I hate goodbyes. I'm writing this just after saying goodbye to two people who have been a huge part of my travels, one in particular has become like a sister to me despite just spending a few weeks together. When travelling, especially solo, you quickly form these intensely close friendships after experiencing so many amazing things together, and before you know it, you've not actually been alone for weeks. So when the time comes to actually part ways, I won't lie, it feels really shit. Like a piece of your heart has gone with them and suddenly you have to get used to being alone on the road again. Now being alone is actually quite rare when you're travelling, it's so easy to meet people that it almost becomes difficult to get five minutes by yourself, and if, like me, you've spent several weeks travelling with groups - it is a bit of a shock to the system to head out on your own again.
Don't get me wrong, travelling solo is still the best way in my mind. I feel you get so much more out of the whole experience by challenging yourself, and it is definitely the best way to meet people because you are forced to if you ever want any kind of human contact! But that doesn't mean it gets any easier when the time comes, and it always does, to say goodbye to the friends you make. I think the hard part is knowing that it will be a long time until you are reunited, if you ever are at all. I've met people from all over the world and unfortunately I just know that for many of us, our paths will never cross again. In some ways that is good, it means we can keep the memory of our perfect meeting pristine in the time and place it happened, rather than trying to reignite the feelings and excitement we felt first time around. Who knows if some of these friendships would survive outside the initial rush of Thailand?For some, it is just the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship, and distance will never stand in the way. I know people who have later gone travelling again and used it as an opportunity to visit their travel friends at their homes across Europe, America, Australia or even Asia. What better excuse to catch up and visit than starting a whole new adventure travelling across the globe? It's quite amazing really, considering how short a time you spend with some people how big an impression they can make upon you - that they can leave such a hole when you part ways. If you're like me, the kind of person who throws themselves into everything with all their heart and soul, then you'll feel it even more when you have to say goodbye. The rule has always been the harder you go, the bigger the comedown afterwards. But if I wasn't the kind of person to throw myself off the highest diving board, I wouldn't make the friends I make and I would have had half the experiences I have had.
So yes the goodbyes are horrible. No they don't get any better. Yes there will be tears at some point. But that's okay, it's okay to feel a bit sad and rubbish sometimes, if you didn't you obviously didn't care that much in the first place. It doesn't mean you are ungrateful for travelling or anything like that, it just means you have a heart and everyone has down days. When you're travelling for as long as I am, it would be ridiculous to feel 100% ecstatic every single day, and no one would believe you anyway. So embrace the sadness for a little while, then get up and get on with it, get yourself out there and meet a whole load of awesome new people and do some awesome new things. They won't ever replace the people who are home, but they can sure as hell give it a good go!
How do you cope with goodbyes? Any top tips for solo travellers who are forced to part ways with new friends?
I've always been a very confident person, anyone who knows me will tell you that, but travelling has brought out a confidence I never knew I had within me. People talk about travelling changing them, particularly solo travelling, they say it makes you more relaxed, more flexible, more open to experiences. I don't agree that it changes you, I think it actually just brings out the true version of yourself - the one that was hiding behind layers of stress and hard work before. While backpacking you are finally free of the rat race, of the pressures of work and society, you can finally be the person you always wanted to be, but never thought you could. It sounds silly and I'm sure those who haven't done it feel like I'm getting all emosh about travelling, but the ones who have experienced it are nodding vigorously at the screen.
I've met so many people who have spoken of the exact same feeling - that feeling of a sudden strength and confidence, that undeniable capability. So where does it come from? Well the fact that so many are heading out on these enormous trips by themselves, carrying their life in a bag and visiting all kinds of places alone, relying completely and totally on themselves is no small thing. It is a huge life-altering experience, particularly if, like me, you've never done anything like this before. I've already learnt so much by relying totally on myself to get from A to B, and then on to C, I've had to find my way home from the middle of nowhere by trying to communicate with those who don't speak English, I've had to look after myself when I'm sick. But I've done it all and done it well.
