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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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My top tricks and tips for traveling Bangkok.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scam Scam Scam.

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

Maps & Apps.

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

Know where you want to go!

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

Taxi taxi taxi

Be prepared with your belongings.

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

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

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

Do what the locals do.

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

Local Thai food restaurant

Don’t stay on Khoa San 

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

To be staying on this road is too much.

Khao San Road early evening yesterday

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

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

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

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

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

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Twitter: @littletravlbird

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All you need to know on Interrailing Europe

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

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

The answer is yes.

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

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

Your pass is vital. DO NOT LOOSE IT!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a video of my journey.