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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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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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