That is where the confidence comes from, that silent assuredness that I can cope with anything that is thrown at me, that no matter when happens or where I end up, I will manage to find a welcoming hostel, a bar and a good meal. That I can cope with the paperwork - arranging visas and flights on the road, making sure I have permits for national parks and all the rest. It's that knowledge that despite the language barrier, you can communicate your needs and wants to others successfully, that you can get where you need to be and you will be okay. It's that confidence that when you're walking the streets you are not constantly going to be a target of thieves, rapists and all the rest, that people actually just want to meet you and talk to you, unlike what everyone else said before you left!What raises you higher every single day is meeting new people, being that person who puts themselves out there repeatedly, just waiting to see if a new friendship will form or if you will be knocked back. It's so easy when you're in a cosy bubble of friends and family back home who have all known your forever to not realise your value or your worth. But constantly meeting new people, telling them your stories and about your life and seeing their eyes light up, you realise that actually strangers think you're pretty awesome and they want to be friends with you. That actually there are people outside your bubble, from across the globe, who can have so much in common with you. Like when you meet someone and within a day you know you'll be friends for life, like you've been waiting your whole life to meet the other part of yourself. That's the travel soulmate.
All of these things, and so many more, help boost you up as a person and make you realise how amazing you are, and that's why travellers come back with that glow. That glow of self confidence and self assurance, the one the non-travellers can't quite place but put it down to a tan and a happy holiday. It's more than that, it's knowing who you are and who you want to, and can, be. At home it is so easy to be caught up in everyday life, but removing yourself from that busy, stressful environment really helps fast track you to becoming that confident and fabulous human being that takes time to grow. So if you're heading out on a solo trip somewhere, remember to embrace this feeling and to feel proud when you get it, it means you've grown as a person and realised how awesome you really are!
Do you know the feeling I'm talking about? How has travelling changed you as a person? Or has it had no effect on you? Tell me about your experiences - whether a year-long solo trip or a weekend away with friends.
As I write this, I'm about a month into travelling solo and lo and behold, I've managed to pick up some illness. I was waiting for this time to come, I knew it would strike me down at some point, I had just expected it would be an upset tummy that kept me chained to the toilet rather than a cold! Can you believe it? I'm halfway round the world in tropical heat and in suffering from a cold that would strike me down in the middle of winter at home - all thanks to the air conditioning spreading those germs around while we sleep at night. So I've spent a day in bed feeling lousy, watching Netflix and generally feeling sorry for myself - I rarely let myself do this at home and just plough through when I'm ill, but here I know it's my body's way of saying it's tired and needs to rest.
So being ill sucks. It sucks no matter where you are, but we know it's always a lot better when you're at home with your mum or partner to look after you and give you snuggles, feed you chicken soup or ice cream, and to change the TV channel for you when you get bored of Charmed reruns. Being a solo traveller, you get none of that, it's all down to you, and this is when it really gets hard and you can often feel at your loneliest during your travels. This is when it shows what kind of person you really are, whether you're going to wallow and mope, or take care of it all and cope.
Top tips for coping when you're ill as a solo traveller:
Have you been ill while abroad - how did you cope? Any other suggestions for how solo travellers can cope when they're feeling poorly?
It was a hot and sweaty climb down the steep steps with my bag, followed by a breezy longtail boat ride from Railey before I reached Krabi town. I couldn't wait to dump my bags at the hostel and to finally see it after hearing so much about it from other travellers. I was staying at Pak Up Hostel, which Lonely Planet has dubbed as one of the best in Thailand and apparently much of Asia according to those staying there. In fact, as I strolled up the hill towards the hostel, an American guy shouted across the street and invited me to join a group going back to Railey but as I'd just arrived he recommended staying at this very hostel. When I arrived, I was pleased to be shown straight to the English Room, where I stayed in the Leicester Square bunk - making me feel right at home. It was just 250 a night, which was a welcome relief after paying 800 a night in Railey and finding everything so expensive there.
I don't normally focus too much on where I stay, just a passing recommendation for you guys, but this time the hostel was more than worth it. The cleanest, comfiest beds I have slept in, and Pak Up boasted the most welcoming and friendly staff who will help with anything you need, especially saving you money and time. I was touched to see how they became really fond of us and chatted every time we passed through reception, remembering our names and everything we had told them - little things like that make a really big difference. I was really impressed with how clean not only the dorms but the bathrooms, showers and toilets were as well, with hot showers! My first hot showers since Bangkok!
