Tag Archives: travelling

Why I HAVE to travel and why some people just don’t get it

seaEver since announcing my plans of jetting off next year, I’ve spoken to a lot of people, friends and family, who are all very excited for me. But on the flip-side, I’ve also heard from a few people who don’t seem to understand why I feel the need to jet off to the other side of the world when I have a good job, a long-term partner and friends and family all around me here. I’ll be honest, when these things were pointed out to me, I just gaped at these people and just replied, “You don’t understand.”

It’s become clear to me that there are two main types of people in this world – the adventurous and the cautious. I think that we all have elements of both in us, but at varying levels and it just depends on which way your own personal balance tips. I would never argue that one is better than the other because we need a healthy combination of both for society to survive – without the cautious we could all be dead, likewise without the adventurous, we might never have flown to the Moon. But, I do think that the two extremes find it very difficult to understand the life the other has chosen. For example, I have chosen to up sticks and go travelling alone, leaving everything behind me. Sure that could be seen as a big risk, I might not find a job when I return, I might no longer be in a relationship and I might have nowhere to live. BUT, I feel I would regret it so much more if I didn’t go. I know that there are many who would not understand why I want to do this because it is not something they would consider doing.

I understand because I know so many people who have done the complete opposite of me, the ones who started families and set up homes, got married and settled down instead of taking the university and work route that I followed. I really admire the people who have done this, mainly because I am impressed that they have felt so strongly that this is the path they wanted to follow and because they felt ready for all of this. At nearly 24, I certainly don’t feel ready for any of that, especially when it comes to raising children, but I am so impressed by those that do. This is what helps me to understand why they feel so surprised by my decision, because I know that I felt exactly the same when hearing about their plans. Neither is right or wrong, just different.402843_10151043139357617_1461972852_nSo why do I feel the need to travel? Here are my reasons:

  1. I want to see the world, to taste and experience everything out there. I want to learn and meet people and see things I never knew existed. I know I must satisfy this curiosity or I will always wonder.
  2. To escape. As my wonderful friend put it, like she, I just need to quit life for a bit and to take a break from it all. I’ve been constantly working and in education since I was five-years-old and I want to give my head a rest.
  3. I need space to figure out my next move, both career-wise and geographically.
  4. I will regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t go.
  5. Who says that travelling won’t help my career and will lead me into a new path? It might mean I go into travel writing or even leave behind writing altogether if I am so inspired.
  6. I miss having time to read and write. Between my job, festival work and blogging, I have no real time to really get into reading a book like I used to at university and I miss it. I miss having no distractions.
  7. I want to get out of my home-town and experience something different. I want an excuse to leave that doesn’t mean moving away immediately.
  8. I need to leave my job – I feel I have progressed as much as possible in my current job and think that the only way to go further is to leave and start afresh elsewhere.
  9. I have been saving for a really long time, but never knew what for – now I want to have that rainy day where I splash out on the best experience of my life.
  10. I really, really want the chance to do something completely by myself. I have never really been alone, I have always been surrounded by friends, family and my boyfriend and this is my way of proving to myself that I can cope.
  11. That amazing job that is out there waiting for me will still be there a year from now, or another one will be in its place – the opportunity to go travelling might not be there.

Why do you feel you HAVE to travel the world? Or what is it that keeps you at home?


Tips for the aspiring traveller


Me and the man in Ireland, near Waterford

Since announcing my travel plans for next year, I have been talking to countless friends and family who have all either just finished their gap year or are about to embark upon it – some were even messaging me excitedly from the side of the world to share their tips and recommendations. I’m so pleased I know so many people who have been travelling and in the same areas I plan on visiting because that means that outside of the guidebooks, there is a wealth of information for me to pick through from real-live experiences had by people who know and understand my tastes. I can judge the recommendations based on the tastes and preferences of my friends and family which helps me understand better which parts I’d be happy to skip and which places I simply must visit.

