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The honest truth on how I afford to travel

‘But, how do you afford it?’

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

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

I’ve done and seen A LOT.

Vietnam

*10 minute read

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

Guess what, I’m not stopping anytime soon.

Tokyo

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

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

I will start with one thing.

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

I finance my trips myself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: Food, Accommodation, Transport, Experiences.

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

Imagine if I turned it back around…

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

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

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

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

‘Having the latest iPhone will have cost a bomb’

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

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

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

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

Money

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

Bangkok 2015

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

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

Osaka 2017

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

Indonesia

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

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

The honest truth

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

Let’s quit any bullsh*t.

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

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

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

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

Working

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

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

Living basically

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

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

and this was my view….

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

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

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

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

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

I barely drink alcohol.

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

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

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

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

It’s getting the balance.

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

I spend my money on experiences.

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

15,000 Indonesian rupiah for my boat over to Lombok

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

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

Finding the cheap & cheerful.

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

Convenience.

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

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

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

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

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

We pay for ease.

I sacrifice certain things to enable me to travel.

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

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

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

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

Flights

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, it’s getting the balance.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

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

Taking risks:

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

I made it to Japan.

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

I made it to Indonesia.

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

Byron Bay, Australia

I completed my full first year in Australia.

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

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

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

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

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

Costs

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

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

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

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

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

This incredible day cost me nothing

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

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

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

So many things are cheaper than people think.

Things are free. Yes, free.

Sunsets on the beach with my new furry friend – FREE

Wondering Brisbane – FREE

Checking out the street out in Penang, Malaysia – FREE

Meeting the wild wallabies on Magnetic Island – FREE

Checking out the views over Tokyo – FREE

Exploring Melbourne – FREE

Discovering abandoned Bokor City up in Cambodia – FREE

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

Blog work

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

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

Whitsundays, Australia 

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

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

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19 things you should know before traveling Australia

Australia was never on the top of my list for places to live and travel.

Seeking magical adventures and trying to get out my comfort zone, I felt more inclined to Asia & countries that were contrasting to what I was used too.

After an unbelievable and magical 6 month trip around South East Asia, I headed over to find some kind of base and of course a new experience and explore a new country.

 I was not let down.

Saint Kilda / Melbourne

Australia is one massive country filled with a diverse variety of things to do and places to go.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to be hopping on a flight to the other side of the world seeking the Aussie experience.

I don’t like telling people too much about where to go and what to do but I’ve come up with my top tips for traveling Australia. These are just a few things I thought you should know.

With the second-highest human development index globally, the country ranks highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties and political rights.

1. It’s a continent.

Australia is massive!

It’s bigger than Europe and the world’s sixth-largest country by total area.

2. There are countless things to do.

Australia offers loads of things to get up too. From some of the best camping spots and of course the best places to surf.

Camping, on a jeep. Friday night set up.

It offers nature, rainforests and jungles, the outback, mountains and major cities. There’s places to ski, places to shop, places to explore and so much more.

3. Make the most of brunch.

Chapel Street / Melbourne

Brunch in Australia is a thing, something they do very well. All over the country on every menu they ‘do’ brunch. The best thing is, it’s normally all day. Well done Australia.

4. Most of Australia is just land

Australia is actually a lot of land. With the size of the country being ginormous and a population of 24, 520, 898. It’s mostly land.

Only 2% of the population of Australia live in the yellow area.

5.  You can’t buy booze from the supermarket

They have bottle shops, and sometimes small stores attached to supermarkets, however, Australia doesn’t sell booze in supermarkets. They seem quite strict with selling, buying and even public drinking over in Aus. There are normally plenty of 24/7 hour bottle shops about.

6.  81% of the worlds deadliest animals come from Australia

I thought this was an interesting fact I found out a while ago while on a tour in Queensland’s rainforest.

After completing my farm work, living out in the Australian bush, I did see a lot of amazing wildlife and insects! Yes there are snakes, spiders, toads etc.. but its really not that bad. Trust me.

It’s worth knowing some more on the deadly animals in case you do come across any.

Warning – Scary spider

7. Best hospitality in the world

Make use of the hospitality over in Australia. A very westernized, sanitized country and pretty expensive but you can find the best places to eat in the drink. A massive coffee culture with some of the most phenomenal places to eat out. Everything is accessible in the major cities.

Rooftop bars, quirky cafes, local markets, fine dining and tasty street trucks are all over.

8.  Wear suncream

The sun is stronger then you think. With a lot of Australia not covered by the ozone layer, the sun is powerful. Even those who don’t normally wear sun cream, it’s worth having some with you.

No one wants sun spots and wrinkles when they’re older.

9. You can’t enter without a visa

The visa restrictions are pretty strict. Despite the entry being easy every time I’ve flown into and across Australia, you need to make sure you have the right documents. There are all sorts of visa types including tourist, residential, working holiday. There are different requirements for each and may vary depending age and where you are from.

10.  There is a difference between Wallabies and Kangaroos. FYI.

After living in the outback I sure have seen some pretty awesome animals. Tropical Queensland is nature at it’s finest.

Running along side wallabies during my weekly runs, it was pretty surreal. However, there is a big difference between the two animals.

They’re both marsupials, meaning mothers carry their young around in built-in pouches. And scientists have even grouped them into the same order, family and subfamily.

The kangaroo’s legs are built for speed on open terrain. The wallaby’s more compact legs are built for agility in forested areas.

11. It’s westernized.

Okay, so coming from Asia this was a real shock. Don’t expect a massive culture shock, everyone speaks English, you drive on the left and it’s simply very westernized.

