A Very Special Day…

I am a tad worried that you are all getting fed up of me spouting on about how Antony & I went travelling for a year?! Well here I go again =D today we have been back two years! OMG I am in shock that it has been two years.
Horse painted like a Zebra.. why? Because the kids will never see a real Zebra.. Obviously.
On one hand it seems like just yesterday we were living out of our backpacks and off instant noodles. Things have slightly changed, no more instant noodles, and we are now literally about to buy our 1st house. With plans to go away again and live off the rent from our house in the future, frequently popping up in conversation.
Thai Tuk Tuks
With people telling me left right and centre about how they want to go travelling the only thing I ever say is GO (with a massive smile on my face) the skills and experiences you will learn and gain on your trip will be invaluable and the memories will stick with you for a life time.
Argentina to Chile boarder crossing
From my travel experiences I feel that I have become more grateful and aware of how lucky I am to be born British, for the free education to health care and of course freedom of speech. I realised this from seeing unbelievable poverty where poor families can barely eat let alone afford to buy the school uniform required to send their children to school, creating a cycle of poverty with no escape. I have become more determined to take every opportunity I have, to try my hardest and work hard to achieve my goals. To appreciate the ability to have and voice my own opinions and thoughts, a reason I started this blog, and to express them through styling work and to a certain extent how I dress myself.
Yurimaguas Port! Peru
Would I have realised this if I had not gone away? I don’t think so with out 1st hand experience its hard to relate to something that we have not experienced. I also gained confidence in our ability to get ourselves around continents where we didn’t speak the language to plan very route where few backpackers go and just do it, I almost even realised how brave we were… until I feel our of a hammock lol =D
Big Sur California USA
All I am really trying to say is that you will gain and develop skills that are not just important for every day life but also you career. The ability to communicate, flexible attitude and the ability to plan and budget. Whilst this all might sound quite serious you will see thing that you can’t even imagine meet all different sorts of people and think about all your adventure when your grey and old. By then you might even have great grand kids that haven’t heard all you stories and seen all the photos before! =D… JUST GO! 
 

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The Best Thing I Ever Did….. Leave

Salt Flats Bolivia


 3 years ago now my boyfriend & I decided to leave…. well go travelling, he had been made redundant but had found another job and I just decided to quit mine. We decided almost on a whim where we wanted to go and both, luckily, wanted to go to the same places. Antony was going out 2 months before me to work on the national parks in America; I was staying here to earn a bit more money, as we weren’t planning on working whilst we were away. So I bit the bullet and moved back in with my Mum & commuted two hours a day to work, to try and save as much money as possible. 

We made it! Machu Pichu

 Booking our round the world tickets was one of the most exciting things I/we had ever done,(until we went away of course), and we celebrated with a much earned beer. I was 24 & Antony was 28 when we went away, and we both agree that it was the best thing we have both ever done. 



Ice Crevice Franz Josef Glacier

We had a loose itinerary and did most our research online for America, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil & Argentina. In total we spent 1 month together in America, doing Vegas was the highlight for me. The next 2 & half months were spent in South America where we did the Inca Trail, Slow Boat down the Amazon, The Bolivian Salt Flat & San Pedro Prison. Christmas & new year were spent in Rio where we dressed like locals all in white and gave offerings of brightly coloured flowers to the sea, we Samba the nights away, ate Acai to our hearts were content, we witnessed the energy of a new developing country. After Rio we moved to Ilha Grande a tropical island the reminded us of Lost, we hike the island, got caught out in tropical storms with water rising to our knees (we are both over 6tf!), running from the thick tropical rainforest onto the most beautiful if not wet desert beach I have ever seen, we thankfully caught the last boat back to the main part of the island, there are no timetables here, after shouting and running into the sea. In Argentina we experienced how nice and welcoming the locals were the force of Foz De Igagzu, got a taste for local wines in Mendoza on the famous bike tours and took part in siestas. Chile was a fleeting stop only in Santiago before we flew to New Zealand.










