Im now blogging at hikingbootsandheels.wordpress.com and im currently on a very different journey.Follow me, keep up to date with the travels and have a sneak peek at my new adventure. Thanks for reading guys.
I havent updated any of you on my plans for a while now – ive been busy working to save my money for the trip AND im in the middle of getting another blog up and running, so for my tardiness I apologise. With only four months to go ive realised the planning that is going into this adventure is half the fun, the destination as of yet is an outcome I havent achieved. A journey in the typical sense is getting from A to B but ever since my very first blog post ive been on a very different type of journey. I’ve learnt a lot about myself as a person all through the organisation of one rather large adventure. I’ve had to learn a lot of things, ive met all kinds of deadlines, researched my heart out and even after a long day at work when all I want to do is get into bed and stay there, ive had to be up and ticking of the next task on the ever increasing to do list. I’ve had to write plenty of those too – lists I mean. Shopping lists, List of important documents I need, Packing lists – colour coded in order of importance on who needs to take what. It’s safe to say if I wasnt organised before I definitely am now. I’ve never been more in control of my finances, I work to save splurging occasionally on a treat. Before all this started the only thing I really knew about money was how to spend it. I’ve always been a home bird, never to far from my family and friends but that’s changing to. I’m maximizing the fun that we all have now because in a few months that will be gone, but forever having Australia in my mind im constantly nagging them all to get Skype. I’m packing up my room, selling my stuff and finding things I didn’t really know I had. Its one big emotional rollercoaster, with me jumping on and off admist the planning confusion. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed finding out all these things about myself, even though I still am young and carefree, ive learnt I can be super organised , money conscious and juggle hundreds of tasks all at once. Now if that doesn’t boost a CV I don’t know what will. And to any employer who thinks “that’s not real work” I challenge them to do all of that and work full time on the side. It’s certainly been one massive journey all right. They said when I booked the tickets the journey time would be twenty three hours – they were wrong so far its been six months and I still havent reached my destination.
Six months away now. Six months to finalise all plans, sort through my life, pack up and throw the party of all leaving parties. I don’t do things by halves, im going away for a very long time and I want everyone to remember me – and how fun I am. They will be talking about the party so much for the coming two years, that when I get back, it will be like I never left. HA! No that’s not whats going to happen at all. I am going to throw a party but im on a budget, it will be modest but fun. Everyone will get emotional, we will have a few to many drinks and then its goodbye. Friends and family will remember me of course, but life goes on, as I start an adventure, they all carry on with how things were.I will get back one day and things will have changed. It wont be a case of slipping back into life like I never left – hopefully I wont even want to! It will be a case of starting new again. My friends will have grown up, moved out and probably started to settle down. They will all have a career, responsibilities and bills to pay. My family will welcome me back but there will have been so much that I have missed, I probably wont get the “private jokes” or any of the funny stories about last christmas. But does any of that really matter? No not at all, I could be anywhere in the world and things at home will change. Life changes over night, so does it really matter if I am in London or Sydney? No. When I return from my travels, I am going to have experienced a variety of new cultures, activities and life lessons. I’m going to have made memories which will last a lifetime. Those experiences will shape who I become and when I return I have no doubt that I will be a different person to who I am now. That person might not want to settle back into life as it was. I’m sure when I return everything will have changed and I will have to find another adventure to chase – wether it be building my first home and settling down or just another backpacking trip.