Throughout all this talk, I keep getting given tips on things to look out for and ways to approach travelling, all of which are very welcome and are a big help as I plan my route around South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I found some of these tips so helpful that I wanted to share them with my readers, some of whom I know are also planning their travels and others who are just in the daydream stages. I feel that these tips, from experienced travellers who have learnt first-hand, are valuable to anyone planning a trip – whether a weekend break to Paris, a two-week holiday in Greece or backpacking around America.

ireland 1

Hiking amongst the heather in Ireland

Here’s the top tips I have been given by fellow travellers:

  1. Throw yourself into absolutely every experience. Never say no, unless you don’t want to, get out of your comfort zone and push your boundaries by doing things that you wouldn’t normally do at home.
  2. Don’t obsess over money – yes you need to budget and make sure you spend wisely, but don’t let that prevent you from doing the above and enjoying yourself. Spend wisely the rest of the time so you can splash out on an elephant trek or white-water rafting experience.
  3. Don’t let your travel buddy dictate your experience. If you’re with a friend or in a couple, don’t be afraid to say no to some activities and go off and do your own thing, don’t be afraid to explore opposite sides of the country and meet up later. Likewise, don’t limit your experience by spending all your time with one person, get out and meet people at every opportunity.
  4. Solo travellers must not be afraid of being lonely or not meeting anyone. Everywhere you go you will meet like-minded individuals and make friends, many of them also travelling alone.
  5. Use your time the way YOU want to. You cannot be on the go 24-7 for months on end, you need some downtime to really appreciate and enjoy the country you are in. But just like staff in overworked offices at home, you can get burned out on the road too and it is important to have days of lazing by the pool as well.
  6. Try everything – similar to number one – but  in terms of food. Don’t shy away from local cuisine, it is a huge part of the experience and a little spice never killed anyone.
  7. When preparing for your trip, don’t plan every detail, give yourself a guide of where you would like to go and what you would like to do, with an estimate of how long you will spend in each area – but be prepared to drop it all if an opportunity arises – don’t be afraid to go off the map.
  8. Shop around for flights, accommodation and activities – there is always somewhere cheaper and be prepared to barter to get the price you think is right.
  9. Capture every moment with photo, video, blogging, any form you want – even just in your mind’s eye. Just make sure you remember everything and everyone.
  10. When packing, get all your clothes and money together. Then half the clothes and double the money to keep going as long as possible.

Have you got any more top tips you would like to share with me or other travellers? Share them below in a comment.

Back in the Big Apple and it’s a sight for sore eyes

10172670_10151979965742617_2022132837779848396_nAfter months of waiting and planning for my family trip to New York, we finally touched down at JFK and were launched straight into holiday mode! We flew through security (pardon the pun), although the alarms did start going off as my fingerprints were scanned (eek!) and quickly grabbed our bags, eager to dive into the Big Apple. Jumping into a classic yellow cab, we sped out of the airport and along the highways towards Manhattan, giving us our first taste of the crazy driving that I absolutely love. Definitely something I have brought back with me, I was almost dizzy from trying to predict the driver’s next move as he jumped into any available space and edged his way through the traffic. I have to say I really prefer the way Americans drive – I wouldn’t give up the gear stick for anything – but I like their efficiency. They just focus on getting there as quickly as possible and aren’t frowned upon for using their horns to tell people to move – I hate how British drivers are so afraid of using their horns to tell people when they do something wrong or dangerous – that’s what they are there for! Sorry, I digress…

1017163_10151979965342617_3151856071614876702_nI was sitting in the front seat next to the driver, and yes I tried to get in the wrong side of the car at the airport – whoops! After the long flight, I was glad he wasn’t a chatty driver as I was more than happy just to take in my first glimpses of the big city, especially when we went over the bridge and got our first amazing view of the New York skyline – just perfect despite the mist surrounding it. It always takes my breath away to see that sight again.



I was also enjoying the gorgeous old school soul CD that the driver had popped in, with his dreads and cool manner he sang along as we came over the bridge and through the city to our hotel, the Hotel St James, just off Times Square. As you may have read in a previous post, we were made so welcome by the lovely staff on reception who spotted mum’s birthday badge and instantly went out of their way to upgrade our rooms.