12. David Attenborough favourite Jungle is in Queensland

Not that he would need any introduction, Sir David Attenborough is a British writer, presenter, narrator, broadcaster and naturalist who has had an awe-inspiring 70-year long career.

Daintree Cape Tribulation Rainforests, North tropical Queensland is his favourite place in the world.

Very close to where I did my farm work!

 

13. There is a time zone across the country.

The time difference in Australia is crazy. I’m 11 hours ahead from home, UK. Even across the country they have a time difference.

14. Aboriginals

Aborigines are Australia’s indigenous people. Recent government statistics counted approximately 400,000 aboriginal people, or about 2% of Australia’s total population. Australian Aborigines migrated from somewhere in Asia at least 30,000 years ago.

The history is pretty interesting and you will normally see aboriginals especially out the major cities.

15. Free BBQ’s everywhere

One of my favourite things about Australia is that they cater so much for outdoors. Everyone is active,  enjoying life. There are bbq’s everywhere. Keep an eye out and make use of them!

16. Surfing is a culture

Australia offers some of the best surf spots, surf training and just the all round culture of the activity.

Top places are Gold coast, Torquey, Surfers paradise, Bryon bay, Bondi beach, Central coast, Anglesea, rainbow beach and loads more.

Surfers at Maroubra Beach.

17. Don’t hesitate to come on your own

This is something a lot of people have expressed to me. They made a decision to come on there own for the first time, and it’s all worked out. Solo travel is my favourite way to travel, if you’re thinking about it. Give it a go!

Click here to read my top 18 tips on traveling alone..

18. Try have contacts within the country

It’s always good to know someone in the same city as you, let alone the same country however can’t always be the case.

I’ve been tons of places and known absolutely no one. Keep in contact with backpackers, friends, friends of friends who are somewhere in Aus. It’s all about who you know. Luckily I have some great friends who were already over here!

19. Embrace the lifestyle.

All over Australia the lifestyle is active, outdoors, positive and fun. Embrace the beach lifestyle, camping trips, random styles and everything Australia has to offer.

You may jump out a plane, trek through the rainforest and jungles, go out vintage searching in Melbourne, sail past the Sydney opera house,

 

 

Embrace it. Chase it. Enjoy it. Australia is a cool place with awesome things to do and tons of places to go.

Make sure to check out my top tricks & tips if heading to Melbourne by clicking here!

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The reality of Australian second year visa farm work

The reality of Australian Second year visa work

Sure most of us have heard about second year visa work.

13 consistence weeks on the same farm or 88 days of some kind of agriculture work to gain a second year visa in Australia.

Sydney #operahouse #sydneyharbour #travelsydney #wanderlust #nikon

Hearing numerous things regarding farm work, I had a good idea how it all worked, however I don’t think anything can prepare you for the real thing.

Almost everyone says, do it for the experience and boy is it one!

Still smiling despite reaching 43 degree dry heat. Considering I'm English and its November, I can't complain too much. ☀️

Still smiling despite reaching 43 degree dry heat. Considering I’m English and its November, I can’t complain too much. ☀️

 

In this blog,
I can only go off my experiences and knowledge, working on a banana farm as apposed to others all over Australia, never the less, I sure had a real Australian, backpacker, bush living, full time farm work experience and I’m writing this to help understand, inform and share this experience for me and many others!

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

Where?

North Tropical Queensland

4 hours North of Cairns, Lakeland.

lakeland

Four farms, one accomadation and 50-80 backpackers.

Family dinner // Farmlife

Sitauted far from much sense of normality, the closest city was Cairns, over a 4 hour drive.

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Home

The closest town was Cooktown, an hour drive north, around 15 years out of date, a basic town with only approx 2,000 as their population.

As mentioned in other blogs, travel tip, don’t have expectations. It’s hard not too especially when you already have loads of information however I never expected something quite like this.

Bush living #Australia #NorthtropicalQueensland

Bush living

Getting the job

After 6 months traveling solo around Asia, and just under three months living in Melbourne, I decided farm work was a favourable option.

Making calls to hostels and farms around Innisfail and others around Cairns, I wasn’t getting much luck. I had booked a flight up to Cairns as I wanted to be in Queensland.

Helpful places offering work; Gumtree. Facebook. Travel agents

Farm work is a pretty last minute thing. Jobs come and go and staff are normally needed asap.

On the Monday of leaving to Cairns, I called round more working hostels as last minute seemed to be the best option.

‘The job is yours if you are here by tomorrow’

Arriving past midnight, a few hours sleep at Gilligans and a 7am pick up I was off the next morning.

Here we go again. My rucksack & I can't stay in the same place for longer then 3 months. Melbourne, you have not let me down. The friends and memories I have from such an awesome city, but I have to continue my worldwide adventures. Heading to the outback. Melbourne, I'll see you soon. #travel #solobackpacker

Farm work tends to happen very quickly, there are so many people looking for work they normally want immediate starts, hence why last minute seems to be the best option.

When looking for farm work, try give yourself the flexibility to just get straight to the job.

Sometimes it’s a matter of constantly checking or work and just calling up and hoping there are places.

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Be aware

There are, like always, a few dodgy farms and people get messed around so it’s worth doing a little research on where you are heading or speaking to people in the area.

I’ve heard stories of travelers completing their time however not being signed off.

Unfortunatley, on most farms, no job is secure. Everyone is so easily replaced so incase of the worst, try not to leave farm work too last minute.

If you do leave or get sacked, however still want to continue farm work. You will have to complete 88 days to be signed off, which can work out a lot longer.

Bush life

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The nature and scenery looked like something from David Attenborough, legit.

