got a few hours to wait for transport, not in the comfiest hostel bed or simply want to feel a bit more warm and cosy. You can interrail at any time of the year, most of us during summer time but we need to prepared. Sometimes you don’t know where you’ll be sleeping or what you may need it for but I seriously recommend a cosy hoodie. I like taking my little soft grey hat to feel a little more snug. If its a pair of cotton light trackies or a warm oversized jacket to wrap up in.

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Most hostels have safes. Some open by keypads of card keys but a lot of them you’ll need a lock. A lot of bunkbeds in hostels have a drawer under the beds to put your luggage in, again, to lock away. I recommend taking a reasonable sized lock with a pin number type lock. These will come in handy! Make sure it’s big enough as my lock was too small for some of the luggage storage. I am a pretty trustworthy person and backpackers have to have that trust with others in hostels but just for extra safety, taking a lock is always a good idea!

Lipstick (For girls)

This might sound slightly odd, but while backpacking you don’t have much luxury. Depending on where you are, what you’re doing and who you will meet its never nice to feel a little minging, especially for us girls. I managed to take some of my makeup away with me but you have to let go of looking your best all the time. It’s not possible.

Something small like a pretty coloured lipstick made such a difference to me when I was travelling. In the evenings on bar crawls and nice meals I didn’t have anything dressy to wear. I couldn’t even style my hair properly as I didn’t have my straightners and back at home I always wear perfume! I took my favourite branded MAC lipstick in colour ‘Lady Danger’. This just made me feel a little nicer on an evening or if I was visiting somewhere and wanted to make a bit more effort. Check out my post out soon on what products to take backpacking by clicking here.

Travelling extrasUnknown

These are must! I’m not talking the whole shebang but lets be realistic. You have very few things to take, you’re going to end up in all sorts of hostel rooms and sitatuions. You may end up on night trains or sleeping on ever night ferries like me. It’s all fun and part of the experience but you’re not laughing when you have the sunlight in your face at 5am after 2 hours sleep or a load of french girls getting up at 7am after a heavy night drinking in Budapest. I suggest talking just a couple of travelling extras. Earplugs will come in handy if you don’t mind wearing them.

Portable chargers

I actually didn’t have this when travelling. The only thing I had worth charging was my iPad Mini which I didn’t use that often. I defiantly recommend taking a portable charger, especially if you do take your phone or camera out a lot. I will certainly be taking one for my GoPro when I go away again.

Maps

I expect you’ll be visiting capital cities, even if not, some cities can be huge! It’s so easy to get lost in big touristy cities with your language not being the first spoken. Places like London, Berlin, Budapest, Prague etc do provide lots of tourist info and I’ve always found hostels are great for help however I really recommend taking your own maps. Before you get to a city, even if you have a look on google, check out where you are on the map. What countries are near you, where the city is in the country. This will help you planning your route and plans easier! It also makes getting around and understanding the city a whole lot easier!

World_Maps_International_20mil_1

Like this, check out ‘Interrailing’ by clicking here!

Let me know what your travel necessities are by commenting in the box below!!

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GoPro Hero review

After thinking what I could get, without blowing too much cash, to capture photos & videos a little better than an Iphone, I came across the magnificent world of GoPro.

The last couple of years GoPro has now found it’s way into most travellers backpacks. Known for being a small, easy, wide lense, fast paced action camera, we are all loving it.

With some great promotions and a wide fan based around the world it’s hard to miss the updates in the GoPro world.

I wanted one.

I felt as though I needed one, however, which? I was pretty new to the whole lense crap and megapixles and footage editing malarky.

After research online, which ended up confusing me more,

I ended up going for the GoPro Hero 3+ silver. Price: £230-£270

The Hero 3 is now split into three different colours — starting with the White Edition,the Silver Edition, and with the black edition at the top of the range.

goprohero3plusI felt this was suitable for me. I wasn’t exactly planning on depending my career on these photos and videos. I wasn’t even 100% sure what I was going to be using it for exactly but I knew if I wanted to capture some great footage while travelling. I had to get my hands on one.

This particular model was pretty up to date, the new wifi feature (without remote) and improved lense sitting between the entry-level White and top-of-the-range Black Editions.

So far, I love it! I have been unfortuantley let down by certain feautures however pleasently suprised by others.

So, a little bit about the GoPro Hero 3+ silver..

Details:

  • Pro-Sumer grade low light performance
  • 1080p Video Resolution
  • 11MP Camera
  • Wifi

Click here to shop GoPro Cameras.

What I love about it..

The wide lense is just incredible. It managers to capture everything! If you want a close up of something, you literally have to take the photo directly infront and right up close to the person/object.

Without the waterproof casing the camera is little and light and perfect just to pop in your pocket or bag. The waterproof case adds a little bit of size but still remains pretty small and light for such a camera.

70mph over the Mediterranean ⚓️

70mph over the Mediterranean ⚓️

 

Example Live

Example Live

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest thing I want to highlight for those who don’t know, for this camera and the hero 2 + 3, you cannot see through the lens. Everyone is used to being able to see what photos you’re taking. You don’t really need to know with the GoPro. It will more then likely capture what you need, if anything you need to be even closer to what you think. You just need to play around to know what types of angles to take things as the tiniest change in slant can make a difference in the photo. If you connect the camera to the GoPro app you can see what the camera is taking through the app.

