What Inspired Me To Start Traveling
To be honest, international travel never really came onto my radar until I was in my 20s, but travel around the UK was a huge part of my upbringing. I’m fortunate that every school half-term and holiday my family would rent a house and explore somewhere new in the UK.
This is definitely where my love for sightseeing started, but it was my gran who ultimately inspired me to travel alone overseas for the first time. My 94-year-old grandmother is my idol.
Throughout her life she has traveled the world extensively, living in some of the coolest places like the Falkland Islands, Turkey, Vietnam, Uganda, and Malaysia.
As a result, she has some of the craziest, most inspiring travel stories I’ve ever heard. Think surviving helicopter crashes in South Georgia, fleeting the Viet Cong, and having tea with the Sultan of Brunei!
I wanted to visit these same strange lands and to be honest, I never considered going with anyone. This was going to be my adventure to walk in her footsteps and mine alone.
When I left for my year of backpacking after graduating from university, she told me travel is essential for further education and wholeheartedly encouraged me (and still does!).
For me, solo traveling is the ultimate act of self-care. It’s like a nourishing tonic for your mind, body, and soul. It’s absolutely my favorite way to travel. You’re completely in control of curating the trip of your dreams. I just love that.
How I Decide On My Next Destination
I never have a set plan of which destination I’ll travel to next. Of course, I have a bucket list of sorts in my head with places I absolutely want to travel to one day, but destination inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes I’m inspired by a documentary, article, or book. Sometimes it’s a recommendation from someone. But more often than not, it’s a bargain flight that catches my eye to somewhere new and interesting!
Duration Of My Trips & How I Prepare For Them
Now I work full time, and my trips have obviously become a lot shorter in length but I probably do solo weekends or long weekends away in my Ford camper van at least once a month.
For overseas trips, typically I like at least 2-3 weeks away. Depending on the size of the country, I think that’s the minimum amount of time you need to get a good taste of a place.
Typically I write a list of what I need to pack a week or so before. I tend to pack fairly last minute in the days leading up to my trip as I pack light and take only my essentials. I’d say I’m a minimalist traveler so I utilize a 30-40L backpack and hand luggage is my preference.
My Favorite Memory Of Meeting New People & Exploring With Them
There are so many cool travel moments I have shared with amazing people from all over the world. There’s a common misconception that solo travel is lonely, but that's the thing - it can be as social or as self-indulgent and introverted as you want it to be. Travel brings out the best in everyone and the connections you make with strangers on the road who soon become friends, are some of the most fulfilling.
One of my favorite stories stemming from a chance meeting is the time I met an English guy in Malaysia whom I then traveled to Brazil with. In Rio, we both met a Brazilian man who was there to run a marathon. We got talking and he invited us to stay with him and his family in Brasilia. A week or so later we agreed and caught a flight. Upon arriving at the airport, our Brazilian friend picked us up and said he had a big surprise for us. He drove to what appeared to be a military base, which was slightly disconcerting!! Before we knew it we were whizzing through the skies in a ginormous helicopter in the middle of the night, thousands of feet above the Brasilia skyline. We shined a spotlight on the world’s largest stadium and watched an arrest for a stolen car in real-time. Turns out he was the chief helicopter engineer for the military police! That experience riding in a helicopter with the Brazilian police was one of the most surreal and once-in-a-lifetime travel moments of my life!
Countries I Have Visited So Far
I’ve been to somewhere over 30 countries to date and the fact there are still so many more to visit is what makes life seem so incredible to me. I am so excited to keep on exploring this beautiful and mind-boggling planet.
Some of my favorite destinations to date have been Bolivia, Vietnam, South Korea, and New Zealand. I am probably biased as I’m English, but I think the countryside of the UK is also some of the prettiest in the world.
As for places I’m desperate to visit, that would absolutely have to be Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Antarctica, Namibia, Uganda, and the African continent in general!
One Of My Most Memorable Travel Experiences
Bolivia was somewhere that totally blew me away in so many ways. For adventure-seekers, it’s actually nuts! In Bolivia, I cycled down the world’s most dangerous road, swam in alligator-infested waters in search of pink river dolphins in the Amazon, and saw the largest salt flats in the world, the otherworldly Salar de Uyuni. The culture there is just amazing too. It’s a challenging country to travel through for sure for so many reasons, but it rewards people willing to go out of their comfort zone.
