It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.
If you happen to be reading this blog, chances are you might be a seasoned explorer, with wonderful memories of far-flung places, or perhaps you’re just a desk jockey with dreams of ditching the nine-to-five for surf instructing in Bali – no matter what your situation, if you found your way here, you and I will no doubt have something in common – a desire to see the world and all its colours.
In 2011, I quit my job working as a retail assistant for the British department store John Lewis. I saved for a year, throwing together just enough money to fund a six-month trip around Asia, Australia and New Zealand. As often happens when you’re 21, I ended up staying away for almost a year. After this first voyage, my world changed in the most profound way possible. Check out my full story, and hang on until the end to hear my HUGE announcement.
It Taught Me How to Write
At university, I studied Creative Writing because it was the only subject I was good at, plus I harboured vague notions of becoming a bestselling novelist one day. During class in the second year we were taught a lesson about travel writing. I remember struggling to write anything decent, I simply had no memories to draw upon. My only travel experiences at that point consisted of disastrous family holidays to the Isle of Wight (the car often caught fire), a cruise down the Mediterranean (which was quite fun actually) and a visit to Centre Parks in Holland. How could I ever hope to convey the beauty of a sunset in Zadar, the blanket of heat you feel stepping out of the airport in Bangkok or the creamy texture of a pastel de nata still warm from the cooker in Lisbon?
After my first taste of backpacking I couldn’t stop writing, I had to form this blog so I had a place to keep all the incredible things I had seen and didn’t ever want to forget. My degree taught me how to write an essay, but it was my education on the road that inspired me to tell stories.
I Found a Community
For most of my life the friends around me have been old school buddies or people from university, but when I returned from my trip I felt the urge to make connections wider than my normal circle. I’d set up a blog by this point, so I started visiting meet ups with other travel bloggers. Eventually I’d make friends with many of the UK travel blogger community, attending events like Travel Massive, Traverse and other meetups. But it isn’t just bloggers I found, just from being on the road I discovered you can bump into all sorts of people, with all sorts of backgrounds. Hitting the road, in whatever form you can makes you part of an honorary and unspoken club of wanderers.
It Inspired me to Achieve Goals
Throughout the majority of my life I’d been content just getting by. I got acceptable grades at school without putting too much effort in, I never pushed myself to achieve anything in one of my many hobbies and I had no idea what kind of career I wanted. However, as soon as I returned home from New Zealand in 2012, my whole personality had changed. I knew exactly what I needed to do and the kind of life I wanted. I worked at a crappy waiting job to earn enough money to learn to drive, I saved a nest egg for travel funds and I ended up working six days a week (two at an internship and four at my waiting job) to break my way into travel writing and earn my first paid role in content.
This determination hasn’t left me. Recently I’ve achieved a dream of getting published in print (Timeout) and I’ve smashed my personal best time for a 5K run after returning from a long running knee injury. Perhaps it was the desire to live more after seeing so much of the world, or maybe my determination lay under the surface, but what I know for sure is that travel inspired me to better myself.
I Met Kasha
If you’ve been reading this blog a while, you’ll be well aware of my South African / Polish girlfriend, fellow blogger and all-round best friend Kasha from Lines Of Escape. Kasha and I met while attending one of the blogger conferences I mentioned earlier over two years ago and we’ve been inseparable ever since (you must feel sorry for her huh?). I’m not going to act like every person that shares an interest in travel is destined to be together, but in the case of Kasha and I it was our mutual passion and curiosity for seeing the world that drew us together. Travel has been a touchstone throughout our relationship and hopefully always will be.
And Now the BIG Announcement
If I’ve still got your attention by this point, good – because this is where it gets really interesting. Drum roll please…
I’m quitting my job to travel… again.
At some point about a year ago, Kasha let me in on her dream to be travelling on her 30th birthday. It had been a long time since my first trip and things have definitely changed; I’m not the same rash, impulsive guy I once was. Still, it only took me a moment to decide.
Let’s go together
Since that moment things have been crazy, we’ve booked flights, researched until the wee hours of the morning and now, finally, the big trip is tantalisingly close.
So where are we headed I hear you ask? Let me run down our basic itinerary.
New Zealand, the land of the long white cloud
If you hadn’t already got a clue from my Hobbit quote from earlier, we’ll be landing in the giant Lord of the Rings film, set known as New Zealand. Here we’ll jump off cliffs, swim with dolphins and drive a homely camper from Aotearoa’s tip to toe.
Australia, an outback adventure across dreaming tracks
After a sojourn in the sandstone monolith Uluru, we head to Adelaide and drive a camper down the Great Ocean Road and hug the coast all the way to Brisbane.
Japan, land of the rising sun
Home to tech, sushi and sumo wrestlers, we’ll be travelling via the JR pass around this ancient country, stopping at imperial palaces, mountains and temples along the way.
Cambodia, the Kingdom of Khmer
Once home to the largest city on earth, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat will be a huge highlight, while the country’s blissfully beautiful beaches and undeveloped islands in the south may well see us actually get a tan.
Vietnam, hugging the coastal trail
From the southern capital all the way up to the towering limestone islands of Halong Bay, we’ll be enjoying all that Vietnam has to offer. We’ll be spending Christmas and New Year in this beautiful country too.
Laos, waterfalls, jungles and caves
This land of deep forests, mountains and natural wonders promises magical hikes, secret lagoons and deep cave networks.
South Africa, visiting the jewel of the Western Cape
How could we possibly tour the world without making a stop in Kasha’s hometown of Cape Town? With a view of the iconic Table Mountain all around, we’ll dine on the best grub and sample this cosmopolitan city’s decidedly hipster offerings before heading out on the Garden Route.
So if you fancy following our
misadventures around the world, make sure you keep up to date on exactly where we are in the world by following our social channels; we promise to only share our favourite tips, bars, foodie spots and activities.
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