The Routeburn Track
Our Australasian journey started with 2 months in New Zealand starting in Auckland and finishing in Christchurch. We well and truly used our hiking boots by doing the Routeburn, Abel Tasman, Franz Joseph & Tongariro crossing. We camped for almost two thirds of our time there to save as much money as possible, really noticing the price difference to South America. In hind sight we both agreed that 6 weeks would have been more than enough time here and we would have spent the other 2 weeks in South America as there was soooo much we didn’t have time to do.




Terrance The Beast
The next 4 weeks were spent going from Sydney to Cairns, again on a tight budget we used relocation websites to find campervans and cars that needed to be moved up the coast conveniently to the places we wanted to go. This was by far the best way to travel as we diverted as much as we wanted and had a great time seeing places they don’t take you on buses. 4 weeks were enough to do the East Coast, and we found Australia extremely expensive, a bunch of bananas were £13!!! They grow them too! We did however get up close and personal with Kangaroos & went snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, one of my life ambitions.

Rice Paddies Of Sapa

The next 4 months were spent traveling around South East Asia. Our senses were bought back to life with almost overwhelming combinations of sights, colours, smells and sounds. Food became colourful again and our first meal in Singapore, Indian Curry eaten off banana leaves with locals, was so good I can almost taste it now. We had basically spent 3 months living of instant noodles, value bread and instant soup in Australasia. We spent 3 days in Singapore enjoying the Eastern and Western influences and feasting on amazing cheap, colourful & delicious food.
 

Sunset from our £5 per night beach hut in Thailand

Malaysia was our next stop, where we went to Kuala Lumpur and spent 3 days there, we stayed in a hostel which cost £2 each per night, located right next the one of the biggest markets in Asia quite a feat. We grew to like the hostel but to begin with I refused to touch anything and slept on a large scarf I had been using as a beach towel. Tioman Islands were our next destination; the island is STUNNING with white sand secluded beaches, no cars and no electricity. We enjoyed great cheap food, cheap accommodation and snorkelling, straight of the beach, to our heart was content. Penang a foody heaven was our next stop we weren’t over keen but it was a good base to get our Thai visas and to get into Thailand.

 

Elephant Ride In Cambodia- We made sure they were well looked after.
On arrival into Thailand we went straight to Koh Phangan for the full moon party. We decided we didn’t want to stay near the main strip as it was meant to be dirty and expensive. Instead we went to Hada Salad beach and found the most amazing beach huts right on the beach. The huts consisted of a double bed, bathroom and balcony with a hammock, it cost us £2.50 each per night, a bargain for amazing beach views and perfect peace. Our days before the full moon party were spent snorkelling and sun bathing uninterrupted and peaceful. The full moon party in my eyes was over rated with just a stupid mix of western teenagers & 20somethings getting stupidly drunk. But that’s just my opinion.

 

Angkor Wat Cambodia
The main highlights of our Asian experience were the Angkor Wat temples & Elephant ride in Cambodia and the laidback beach life & Captain Chims great food in Shilankovilla. Vietnam was a busy loud and bustling yet intriguing country with many great and beautiful places to see, we spent a month here but hiking in Sapa and our tour of Ha Long Bay were my favourite activities. Laos is the opposite of Vietnam; it is quiet, peaceful but just as intriguing. We saw stunning temples and even got caught in a landslide on top of a mountain, a point where I really thought our luck had run out, we spent around 2 & half weeks in Laos and felt very relaxed for it. The remaining two weeks we spent getting ourselves back to Bangkok for our return flight home. Our 1st experience of Bangkok was not great and we weren’t looking forward to returning, but we upgraded to accommodation with AC! (The 1st time in 4 very hot and sweaty months) thanks to a very lovely Christmas present from my Mum. It was also rainy season so the city was actually starting to look cleaner and was less busy. The notorious Koh San Road became our base for our last 4 days where we explored the area went to a roof top bar in our “best” clothes and just savoured our last few days of our epic journey.




Vietnamese Food.. All This for £5!
 