My biggest let down is the battery life and ease of managing memory. battery life photo

The battery is relativley decent but considering this is an action camera with most buyers needing lots of footage at events, day outs and backpacking, I find the battery life was not as good as I expected. Battery can die pretty quickly considering the price and quality of camera. Especially if your wifi button is on and your camera is constantly in use I would say you have about 2.5/3 hours of use.

 

The battery (the same one used for the Hero3) is accessed through the back panel, which is also where you’ll find an input for use with GoPro’s LCD Touch BacPac or Battery BacPac. GoProHero3BlackEditionThe camera’s left side has Micro-HDMI and Mini-USB ports and a microSDXC card slot that supports capacities up to 64GB. There is no 3.5mm audio-in for an external mic, but a Mini-USB-to-3.5mm-audio-in cable is available.

There is no charger included for the camera, just a Mini-USB cable for charging via computer or USB wall adapter if you have one. GoPro offers a two-battery external charger, but again, you’ll need a USB wall adapter or a computer to supply the power. Otherwise, since you’re charging in-camera, you’ll need to plan ahead if you want to carry additional batteries. You’ll also need a microSD card up to 64GB for storage.

 

Managing the memory is a little more difficult then I hoped. You can only delete the last photo or video taken or all of them. Luckily this GoPro has the wifi device, which means I can connect my phone to the camera which is fucking awesome. I can manage a lot more on my phone and see the lense, including deleting whatever I want. The wifi is simple to use, all you need to do is download the GoPro app. I can even manage the camera while the camera is out of my hands. Never the less, this isn’t always possible while jet skiing over the mediterian sea or jumping out of a plane at 5,000 feet.

I get numerous comments on the quality of the camera. I actually do change the colour and contrast before I upload them, sometimes on my phone or instagram just to intensify the colour and shadows.

I don’t know how people travel without them. Beautiful wide lense camera managing to capture the moment perfectly. They are small and easy to use and has some great equipment to buy extra helping you capture the photos and videos suitable for you. The biggest decision is deciding how much money you want to spend on the camera as it can vary on price as they go from £100-£500.

I recommend doing plenty of research and getting one before you travel. Even if you don’t travel these cameras are a great piece of equipment to have!

Mumford and sons. Insane. #leedsfestival #randl2015

Diving-Scuba-Mask-with-GoPro-Hero-3-Mount-0

 

There is so much equiptment you can buy for them, some sillier then others. Some just damn right clever. Click here to view extra equipment you can buy!

I am looking to purchase the wrist strap and selfie stick before I go away. Let me know what you have or what you recommend and comment at the bottom of the page!

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The camera comes in a waterproof housing that goes to depths of 131 feet (40 meters); the Hero3’s dive housing was good to 197 feet (60 meters). If you don’t need the camera to be dust- or waterproof and would like a bit more audio to reach the built-in mono mic, you can swap out the standard backdoor for the skeleton backdoor case.

 

 

I actually think that the camera takes better photos underwater!

GoPro hero 3+. I love you. #water #GoPro #greece

GoPro hero 3+. I love you. #water #GoPro #greece

 

Some of my favourite photos taken by this fabulous little camera

Instagram: leahcolex

I have the best job in the world. @maliaboozecruise

⚓️⛵️ #greece #travel

Venturing into the sea with my GoPro at sunset.

My friend Jordan and I venturing to a quite beach for a swim during sunset.

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Perfect evening in the sun drinking beer, listening to Alt-J live. Loving life #leedsfestival

Like this? Make sure to check out ‘My top 8 travel tips’

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Am I scared?

Are you not scared? You must be brave! What if?images

 

I thought about writing this blog for a while, what encouraged me was when people started to question about how I felt. Friends, family, strangers who I would speak to seemed to express modest concern to the trip.

You know it can dangerous, what if, what if, what if…. blah blah blah. Primarily, are you not scared? My answer… YES.

Of course I’m bloody scared. I don’t know the languages, I don’t know what I will end up doing, who i’ll meet or what’s going to happen. I’m travelling to a foreign third world continent, alone, with one backpack and no plan.

I’m excited, anxious, eager and tremendously nervous.  Am I still doing the right thing? Yes.

It’s a pretty terrifying trip not knowing what I will be doing or where I might find myself but this is the fun of it.

What’s the worst that could happen ey?

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We do things everyday in our lives, the comfort of our own home that have risks and dangers. I can’t think of every negative or problem that could happen other wise i’ll never do the trip. Most people have worries and concerns of things that they occasionally see or hear in the news. Life throws all unexpected situations at us and asking yourself ”what if” is just an unnescary anxiety. It’s not needed. I am staying realistic, positive and hopeful for my trip away.

 

Travelling to third world countries with a different language, currency, culture has its risks. I am needing lots of vaccinations and tablets. In Asia things are not as clean and the hsyringeealth services are next to nothing compared to Europe. I am currently getting all my vaccinations I can. Click here to see what I am having to travel to South East Asia. I will be taking lots of safety precautions and making sure I am as healthy as I can be before the trip.

Click here to find out what you’ll need for your trip. A helpful site I use a lot!