Inspiration To Start My Blog
I love writing and of course travel, so it was a natural fit to start blogging. Writing essays in my English Literature class was probably the only thing about the school I liked! It took me a while to work up the courage, but in 2017 I published my own personal site with a handful of articles. It’s come such a long way since then. The opportunities and experiences I’ve had off the back of blogging have been amazing!
The mission of my blog is to inspire people to live a more adventurous life and explore the world, especially solo. Adventure comes in so many forms. Whether it’s jet-setting around the world, or just exploring locally one hike or museum at a time, life is just so much more fulfilling when you pack it with experiences.
How I Manage Costs
I never really travel with a set budget in mind. I just travel when I can afford it. I hate having to worry about money, it totally taints the trip and limits activities, which to me is pointless. I strongly believe in just living the best version of your life. If I want to do something, I’ll do it. I want to enjoy every minute of my well-earned trip. Ok, I wouldn’t spend $2,000 on a private helicopter ride for example, but I believe in treats in the form of experiences over material goods any day. That being said, budget travel is naturally my style.
I will usually stay in hostels, go on group tours and eat food from local street vendors. It helps keep those basic costs to a minimum so I can make my trip last as long as possible with many more experiences jammed in.
How I Manage My Time
Previously I used to work short-term contracts or freelance, and backpack wherever I wanted for long periods in between. I’m fortunate that I have no mortgage, kids, debt, or other commitments, and could up and go whenever I felt like it.
Since meeting my partner (and world events in 2020 shook things up a bit), I began working full-time in Melbourne for a small tech company that builds apps. It was unplanned, but a blessing. My company is amazing. They genuinely care for my well-being, and who I am as an individual. They know my long weekends away in my van are my passion and they are always encouraging me to nip off early to beat the traffic, and to make the most of my annual leave. I appreciate their flexibility and kindness so much. It’s rare to work for bosses who encourage a work-life balance!
I can also work remotely if required which is literally a dream come true. I absolutely love working from a campsite in my van to enjoy those beautiful Australian sunny days in the heart of nature. There are so many perks to just needing a laptop and a phone to work. I look forward to continuing my remote work adventure very soon!
Skills That Every Full-Time Traveler Should Have
I don’t think there are particular skills that make someone a full-time traveler. It’s about personality and personal circumstances. You need to be emotionally strong and motivated to live such an unconventional lifestyle that can, at times, completely isolate you from others, but also laid back and flexible to roll with change and a life of constant unsettlement.
But you can be all of these things yet the circumstances aren't right - you’re a carer, you have children, you have debt, you have health issues, you have no passport or you’re a citizen of a country that restricts travel. Who knows! Travel, let alone full-time travel is an utter privilege, it’s not about skills.
Importance Of Finding Like-Minded Travelers
For people hesitant to travel solo, or just prefer traveling with a company, tools to connect like-minded people together are invaluable. They help to make travel accessible to a variety of people.
Some staple apps I use for traveling have to be Google Maps, (or Maps.me which is much more reliable and includes walking trails too), AllTrails for hiking, Booking for organizing accommodation, SkyScanner for searching for the best flight deals, and WikiCamps Australia for free and cheap campgrounds for my van.
Advice That I Can Share
Well if there’s work involved the first thing to know is that the travel element isn’t really going to be full-time at all. Sorry to burst that bubble! There is a lot more time stuck indoors chasing good WiFi and avoiding screen glare and less time exploring than you may initially think. I personally find it torture to be stuck inside in front of a laptop for 40 hours a week when you also feel like you’re on vacation!
That being said, if you can base yourself in one place for a while, remote work is a nice way to slow travel and immerse yourself in the everyday way of life and culture of a place.
As for getting remote work, if you currently do a job you enjoy or at least don’t mind, before quitting, it’s well worth seeing whether you have the opportunity to work remotely for the same employer.
It may not be doing the exact role you do now, but starting that conversation, if you feel you can have it, may lead to something great.
If that’s not going to work for you, then there’s always a demand for people who are good at what they do. So think about your skills and hobbies and perhaps you can consult or go freelance in your area of expertise.
What I Wish I’d Known When I First Started Traveling
I wish I’d known that solo travel would change my life so I could have started it much sooner! It’s as simple as that!
Other cool travel stories worth reading!