Minutes after arriving, I became instantly really good mates with everyone in my dorm and from several others along the hall. We made plans to eat dinner together and to have drinks in the evening which was great. I headed out exploring but realised there wasn't much to see in the immediate town, that you did need bikes or a bus, but it was interesting to walk around a town instead of a seaside resort after weeks on the islands. Quite refreshing actually. The town itself has a really nice relaxed atmosphere and is a perfect place to stay if you want to explore the area with cheap travel to Railey, Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi and a few other places. There are loads of coffee shops and restaurants to sit in and watch the world go by while you catch up with emails or a good book.
After an afternoon exploring, I met up with everyone from the dorms and we went down to the night market which was just at the end of the street and was full of amazing, fresh food being prepared right in front of you. I loved the spring rolls, the coconut balls, the pad Thai, the basil fried rice and the satay chicken. The whole area came alive in the evening as everyone headed down to the dock to feed up and browse the stalls. I particularly enjoyed watching an old Thai man, he must have been around 70 years old and yet he could cook quicker than anyone on the other stalls - he was brilliant to watch. We had a lovely first evening filling up on food, then headed back to the hostel to sit out on the porch chatting and drinking a disgusting rice wine called Siamsato that two of my new friends recommended.
The next day, one of my new friends and I hired a motorcycle and headed out on an adventure to explore a nearby national park. We had wanted to check out the tiger temple, but it was too hot to climb 1300 steps so we went waterfall hunting instead. I trusted him to ride the bike as I knew he had several at home and was good with them, but it was still a nerve-wracking drive to the park. I'm not a very good passenger as I am so used to always being the driver. But we made it in one piece and the park was beautiful, we trekked up a steep climb to the top of the waterfall where we jumped in and stood under the torrent of water. It was a perfect way to cool off and later we wandered around the park, breathing in a bit of nature and spotting amazing trees.
That night, the Pak Up family got together and I was joined by a whole group of new dorm mates - one who brought along a ukulele and sang Jack Johnson songs and classic nineties hits all night for us, plus another awesome doing he had written himself and was due to release soon. We sat out on the porch for a fun night of drinks and singing along, and were joined by a random Thai guy from the street who wanted us all to try his opium cigarettes and was convinced he was Captain Jack Sparrow! We all had so much fun I was convinced to stab another night despite my original plans to move on to Phuket Town the next day. The next day, two of us went on a day trip to Ao Nang on the bike and had a lazy one on the beach and driving around. I was glad I didn't end up staying in Ao Nang like I had planned beforehand, it was way too touristy for my tastes and the high numbers of older German gentlemen flaunting themselves in tiny speedos was not something I want to wake up to each morning.
Our final night together was a celebration - we were all heading off either the next day, or shortly after to our next destinations, so it was good to have a final send off for the travelling family. I was surprised, considering how little time I was in Krabi, how attached I became to the place, and to the people. For a place that has only a small amount of attractions and sights to offer the traveller, it is well worth stopping off for a while. If only to meet some of the most amazing and interesting travellers I have met yet. Plus a chance to stay in this fantastic hostel can never be passed up for that price! I was sad to say goodbye to my friends, but excited to start my journey to Phuket Town for a completely different experience.
Have you stayed at Pak Up Hostel - what did you think? Did you love Krabi like I did?
After Koh Phi Phi, I was exhausted and desperate for a break and a chance to relax on a beach soaking up some sun. I'm not as young as I used to be and four big nights in a row, dragging my sorry self back to the hostel at 5am and then getting back up at 8am for a full day of fun was hard on my body. I loved it and didn't want to miss a second of hanging out with amazing people, but I had already done longer on this party central island than most and was keen to get away. So when Tibby had to head off to his next destination, I took my chance to head to another new place - hoping for a more chilled out vibe. I certainly got it, Railey is about as chilled out as it gets and although it didn't quite charm me like Koh Lanta, I loved it for many different reasons. I actually met a girl on the ferry over there and we ended up spending the next few days together, relaxing and chatting. When we arrived, clamouring out of a long tail boat at the shore and splashing through the waves with our bags, we headed to Railey Headlands where we were hoping to stay in bungalows at Railey Cabana but after a long walk they were fully booked, so we treated ourselves and stayed in the hotel next door for the night.