I know some of the risks and dangers with these countries, I won’t always be in the safest parts of the world around the nicest of people. I will sometimes be vunerable especially as I’m technically going solo and a young female. I have already thought about these however a lot of danger can be prevented with common sense.

 

Leaving home for a long period time, not knowing when I will be home is a strange feeling. This is all part of the trip I guess and is a big one for us all.

Leaving our home comforts, close friends and loved ones. I have such awesome friends and family and leaving them will be hard for me. I know people may not be 10885007_10152448279887751_1502479316437182355_nhear when i’m back and I have thought this all through. I am currently trying to spend time with everyone who means something to me. Part of the reason I flew home early from my time in Greece this year was so i gave myself enough time to see my friends and family and enjoy England.

 

Knowing that all I will be taking is a backpack for however long actually makes me feel pretty sick. I want my straighteners and laptop, I want to bring my gorgeous dog and my big amazing double bed and all my friends and family.

As mentioned in other blogs it’s the sense of not carrying un-needed excess baggage, literally.

Think of the freedom.

Here in the UK most of us are spoiled with expensive electronics, luxury gifts we receive and fancy cars and houses we work for.

As much as I love the flash lifestyle and nice things it’s not needed. I’m going to leave all this behind and take with me only what I need. This will be hard for me but it’s going to be an experience and its part of the backpacking and travelling lifestyle. When I travelled Europe with just a backpack and then came home to see all these belongings I felt quite saddening. What made me feel as though I needed so much?

Way too much doggy love

What’s important to me;

I want my friends and family to trust and support me, I need some money in my bank account, a good mindset and i’ll be sweet.

To me, my top priority is my health and finances and i can imagine yours would be too. I just want to know I can safely travel and see and experience as much as possible.

I want to go on a journey of different cultures, engaging in all different kinds of people, trying interesting foods and experimenting on local traditions all around the world. I feel as though it will make me the person I want to be as I grow older. I feel that when I do eventually settle down for a family and career that I know what’s out there. I know who I am, I’ve experienced phenomenal once in a life time experiences and can work in a career that I know is right and destined for me.

 

travelling
ˈtravəlɪŋ/
adjective
  1. (of a device) sufficiently compact for use on a journey.
    “a travelling clock”
    portablemobiletransportablemovabletransferable, easily carried, easy to carry, conveyable, travellightweightcompacthandyconvenientmanageable;
    rareportative
    “a little travelling clock”

Travelling ‘alone’ isn’t for everyone and for me, I have doubts and worries about being solo. I know deep down I will hardly be alone. We live on a planet with billions of people, how can I be alone?

Travelling Europe I managed to meet such awesome people! All it takes is to say Hey, simply ask a question or introduce yourself. We are all human, what’s the worst that can happen?

Heres some of the characters I met around Europe.. hehe.

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Well thats a tad embarrassing. Wearing the same outfit in Italy and Prague. Life of a backpacker ey..

So yeah, to conclude this. I am worried, I am scared and I do know the risks. There will be risks with everything you do in life and along as I’m wise, use my common sense, stay out of trouble, keep fit and healthy and keep positive the trip will run as smoothly as possible. I will get homesick, I will have off days and want to leave. I may get ill or have some trouble but it’s all a learning kirb and part of life I suppose. Im excited and ready to see the world.

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-Little Travel Bird

If you like this, you might also like ‘Backpacking alone’. Click here to read.

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Affordability

So the biggest question I get is, ‘How do you afford this?’

money_2121224b Lets get one thing straight, priotiries.

What you spend your money on is entirely up to you. Whether it’s car insurance, protien and gym supliments, trainers, makeup, fine dining, cigarettes or a messy weekend on the town.

I spend my money on flights and saving for backpacking.

I like my nice things yes, but I just try to make the most of what I have. I get bus’ instead of taxis. I eat out when there is offers, I drink at bars where I know staff who always kindly give me discounts. I don’t have a car to save on money and currently living at my parents house while i’m England, despite never actually spending time in the house.

Either way, home life always costs a lot more then travelling. Rent, bills, we all have to pay them.

One thing I enjoy about living and backpacking to other places is that the cost of living is next to nothing compared to England.

You get so much more for your money elsewhere. I have found doing things is so much more benifical then buying something new. I become overwhelmed with the amount of belongings I have when I come back from being away. I am so happy living out of a rucksack or suitcase exploring new places and meeting new people. I don’t need things to make me happy anymore.

I want to spend my money on living.

My moped, insurance and petrol, rent for my own apartment on my own and gym membership at a 5 star resort came for a month came to the same price as living in a four bedroom flat in Headingley, without bills.

Travelling is not as expensive as you think.

Once I was done at dance school I made the decision to move to headingley with friends. For the first time, I was paying council tax, rent, bills, travel, gym, phone bills, transport, food, etc all out of my own pocket.  I was working full time just to afford my out goings with a little extra to go out and treat myself. I was pretty disgusted at how much I was having to work at 19 years old just to live with a roof over my head, eat and have a mobile phone.

I was living a fun life, having my own place and going on lots of nights out, but this came at a cost, a cost of a lot of working and budgetting.

