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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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Why I blog.

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

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

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

 

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

Getting paid.

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

I write for myself.

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

 

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

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

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

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

Time consuming.

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

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

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A fishhhhhh

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

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

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

 

Feedback!

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

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

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

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

Socialise

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

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

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

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

Facebook   Instagram   Twitter

Facebook-Instagram-Twitter

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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9 things you should take interrailing.

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

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

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

The Railway

Ipod/Music device

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

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

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

A good camera 

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

Click here to check out my GoPro review!

A bucket list

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

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

Click here to see mine!your-bucket-list

 

Something cosy

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

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

Lipstick (For girls)

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

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

Travelling extrasUnknown

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

Portable chargers

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

Maps

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

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

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

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Am I scared?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

What’s the worst that could happen ey?

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Think of the freedom.

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

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

Way too much doggy love

What’s important to me;

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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-Little Travel Bird

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

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Affordability

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

money_2121224b Lets get one thing straight, priotiries.

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

I spend my money on flights and saving for backpacking.

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

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

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

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

I want to spend my money on living.

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

Travelling is not as expensive as you think.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When it’s time to go home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Backpacking, alone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being alone does not make you lonely.

 Sometimes, our mind, is our own worst enemy.




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

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

Got me thinking..

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

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

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

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

Energizing, 
Empowering, 
Exhilarating, 
Eventful. 






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

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

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

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

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

Arriving in Italy.
Waiting for train leaving
Florence

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



Your bag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Chris Stevens

Me walking, Patras, Greece.

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

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