(Fun fact: His favourite rainforest is in Queensland)

The farm and accomadation surroundings where just sensational. Miles of nothing but land. Wild wallabies, crazy insects, surreal surroundings and sensational sunsets, it was hard not to enjoy the lifestyle.

Friday's off. 35degrees.

Friday’s off. 35degrees.

Farm life is normally tough graft, easy living.

Long days, short weeks we all used to say on the farm.

Other then attending work and getting on with it, life wasn’t too stressful.

It’s a strange living condition as you live and work with the same people as there is no one else around. We felt like we were in the TV show, Big Brother.

Saturdays. Farm life.

Saturdays. Farm life.


Work

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13 weeks.

6.30am pickup.
Every morning 4/5 days a week.

Depending on which farm you worked on, was dependant on what bus you got and off you went for the day. Water, lunch, coffee, sun cream, hat, phone, go.

Checking out all the farms from up high in a tiny little plane! #Queensland #Australia #farmwork #fly

Checking out all the farms from up high in a tiny little plane!

Let me tell you, the fun of it all can ware off as the work gets tough.
It was go from day one and that was going to be it for the next 13 weeks. I kind of had absolutely no other option other then to get the heck on with it.

Pay was hourly, which I highly reccomend.

Comission work isn’t always great pay and there is no garuntee there is always enough fruit.

Rules

Girls in the shed. Guys in the paddocks.

There were particular about male and female roles despite being one of the only females to do a males job and I luckily got to work in the paddocks!

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There are jobs for guys in the shed, who will be named ‘shed bitches’.

There are a number of reasons for girls and guys having certain jobs.

A. Sexism. This is outback Australia we are talking about.

B. The heat is so intense, the guys are more reliable for work in the hot weather.

C. The cutting & humping are so physical, the height on the banana trees, and weight of some of the banana bunches do make it a ‘mans job’. End of.

Jobs:

Female – Sorting, Hanging, Stacking, Packing, Cutting and Weighing.

Sounds like some kind of joke. It’s not.

Male – Stacking, Humping, Hanging, De-hanging, Driving.

Shed life: No talking. No music. Nothing but machinery. We occasionally made small talk and had a little giggle. Almost got sacked my first few days for talking. I guess some things never change.

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Routine

You eventually get the hang of things. It takes a few days and thankfully help from the others, you get to know what to wear, what to take to work, how the days pan out etc.
You work out what time to get up at and how much sleep you really need.

After a few weeks you really get into a routine. As a backpacker always on the move, it felt wierd being back in my own little room and working long days.

Make the most of the routine. I used my time to loose some weight, get my fitness back, chill out, earn some money and still travel parts of North Queensland.

Escaped the farm for the day.

Escaped the farm for the day.

Girls. Forget the nice hair and make up. Think banana gunk, dirt, water, sweat and occasionally tears, you get used to it. Your clothes will get ruined, your shoes will have to stay at work and hats or normally requested or just needed.

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Lads. Think sweat, dirt and pure banana sap.

Either way. It’s thought graft.

It’s a pretty easy life in a way. As long you as you’re ready for the bus, get on it and get on with the farm work, there’s not too much to worry about. It’s an experience like no other and isnt supposed to be straightfoward.

It’s more of a challenge, mentally.

Long, tedious, repepative work. Treated pretty shit at times. Crazy tempretures and basic living.

At my farm, we had the same job everyday. If you sorted bananas, that’s what you did all day every day. I know a lot of farms mix it up however it can feel endless.

The lads and eventually me when I was put onto as the tractor driver, had to spend hours in the tropical scorching sun where it reached up to 45 degrees. I give it to the lads physically working out while cutting and humping the bananas, it’s fucking hot.

As much as farm work was challenging, I'm going to miss the crazy days, scorching sun, silly banter and unbelievable nature. #Bananafarm #Queensland #Farming

The job is a valuble spot and can very easily be suspended. I almost lost my job the last week of my farmwork purely as they had to cut down staff. I had backpackers on my farm getting sacked and sometimes there isn’t always full time work.

Each job is so easily replacable so it’s important to work hard. It’s easy to want to quit, have days where you feel it’s not worth it.

It helped spending time in Australia beforehand. Despite only living in Melbourne for a couple of months, it was enough for me to genuinly want another year in Australia at some point.

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It’s an experience like nothing else, full of lessons, memories, learning new skills, banter, nature and a different Australian experience.

 

 


 

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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

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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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8 easy ways of saving money while traveling

Cash.

It seems to be the ultimatum between traveling or not.

‘I can’t afford it.’

Most people I know can afford to travel. The real truth is, it’s all about priorities.

For those who are going for it..

I decided to write up some of my tips on saving money while traveling.IMG_0033

1. Every penny counts

This was just something I knew I had to realise the second I started traveling. If I was at home and something cost an extra 20p, I would pay it. If I knew I was probably being slightly overcharged for a cab, I would still pay it. If someone needed to borrow afew $. I wouldn’t bother asking for it back.

This all has to change.

I dont mean turn into a stingy b*tch. Backpacking Asia really taught me the true meaning of value. I was paying $1 for my dinner. This doesn’t mean everywhere will be cheap and of course, make exceptions but keep track on how much things should cost.

Try to watch every penny you spend. It all adds up. The only reason I only managed to travel as long as I did was because I so careful with my money. I wasn’t spending my cash on things I didn’t need too.

I was walking to save myself on $2. I was always going for the cheapest accomadation and argued with taxi drivers over 20p.

I never had a daily budget or allowance, I just spent my money wisely, most of the time.

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2. Walk/ Hitch hike

I first tried hitchhiking in Malaysia, and it was worryingly easy. I would suggest doing it with someone and keeping your wits about you however so many people are happy to give you a lift, they are going that way anyway.