I now try and distant myself from shopping and over priced unneeded items, instead I think of how much money that could be towards a flight. It almost becomes a little obsessive. I keep comparing the cost of things at home to the cost of things when abroad and it’s a little scary to realise how much money we can waste in England on such small habits.

Like I said, it’s all priorities. It’s how hard you want to work for your money and what you want to spend that on. Sometimes the thought of living ‘reality’ with a full time job, own house and a car, living in the same country doing the same things everyday becomes the norm.

Nothing is impossible and if your priotities are on travelling and exploring other countries, you will be able to do this.

IMG_4536All my belongings ready to travel Europe. This was my bed for the night on the ferry from Greece to Italy!

Want to know more about budgetting while backpacking? Make sure to check out ‘How to budget when travelling’

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When it’s time to go home

You talk about traveling or working abroad but what happens when it’s all over.

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Working a season abroad are some of the best times of your life. That hassle free, fun and crazy summers. Making so many incredible new friends and memories, but what happens when it’s all over?

All good things must come to an end.  Unless you have a reason to stay over winter, we all have to catch a flight back to our home life. Part of us can’t wait. Fresh bedding, a hot powerful shower and seeing our family and friends.

The first two weeks of arriving home in 2013, after my first year in Malia, I was devastated. I felt so low and lonely and no one could understand. How could they know how I felt. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy as larry to return to see everyone, nevertheless, a part of you has been left behind.

I had met people I felt I could call family. I couldn’t just hop on my little ped and drive down to the strip to see everyone. I wasn’t 30 seconds from the beach where I could just watch the sunset with a pint of mythos (and blackcurrent of course) and just relax.Pint of mythos on the beach. Perfect Sunday.You spend your summer wondering how things have changed back home. Maybe some one has moved house or job, some one has got engaged or you know someone who is now expecting a baby, but, nothing changes. You realise it’s you that’s changed.

Maybe not in the way you dress, or your hair, but what does on in your head.

Sometimes you can feel more lost in your hometown then you do when you’re abroad.

This is why I think once you have traveled or worked abroad once. You just want to continue exploring.

That’s why it’s called the travel bug.

Before you know it, your sat back on your couch or in your car. Back in the miserable weather thinking it all felt a dream. Where had the last few months gone. It feels like yesterday you got on that flight ready for a summer of your lifetime. You think of all the people you’ve met, the hilarious memories and crazy nights. The places you’ve visited and the things you’ve done. However, you’re now back home. It can take weeks to get back into the flow of home life however there always seems to be a slot. You walk down your main town street the next day and everything continues as normal.

Yesterday you were 3/4 months into a season abroad in the sizzling sun without a care in the world. You have all these mental and wonderful memories and no one knows.

The day I got back to Leeds in 2013 at the very end of August, I was walking down Briggate, the main shopping street in Leeds city Centre. I had not seen one of my most visited places in months. I was fresh meat, I was back, yet everything was carrying on as normal.

Your friends are excited to have you back. You are happy everyone is happy and healthy. Your glad to see everyone but they don’t understand. They don’t understand the misery you feel. You feel alone because you’re used to be constantly surrounded by people. Your back in your comfort and yes, this feels beautiful but part of you is left over abroad.

You’re the shiny new object. You have a tan, a million stories, new habits and workers jokes. You have experienced things people never will. Maybe witnessed things you wish you never had, done a few outrageous things and have created this unbelievable summer. It then passes. Life carries on and we are back to what we are supposed to call reality.

The questions then come. When you getting a job? What’s your plan? You getting a boyfriend? All you can think about is the experiences you’ve had. You just want to hold on to them.

In other blogs, I mention about appreciation while working abroad or travelling. One of the main things I like to emphasise is the nactual feeling of appreciation. Click here to read ‘5 things working abroad really shows you’

I find that while you’re away you start to appreciate the things you have at home. How lucky you are to live in such a modernised and clean country.  You change as a person without even realising. Sometimes it might take us to get home to realise how lucky we are, nevertheless, I also find sometimes it takes us to get home to appreciate the lifestyle us workers live. The little rules, the countless lazy days and numerous nights we don’t even know what day it is.

We talk about the harcoming home 2d parts while we’re away – finding jobs, making real friends, staying safe, learning social norms, misreading people you think you can trust – but these are all parts you get through. All of these lows are erased by the complete highs you experience.  – Kellie Donnelly

 

 

 

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My top 8 best travel tips

Don’t feel silly.

Travelling isn’t always the most luxurorious experience. Sitting on planes or trains for hours isnt always the most comftable experiance. When I left for Europe I felt silly with this humongous rucksack on my back. This ridiculously giant bright blue ugly bag that was bigger than me. When I didn’t have that on, I had a smaller version for the daytime and guess what, that was even worse. I adore my little pretty rucksacks and handbags. What was I doing swopping my fashionable bags for this bloody rucksack, however after 2 days, I really didn’t care. It was convenient. Infact, it made me feel as though I fitted right in with the whole backpacking and travelling business. When you’re away seeing the world in whatever city or country you’re in, you stop caring about all the things you have back at home and concentrate on what you have with you. Like mentioned in other blogs, every time I come home from working abroad or travelling I hate myself for the amount of belongings I feel that it’s necessary to have. Get the lightest, biggest yet most convinent bag you can find, whatever fucking colour you want and embrace it. Maybe not walking down Leeds City Centre or down the Malia strip with it but you get the jist. You’ll fit right in when living in hostels and exploring living your dreams.