The first night, we were tired but wanted to explore so we heard west for dinner where the nice beach was, but realised this was the family area so after food we walked to the east side - yes it is that small - where we found lots of monkeys chasing us along the way. But when we arrived, we knew this is where we wanted to stay, bars lined the shore, restaurants overlooking the sea, chilled out backpackers and reggae music galore. The next morning we moved there to a place high up above the shore where bungalows surrounded this restaurant, Rapala Rockwood was a great place to stay, although the steps killed my legs every day, and was full of fabulous backpackers who all wanted to make friends. Me and the girl I had met shared a bungalow the first night before she flew to Malaysia, then I stayed on alone in it for about five days. I met some fabulous Swedish girls, a small group from Austria and a few others who had been travelling across Peru and Nepal. So many interesting people and the locals were fantastic as well - the girls and I spent one evening teaching a Thai guy who worked where we were staying English - he actually did really well!
I also had a magical evening where I stumbled across the Israeli guys who had been travelling Nepal and Peru and had brought a whole suitcase of instruments including a guitar, ukulele, flute, and a few others, plus a didgeridoo! We spent a night just playing the instruments, singing and having a laugh - one of those totally unexpected moments in life that you will remember forever. Especially my terrible attempts on the didgeridoo! I also spent most nights hanging out at the reggae bars below my accommodation, before heading to The Last Bar which has the most amazing fire show I have seen yet, set to dubstep, I have never seen them move so fast or so dangerously, and with so many mistakes, you know they are the most daring yet! Plus the Muay Thai boxing on some nights was brilliant - finally one that doesn't look stylised and choreographed! I would definitely recommend if you happen to be staying there as most of the other bars close down early - a blessing if you're in need of some early nights, undisturbed sleep and peace & quiet!
There's not a huge amount to report from Railey, as much of my time was spent laying on the beach, watching fire shows, swimming, sleeping and battling rubbish wifi. But it was a great in-between place to relax and rest after a hectic few days. Lots of people I met in Krabi after were just making day trips to Railey, which is also a great option as there isn't much to do there apart from rock climbing and relaxing. You could easily experience it in a day, although I'm glad I stayed a few days. It was really nice to stay in such a rugged and wild landscape, totally different to how flat Koh Lanta was and so quiet compared to Koh Phi Phi. I loved seeing monkeys running around, huge cliffs towering over the beach and lush jungle between the east and west side. Such a contrast to other places I have visited and so striking as you'll see from my photos.
Have you been to Railey? What did you think? Where's your favourite place to go when you need to chill out?
Alcohol is acceptable at any time of the day - particularly because of the different time zones, totally okay to have a whiskey for breakfast.
Always snag a window or aisle seat - nobody wants to be stuck in the middle of a row unable to get out and stretch their legs or get to the loo. These also usually have the most leg room - even with short legs like mine leg room can make or break a flight! Also, try and ensure you are sat a good distance from the toilets, close enough if you need it but far enough that the flush doesn't disturb you.
Diets and healthy eating go completely out the window when you're flying for 14 hours - two airplane meals loaded with salt, additives and all the rest, booze, and somehow fitting in 12 meals in one day.. Whoops! Praying every opportunity because you're never sure where your next meal is coming from is allowed - plus with all the sleep deprivation you need all the sugar you can get!
Stay hydrated! Nothing worse than eating all this salty food and then being left gasping for a drink - and all that air conditioning just dehydrates you further. It's amazing the way being dehydrated can seriously affect every aspect of your life - your mood, ability to make decisions and attitude are all influenced by this and yet it is so easy to control. Just try and make sure you have a bottle of water on you all the time and drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage as these also dehydrate you.
It's okay to get a bit emosh watching a soppy movie - yes people will think you're weird, but who cares? When it comes to films like Marley & Me, and The Fault in our Stars, I reckon the people who don't cry are the weird ones!
Always think ahead and have a place to stay at the other end and your transfers sorted out, after a long haul flight you are exhausted and more likely to end up in the wrong place or in a vulnerable position - don't let yourself be a target for those who are looking to take advantage of this. Also - if you are staying in an apartment or self-catering, make sure you will have access to the place, that there will be someone to let you in and that it is secure. In some places there are whole gangs just waiting for people to be directed to the wrong apartment so they can break in and rob you while you sleep - don't believe me? It happened to me on the first night of a holiday - pretty bloody scary and I was lucky they just took my valuables and didn't attack me. I consider myself a pretty savvy traveller, and yet I was still a victim of this - don't let yourself be one too.