The hotel was lovely, clean and comfortable. It actually looks nothing like the pictures on the website – which don’t do it justice – and is really nice. A perfect base for anyone on holiday and looking to explore the city – you are seconds walk from the centre of Times Square and a five-minute walk from the subway station. You’re also just a short walk from the best shopping in the city, some of the amazing sights and Central Park. One of the best deli’s I have found in the city is right next door – really recommend the smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels – and it is surrounded by loads of great restaurants including an amazing grill restaurant opposite! The hotel staff were so kind and loaded us up with maps and information for our trip, after unpacking and having some birthday cake with my sister, we headed out into Times Square to see the bright lights!

10170891_10151979965637617_7722635128611760455_nI always feel so excited when I stand in Times Square – it just epitomises the ‘bright lights bigger city’ with all those flashing signs and adverts everywhere, the random people dressed up as Disney characters or drugs, people trying to sell you tickets everywhere and just the hustle and bustle of it all. There’s so many people in such a small area of New York, you can’t help but feel you are really in the thick of it all and I always have to take a second to breathe it all in. Wow. Yellow taxis racing through the centre of the square, wafts of burger and steak smells coming from the restaurants, huge queues outside Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Cafe, and all different accents around me expressing their excitement.

I’m so pleased that each time I have been to New York with my family (Four times now – I’m so lucky!) we have found deals to stay in the streets close to Times Square – it really is the best part of the city because you are only a few minutes away from some of the most incredible parts. I always love to imagine what it would have been like there 50-100 years ago. I know that not everyone will agree because many others prefer to avoid areas like this – but I think it is hard to avoid tourist traps in New York without missing out on a great deal. I’m really looking forward to sharing everything else that we did during the week we spent there with you, I’ve got lots of photos!

What’s your favourite part of New York? Do you love or hate Times Square?


What kind of traveller are you?

boatSo many of us love to travel, but we all have our own ways of doing it. No two travellers are the same, and perhaps that is why so many choose to hit the open road on their own. We all long to see different sights, experience different things, eat and drink different flavours but this often means that we will have completely different experiences when visiting the same country. I guess a lot of it depends on our priorities when travelling, while some might just be looking for some sunshine, a beach and a bar, others are looking to immerse themselves in the local culture at the markets or souks, then there are those who want to view all of the top sights to see, and there are those who want to view the country in more unusual ways, by trekking or travelling across it or staying with local families.

There are so many different ways of travelling and I have to say that I vary between all of these, there are some countries, like Malta and Italy where I have explored the sights and thrown myself into the local culture. While holidays to Florida and New York have been more about hitting the beaches, seeing sights and heading to Disney World. I’ve also had the experience of travelling to my father’s home country of Mauritius and while seeing all of the sights, I was given a tour by my uncle who has lived there all his life and attended loads of family and spiritual events, including a wedding, that really gave me an insight into the culture and traditions that I might not have had on holiday.

cocktailI think I’ve found from my experiences of travelling that there are just a few main types of traveller- which category do you fit into?