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Be prepared

So I’m starting to get used to whole flying long flights alone malarkey. Flying to Athens was only 4 hours however, was I prepared. Blanket, head rest, eye cover, charged ipad with movies, plenty of food and water and a clear mind. Feeling like a prat is easier when your with someone else. If two people do something a little embarrassing it’s not as bad as just you by yourself. Flying to Athens, I had to get over this. I had my little blue ugly rucksack ready, my travel blanket, the lot. Let me tell you something, it was the comfiest and calmest flight. I was prepared. Felt right at home, well, almost. I tried. Get whatever is going to make your travelling more enjoyable and make sure you give yourself time to be prepared. In big cities getting maps is very helpful, you can pick maps of the city at most hostels. Don’t be afraid to ask locals, other backpackers and hostel staff on good places to go. Everyone always knows something you don’t so make sure you grab enough info about your destination.

Pack light

I don’t know about you guys but these two words give me more stress then they should. How can you possibly put your life for however long into one bag. I’ve said it before and ill say it again, its difficult. For those lovely ladies out there who also like their straightners and perfumes and a variety of shoes. I have to break it to you, give it up. We have to let them go. In some way I actually like the challenge of not having everything I want and finding ways to feel good. I can not stress enough that this statement is true; pack half of what you think. Make sure you feel satisfied that you have the clothes you want, nevertheless, keep it basic and light. Wear things that you can wear over and and over, easy to clean and something suitable. Depending on your destination your travelling too, certain clothing is needed. In Asia you need to have your knees and shoulders covered in the heat. Travelling Europe I had two pairs of jeans, a pair of trackies, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 skirt, 10 tops, 1 cardigon, 1 trainers, 1 sandles, 1 flip flops and 1 maxi dress. This was more then enough.

Do your research

Know where you are going. If you are going to spend time somewhere, you might as well get to know the area. What is there to do there, what’s the history. You will benefit from this in more ways then one. It can help you save money, understand the culture and even have a better time. I found this out when arriving in Rome, I felt silly. I had no proper idea about anything to do with Italy. I had come all this way to a country I didn’t really understand. Getting to Rome was my first main destination. It very hot and busy and I had no idea where to go. Even when I spent the day walking around seeing the main tourist attractions … I didn’t know much about them. Also, if you do your research before you get somewhere you can fit your dates around certain events. Despite still making it to the superb popular Turkish baths in Budapest, I wasn’t able to get to the huge party they had every Saturday night. I had no idea about it till I got there and was gutted to miss it. Even when I got to Paris, I found that Beyonce and Jay Z where playing while I was there. Some miracle happened and I got given a ticket to go with someone I met while out in Paris. Winner Winner chicken dinner. Anyway, I would recommend finding out what’s going on when your there, and finding out what exactly you are interested in doing.

Take photos

 A picture speaks a thousand words.
You don’t have to be that irritating tourist taking photo of a bloody lamp post but your making incredible memories, capture them. Nowadays everything is posted on social media sites and I appreciate it’s not for everyone. Look at me, I have a bloody website rambling about my life but theres nothing better then just having your very own beautiful travelling photos to look back on.  Take lots of videos and photos, you will regret not doing so. I also suggest getting yourself a decent camera to make things a little more fun. I recently puchased a GoPro Hero 3+ and I love it! Don’t spend all the time behind the camera, you have to embrace where you are and enjoy being in the moment but try capture what you can. It’s free, easy and the best souvenir.

Perfection.

Perfection.

Speak to everyone.

A big part of travelling for me is meeting people. Wherever I am in the world I find it is important for many reasons. Not only is it good to learn things from others and have different company but most of the time they want to help you and backpackers are always so friendly and warming. Travelling  Europe a lone ment I just had to go and meet new people and everyone was always so lovely. There is always people around from all over the world with such interesting stories and tips. I know lots of people who have met others while travelling and ended up contiuning the trip together.

Leave your comfort zone.

Feel as though there is something you dont want to do? Not sure if you want to go somewhere or try something new? DO IT. You always remember the crazy times you went and did something a little different right? Without being too silly, the best things in life and those you learn most things from are from leaving your comfort zone. Go do something different or try something you didn’t want too. Never know what you might learn.

This view.

This view.

Don’t over plan.

It is finding the right balance of knowing where to go and where not too. Things can change everyday.  Who you meet, what sitatuion your in. It is always good to have an idea of where to go and like mentioned earlier, know where you are going HOWEVER please don’t feel as though you can’t change your plans. Let things happen. Sometimes going with the flow will lead to exciting new adventures. Depending on your sitatuation and who you are with, part of travelling is to embrace on exploring this planet.

Sleep when your dead.

Okay, not literally. A little extreme there Leah. Seriously though, wake up and do things with your day. I adore my sleep and back in England I seriously struggle getting up before midday. Yes, go out at night and have a good time but please don’t forget how important the days are. Lots of things go on only in the morning. Markets tend to close around 3pm in Europe. Get out for a local breakfast and set off walking and see where you end up. There is always so much to do and see, whatever budget you’re on.