Always stick to the time zone you are in when it comes to meals and sleeping - when you arrive at your hotel, if it is dinner time, try and eat dinner. Fight off sleep until it is time for bed there, it will help you adjust quicker and will fend off jet lag - give in and you will find yourself wide awake at 2am and wanting your lunch.
Keep your toothbrush in your hand luggage, after two six hour flights and and a three hour drive, you'll be feeling a bit grubby and it's amazing the difference brushing your teeth can make - it will make you feel so much better.
Take plenty of things to keep you entertained - iPad, phone, music, book, magazine - if you end up being delayed these will keep you sane. As will a packet of sweets and a drink. You might also find it helpful to keep your phone charger on you - there are loads of charging points in bars/restaurants these days and you never know when your battery will die on you!
How about you guys - any rules you fancy adding to the list? Leave me a comment with your suggestions!
After around 24 hours of flying, driving and waiting to travel, I was so pleased to finally arrive in Bangkok - desperate to get to my hotel for food and a shower. It was early evening when I arrived and I was keen to get out and check out the city for myself after hearing and reading so much about it. I spent a brief three nights in the city and as I write this I am waiting for my flight down to Trang where I will be ferrying and bussing my way to Koh Lanta to meet some friends. That's not a long time spent in Bangkok - don't worry I shall return at a later date for more fun - but it was long enough for the place to leave a lasting impression on me. I can tell it is definitely one of those places you will either love or hate - and I certainly hadn't expected to love it as much as I did. But what were my first impressions of Bangkok?
The hotel I was staying in was fabulous - I started out with a couple of nights in a hotel as a treat and it sure was! I was surprised to find op how far my money went here - it was a cheap hotel by English standards - more budget than a Travelodge but far more luxurious with huge rooms, really nice bathrooms, a view over the canal, restaurant, pool, gym and spa! Definitely a good way to start the trip - would really recommend the Nouvo City Hotel (just a short walk from Khao San road and the staff were amazing - even helping me organise my transport down to Koh Lanta!)
There is no standard type of traveller. Khao San road is a spiritual home for all types of backpacker, holiday-maker and traveller, and they mingle amongst each other freely. I love that there is no standard here, everyone is so unique and so nobody stands out, we all have a place. You could be walking down the street next to a dreadlocked backpacker, a family with two young children, someone else who came here on holiday and ended up staying for five years and a ladyboy. But all are welcome and all are eager to talk to you, make friends and experience this crazy world together. Being a solo traveller has been brilliant so far - I've made loads of friends and have barely been alone for a minute!
Back to The Hangover again - when they say "Bangkok has him now" I know exactly when they mean now - this city will suck you in to its core and it will spit you out again. I've seem some astonishing sights and after talking to a load of people, it seems that it is easy to have a little too much Bangkok - perhaps why some people can't handle the city. In small doses this place is great, but watch out for the buckets and watch out for the weirdness.
For those of you heading to Bangkok anytime soon - enjoy! And I hope you enjoyed this post - my first of many on the road - they will be slightly less frequent now, partly because I'm having so much fun and partly because it takes so much longer to format them on my iPad but I promise they will keep on coming! In the meantime, if you have any recommendations for Bangkok for when I return there, leave a comment - or any recommendations for Koh Phi Phi (my next destination) they would be very welcome!
There are just three days left to vote for Absolutely Lucy in the UK Blog Awards and I'm counting the on support of you guys - yeah that's right, all of you who read my blog every day. I've seen my stats and I know there's quite a few of you - so if you love reading my blog, why not cast a quick vote for me in the awards so that I might stand a chance against the bloggers with hundreds of thousands of followers? All the power lies in your fingertips, so why not take this great opportunity to voice your opinion and vote for a blog you enjoy reading.
I've really appreciated all the lovely and supportive comments you guys have been leaving on my posts recently - the fact that you are joining in discussion makes what I do feel really worthwhile. It spurs me on to write more and makes me think it will be really great to keep my blog going while I am travelling next year, both for me and for you guys. So if you want to see me continue with blogging, why not give me a quick vote - it only takes a few clicks and barely a couple of minutes. This will count as your good deed for the day and I'm sure Father Christmas will bring you something very special as a thank-you for doing this.
