BE EXCITED. That face of me right there, a few days before I set off on my solo trip across South East Asia and beyond, that’s a face of pure excitement. Whatever nerves or doubts you may have, don’t worry, you’ll be fine! Hold tight for one of the best things you’ll ever do. Ever.
Live a “subject to change” life. It’s good to have an idea of what you want to see and do but give yourself a bit of flexibility when possible – your plans will become shaped by the people you meet and where your intrigue takes you.
Pack light. My backpack for my RTW trip weight 9kg. When I checked in, the bag attendant laughed at me but I knew what I was doing (kinda;) … you can buy everything you need on the road and since it’s all so cheap (and pretty, in case of clothes and keepsakes) you’ll quickly stock up.
Prepare for things to go tits up. This was me on the way into Koh Phi Phi for the first time. It was only the first week of my two years of adventures! I believe I captioned this pic “P stands for party” – turned out P stood for “losing phone and shoes on night one and getting bed ridden with Thai tummy on night two”. Shit really does happen.
Buy a cover up (aka a “purple thing”). They are super cheap and so handy for keeping mozzies at bay, using as curtains in hostels, covering your face when you sleep on public transport. The list of handy uses is endless. I’ve still got this very one, 3 years later (and I wish it could talk, obvs).
Travel like a traveller! The night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai was one of my fave modes of transport. Take the night busses, the tuk tuks, the 4×4’s through the jungle, the long tail boats across unknown seas – actually getting from A to B really is one of the great parts of life on the road.
Big up and beware the people. You are going to meet some that will be your lifelong friends and it will be amazing, you’ll share so much that you will remember forever. You’ll also meet those not-so-nice people – as is life. Make the most of the goods and try to leave the bad ones behind asap – if you ever feel unwanted or uncomfortable don’t wait around (like I always did!) trying to make something out of nothing … you’re better off on your own. Be strong and enjoy your freedom to be able to leave whenever you need to.
Be prepared. Plan ahead for each country you visit. Google will hold all the information you need to know – don’t waste time at border crossings when you could have sorted things beforehand online. Also, always have an address handy of your first destination to stay (in Thailand you have to let security know before they let you out of the airport!).
Have camera. Take photo!. After losing my phone in Phi Phi, I didn’t bother to get a replacement (or camera) for 4 months. At the time I thought it was a sign for me to get off my phone and be more involved with what I was doing. All well and good at the time but now (of course!) I regret it massively. It’s impossible to remember your whole trip and it’s super important to keep your treasured memories stored forever more!.
Be covered or cough up! If, like clever ol’ Lara Lain, you decide to trip off a kerb on the second night of your five week trip in Brazil for the World Cup, you better have health insurance … being treated abroad costs a small fortune. Make sure you pay for cover before you leave home – insureandgo or your local post office will be able to help. *Also, don’t fall off kerbs. Boys soon get tired of carrying you around and your bezzie travel mate will also push you out into the traffic to get sunburnt because you talk too much …
Always get a window seat. The buzz as you take off and land over new paradises never gets old – saviour those moments.
If you can’t get a window seat jump up front and man that plane! *always take advantage of pilots who think you are 16 and that you’re taking these kinda pics to “show to your mum” when you land …
Don’t book flights ahead unless you’re triple sure you’re guna get on it! I didn’t think much of it at the time because 1. I had money. 2. I was young(er) and stupid(er) but I wasted around $2,000 in missed flights in two years. Makes me sick at the thought of it now – such a waste of $ that could have been well spent.
Do the craziest shit you get offered to do. I travelled with my “never say no” motto as I wanted to give it my all. Of course you should never pressurise yourself into anything BUT if you have the chance to make some truly epic memories I say go for it! 110%!
Eat like you mean it! Wherever you go, make a point of eating the local dishes. Food is mostly to die for – snakes and stuff are gross (!) but if you can do, do it – it’s all more strings to add to your travellers bow.
Puppies. Because well. Puppies! Animals are just different to those back home (I mean, just look at this ones face!) … enjoy all the awesome creatures you’ll meet on the way!
More important stuff!
- Don’t be afraid to say no if you don’t want to do something don’t do it. This is your trip. Yours to make it what you want.
- Keep a note of local police services, I never did this and learnt the hard way when I woke up with a deranged local man sitting on my pillow, while I slept in Laos! Luckily my friend helped me get him out in terror but it could have been a different story.
- Don’t do drugs of any kind unless you’re sure you don’t mind getting caught (!!). One of my friends got arrested for smoking a joint in Phi Phi and he spent 21 days in jail and got deported back to the UK. It was. one of the worst human experiences I’ve ever been a part of.
- Keep some money safe at home – I blew all of my hard earned savings and while my two years were amazing, once my travels stopped I had to build up from nothing again.
- Don’t forget your career and your future goals – there is life after travel, don’t lose sight of what you want in the end.
- You may meet “the one” at some point and it will be or won’t be great (99% sure it won’t be in the end!), don’t worry if relationships on the road go wrong because often that’s all they are.
- Don’t worry if travel is not your bag. Go home when you want – at least you tried, be proud you gave it a go.
- Never be afraid to go home. Travel will change you but you should always see your home and roots as positively as possible – don’t forget who you are.
- Most importantly of all: don’t forget the family and friends you leave behind. No matter what you find on the road you’ll never replace the ones you love – keep in touch and never let them forget how much they mean to you.
If I’ve missed anything in particular please shout out to me if you want any further advice on particular countries etc.
It’s been great to dig back over my photos of before and during my travels across 2014 – 2016.
Who would have thought I would end up creating my future in Bondi Beach?!
You never know what’s around the corner!
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THANK YOU for reading.