Don’t be scared to get lost. When I was backpacking Europe I always tried to be up for 9am. To me this was a perfect time as I still got my hours sleep at night however was up, ready, out and doing things by 12 which was perfect. I tend to tan well and when working abroad I get a lot of comments like, ‘how are you so tanned and brown?’. My answer. I get up relatively early and go down the beach. Despite the beach being my favourite place ever, I like to be out in the sun in the daylight. I always like to keep busy personally and I am not saying to never sleep, this is also important to keep you fit and revitalised with lots of energy to explore. I am all for those long crazy nights out and partying till the early hours but when travelling and being away from home, those days are vital.

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12 Steps to planning a big trip

I am currently preparing for my big trip in November. I fly straight to Thailand to travel South East Asia followed by a year in Australia.

Find out more about my trip here by clicking here! ‘Where am I heading next?’

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Are you planning on going somewhere for a long period time? Want to travel to another continent or just want to know what the steps to take to plan one?

This is the order I am currently sorting my long-term exciting trip, maybe you should try this too!

1. Research

Where is it you really want to go? What is it you want to do there?

Really research where you want to go. Not just where you fancy or somewhere everyone goes. Maybe try somewhere new, do you want to work over there? Find out how easy it is to work and what visas you would need. How expensive is the country/countries to live in and travel? Remember, there are 196 countries. You have choice.

2. Where

Decide on your destination. After your research, simply decide on where you want to go and stick with it. 

3. Budget

Realisticly work out how much you’re going to need. This will also have been done a little in your research but work out how much your travelling will amount too. Living costs, accomadation, travel exspenses,visas and transport food etc. How much could you be earning if end up working and if you didn’t work. How much could you live off, for how long. Including emergency money.


4. Flight

Book it. Compare the best prices and look into what airline is most suitable for you. I find that Sky Scanner is the best for flights however I booked my trip to Asia with STA as they have great deal with  Emirates for under 25s. They also have a great desposit scheme so you can pay in blocks. You can’t get anywhere without your flight first so  I suggest prioritisitng this.

5. Money

What money are you going to need. Travel, accomadation, insurance, food, water, living costs, essentials etc. If you are going somewhere to work then how quickly are you going to be working, will you be taxed or cash in hand. Will you need to set up a bank account or travel card.

How are you handling your money? Make sure you get the right type of cash cards or bank accounts. I would not reccomend carrying too much cash on you but if you do, just keep it close. Luckily, I have always managed to keep my money safe and when saving euros in Greece. Every 250 euros, my friend would take it off me and send me the money in my bank online.

6. Insurance

This is very important, where ever you are going, especially on a big trip. A lot of people dont get insurance to save money but for the sake of £50 you might as well have a back up incase of a bad sitation or emergency. This is so important for me but also my friends and family know I have a safety net! There are so many types of insurance, it depends on excess amounts and what it covers and how you claim. Make sure you really look about and compare. Click here to get straight to my top travel insurance site.

7. Packing

Is this a backpack, suitcase or neither type of thing for your trip. Be realistic. They always say, take half of what you think. Depending on the lenght of your trip will make a difference and also the tempreture and humidty of your destination. Buy light, compact clothes, not too many heavy products.  Most things you need you can buy all over the world. Lets be serious here, your going travelling, not moving your entire life! Let certain things go, youll regret taking so much. When I go to Asia and Australia im only talking one backpack. This will be so difficult but you really dont need much. Make sure to check your weight allowance on any flights you have or where you can store your case or bag on trains, bus. Also how you’re going to carry it around. Being 5’1, I have no choice 🙁

8. Vacinations

This is important when heading over to places such as Asia, Africa and other third world countries. Depending on what country/countries you are visiting make sure to get the correct vacines. Go to your doctor to talk about any injections you may need or what you have already had. Also anything you might need over there. Even just paracetomal, bug spray, suncream, bite cream etc!!

9. Documentations

Passport! Make sure you check your expirary date eas you are not going anywhere out the country without this little book. Make sure it is valid for the duration of your trip! Any insurance documents, preferably keep a copy at home with family or friends. I tend to note down all important information to keep back at home for my family incase of an emergency.I normally write down all my important information to leave with my family incase of emergency.

10. Get packing

Try not to leave this till last minute. Rushing around before a big trip may lead to missing out little things. Like mentioned earlier, normally pack less then what you think you’ll need.

11. Check everything.

You have all the right documents printed, your passport is in date. Your currency has all been changed, you’re mentally prepared to leave home, you have had all the right jabs, you’ve got somewhere to stay once you arrive at your first destination and feel good. If so, I think you’re ready!

12. HAVE FUN!

 

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Find out more about my next lot of travelling and more about this trip by clicking here!!

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How to budget when travelling

As you may have gathered from my previous posts, i’ve wanted to elaborate specifically, that money should not be an excuse to not travel. Everything I have done since the age of 16, i’ve payed for by working on various part time jobs. Life always throws obstacles at us, and sometimes, it feels like it’ll do anything for us to stop us from doing what we’re wanting to do.
Travelling is a life lesson. It’s a journey. It’s magical, scary, wonderful..but it can be reality.