It’s as easy as standing there, putting your arm out and thumb up. On the first few times I was a little unsure but once I spoke to the drivers, it was the first time for them also. Some we had great conversation, others we just sat and they dropped me right off where I needed.

It’s a very easy way to save money.

Walking. Most of us have legs. Use them. Taxi fee’s can add up. If it’s possible, walk. You never know what you will see!

3. Things are free

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Unfortunately great experiences cost a lot of money however, you can find many free options that you can’t beat. Great company is priceless, beaches are free and you can never go wrong with a game of cards.

I love photography and sunsets and it doesn’t cost me a penny to find a lovely spot with my camera and watch the world.

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4. Couch surf/hammock/tent/Car

There are lots of other options other than hotels & hostels.

Lots of places offer tents and some camping zones. I meet loads of people camping out or even just hanging up a hammock for the night. All around Australia people live from their cars or camping equiptment.

Couch surfing is free and a great way to meet people but always watch out for dodgy accounts and make sure it’s safe & genuine.

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A dalmation, iced coffee and a hammock.

5. Dont go buying

Seriously. Don’t go looking for things you don’t need. Every country I went, every little town or island, they had some sort of beautiful markets or awesome traditional shops. I wanted things. I wanted to buy. Shop. Purchase. I couldn’t.

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I didn’t need any of those things. I occasionally needing to rebuy toiletries, and found a few beautiful wall hangings I had to pick up.

During the 6 months in Asia, I definatley picked up a few bits. A passport holder from Chiang Mai, a dress from Pai, some sandles from Hoi An were just a few things however all in all, I was never going out to shop.

I was limited for space in my rucksack and the more money I spent on stuff, the less I could travel and have all these experiances. Most importantly, I needed the money for food & accomadation.

6. Cheapest option

There are normally lots of different options other then the first one shown. The more you travel, the more travel hacks you will pick up.

You will know the cheaper airlines and sites. Make sure to compare flights, look at trains and over night bus’ instead of planes. Find deals on accomadation and share transport are just a few ways to keep things cheaper.

I still have a lot to learn, let me know yours and comment below.

7. Cut the booze

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A cold chang in Blue Lagoon // Koh Phi Phi

So a lot of you may hate me for this.

I cut out booze. Not completely, but I rarely drink.

Without going into it, I prefer Bob Marley to David Guetta.

The amount of money I found people spending on going out getting pissed, which there is nothing wrong with, never the less, if you are looking to cut down on the extra spending and start budgeting. You’ll skip the booze.

For two bottles of Chang beer in Thailand, I could afford a hostel room for the night. Doesnt take a genuis to work it out.

I am all for having fun and these are some of the best years of your life, crack open that beer on the beach however keep an eye on how much spending it may amount too.dsc_0235-2

Saigon at a rooftop bar // Ho Chi Minh

8. Cook with others

You’re staying in hostels? Homestays?  Sharing kitchen space? Cook together. We all have to eat, dining out in South East Asia is very cheap however if youre traveling for a long term or even just enjoy cooking your own food. A massive bag of pasta, sauce can cost 20p if there a few of you eating.

Everyone is always after saving some pennies so mention it to people and I am sure other people will also be keen. Cook in large portions if you’re on the road. If you’re driving through a country, store cheap food options if accesible to a kitchen.

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Bbq’s in Australia

These are just a few ways to save money!  Let me know yours below!

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Visiting the abandoned casino @ Bokor City // Kampot, Cambodia

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The transition. Asia – Australia Part 1; Before I leave

Before I leave.

HOLY MOLY. Here I am, 6 months later on my last few days in Asia before Australia.

  What a whirlwind of emotions right now. Gutted to leave Asia. Excited to see Australia. Strange to be further away from home but closer to a more westernised and civilised lifestyle. It’s an odd subject I really don’t hear many people talking about but a journey a lot of us make.

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It’s a major adaptation. We’re used to moving countries, learning new currencies and blagging our way through backpacking crazy places but this is different.

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Trying street food in Penang, Malaysia pre thunderstorm.

Heading to Australia after traveling in Asia will be a huge shock. I don’t quite know what to expect however everyone’s telling me the same. They love it and I know I’m ready for the challenge. australia

The worries.

What if it’s so cold? What if it’s too expensive? What if I can’t get work?

These things will always run through your head but remember, Worry is a misuse of imagination.

I’m even further away from home, the furthest possible point for us English across the world.Planet-Earth-picture

The perks. I’ll be back in civilisation, I’ll have more access to home comforts. I’ll see friends I’ve not seen in ages and catch up with ones I’ve made in Asia. Even the little things we become accustomed too in Asia like everyone speaking English, fresh air, routine.

Do I want that yet? I don’t know. We will have to find out.

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Beach front bungalows for $30 US!

The adapting. For me, price is going to be the weirdest. I can get bags of laundry done for £2.50. A taxi across the city for £3. A big meal for £1. Spending AU $8  a night on clean and safe accommodation in beautiful locations. Australia is back to western prices. I have little money and need to make it stretch until I get a job.QUP88wFp

Weather. For those that know Australia, I fly into winter. For Melbourne, where I’m heading, it’s cold. Like coat and scarf kind of cold. I am coming from 35+ degree heat. I have one pair of jeans I bought in Hanoi and a little black hoodie. It’s safe to say, I am not prepared.

Lifestyle. Back to work. Back to paying rent and bills. Finding a new group of friends, and not just for a couple of nights. Hostels in Asia are so sociable and it’s so easy to meet people. I’m moving to a new city, in a new country and it is not Asia.

