Ever since I can remember, I have loved maps. Yes it is a little bit nerdy, yes it is not a popular or cool thing these days, but I love them. I have multiple atlases, even more maps for my walls, and 1 globe (and my parents have suggested they are going to buy me a big one for my graduation present. Not gonna lie, I am excited!) I guess this is a lot of why I ended up doing a Geography degree. I’ve always been interested in places and maps and why things are where they are, how they formed etc.
I have been lucky enough to travel quite a lot throughout my life. My parents are quite into travelling and so have taken me places, or helped me afford opportunities, to go to new and exciting places. I have a little tab at the side of this blog called my travels (it shows a map of all the countries I have been to) and if you have looked at it, you will see that my bucket list features a lot of travel based ‘to-dos’. At the time of writing I have visited 20 countries: USA, Canada, Barbados, Iceland, Kenya, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Italy, and Switzerland. I have had some awesome experiences, and it really has given me the travelling bug. The biggest problem, it makes you want to visit more places.
While at University, I realised something: I have absolutely no idea what I want to do career-wise. (Well no, I would love to become a writer of some sort, travel writer, film critic, author…but I don’t know how I would get into that, or that I am actually any good at writing.) So I thought, I have worked throughout my studies, I have saved money, lets take off travelling and put-off the real world and the decision making process. And so, in September, I am going to do just that with my flatmate from second year University.
So where am I going, I hope you are asking?! Well, I fly to Thailand, where I start a tour that goes through Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and back down through Thailand (visiting such places as, but not limited to, Angkor Wat, Ha Long bay, and Kuang Si Falls.) It is going to be absolutely unbelievable. Then, I have a job lined up to teach English as a foreign language for 5 months. I’ve toyed with the idea of being a teacher, so this should allow me to make a decision finally whether it is for me or not, and also allows me to do something for others, give back to the Thai people. I did a lot of charity work in Kenya in 2010, building houses, conservation work etc, and have done work for Marie Curie and Parkinson’s in this country, and so giving back is something I am looking forward to. Maybe I should look at making a career in Charity when I get back?
From there, we are working our way down through the Thai islands, and then down through Malaysis to Singapore where we will fly to Perth to spend some time with my friend’s brother. The Thai islands, Malaysia, and Singapore has been somewhat of an add-on late on, its as cheap as flying so we thought we may as well visit some extra places. As a result, it’s the part of the trip I have least thought about, and therefore am least excited about. It will probably vastly exceed my expectations, as will the whole trip I expect/hope.
Perth should be great. We get to spend time with family, and we get some proper down-time after travelling and working for so long. I don’t know why I am making that seem like such a chore to be honest, it’s an absolute dream. Then we’re going to fly across to Melbourne and work our way up on buses from Melbourne to Cairns. I am hoping to cross a few things off my bucket list on this trip, but I have to say, the great barrier reef might be the one I am most looking forward to. After that, we are hoping to go to New Zealand for a week or two. It’s somewhere I have always wanted to go, and looks stunning, and I think we may as well visit while we are there. Cost dependant, obviously.
And then, the final leg. We are travelling from New Zealand/Australia, to California, where we hope to see Los Angeles and San Francisco. Our hope at the moment is to book onto some tours, or one big tour, or hike, or I don’t even know how, but some way of getting to national parks such as Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, and Bryce Canyon, and then across to the East Coast. We’re hoping to get on a bus tour that also goes across all the big parks such as Yellowstone and Mt Rushmore too, and then onto the great lakes and Niagara falls to New York, but that might yet prove to be a pipe dream. We’ve looked, and it is pretty cheap to bus down the East coast to Orlando, where we are meeting my parents and staying in a nice apartment, where we can visit Disney and Universal and Harry Potter world and have a last hurrah together.
So yes, that is the plan, doesn’t it sound absolutely awesome. I’m so excited.
Except, it costs a lot. I mean, I wasn’t stupid going into this, I knew it would cost a lot, but…it doesn’t half add up. I have paid for my Asian tour (a mere £1600 – before you add spending money) my teaching qualification/orientation/organisation/visa etc (another £500) my flight to Bangkok, just one way to Bangkok (£380) my travel insurance for the entire trip (a measly £360) and my visas for my trip (another £200). That is before I look at accommodation and living costs in Thailand, or doing anything once we finish our teaching jobs in Thailand. Cost of living in Thailand is pretty cheap (about £100 a month – for everything. Yes you read that right, it’s not much at all right?) and we will be earning around £600 a month teaching, so I am hoping we will make enough to travel on well without breaking into my savings too much. It will be worth it if I have to, I just hope I won’t have to much. I desperately need to find a job for the couple of months left before I go.
I think I am just trying to stop myself getting too excited, it is literally my dream to travel this much. I am already thinking about where I could go if I travelled again. I think my text plans are more likely to include travelling around South America, or backpacking around Europe, but we shall see, eh? As soon as I colour in another country on the map, or put a pin in the map poster above my bed, I notice a new gap and want to visit there. I fear it might be a never ending cycle.
I really wish I could make money out of travelling, somehow.