My main emphasis is that travelling is not as expensive as may you think. As I have mentioned before ‘backpacking’ is not supposed to be a luxury. It’s not about dining out in top restaurants, days out shopping or drinking the best wine in fancy hotels, however i’ve been pleasantly surprised with the quality of hostels that i’ve stayed in for next to nothing.

During my travels I have found some of my favourite places to eat for less then £5, alongside with drinking some of the best cocktails for just £2. Each city I visited offered free walking tours which I made sure I took full advantage of. My hostels were offering extremely cheap washing services which is helpful.

How can I save my money?

Even back at home, if do your research, chat to a few people and leave the main high street you’ll find such lovely, cheap yet cheerful, scrumptious and exciting places to eat and drink. There are always offers and travellers are always willing to help other travellers with finding affordable and interesting places to visit.

Walk everywhere. I occasionally caught the metro or a bus in bigger cities but I walked everywhere else. The odd taxi wont hurt but it will add up so try find a cheaper way of travel within a city. Bikes are an awesome way of seeing the city and getting about in a fun and cheap way. In Asia Tuc Tucs are such an exciting way of getting about. Convinent, affordable and unforgetable. Just what we want to hear!!

You don’t always need to eat out. Dining in resturants can still be cheap but getting a bag of pasta, some garlic bread, a cheap sauce and maybe a cheeky bottle of wine with a group of people can cost around £2. A lot of hostels have kitchen space and people are always up for cooking in together.

Most main cities all over the world offer free walking tours. Make sure to check these out, they normally expect a tip of a couple of Euro but sometimes I didn’t even have cash on me and it was ok. These tours show you the city in a facinating and impressive light. I was always impressed with the tour guide and what they had to offer. During these tours I also met solo travellers that I hung out with after the tours. A great way to save the pennies!

My hostel in Florence, Italy

One of the biggest ways to save your money is accomadation. Like mentioned, I have found such adorable and delightful hostels and places to stay for such affordable prices. There are so many types of hostel… to see where I stayed click here…

Again, do some research and you will find some wicked places within your budget. I always opted for larger mixed dorms. Not only for the price, but to meet more people and I am more then happy living with guys and it’s cheaper! Wheyy!

Transfers from airports! These can be very expensive. Even in Crete, a taxi from Heraklion to the Malia strip is over 50 Euros. You can pre book a cheap shuttle bus for less then £7!
All over the world offer cheap coaches and bus’ if you research and pre book! It might take extra time and not be as luxery but here you will saving pennies!

My expenses.

I just want to show you a little breakdown of my trip around Europe.

Best ice cream ever! Rome, Italy

I travelled 9 countries, 14 cities including Rome, Paris, Venice, Athens, Budapest, Prague, London, Amsterdam and more. I stayed in great hostels every night, ate out for dinner pretty much every night. I treated myself to ice cream in Florence, bought myself a purse in Venice, ate so much pizza in Rome. Did everything from smoke and rent a bike in Amsterdam, dine at gorgeous french bistros and climb the eiffel tower in Paris. Drinking lots of beer in Germany, pub crawled Budapest, partied in Prague, danced at Pineapple and went out in London and so so much more!! Not only that but did my washing each week, got a couple of gifts, drank plenty of booze and also payed for a couple of metro tickets, a ferry from Greece to Italy and had to reserve a few trains with a small fee. Excluding my inter rail ticket and flight into Athens, in 5 weeks of non stop madness travelling Europe, I spent just under £1,000!

There was a lot of other things I wanted to do, things to see and places to go however as I was on a budgett so I had to restrict myself. Nevertheless, I never felt as I was mising out and I made sure I did everything I really wanted to do!

Drinking wine in Italy

I kept note everyday exactly what I was spending. I will round it all up and show you my breakdown of daily and weekly spending!

Daily budget:
£15 (Water, breakfast, snacks, dinner, booze)
£16 accomdation (per night) (sharing mixed dorm)
£2 Extra travel (Metro, bus, etc..)
£10 Tours, Museams, Tourist attracktions etc..
Overall:  £42 a day

Weekly budget:

£90 a week accomadation
£100 a week food

Brunch in Budapest

£9 travel
£50 extra

£249 a week!!
  Overall: £1,245 for 5 weeks
 (I spent less then this, overall things worked out a little cheaper)

It depends entirely on what city your in and what types of things you want to do. Each country varies on living costs, travel expensis and average dining. Places like budapest are a lot cheaper then Paris.

 It takes some getting used too, its a skill we all need in life. Budgetting your money can be difficult but its about priorities. Everyone will want to budget different things so find what is right for you!
 
Smoking in Amsterdam
Pedle Boat in Prague
 
Shopping in Paris
Clubbing in Budapest

 

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Backpacking, alone.

After watching the film ‘Wild’ in the cinema with a friend this evening it really got me thinking.

We are born alone, we die alone and a lot of other things in between. Some spend more time alone than others. Some out of choice, some not.

Me? Well, my parents said I was running off making friends and doing my own things from the age for 5. Chucking myself down water slides on family holidays, still going on roller coasters when others were to scared. Turning up to dance classes alone was never an issue including the classic female one, not caring about going to the toilet alone. I do prefer to be with people but being by myself doesn’t really bother me.