I luckily have a good friend to stay with and know people that can help me with accommodation while I get on my feet. For those going straight to hostels, they will still be sociable but a totally new environment.

Fundamentally.. So I promised I would do 6 months in Asia, and I did it! With some mental, occasionally physical and definitely financial challenges, I made it. And I’m still in one piece feeling as strong as ever. It’s normal to feel a roller coaster of emotions. Not just coming from Asia but all over the world including England. You know it’ll all work out.

Have a little bit of cash, your visa sorted and a positive mind and it’ll all work out.

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Want to find out what’s been going on since I landed in Australia. Read Part 2 here. (Coming soon).

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My 8 biggest travel tips..

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

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1.Give yourself as much time as possible.

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

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

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2. – Don’t plan anything.

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

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

3.Don’t expect anything.

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

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

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

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

4.Stay open minded.

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

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5.Speak to people.

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

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

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

6.Don’t ever say what if.

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

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

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– which leads me onto my next one.

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

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

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

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

Don’t take anything for granted.

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

8. Say yes as much as possible.

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

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

Your travels are the best time of your life.

Enjoy it & embrace it! IMG_9997

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

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

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

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

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

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

I miss home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The truth about safety for South East Asia backpackers

South East Asia is becoming one of the worlds most popular backpacking destinations. It’s no longer an Asian mystery and thousands of backpackers are making their way over every week.

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Filled with magnificant countries offering some of the most epic traveling experiences.

12998711_10153392355252751_6065878301530118079_nRoute 1095 through North Thailand. 40 degrees. Sunset. Reaching 150km/ph. Magical Vibes.

Easy to travel with lots going on, relatively cheap, great weather, magical places and thousands of places to visit, it’s no suprise everyones escaping over here.

I’m repeatedly asked about my safety over here, as a female, as a solo traveler and in general.

Another stunning and huge water fall on Koh Samui today! Deserved a good swim after climbing and hiking up through the jungle! So worth it #kohsamui #travel #canon #thailand #waterfall

Thailand is the perfect place for new backpackers to start and the surrounding countries have endless reasons to visit.

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I’ve been backpacking South East Asia the last 6 months and encounted with hundreds of backpackers from all the world. They all share their stories, experiences, memories and advice.

What do you do when it rains driving through the jungle. Smoke at a treehouse!

Like anything, travel comes with risks. It comes with more abnormal dangers and unfortunately there has been some terrible accidents.

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Some are quickly published across social media, explaining the awful stories with devastating effects.

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Its gives us a quick idea and traces of worry for those back at home and those on the road backpacking.

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I wanted to explain a little more, as a young solo backpacker on the safety of travel in South East Asia.

Asia is a pretty safe place. In fact, I feel safer in most places here then I do walking about in London.

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Going solo, people imagine walking along secluded beaches and roads completley on your own out of reach with the rest of the world.

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Walking 2 miles on a secluded beach with no wifi, signal or much sign of anything. A few beach huts, one cafe and a pier.

Ok, I have had a few wierd lonely walks looking for accomodation and long walks down beaches and jungles with no signal. However, there is somone almost always around. Even if the language barrier is difficult, there are others around if needed.

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The truth is, you’re not in any more danger then at home. The biggest difference is the help you well get and the comforts you want. There may be a language barrier and things may not be as accesible.

You can’t just come ask your mum to pick you up. You’re not 5 minutes from your mates house.

Evening boat to Ko Samui after a hectic day! Everyone inside so the deck to myself. Cloudy, overcast, warm and windy

Numerous people tell me that when they travel they grow up. Being able to look after yourself is key wherever you in the world, there will always be people to help but being in these different circumstances really does show you how important your health and safety really is.

Like anywhere in the world, accidents will happen, no country is immune from terrorist attacks and there are evil and dangerous people everywhere.

South East Asia is filled with magical places, crazy and friendly locals and of course different laws then we may be used to.

With the leading religion being Buddhist. It’s actually a pretty chilled out destination.

The countries have some terrible history and frightning stories in the past,

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but where we are today,  it couldn’t be more safer to travel.

Security has stepped up, the access for communication and information across the globe has improved massively over the last ten years, not to mention social media backpacking communities, forums, websites,  personal pages and blogs sharing experiences, tips and advice.

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It’s 2017, we are no longer in the stone ages. South East Asia may hold some of the poorest countries and villages, the most remote tropical destinations

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but all in all, they’re pretty up to date.

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Places like Thailand are becoming so connected with the rest of the world making anything accessible including great health care. It can offer great places for anyone homesick. Easy 24 hour internet, with hundreds of amazing western comforts.

After an insane day we call it a night. Feeling pretty tired and leaving Rasta bar we talk about craving a good hot chocolate! We drive past a place near my hostel I've seen in the day that is a coffee shop designed as a living room. It's 1am. Mocha ordered, TV on. Doors closed and we are having a movie, cake and coffee lock in. Just what I needed! #coffee #movienight #midnight #adventure #thailand

Normality
In South East Asia what they call normal, for westerners, is absolutely bonkers.

I’ve seen full buildings held up by bamboo. I’ve seen families of 5 riding with no helmets on motorbikes.

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Not to mention the countless young children driving motobikes, dozens of cows wondering the streets and unhygeinic street stalls.

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Traveling is supposed to take you out of your comfort zone, experience crazy things and visit magical places.

Canyon at sunset #pai #thailand #travel

If we really want to see the world, we have to take things to that extra level. If it wasn’t worth doing, then the countless of hundreds and thousands of backpackers all over the world wouldnt be packing their bags and leaving on long term trips all over the world.