  1. The Culture Vulture – the original traveller is all about history, culture and everything that separates their destination from their home. You’ll usually find them walking around the markets first thing in the morning, travelling on the buses with the locals or checking out the churches/temples during services.
  2. The Beach Bums – the ones who look up the beaches first when choosing their destination, they refuse a skiing holiday, or one that would take them away from their sunbathing and rarely plan activities or trips to other parts of the country. Spain, Egypt and Turkey’s resorts are a big draw to our sun-worshippers despite also offering a lot of culture if you venture past the hotel walls.
  3. The Party Lovers – these guys plan their holidays around epic party sessions at Ibiza clubs or festivals across the world. Their suitcases are filled with teeny bikinis and day-glo paint, and they usually travel in packs with matching t-shirts.
  4. The Spiritual Types – it doesn’t matter whether they are on a religious pilgrimage, finding their spiritual home, finding themselves or even the gap yah lot who are trying to find themselves, they are all the ones who are searching for something. They could be wearing the standard hareem pants or they could be smart and in a suit, but one thing they all have in common is this need to find something bigger than themselves.
  5. The Busy Bodies – the ones who can never sit still for long, constantly itching to move or try something new and push themselves to the limits. These ones are usually travelling for a challenge and they can be found trekking through the jungle, along the Inca Trail or the Great Wall of China. They will be the ones abseiling down a cliff face, jumping out of plane or skiing/snowboarding down icy peaks.
  6. The Business Traveller – this one takes travelling in their stride, barely blinking at eye at yet another plane journey, not even looking up from their book. Often these guys are living in hotel rooms, bustling from one airport to another, and the shine of travelling has worn off. They rush around making connections and never have time to really experience a place. Although, there are some who travel for work and love it, who are those experienced travellers with the sleek and efficient bags, who glides past security and baggage collection.
  7. The Detached Traveller – of course in the age of smartphones and tablets it is impossible not to notice the travellers who experience the world around them through a screen. These are the ones whose first instinct is always to snap pictures and videos of everything around them before really looking and seeing what is going on. Although we are all guilty of this to an extent, these are the ones who sadly spend all their time trying to capture the city or country and end up not really knowing what it is all about.
  8. The Adventurer – this is the one I am looking forward to being next year on my own solo travels, the one who just grabs a flight to another country and proceeds to travel around with no real plans, who changes their plans in an instant after making new friends and who is open to all new experiences, drinking it all in whether it is sunbathing on a beach, climbing a mountain or eating bugs.
  9. The Safe Traveller – this is the one I feel sorry for. I’m talking about the people who go on holiday to exactly the same place every year for 20 years and never own a place out there or travel beyond the town. The ones who go on holiday, are surrounded by gorgeous local food and choose to eat chips and a kebab. The ones who make no effort to integrate or explore the culture because it is easier and safer to stay in their hotel and sunbathe by the pool. This is not travel.
  10. The Hopeless Traveller – these are the ones who never have much luck with travel, miss their flights, they get ill the day before they are due to go, their hotel is overbooked or they loose all their luggage. They seem doomed to never make it without any problems and are always the ones whose names are called over the intercom. Despite all this, they always make it in the end, just not always to the place they intended.

markWhat kind of traveller are you? Can you think of any other travellers you’ve spotted – share them below.

The Great Escape: Why are all the twenty-something’s heading overseas?


Every time I log in to Facebook or scroll through my Instagram feed, I feel like I’m just waiting to see which of my old school friends, workmates or which person off my university course is heading off into the great unknown, flying off into the sunset, or just taking a break from real life. The ‘Gap Yah’ used to be a right of passage for the elite and the wealthy who fancied putting off work a while longer, while the rest of the world knuckled down into earning a steady wage and getting their foot on the property ladder. So when exactly did it become the norm, if not expected, that most twenty-something’s will be jetting off as soon as they are free from education?

I’ve had several friends over the last few years who were leaving for various reasons – some had been waiting for this moment for years, for their chance to escape and see the world, others had left university and found themselves unable to find work in their chosen field, others had found work and loved their jobs but just needed to get out and see what else was out there. All of them valid reasons, but where had this motivation come from? A few years ago, it seemed there were just a few spirited individuals who saved up the cash and upped sticks, heading off with their backpacks and hippy trousers. Now, it seems like the majority of young people are heading off at some point or another.

More and more are choosing to take advantage of their university courses offering a year abroad – my younger sister is studying fashion in New York at the moment. Others are taking a ‘Gap Yah’ and are taking the well trekked route across South East Asia – usually starting with Thailand and heading off to Oz and New Zealand for work. Many start off by going for a few months but eventually extend their trip to a year or more. But why do they do it?


Put simply – the great unknown is incredibly enticing to those who have experienced the reality of cold, rainy England where jobs are few and far between and too many people are earning far less than they should be in jobs that they are overqualified for. I know this isn’t the reality for everyone – but for those who have been stuck in a job that is going nowhere, or for those endlessly applying to grad schemes or jobs and getting nowhere – escaping all this can look like a great option.

Why wouldn’t we all want to go to where the sun shines all year round, the people smile, there are jobs everywhere, the chance to earn twice as much as you do over here and you have what seems like endless freedom. It is complete uncertainty – which is really attractive to those who are certain of their immediate futures in the UK and don’t like the look of them. Essentially the question is – why work over here in the dreary UK when you can do the same job in Oz, in the sunshine, and earn more?