All in all we spent £10,000 each that’s including our round the world ticket.

We went to 14 countries in 10 months.

 We had the most amazing adventure and talk about it every day, even two years down the line. It is without the best decision I ever made and I think Antony would agree with me too. We have so many great memories that we can look back and think yes we actually did do all of that!
Me Feeling Very Tall In Sapa Vietnam

The two questions that I get asked the most are; would you do it again?


Yes I would love to do it again but probably for no longer than 6 months.

 
What was your favourite Country?


Almost impossible to choose from but my favourite continent was South America, I would love to go back to learn Spanish properly and hope to do so before or for my 30th Birthday!

Have You Ever Seen?

 
Today is begining of my “Travel Week” in-spirit to the amazing bank holiday weekend we have just had and my imment Rome trip. Travel is one of my great passions and a great inspiration, I love experiencing, seeing and learning about different cultures. I love going to a new place and not knowing what you are going to find.
 
Crochet Trees- Istanbul
 
I have recently been to Istanbul for a long weekend. Where we found these crochet trees!? I love the texture combination and the fact that someone crocheted a Tree!
 


Escapism….. Lao & Looking Back

Lao was probably the quietest of the Asian countries I visited when I was traveling. It was calm, peaceful and stunningly beautiful. Lao is a very mountainous country, filled with very kind generous people, some of the friendliest in Asia. I happened to be there in August last year, which is their wet season and boy when it rains it pours!
As I said Lao is a mountainous country, which is great to go trekking in but not in wet season, we thankfully decided to get a minibus from Luang Prubang to Vang Vieng instead of the “VIP” bus, which is just a regular bus to anyone from a Western country. We had been driving for about 1 to 2 hours when all of a sudden there was a line of vehicles on the side of the road- at the top of a mountain pass. Our driver who wasn’t the best driver in the world, drove past them and we could see that there had been a landslide onto the road, stopping vehicles getting through. A “VIP” bus had tried and slipped of the side of the road/mountain! Thankfully it had got stuck on the rocks and no one was injured or killed. Some local people were pushing smaller vehicle’s through the mud to the other side, they charged our driver about £1.50 which was going to be spilt between 10 of them!
We waited our turn and watched as many cars were guided through the mud to the other side, then it was our turn. The driver decided to rev the engine and drive as fast as poss which in turn spun the back wheels out. I really did think this was the end, we had survived 13 countries over 10 months and now as we were on the last two week leg of our journey we were going to die. I know it sound dramatic now but, I really did think that. Thankfully the guys who were helping us managed to guide us to safety.
It was a once and a life time experience that I will never forget, I love the resourcefulness of the people in Lao, it is one of the poorest countries in the world, with no health care or educational system at all! People if they get ill have to cross the board to Thailand if they can afford it. We were in Lao when we heard about the London riots, where people were angry about the poverty they were living in! In England one of the richest countries in the world!… As you can imagine I could not believe my eyes or ears. I am sure if you have read this far down you are thinking how is this escapism? To me it is thinking back on all of the different, sometimes challenging and not so often scary situation, we were in whilst away is weirdly soothing knowing that I took that risk and went away and did something. For me I always knew I wanted to travel the world and was never scared once before I went or whilst we were away a part from this one time.
We travelled in total to 14 different countries in 10 months, we stayed in some nice places alot of not so nice places, we camped a lot, slept on buses, boats, cars, hammock’s and trains. We loved every second of it and I can’t believe this time last year we were getting our last flight back home to England. I can’t believe it has been a year it still feels like a week ago, as you have guess, I still love talking about it.
If you are contemplating whether to go traveling what are you waiting for?! It will be the best thing you do in life, you will remember it when you are old and grey and are no longer able to rough it to save a pound or two. You will see things that will change the way you think, act and behave and you will met some amazing people, you will stay in touch with for years to come. If I have still not convinced you then just remember you can always come back home if its not for you, nothing would have changed everything will still be hear waiting for you. But at least you would know that you tried and could settle the curiosity within.