Saturday, 4 February 2017

5 helpful tips for planning a year long adventure

This time last year I was in the midst of planning a year long trip with my best friend - a year that in hindsight, we could never have even begun to plan. Plodding through what was a truly miserable January having stupidly decided to join in #DryJanuary (hint: you don't lose weight, you just eat more), we would get together over measly glasses of water and tea to plan away - hostels, places to visit, flights, length of time we'd be in certain areas, you name it, we planned it.

Now, having been travelling for nine months, I look back fondly at what we used for approximately 5 months as an excuse to buy 3 bottles of prosecco and drink every last droplet because we were 'researching'. We spent so much time planning and yet this trip couldn't be more different to what we thought it would be, in actual fact, it's been better than I could ever have wished.

There are things about backpacking that you can never know until you're actually in the midst of it, 60L backpack on, sweating profusely with little clue which direction to put one foot in front of the other. You can plan and plan until your little heart is utterly content and you will still, at some point sooner or later but most definitely being sooner find yourself in a situation that will end in you needing a LARGE glass of wine before you contemplate how much it would really hurt you to smack your head against a particularly hard wall.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you're currently in the midst of planning a travelling adventure from one of the most unorganised people you could wish to meet...

1. Stop planning
Seriously. Pick the places you want to visit, put together a loose itinerary of when exactly you're going to be heading to each country, book perhaps a week or two's worth of accommodation and then just have fun looking at the amazing things you want to get up too or eat or drink. I spent hours planning my trip, which included a year working in Australia and then New Zealand and I ended up booking a flight to Kenya after 6 weeks Down Under whilst under the influence of a glass of red wine or three and have never looked back. Places are going to impress, underwhelm and surprise you and it's often the areas you have the least expectations about that come to grab you by the heart and never let you go.

The most amazing and empowering aspect of travelling for a significant amount of time is the complete and utter freedom you relish in it and allow yourself the luxury of spontaneity.

2. Budget for a little luxury
Backpacking around the world is one of the most incredible experiences you could ever wish to have but sometimes, hostels and dorm rooms and bunk beds and communal living get a little too much and honestly, the ability to book even one night in a gorgeous apartment or luxury hotel room is actually, really quite important. Bearing in mind the few times in your trip that you will just need peace or to sleep in a bed that you don't have to climb up into or simply a little alone time when figuring out your money situation and budget is crucial - keep that mind healthy, okay.

3. Pack triple the amount of underwear
I'm going to estimate that approximately 79372 articles you read online about 'what to pack when going travelling' tells you to take 2 tops, half a pair of trousers, and 3 pairs of underwear and I am here to tell you to ignore these 'tips' immediately, to not fall into this clothing trap and pack ALL of the underwear you have. You are travelling for a significant amount of time, do you really think 6 pairs of pants will suffice for that long? Do you want to spend (what feels like) every other day at the laundrette? Pack the underwear, all of it, and thank me later.

4. Trust people
We're always taught as young children to not talk to strangers, and as tourists to never, ever look like you're lost and when backpacking, these are two things that you will most definitely, be doing. People, generally, are kind and when in need of a little help, whether it be where the nearest public bathrooms are, to where on God's green earth you're hostel is, put your trust in people and ask for help - the ole heart will be warmed with people's efforts, I promise.

5. Push yourself
When I first started this trip, I found it quite difficult to meet and chat to new people. I didn't find it easy to make conversation with people I'd met a few moments ago, I definitely did not push myself to try and I leant on my amazingly chatty and friendly BFF to basically, meet people for me. It was only one day, a couple of months into the trip when my friend gently nudged me and said 'hey, you're kind of coming across a little cold with people' that a realisation dawned on me that nope, I have to stop this, I have to push myself, stand on my own two feet in social situations and allow myself to relax, get to know people and let them get to know me. And you know what? It's been hard at times and I've panicked and gotten awkward in those moments of silence between conversation topics and spent 10 minutes in the toilet to collect myself but it's been the best thing I could ever have made myself do. I didn't it easy to make new friends and hey, sometimes I'm still not the best but the people I've met and the friends I've made have been one of, if not the, most amazing parts of this trip and have only made my time travelling richer. So, do it - plonk yourself down on that stool in the hostel bar, ask how someone's day has been or where they've come from, say yes to an invite to explore a local attraction or simply for a coffee with a fellow hostel guest. Push yourself to be more - you won't regret it.

There we have it - a few (kind of and hopefully) helpful trips when planning a travelling adventure. The most important thing though is to simply enjoy yourself - there will perhaps never be a time again in your life where you will have so few responsibilities and so many possibilities. Appreciate every moment.

                               Want to chat? Let's get social...

1 comment:

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