It seems like so many people are making this decision to just quit life for a while and fly to the opposite side of the world to experience what is out there, and I don’t blame them. They say travel is the one thing that makes you richer and I agree – the experiences you will have, the things you will see, and the people you will meet will shape your life and your future in ways you cannot even imagine before you set out on your journey. It’s just having the courage to take that first step and to make the decision to head off, whether alone or with a friend, or partner. Once you’ve made that decision, the rest is easy.


That’s exactly how I have found it anyway. I’ve had a lot going on lately, but even before all of this I had made a decision. Travelling was something I had always wanted to do and I would have loved to do it straight after university but I was lucky enough to get an amazing job and couldn’t turn it down. Now I have reached a point where I’m not sure how much more I can get out of my job and my itchy feet have returned. I think that going off on my own and seeing the world is something I need to do before I look for my next dream job – I worry that otherwise I could find a job I love and end up never escaping by myself.

I had never planned to go by myself – a few friends and I had spoken about going several times, but it had never been the right time, with work and boyfriends etc. This is the same now, but this time I just felt I couldn’t put it off any longer for fear of missing my opportunity. So I am braving it by myself and I’m actually really looking forward to doing it on my own. My plan is to get saving for the next 12 months and then head off into the sunset – don’t worry, I plan to keep the blog going – it just might take a more travel-oriented focus. At the moment the vague plan is to head to Thailand, Australia and then New Zealand – hopefully with a few other stops in places like Cambodia along the way. I’ve got a lot of reading to do, but will keep you updated as my plan develops.


If you have any suggestions for places to visit or advice for a solo backpacker – they would all be much appreciated – leave me a comment below!


Reunited and reliving those precious memories of university

After a long six months, the House of Boobs girls (as we were nicknamed at University of Hertfordshire) were finally reunited for a weekend of catching up, drinking champagne and cocktails, eating copious amounts of chips and dip, and most of all, making enough memories to tide us over until the next meet-up.

After living together and spending nearly all of our time together over the three years of university – supporting each other through the course stresses and deadlines, cheering each other up over boy trouble, staying up into the wee hours with drunken tears, celebrating each other’s achievements and having each others’ backs on every night out. We’ve been through a hell of a lot together over the years and we’ve all come out of it stronger than ever. Boys truly have come and gone in that time, as have jobs and other friends – but the one thing that has stayed constant is that we are all – without fail – always there for each other no matter what.

After arriving in a village near Chelmsford, Essex, at one of my former housemate’s house, we unpacked the mountains of stuff we had brought along, tucked into a delicious dinner and had a quick catch up before heading upstairs to get ready. We all glammed up in our high heels and fabulous outfits – my top is from Missguided and skirt from Ark – and after a couple of glasses of wine and making sure we had all remembered our ID’s, we clambered into the cars and headed out to Leigh-On-Sea.

Our destination was a bar called Bellinis, which was quite small but served great cocktails! To be honest, we could have been anywhere and I wouldn’t have noticed what was going on around us – we were all having so much fun dancing like loons, drinking Jam Doughnut shots and laughing, a lot! It was amazing to be surrounded by the girls again, because they are all the type of women who I wish existed everywhere – none of them will ever put you down or say a bad word about you if they have your back. It was so nice to be surrounded by such supportive friends who were nothing but happy to hear everyone’s news and celebrate everything going on in their lives. It is rare to find a group of girls who honestly act this way, who don’t put each other down, and I am proud to have friends like these.

I have such fabulous friends. Nearly all of them are in very happy, loving relationships with great guys (not something that they could boast in university!) and the ones who are not are confident and happy in going solo. Some are nearly finished battling through their PGCEs and are now teaching classes of little ones, while another is working in Asos marketing department, another travels to Germany and America regularly for work. Another is heading off travelling around South-East Asia and Australia at the end of the year and another is working as a para-legal and loving it. I am proud of everything they have achieved and have yet to.

Am really looking forward to the next meet-up and hopefully we won’t have long to wait. The main DJ from our old student union is holding a huge reunion party so hopefully we will all make it along to that.