It's official.

After exactly one year and two days, I'll finally be leaving Asia and jetting off to Sydney, ten months later than originally planned. I've never been one to stick to a plan. Or arrive on time for that matter. Welcome to the best year of my life <3

"The Friends You Meet When Travelling Will Become Your Friends For Life"



Sitting at one of Koh Tao's trendiest beach bars, sipping cosmopolitans, enjoying conversations with people I've just met, I'd never felt more like Carrie Bradshaw in my life. Since when did my life become so glamorous?

Well, in reality, it's not quite as glamorous as it sounds. Yes I may live in a beautiful three storey house with two bathrooms, four bedrooms, a kitchen, flat screen tv, two balconies- one of which gives the most exquiste view of the island- and a group of the most amazing friends I have and will ever meet. Yes I may be a five minute walk from the beautiful sandy beach with sparkling clear sea. Yes I may be sipping cocktails courtesy of a bar tab having worked for just four hours but is my life really that great?

Okay. I lied. It is. It is until you fall, banging your head so hard you need to travel three hours by ferry to get to the nearest hospital so you can have a brain scan. It is until you've spent three days wearing the same clothes, unable to wash your hair as you cannot get your head wet. It is until you're no longer with the amazing friends you've met or your family and you find yourself completely alone other than the odd Thai nurse who comes in at regular intervals to check your temperature and your blood pressure.

And then you stop and think. Since when did it become okay to be so ungrateful? My entire life has been spent having everything I could have ever needed. Yes I may have wanted a bigger house, a nicer car, more holidays but I've never needed those things. I've always had the love and support from the most amazing family anyone could ask for. Sure there were times when things were a bit more difficult than I'd have liked but I've always had my family there for me, in particular my nan & grandad who were there even when I'd fallen out with my parents. I've always had a roof over my head. I've always had access to clean water and food. Even when I announced I'd be quitting my job and leaving England indefinitely, I had the support of my family and friends, even if they were worried or would have preferred for me not to go. Even since leaving England my family are just a call away. Granted, they can't be at the hospital with me but I know for certain if I rang my mum/dad/nan/grandad/aunty, even my brother, saying I needed them here then they'd be on the next flight out.

So I may not be in what I can only describe as the nicest house I will ever live in, I may not be with the people I live with or my family, but I know that they are all there for me no matter what. And for that I am grateful. I am grateful that I have had the amazing oppurtunities I have had. I am grateful for the oppurtunites I will have in the future. I am grateful that, compared to many, my life is pretty much exactly how I want it. I may be working for the equivilant of two pounds an hour but I live in paradise and I love the jobs I have. They may not be exciting and I may not love them all day every day but as a whole, I do. I may have had more arguements with the people I live with than anyone else in my life but I love them all a ridiculous amount, more than people I've known for years.

I am grateful. Even if I don't always know it.



I have less than eight weeks before I trade in my secure, if not monotonous, job. My easy life living at home, where my mum cooks my meals, does my washing and ironing and wakes me up if I don't hear the alarm. The convenience of having my own car to drive to work in, taxi the brother around in and pop to Lakeside in when I've run out of clothes to wear. The knowledge that if I'm a drunken mess sat on a strangers wall, sobbing to a policeman in the early hours of the morning about how my boyfriend's broken up with me to get back with his ex (oh, it happened) my Dad's just around the corner to rescue me. The life I have always known. Well, not the drunken mess part... I have less than eight weeks before I swap it all for a life without a steady job, perhaps no job at all actually. No definite accommodation, after the first three nights in Bangkok. A life spent relying on public transport (sleeper trains and ferries anyone?) but ultimately a life of sun, sea and sex on the beach (the cocktail of course. Sand, there? No thank you..). And I am beyond unprepared.

I've been talking about it for so long, it just seems like a dream. A dream that was once six months away but is rather rapidly becoming reality.

In preparation for the trip, I have so far sorted out my insurance (a pretty important thing right?), had a few necessary jabs (nobody wants Rabies), bought an array of bikinis (equally as important as the insurance surely?) and, erm, that's it. I have a rough idea of where I'm going to go. A very rough idea. Land in Bangkok, stay there for three nights then go up to Chiang Mai. Maybe.

You see, I have spent my entire life planning everything, worrying about everything, only going to places or doing things within my comfort zone which, in all honesty, has led me to lead a pretty boring, uneventful life. Until now that is.

I know that, whatever happens, on the 23rd of January, I am flying from Singapore to Sydney at 8-something-pm which means I have seven weeks from landing in Thailand to work out how to get down to Singapore. Thousands of people go travelling every year and if it was really that difficult to navigate your way through a country, surely people wouldn’t keep doing it? I’ve got a pretty good sense of direction so I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’ve got a little large checklist of the things I want to see and do so as long as I can tick each of these activities/places off, I’ll be happy.

Why don’t I plan it more? I want to be a little bit scared. I want to do things on the spur of the moment. I want to be able to go off with friends I’ve just made because where their headed sounds amazing. I want the feeling of 'OMG WHAT AM I DOING?!' as I'm riding an elephant, stroking a tiger, searching for Nemo. I want to be able to look back on my life and think 'remember that time I went here and did that with those people' (I'm well aware that, to the dirty minded among us-myself included- sounds a little sexual. It isn't, promise). I want to have exciting stories to tell the grandchildren. Well, I'm not even sure I want children so perhaps the grandparents...Anyway, if I plan everything down to the last little detail of what underwear I'm going to be wearing on New Year’s Eve, I won't enjoy myself. I'll be far too concerned with what the plan says I should be doing. And making sure that particular set is washed and dried in time. My plan is to get off the plane and go from there. Good plan? I'll let you know.