I've been nominated in two categories - lifestyle and travel. I'd really appreciate a vote in each category as it all counts towards getting through to the next round, which I would really love. Follow the links below and they will take you directly to the voting pages.
Click here to vote for me in the travel category
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Thank you so much for voting!
Deciding to go backpacking is one of the most exciting decisions you will make in your life. You're giving up everything you know to venture across the world and live a life of freedom and exploration for months on end. All those daydreams are finally becoming a reality. For me, finally booking my flights and quitting my job after months of saving and waiting was pretty special. It meant it really was finally happening - that it wasn't just a pipe dream or something I talked about with my friends. I walked around for a week or two with a real rosy glow, and nothing could touch my good mood. And then reality hit. I couldn't go travelling and spend my days visiting temples and lounging by the pool unless I first organised a huge list of REALLY BORING stuff. Dammit. So close. Nobody tells you when you daydream about a gap yah quite how complex it all is to organise, especially if you're doing it alone!
Doing it all by myself has been hugely exciting so far and I'm really glad that I am because it means I have to take responsibility for everything. But that doesn't make it any less complicated and long-winded. Thankfully doing a lot of reading of books, blogs and travel websites, and talking to some experts has really helped me to make sure I do all the boring things I just wouldn't have thought of on my own. There are so many things you don't even realise you have to do until you start researching, and it is easy to not even realise how much work, effort and time goes into planning your trip. Of course it all pays off in the end, but it can be a lot of work in the meantime, and it all stands between your and the trip of a lifetime. So what exactly do you need to remember? Well I've created the boring backpacker to-do list - no bikinis and fancy flip-flops here - just the things you are might forget in your excitement:
I can't stress this enough. The more you read and speak to backpackers or travel specialists - the more you will be prepared. They will be able to tell you where to find the best deals, give you recommendations etc. Preparation is key and will make your life a lot easier and a LOT more relaxing on your trip.
If you book your flights through a company like Trailfinders (like I did) you will find they have a visa department. Speak to them and find out all you need to know about the different types of visas available - in case you want to work or stay for an extended period - when you need to apply for them and what you need in order to apply for them. All information is available online if not - get these sorted early.
Make sure you have a card you can use abroad that won't charge you the earth to use. Also, set up a back-up account with another card and make sure you split your funds between them in case your card ends up being nicked or frozen. Make sure the bank are aware you are leaving the country for some time and that they have a log, so your card will not be frozen. Get a credit card, if you can be trusted, and use it for emergencies.
This is a biggie. Your life will be on your back and I'm sure you'll be carrying some precious cargo in things like cameras, phones, laptops/iPads - so it is important to make sure they are all covered in any situation. You never know when you're going to be pick-pocketed and it's always best to be prepared. Also make sure you are covered health-wise, especially if you are planning on any extreme or winter sports which are often separate.
Make sure all those photos, documents, blog posts and books are all backed up online. It is so easy these day to back then up not only online but between devices as well just to be safe. For example, I have two cameras, an iPad and my phone - all are connected through WiFi and will automatically copy across everything without me needing to worry. That will save me from any terrible losses.
Make sure you contact your doctors surgery as soon as possible to speak to the travel or vaccinations nurse - they will be able to make an appointment and plan what jabs you need according to your travel plans. The earlier you do this the better as for some jabs you have to have a course of injections - like I did for rabies and hepatitis. They will also be able to advise on and prescribe malaria pills - very important if travelling to parts of Asia.
When packing, make sure you take basic security items - a doorstop under the inside of the door can help you feel safe while you sleep, as can padlocks on your locker and bag. Give family your intended route, keep them updated of changes as you travel, and set up contact (Skype or Facetime, or even email). & a rough schedule - say you'll check in once a week unless otherwise stated - that will put their minds at rest and keep you safe if anything happens.
So now I've thought of all the boring bits for you, you're free to plan in those jungle treks, yoga retreats, elephant rides and all the rest of the exciting fun stuff you really want to be thinking about...
Can you think of anything I've forgotten? Why not comment below and add to the to-do list?
PS. I'd love if you would vote for me in the UK Blog Awards by clicking here and here.