I have always started trips with people but been let down by them leaving. I refused to fly home so carried on alone.

When you travel alone, you’re never truly alone. There is always someone you can talk to, just make it happen.

The one reason I find people love to travel, like myself, is they find themselves. They let their imagination run free, have thoughts and dreams they don’t normally explore into. They are taken out the comfort zone and have new emotions and desires.

Being alone does not make you lonely.

 Sometimes, our mind, is our own worst enemy.




This film ‘Wild’ starring the talented Reece Wetherspoon was not what I expected. Attending a pretty regular weekly cinema routine with a good friend of mine we decided to go for this choice of film. However much it looked fascinating, it was a more of a convenient time showing. Trailer.  Recommend!

It took us on a powerful journey, 
Cheryl, a recovering drug user who
 lost her mother, with a failed marriage, take on an extraordinary 
difficult and ambitious walk. Hiking over 1,000 miles from Mexico to Canada with nothing but her backpack. It showed us the struggles of the challenging journey which
ultimately heals her.

Got me thinking..

I have never done a trip to this extent however it made me think about when I backpacked Europe. I was travelling a continent alone with just the stuff on my back.

My experience was one heck of a journey. A scary, challenging, fun and actually quite relaxing one. It came with some surprising emotions such as anger, doubt,
pleasure, calmness and reassurance. 

Long train journeys, lonely walks around cities, dining out alone and relying purely on your ideas and thoughts took me to places in my mind I had not entered before.

Walking for 8 hours around Budapest,
only had a map, blink 182 playing and
my thoughts.

Energizing, 
Empowering, 
Exhilarating, 
Eventful. 






Travelling alone is different for everyone, it is not for us all. I feel in this day and age we look at being by yourself as a bad thing. Most of us do love a bit of ‘me’ time but many depend on others company to succeed in certain things. I recieved a lot of ”So your travelling a lone!?” Funnily enough, this was from people back at home rather than others I met travelling.

I know many people who will be reading this who live by themselves, or have very independent lifestyles however I am focusing more on travelling. 

Being alone can open doors that being with a friend can’t. It’s not always the case but I have heard from many people that travelling alone leads you to meet more people. In hostels others by themselves want to meet others. I met dozens of people travelling in a group or in a couple, but for those who are tempted to do it alone. Do it. 

There are numerous ways in how to meet people. Offer to go for a drink, join a bar crawl together. I was always being invited to go along with room mates and people I talked to. 

Sometimes, I dropped my bags off and just ask who ever was in my room if they wanted to go grab a drink in the hostel bar or local. This then leads to meeting even more people. On my first night in Rome, everyone spoke to everyone. It was inspirational to see everyone getting on and talking so easily.

Arriving in Italy.
Waiting for train leaving
Florence

It can get lonely. Little things get hard. No one to give their opinion, take a photo for you. Asking them to stay with the bags while you do something.
Just somebody to chat with. 



Your bag

This is all you have. I thought packing a huge suitcase for summer was hard. Sometimes not knowing who your going to meet, types of places you will be visiting or knowing what occasion you will need to dress for. As well as packing cosmetics, products, shoes, documents and personal belonging. This all has to be carried on your back. I am 5’1 so please appreciate I am not the strongest, or tallest. I had to be extra careful what I took. 

The one thing I really want to express is how little you need. For me personally, I value my nice things. I love my good products and straighteners and clean, relatively fashionable clothes. I wanted to take everything, to feel prepared. 

Getting the right bag for you is very important. Spend time researching the correct rucksack and essentials you will need for your trip.

I remember standing up for the first time with my bag on and just falling backwards. I could not even balance. Physically I did not have the power to even stand up, let a lone walk with this bag. What was I thinking!? How the bloody hell was I going to manage. You do get used to it and learn how to balance.

The anger I felt during the trip was actually when I came home…

As happy as I was to see my beautiful friends & family, sleep in my own room in my big double bed, actually sit and watch pointless TV and have a bath.

I was annoyed at myself. Why did I have so much stuff? I walked into my room and was overwhelmed with the things I had. I was happier with a few basic clothes and some mascara and hair mousse. I come back to luxury products I had left behind, numerous pairs of different jeans and knitwear. Heaps of tops and shoes. What was wrong with me?

We all work hard and deserve to have clothes and feel as though if we want something we can aim to get it. I was gone for over a month with nothing but some basic clothes and products and was happy. I was living my life and it was brilliant.

I had felt beforehand that I needed all these things to make me happy. I still have my straighteners and I buy clothes but I have now realised that ‘things’ don’t bring happiness. I now just wear less make up, don’t go shopping anywhere as near as much. 

I feel as though travelling a lone has taught me a lot. How to socialise and communicate with people, to think less and do more which I quite enjoy. It has shown me how to adapt to situations, interact with so many different types of people. Also just how to budget, 

No one is there holding my hand and doing everything for me, I’ve got myself here and that give me such a great sense of achievement. I’ve earnt the money, I’ve planned the trip, I’m living the dream…what more could you ask for?!

– Chris Stevens

Me walking, Patras, Greece.

I would wake up asking where I wanted to go next and what I wanted to do that day, and simply went and did it.

My bed on the Ferry to Italy
Me on the train
First journey, leaving Greece… 6 am




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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.