The plan so far

I have decided to take a bit of a laid back approach to the whole planning part as I want that flexibility to be able to do whatever I want when I want while I’m out there, rather than follow a rigid itinerary. If it was practical enough, I would be happy to just pack my bag and go! But going travelling for 12 months with zero preparation would almost certainly cause too much trouble than it is worth. So common sense prevails, and I will be spending these next nine months researching the basics and planning for the trip of my lifetime.

So far, I only have a list of countries which I want to go to. The plan is to leave in April 2011 heading straight to Cambodia. From there, I will travel overland to south Vietnam, up to Hanoi in north Vietnam, overland to Laos and overland to Thailand. From there, I will fly to the Philippines, and then fly to Indonesia. I will then take a flight to Australia and New Zealand. The final leg of my trip will take me from New Zealand to Chile and Peru. Then back to the UK.

I am hoping to stay in Cambodia for a month or so before meeting the boyfriend in Vietnam towards the end of May/start of June when the football season has finished. He says he will be joining me for a few months or for the remainder of my trip – he has yet to decide whether he can pull himself away from the football for about 10/11 months! For those that know him, this will come as no surprise! So, taking a precautionary approach, I will also be planning to do things on my own, just in case he pulls out and leaves me at a loose end.

Some of you may even ask why I don’t just wait for the football season to be over and then just go together. Well, put it this way. I have always planned to go travelling, travelling on my own at that. I get the impression that travelling solo is a completely different experience to travelling with a partner. This is because that sense of urgency to get out and about to meet people will be just that little bit stronger when travelling solo than when you’re travelling with someone, ‘cause let’s face it, meeting interesting people is all part of the experience and is probably one of the most exciting parts of going backpacking. I’m not saying that when you go travelling as a couple that you won’t want to meet new people, but because you have each other, you won’t feel lonely as they will always be there so the urgency to meet new people won’t be as strong.

Also, I’m guessing that you will be much more aware of your surroundings and safety when on your own. This will be a real test for me as I have no sense of direction and am the kind of person who will continue walking until someone says stop, so I am looking forward to challenging myself in this respect.

So, due to my circumstances, I am now in the fortunate position of being able to experience both types of travelling, and I want to seize this opportunity.

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The decision

Sat on the sofa in my flat on a work night, I turned around to my boyfriend and declared that I was going to go travelling. Staying calm, he asked “when?”. My response, “April 2011, for 12 months or until my funds run out, whichever is longer”.

Admittedly, it was a bit of an impromptu decision, but looking back on it, I think its going to be one of the best decisions I ever make. Rapidly approaching my mid 20s, I’m in a pretty stable job and in a happy relationship with my boyfriend. Pretty settled, so why the change? Well, travelling around the world has always been one of my dreams. There’s so much to see and do that I don’t want to miss out. I’ve always known that I will go travelling, it was just a matter of when. I’ve been feeling pretty restless for the past 12 months or so and feel like I need a change of scenery. I don’t have a mortgage, nor do I have any children, ie no ties. So seizing this opportunity, I made a quick decision to pack everything in and go!

Although I’d touched upon this subject with my boyfriend before, I never thought that it was going to be something that we’d be doing together – quite simply because I never thought he was serious enough to actually do it. After mentally preparing myself to go travelling on my own, he has decided to come travelling with me after all – for how long and when, he has yet to decide.

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