It finally happened. The moment I've been counting down to, that has never seemed quite real, and that I've been waiting for all year. The moment when my travelling dreams finally became a reality. This time last week...
I QUIT MY JOB.
Holy shit. I can't actually believe I finally did it. It still hasn't sunk in despite everyone at work wanting to know all about my plans - where I'm going, how long for and who with. I keep repeating the same combination of words: solo, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, hostels, seven months, saving money, so excited... but no matter how many times I say them, I really cannot believe that they make up my plans for the next year. It just seems odd to me that this could finally be here, that my adventure is nearly within a fingertip's grasp, that I can almost taste the Thai spice and salty sea air on my lips. You see, I've spent the best part of my life day dreaming about where I would go, what I would do and the people I would meet if I ever made my travel dreams a reality. I've spent the last year dreaming of a future that I couldn't quite piece together, and I've spent the last 11 months saving, planning and booking the trip of a lifetime. And now, I have 10 weeks left until I board that plane all by myself and finally make that leap to full independence and take on a scary solo journey.I won't lie, I'm pretty terrified. But I'm also more excited than I have ever been about any decision in my life, and that is what tells me I'm doing the right thing. It's something I've dreamt of all my life and it is something I have more than earned the opportunity to do after working so hard for so many years. I have been working four jobs on and off this year, I have done everything asked of me and gone beyond the call of duty at all four jobs. I have put the time into setting the groundwork for a great career, put endless time into friendships and relationships. Now I deserve to take some time for myself. To enrich my own life, steal some real independence and strike out on my own. Don't get me wrong, I am a very independent gal and anyone who knows me well enough will tell you the same. But the truth of the matter is, I have always been lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing friends, family, colleagues and to have a fantastic boyfriend by my side. This means I have never really had the chance to do anything by myself - university was the one thing where I struck out on my own but I had a huge group of great mates from the first day so it never seemed a challenge. This is something that will test me in every way possible - it will terrify me, make me rely on myself to keep me out of trouble, to take chances, to meet people, to find my way, to make a plan and all the rest. It is a big challenge when you have always had someone to help out along the way. That is the exciting part. I'm also really looking forward to finally having time to really reassess my life. I'm at a point where I think it would really do me good to take a step back and take a look at things, before making my mind up about my next move. I want time to indulge myself and to discover new passions, interests and loves. I want time to really dedicate to blogging and writing what I love, and I really want time to discover more of the world and more of myself. It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day rush of working so much and never really taking time to smell the roses - well now I want to smell the roses, and the spices, and the flavours the world has to offer. Yes it means leaving behind friends, family, and a boyfriend that means the world to me, but in the grand scheme of things, it is a short-term sacrifice for a lifetime of happiness. That is the best way of explaining it to those who I know don't understand how I can leave behind these things. Adventure and risk are the best way to discover what you really what to be doing, by stepping outside of your comfort zone, you find out where your boundaries really lie.So how did I do it? Quit my job I mean. I know there are a lot of people who have been asking me how I went about it, so I though this post could explain the few steps I took to quitting my job. It was one of those things that seemed like a huge task, but when it came down to it, it was so simple and so easy. I had lots of friends and family joking about how I would do it - would I go in and slam down my resignation letter? Would I just storm out in a dramatic moment? Would I just not bother turning up any more? Haha of course not. So how did I do it?
Seven simple steps that took me from being a full time employee of the company to an unemployed traveller who is set to embark on a huge trip across the world early next year. It may seem really daunting to quit your job and a bit scary to have to basically reject the company after your time there, but you must remember you are completely entitled to leave at your will and move on whether to develop your own career or try something different. Don't feel guilty for quitting your job, but remember to be respectful and grateful for what you have gained by being a part of the company. You never know when you will need a good reference, or when that job will affect your future or give you the right contacts for your next move. Don't underestimate the power of a thank you and the importance of keeping things polite and civil to the bitter end - even if you have really hated your time in that job.It's an exciting time - that's for sure. I'm slap-bang in the middle of a couple of courses of jabs, I'm working every hour going to save more money and trying my hardest to see as many friends as possible. I still have so much to do and so little time to do it in. If any of you are planning your travels - don't let fears of quitting your job stand in your way. It is one of the most freeing things you can do.
How did you go about it when you quit your job to take up another or travel the world? Any tips you would like to add from your own experiences?