When planning an adventure as big as mine you have to be organised right? You need a specific schedule, a budget, a timescale. Even when you’ve planned those aspects you need to think of little things like paperwork and insurance. Then theres vaccines and medication – you even have to know what you’re going to do about contraception. You need to know your whole life for the next two years. Ok im not talking about needing to know the exact time you eat your meals and scheduled loo stops along the way – but you get my point, a lot of planning and organisation is needed. Not my strongest points I must say. I love to just go with the flow, plan the odd evening out, the occasional shopping trip but more likely than not my “schedule” is spur of the moment, and for the past 19 years I have loved living that way. So when it comes to the planning of this trip I do lack – my boyfriend who has a similar mindset, isn’t much help either. Between us we compiled a list of everything that needs to be done and felt proud in with ourselves for doing so. It would be easy for us to just smile at it and say “yes we can sort it out nearer the time” but reality is we can’t. Everyday a new point gets added, an important activity gets underlined but does it get done and ticked off? As of yet no. We have got ourselves a never ending to do list. Its fine i tell myself planning the route is pretty much a given – we will follow each city to the next and throw in some places the guidebook recommends for good measure. Paperwork can be done quick enough. It’s the budget I worry about.. As of yet ive never had to live on a strict budget – not to the point where I couldn’t borrow some from my parents or whack something on the card to tie me over til payday. This is going to need some planning. I need to work out how much for food, how much for rent – not how much will I have left if I buy that new top and those gorgeous shoes. Its occurred to me that now it’s not just the to do list that bothers me if I put my mind to it I really could just get on with it. Its more the idea of being a grown up, managing my finances and being super responsible that scares me. When I first started planning these travels I told you all it was because I wasnt ready to grow up just yet – I still wanted to have adventures. Now with seven months to go until departure ive realised something. I do get to have the adventures but I will have to be a grown up. A responsible organised grown up.
Home is where the heart is – or so the saying goes. Is that entirely true? I’m not too sure. When I consider what I am going to miss the most about leaving home its only people that springs to mind. My family and friends, that’s all I could come up with which frankly, is rather sad. That’s what happens I suppose when you come from a tiny town which is at least a decade behind the rest of the country, there’s no activity that I will miss greatly, or really any major event that I am going to miss out on. Spalding in general is dull. My friend said to me yesterday there’s got to be some things you will miss about the place, but honestly I struggled to come up with five. If I was counting the people it would be a different story but no im not allowed to do that, it has to be five things about home that I will miss in some way shape or form – much easier if I lived in a city im sure. But once again I have surprised myself and thought of five things I am truly going to miss in my time away from home.
Now top of the list is home cooked dinners. My mum isn’t a Michelin starred chef by any ones standards but there’s something comforting about her cooking – Sausage and Mash, so simple but my favourite. It’s normally my first request after a two week holiday and im sure after two years I will be pining for it. Then there’s my bed, nothing will ever be so comfortable. The pillows soft and fluffy, the duvet cosy and warm, the mattress has the perfect amount of springiness. In a way I suppose I will kind of miss work? Ha! ok maybe not, but the loss of a constant wage and the occasional splurge from that is definitely going to hit me hard. Then there’s the familiarity – going out and knowing you will bump into someone you know, knowing that I will definitely never be on my own. Where im going to be is a far cry from that.
Ok that wasnt five things but by now you have the gist don’t you. I’m not going to miss the rain, the lack of excitement or the “fun” that this sleepy little town brings.I’m not going to miss the stress of work, living somewhere where every knows your business and the constant nagging of family members to find a direction in life. I’m not going to miss Tuesdays market day, a saturday night on the town or any of those little shops. I’m very much looking forward to spreading my wings and getting to see the real world where I can wake up near a beach, try new things and make everyday an adventure. I don’t want to get bored with Australia so I have vowed to myself to do something with the “wow” factor everyday. I want to come home and be able to say those really were the best days of my life.
Yep if you’ve read any of my other pieces you will know by now that packing my whole life away into a backpack is going to be a very difficult challenge. Now I have got over the shock at leaving behind my whole wardrobe im confident that I know what the essentials are. That’s right, me, a teenage girl, knows what the essentials are. A couple of things to mention first though – I am going to Australia – not somewhere exactly “third world” so my packing list will vary from a lot of other travellers. Secondly you’re not going to see items such as sun tan lotion. I’m not saying you don’t need it because you do, im saying im saving my baggage allowance for other things – I will buy toiletries like that once im there.
A Good Backpack is an essential before you even start thinking about what needs to fill it. For those more experienced(and less clothes, make up and fashion mad) travellers I would defiantly say smaller the better. After all everyone has been telling me half then half again what you think you will need.Mine is rather large at 66ltrs, but as a first time backpacker, I want to be extra sure that I can fit in everything, not to mention I am travelling for two years. Remember this though ladies “only take what you can carry” – it soon changed my mind on all those shoes I said I needed!