Jungle #kohphangan #jungleparty #thailand #hostelworld

Jungle party #kohphangan

If the dangers have to increase to feel this alive and free. To experience the magical and incredible memories I now have. If it’s the only way to learn the lessons I have and am learning, then I will take any risk I have too and I know I am not the only one.

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When accidents happen out, we sometimes hear before the news, even before social media has shared it and the news have published the story.

As backpackers, travelers and globe trotters, we are a community. A community of young and old all over the world. There is no forms or racism, sexism, homophobia.

Anyone and everyone can and should travel.IMG_1107First night on Khao San.

When news articles and stories about accidents not only in Asia, but all over the world, we all mourn.

1455142470610Despite maybe never connecting with the people, we know the places they’ve been, the hostels they stayed in. We can relate to their journeys like my family can relate to other parents with children traveling all over the world.

We are a long way from home and things are not the same.

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I have friends and family worrying about me all the time, and in a way they have every right too. I’m on my own in some of the poorest and hectic countries, I’m on crazy journeys, meeting all sorts of people and taking risks everday.

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Mine are just a little different then to the ones at home!

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We don’t hear about the thousand and thousands of tourists making it home every year. The countless people leaving on one way flights and making it back to friends and family.

imagesSo the dangers?

Food.

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The hygeine standards in South East Asia can be pretty poor. The busy roads are filled with stalls selling fresh meat, open fresh fruit and tons of other things. Compared to the standards for us westerners, it’s very different.

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Local can food can be the best and cheapest place to eat. I have eaten all over South East Asia at endless street stalls, local business, random markets and top resturants. In the 5 months I’ve been over here, i’ve had one or two brief little bugs for 48 hours. Make sure you always keep yourself hydryted as it can get exstremly hot and humid here.

Ease your way into the traditional food and ice. Drink bottled water and maybe sometimes avoid the meat, never the less, South East Asia has some of the most amazing food!

Robbery.

South East Asia has some of the poorest parts of the world. Most people are harmless but it’s definatley been known that stuff can be easily taken if not careful.

I have been lucky so far with most my belongings but I have heard of many stories in regards things being stolen. Most places have lockers and safety box’s plus  everyones in the same boat. In parts of Cambodia it’s known for passing bikes to snatch and all over Thailand the tuk tuk’s will remind you to hold onto your stuff.

Always keep an eye on your stuff, try and keep things locked up where possible and don’t go out at night with your passport. No one needs ID out here. If things do get stolen report everything to the police, block your cards and let your insurance know whats happened.

Motorbikes.

Motorbikes/scooters/mopeds are by far the most used and convenient mode of transport all over South East Asia.

They are easy to rent, pretty cheap to buy and make life a lot easier. Most locals have been riding since young teenagers and most rodes are designed for bikes to get through.

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I’m a huge lover for motorbikes and try and rent one where possible but even then however try have an idea of the roads and always wear a helmet. Check out the bike first and for those driving for the first time, at least get some idea of how to drive the bike.

Booze & Drugs.

I’ve found most backpacking accidents have been when drinking. We all like to have fun and I’ve had my fair share of drunken nights out all over the world but just remember you’re not in the comfort of your own country.

The laws of drug use is slightly different all over never the less they are not tolerated. Okay, it’s easy to get all over South East  Asia at cheaper prices then back at home. Truthfully, there are hundreds of backpackers all over doing it. Just be careful who you buy it off and who is about. It’s worth being that extra cautious. Locals are known to work with the police when selling and you don’t always know who to trust.

Travel Insurance

This may get a little intense but it’s got to be said. We all need it. Our health and safety is the most valuable thing we have and it’s easily taken for granted.

Many of us never even need to go over the insurance details or ever need to take action.

If the worst case scenario was to ever happen, who is left with the problems?  Who is left with the finanical side of things, the emotional side. The planning as to what to do now and to how they will cope. Not you.

Life can be a really cruel place, but if you seek to travel and explore the rest of the world. Just remember who is left with the broken pieces if things went wrong. For the sake of £50. Purchase and priority proper travel insurance. For everyones sake.

Police.

They all have different roles in each country and can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. The truth is, they’re doing there job. Luckily, in some way, money is easily used instead of proper punishment. The cops can be payed off, or a hefty fine will do. For those budget backpackers, this isn’t convinent never the less it sure is a better option then going to prison.

Anywhere you visit in the world comes with risks and dangers. South East Asia is no different.

inspirational-travel-quoteso What if?

I’ve met people caught with drugs, bashed up from a road accident.  I’ve met backpackers beaten up from locals, others having stuff stolen. So what if?

Like mentioned, many officers and buisness’ can be payed off with a certain amount of cash. They can ask up to 20/30,000 baht (Around £400) for catching you with weed. If any road accidents happen, especially with a local, then can ask for around £2,000. Trust me, I have had friends pay this. I hear lots of stories from experiances and it’s not all a fun one.

My safety travel tips

  • Have a backup if you loose your bank card. Don’t leave no spare acess to money.
  • It’s worth being extra bit cautious.
  • Always have some kind of map or app on your phone so you know where you are. I am always using maps.me. Click here to get the app. However don’t always rely on technology. Carry a map with you if possible. Hostels and buisness’ are always providing free city maps.
  • Have money at home or family prepared to help you a flight somewhere or for any emergency.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Always have some currency on you, including going through borders.
  • If you buy drugs, try and use your common sense on who’s dodgy or not. Make sure to check out the laws as all over South East Asia they have different policies from fines – death sentance.
  • Take any notes for any long term prescription drugs, make sure you get the right jabs and tablets and it may be worth knowing your blood type.
  • Try to avoid carrying around too much cash with you.
  • Have someone know what journeys your making when moving cities or countries. I always let people know when i’m flying or catching a long bus.
  • Take a photo of your accomdation or take their card when going out at night. After a few drinks it’s easy to forget the way back or even where your staying.
  • Have a spare copy of your passport. I always leave one back at home and try and keep a spare copy with my stuff.

Click here for all Emergency numbers all over the world!

 

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Behind my top 16 favourite Instagram snaps – Thailand

I recently spent two months backpacking solo through Thailand before carrying on around South East Asia.

Probably more of a personal post, the kind of thing I can look back on. I wanted to share a little behind what you see on my fave photos.

All taken anytime between 27th November 2015 – to 25th January 2016.

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A hammock on the tip of the mountain. Time to hang out after the climb up! #kotao #travel #gopro #freedomviewpoint

A hammock on the tip of the mountain. Time to hang out after the climb up! #kotao #travel #gopro #freedomviewpoint

Ko Tao. Freedom viewpoint. Over the last few days before this photo was taken, I had met an awesome group of lads and ended up spending loads of time together. It was my last final day and we decided to go on an adventure. A hot and humid day, we finally all got ready and headed for breakfast. Waffles, coffee, full english, smoothies, pancakes, tea and more, it felt like something out of friends. We all had our own mopeds and a full day to explore.

This photo was taken early evening after it had rained that morning. We climbed up a pretty dangerous rock climb to finally reach the top.  What an incredible view it was and was totally worth it, but I defiantley had to relax in the hammock before treking down. On the complete tip of the mountain with the most sensational view of Ko Tao. Taken with my GoPro.

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Cat Cafe. Bangkok. Thailand. Oh my god, I was only a few days in my trip and I heard about the cat cafes around Bangkok. I posted on the Thailand backpackers facebook page to see if anyone wanted to go.

I soon had a few responses and a guy from England came with my for the afternoon! There was all different shapes, sizes and breeds of Cat. We drank coffee, ate cake and sat playing with cats. The whole enviroment was pretty clean for Asia and a great place for the cats! The staff were all so lovely, the coffee was good and the experiance was defiantely something new! Click here to read more about my time at the Cat Cafe!

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Sunset, smoke, smoothie

Sunset, smoke, smoothie

Koh Phangan. South of Thailand. What an unforgettabe place. A drive and a little climb up this jungle reggae bar is so worth it. Everyone chilling out with the perfect view for the sunset on the ocean, selling smoothies, food, weed and playing the best tunes. This was taken watching the sunset with friends from Australia and America I had met in my hostel. Smoothie ordered, joint bought pre rolled and perfectly done before spending the whole evening chilling with this view. Eventually the stars all came out and covered the entire sky, it was such a magical experiance. Also taken on my GoPro!

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No presents under my tree but happiest I've been #feelingthankful ☀️✈️

No presents under my tree but happiest I’ve been #feelingthankful ☀️✈️

Phi Phi. South of Thailand.
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laughs* Oh dear. This photo was taken just before I got carried out by sea to open water and pretty much got stranded. I was in Phi Phi over Christmas. As a huge sunset fan and a secret mermaid I had to go watch the sunset from the middle of the ocean but one problem. No one seemed to want to join so being the silly adventurer I think I am, I decided to go alone. This wasnt my best idea. Paddling out on my own watching the world go by I realise I had drited out and it was getting dark. The current was stronger out in open water and didnt seem to be getting anywhere. I luckily managed to paddle to a tiny little beach next to a lagoon around the island where a couple thankfully had a water taxi coming to collect them shortly. I managed to catch a lift back ruining one of the couplies most romantic moments. Ooops. I managed to take this on my GoPro holding a floater.

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

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

Phi Phi. Thailand.
This is definatley one of my favourites! I had no idea my friend Dave was taking this. There is nothing fake about this photo and yes this is me! I went on a boat trip that day with a few other backpackers. It involved one speed boat, two paddle boards, beers, weed, food, snorkeling, swimming, visiting lagoons and of course watching the sunset. The ocean was warm and still and the sky was magical. This moment was unforgetable. A few days after Christmas finishing living my life on the beaches on Thailand.

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Wish I was a mermaid. Floating in the sea watching the sun go down #perfect #Thailand #sunset

Wish I was a mermaid. Floating in the sea watching the sun go down #perfect #Thailand #sunset

Phi Phi. Thailand. Another shot from watching the sunset from the paddle board. I remember feeling so alive and real. It like a moment I could have only dreamt of. It was so calm and warm, the sky was so colourful reflecting on the water. Just an average evening in Thailand.

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Canyon at sunset #pai #thailand #gopro #travel

Canyon at sunset #pai #thailand #gopro #travel

Pai. North of Thailand. Pai was and still is my favourite place in Thailand. There is so much to do and see with the best vibes. Maybe missing the beach but situated up in the mountains, a small village with the most unbeliavable surroundings! We ventured on our motobikes to find Pai Canyon for sunset. The place was huge and the whole evening was golden. It was such a breaktaking view over the moutains. This was also taken on my GoPro Hero.

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Koh Phangan. What a day this was. I volunteered at the Phangan Animal Sanctuary with no idea what to expect. Not only was I blown away by the incredible staff working endlessy to help the stray animals on the island and the talented vets from around the world who also came to volunteer but the progress of the animals. This gorgeous little doggy was totally blind but nothing seemed to bother him. He wanted to be loved and cared and got on with his day slowly walking around waiting to be fed and washed. He is currently undergoing treatment for his fur to grow back and making massive improvements. Such a beautiful organization helping the stray animals on Koh Phangan!