A Camera to capture every single moment is not a necessity but its something I always have with me whenever im out and about – even in the UK. So to me it seems silly not to take it away when im going to see such beautiful and new things. In actual fact im taking two cameras with me. Yep some of you are going to scream at me that I am silly I know. I’m taking my DSLR with me and then my normal “messy-a-bouty” camera for those shots which don’t need such good quality, for those photos that are destined for Facebook!
Lets face it, it’s a daft one but Pyjamas have got to be right up there on the top of your list too. Hostels, camp sites or even couch surfing are going to be the main residence for most travellers and as much as you like to sleep in the nuddy at home, im sure it would give your hosts the fright of their lives if they unexpectedly caught a glimpse when you’ve thrown the duvet off in the middle of the night. That in mind – im keeping myself well covered.
Its hot. What do you need? A bikini. Everyone when they’re travelling to somewhere like Australia, Asia or wherever are bound to want to go on the beach at some point. Australia especially, its home to Great Barrier Reef and im not missing out on that. Top tip for you though girls, your travelling, your bound to do some physical activities, so make sure its well fitting and supportive, you don’t want any shock appearance like ive had. Embarrassment can ruin great days out…
My Ipod is my life. Without it I would be lost, so needless to say this is one thing I will defiantly be packing. Handy whilst your on the road, getting ready for some drinks or you just want to block everything else out around you. So useful 🙂
As an aspiring writer I take inspiration from whats around me, anything however small or big can set of some sort of idea for a blog entry or a quick article. So with that in mind a notepad is always of use, I will forget all the detail if not. Even if it’s just to jot down a place name or even a contact for a possible job opening, you’re going to need it at some point… that and a pen of course.
And finally the absolute must have… your passport. Without it your only going to travel as far as the check in desk and as pleasant as that experience might be, im sure it wont match up to that adventure you had planned.
My list of must have things cover what I feel is important to me. I’m not going to lecture on what clothes to take, what toiletries you need or that you need a plug adaptor. These are no brainers and if you don’t realise you need deodorant and shower gel etc in a hot country, well you really need to think about your hygiene standards. As for things like adaptors, yes you do need them, they are a must have but if you do forget them im sure you can pick them up real cheap anyway. A good packing list ive found is http://travelindependent.info/whattopack.htm its super detailed and after reading that baby I know im not going to forget a thing.
Now when I first started planning my travels the word ‘hostel’ terrified me. I thought of grubby dull rooms, dirty communal areas all tinged with the smell of unwashed bodies and a sense of ” I would rather be anywhere else but here” about the place. But then that’s what coming from Britain does to you. To us Brits the majority of hostels on our doorsteps are for the homeless – not young travellers. A dark cloud looms over the word, with the majority of us considering them to be a last resort rather than a place for a good nights sleep. To be honest im not any different to the majority – I too would prefer a luxurious hotel to something that’s more “budget”. My only experience of a hostel so far is a school trip aged 13. We were in France and five of us shared a room. The beds were more like a concrete wall and the shower was just a room with lots of tiles smashed or missing – which we also had to share with a couple of our teachers. So you can forgive me for being cynical so far. I myself love a little bit of pampering in upmarket hotels and for the past I don’t know how many years that has been what ive been used too. Even on our first holiday together my boyfriend and I went to a five-star resort in Jamaica – not your average teen get away. The truth is though once you get inside those perfectly clean 5 star walls you have no need to go out of them. Cocktails are served all day there’s a private beach and pool – what else do you really need apart from the odd day trip? But that not what backpacking is about – you go backpacking to see and experience everything. It will be my only chance to live like a student have a laugh with new friends and quite frankly be carefree. I know that im not going to have the money to be living like a princess for the two years, but that doesn’t mean that im going to live like a pauper either.Hostels ive looked into for my arrival in Australia look amazing! The walls are brightly coloured, the sheets are a crisp white and not one person in any of the photos looks miserable. It’s the hostels where im going to meet firm friends and fellow travellers to share my new adventure with so I might as well embrace it! Of course there will be a few hostels which I come across which will no doubt be below my original expectations, in other words absolute hell holes, but im sure that I will be able to count those places on one hand. I’m going to have great fun and who knows if I get used to a hostel maybe I might be able to tackle my low expectations on camping to!