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

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

Pai. Thailand. Ah this is an interesting one. We drove to go and explore a waterfall we could swim in with two Hawaiin brothers I had met in Chiang Mai. The water was cold but fresh and not many people wanted to really swim. We walked further up and back and found a group of local guys smoking a joint with a few beers. We simply joined them. How funky do they look? They spoke little English but we still managed to have a laugh.

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Everything I could have asked for #chiangmai

Everything I could have asked for #chiangmai

Chiang Mai. North Thailand What an amazing day. One I will never forget. Up high in the jungle of North Thailand lay a local home with a family of elephants. They held two treks a day, one in the morning and one at night. There were no chains, bats, chains, abuse or toture in any many. The love and respect the staff gave not only us but the elephants. The care they gave the animals was amazing. We got to meet our elephant, including a baby of one of the mommas who came with. I went with a family of 3 hawaiin guys from my hostel. We had met the previous few days.

We got to meet, bathe, play and learn to walk ontop of the giant animal. The local male owners walked along with us to make sure everything was okay and help quide the elephants. There was no harm in any of this, inlcuding feeding them hundreds of bananas!

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Today I got blessed by a monk. ie, he splashed me in the face with water and gave me a friendship bracelet. Interesting!

Today I got blessed by a monk. ie, he splashed me in the face with water and gave me a friendship bracelet. Interesting!

Koh Samui. South Thailand. It was coming to end of the two months I had spent in Thailand and I was gutted. I had hired a moped for my time on Koh Samui which is highly recomended! I met a guy who fancied doing some exploring. We went to visit the big buddha temple where I go blessed by a monk. He gave me a bracelet and splashed me with water. I think he thought me and my friends where together as he tried blessing us together like some engagment buisness. Who knows, maybe I got engaged.

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I'm now a qualified open water diver I can now dive anywhere in the world up to 18 metres. Excited to now explore the fascinating world down under #diver #ocean #scubadive

I’m now a qualified open water diver I can now dive anywhere in the world up to 18 metres. Excited to now explore the fascinating world down under #diver #ocean #scubadive

Koh Tao. South Thailand. Ah I did it! I learnt to dive and it was totally awesome! Something difficult to explain to others who have never been down in the ocean like that but such a phenomal experiance. This was the day before I passed, currently in between two very early morning dives with my buddy and insructor. It was only about 10am here and I had been out into the middle of the ocean with a 51 minute dive going down to 18m. I was totally in love with the whole experiance despite the 5am starts! My buddy took this photo on my phone as we were not allowed to take photos while diving.

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6am dives. #ocean #kotao #morning #diving #gopro

6am dives. #ocean #kotao #morning #diving #gopro

Another shot from diving. It has just gone 6.30am and we were the first ones out in sea that morning. It was little chilly as the sun was coming up but the ocean was almost completletly flat. It smelt so fresh and looked so calm, crazy knowing what else is going on below the ocean!

I felt so calm and ready for a full day of diving!

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Beach. Sun. Sea. Sand. Jungle. Nature. What a beautiful sunset on such a fabulous & crazy island! #kohphangan

Beach. Sun. Sea. Sand. Jungle. Nature. What a beautiful sunset on such a fabulous & crazy island! #kohphangan

Koh  Phangan. South Thailand. *sighs* What a day. I had volunteered at the Phangan Animal Sanctuary. It was such a beautiful and crazy day leaving me feeling massively emotional. I was driving back to my hostel during the sunset and felt a little weak from my emotions and the fact I had not eaten all day. I was tired and hungry and had to stop and watch the sunset. I had no idea where I really was but it was stunning. A little local buisness by the side of the road with this beautiful sunset. I remember facetiming my Dad to chat. He always makes me feel a millions times better and is a huge part of my life whever I may be in the world. This was taken on a GoPro Hero 3+.

 

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

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

Finally managing to find this place after driving way out of Pai for hours. We got completly confused by the map and where the hot springs we were looking for actually were. Exploring with a german guy who was in my hostel room, we finally found the place as we had given up and drove back. As we drove back past here my gut told me to check it out. It had been the place we wanted all along, only 10 minutes from the centre of Pai! I managed to haggle the price for half the normal and enjoyed the last hour and half they were open. Some where so hot and it was magical. It was around 5pm I made friends with some local thai children from the village. They didnt speak a word of enlglish but they still knew how to climb on me and pose for a selfie or two!

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#gopro #slipnfly #goproworld #thailand #goprogirl #slide #flying

#gopro #slipnfly #goproworld #thailand #goprogirl #slide #flying

Koh Phangan. South Thailand. I had to post this on here, purely for my own satisfaction. It was the last day of 2015 and I was in Koh Phangan, famous for the Full Moon parties.

I had heard of a place out in the jungle with two huge slides! Recently meeting three guys from Birmingham we all drove here around lunch time for a full day of slipping and slidding.

I got straight into it literally launching myself in the air. I managed to get an awesome video of me throwing myself around and this was actually a screen crab from the video! It was taken on  GoPro which was really tough as I was sliding down exstremly fast. It was a little rainy and cold that day but we had such a blast before getting ready for the Full Moon party on  Haad Rin beach!

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You really want to know how much?

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

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

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

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To travel and experience. We pay…

 but that’s not the point as much.

It’s turns more towards the value.

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

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

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

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

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What I want you to know about Travel Photography

The more I travel, the more I build a passion for photography and the more I look at things differently.

“A camera is a save-button for the mind’s eye.%

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Backpacking isn’t always magic and adventures.

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

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

What’s not to love?

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

Backpacking – budgeting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still smiling…image

We get tired.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I did find this guy on Koh Samui however …

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

We are around cities who barely speak English.

Tokyo / Japan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s mine too, look b6 & b7.

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

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

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

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

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