unallersimple: (hectopus)
Going away in Europe for a couple of weeks earlier in the year was real turning point for me, as it gave me the chance to slow down and think about what I want in life in the future. So I handed my notice in not long after I got back and worked out my last few months.

I finished work two days ago and I had a really nice last day. Everyone was so generous I was blown away! I got so many cards and presents and one of my co-workers baked a free-from cake for me. A few people even popped over from our head office in another county. I'm so grateful for everything everyone has done.


I don't have any other job lined up yet, but I've gone for a compromise between traveling around the world and "being sensible". So I'm going away for a month and I will find temp work when I get back until I move to London in February/March. You can still get a work visa for New Zealand until the age of 35 so I've pushed that dream back for now. I couldn't let the chance of renting a room in Streatham at a very cheap rate pass me by!

I'm going to Sri Lanka in a few days which is really exciting (but mostly nerve-wracking). I've always been fascinated by the place and did some of my coursework on the country when I was at university. I've never been to that part of the world before. I don't have any real aims other than to sit on the beach and read a book on Christmas Day.

I'll be staying in Unawatuna/Galle from 20th -26th Dec.

I've been saving books I'm desperate to read for the trip, such as J K Rowling's latest novel and Bill Bryson's new book about traveling around the UK 20 years on from Notes on a Small Island. Can't wait to devour them.

I guess I'm struggling to feel too excited as I'm scared to leave home because of the recent terrorist attacks in Egypt and Paris. Yet I know I'm very privileged to be able to quit my job and go traveling as most people who want to can't.

And I keep having little moments of panic where I think I should be at work!
It's like I haven't really left somehow. Maybe it's just not sunk in yet..

I'll spend the next two days packing and planning before I fly out to Colombo on Sunday via a stopover in Qatar. My room is the usual pre-departure bomb site; papers, clothes and kit scattered all over the floor whilst anything electrical is being charged.

Everything else in life is now on hold until I get back.

Speak soon.
unallersimple: (suitcase)
Yesterday I arrived in Slovakia (country number 27!) after a 7 hour bus journey from Kraków to Bratislava. Ever the party animal, I spent my Friday evening avoiding the receptionist who was trying to get me to go out for drinks with other guests by doing my laundry in the basement.

I like this hostel the best out of the ones I've stayed in so far. I have a wide open spaced room and there are no bunk beds, so you don't get wobbled around every time the person on top climbs the ladder or turns over. It's en suite for a room a four! I wake up when my room mate flings the curtains back and opens the windows. I lie happily looking at the sunshine and blue sky. I liked Kraków but I'm glad to leave the grey Polish skies behind.

I haven't updated this blog yet as after being so run down from work and running a bi group, I've just needed to do NOTHING. I've barely read. I've barely written in my diary. I've not done much sightseeing either! Just lots and lots of walking and sitting in cafes drinking tea. A week into my holiday I finally feel like I'm starting to feel again. Which makes a nice change from just dreading every single day and feeling miserable all the time. I want to change jobs and leave Nottingham. I'm not happy there. I've just not been sure what to do next and don't want to rush into anything in case I make the wrong choice.

I'm also keenly aware of the fact that if I want a working visa to Canada or New Zealand, I need to do something soon before it's too late. (The cut off for Canada is 30.)

Sometimes it's difficult to work out whether something is just a day dream or whether you will actually really enjoy doing it. This two week trip has been a nice way of exploring whether I want to work abroad or buy a round the world ticket as over the past couple of years I've only been away for 3-5 days at a time.

Unsurprisingly I do. I do enjoy this. I just need to figure out the logistics and the money and DO IT!
unallersimple: (hectopus)
Next week I'm flying off to Europe for a two week waltz around four countries. I'm really excited as they are all beautiful places I've never been to before and I can wait to explore them.

First of all I'm flying to Poland, then traveling to Slovakia, Austria and Slovenia by bus and by train before heading home. When I come back I will have been to more countries than my age. Wahoo! This is a very exciting development for Mission 101.

I want to celebrate the occasion by getting a map of the world tattood on my left forearm upon my return.
unallersimple: (hectopus)
Determined to reach 25 countries and go to more countries than my age, I just bought some flights to The Czech Republic in November. I'll only go away for the weekend (as I've pretty much used up all my holiday allowance for this year) but I'm really looking forward to it. I love a bit of literary tourism as it connects my two great passions of travel and reading. The novel "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" was given to me for my birthday last year and I fell in love with the vivid, beautiful imagery of Prague after turning just a few pages. There is even a little map of the places featured in the novel on the official website. I think it's really cool when authors/publishers take the time to do this. (Another example is "The Shadow of Wind" which has photos and a walking tour of Barcelona at the end.) Another amazing thing that brings the novel to life is that Laini Taylor, the author, has a board on Pinterest for the book! Photos like this one inspire and excite and make you want to visit Prague and re-read the book whilst you're there.

I have yet to read the second and third novels in the trilogy (they're somewhere in my massive "to read" pile), but I know where and when I'll start them now.
unallersimple: (hectopus)
I set myself a goal to go to three new countries this year. As it's now July and it's been a few months since my last trip to Portugal I figured I'd better get a move on; I still have two left to go! I've been researching this evening. Having a think about where I want to go next. As always my destination is decided by looking at route maps and flights and reading Wikitravel until I see something that makes me feel like I HAVE to go there.

A few hours ago I was looking at places to visit near Dubrovnik and I saw this picture on the page for Plitvice National Park. I was so stunned by the colours I gasped out loud.

I then saw this photo of Mostar and started crying because it looks so beautiful!

So it looks like Croatia will be country number 23 with Bosnia and Herzegovina coming in at 24!

Whilst wiping the tears from my eyes this evening I also had a moment of recognition and thought;
"Wait a minute...I've seen that bridge somewhere before."
I dug out my copy of Michael Palin's New Europe and saw that he had indeed visited Mostar. I am even more delighted with my travel plans know that I know that I'll be following in his footsteps once more. (He's my all time lifelong travel hero you see. I've watched and admired his travel shows for as long as I can remember.)

Which brings me on to another piece of good news: I bought a ticket to see Michael Palin's one man show in September called Travel to Work! I was very lucky to get a ticket as I was shamefully late in finding out about it; especially after missing his book signing in Nottingham earlier this year by only finding out about it on the day it happened. I need to be much more aware of these things! I very much hope that I'll be able to get my paperback copy of Around the World in 80 Days signed at the theatre door, especially as he isn't performing in Nottingham so I'll have to travel all the way back to Manchester for the show. I also worry that with all this Monty Python stuff happening again he'll be too famous to meet fans post performance. :S

Whatever happens September is going to be a great month though. :D

x

18 Years?!

Oct. 23rd, 2005 06:18 pm
unallersimple: (hectopus)
Hey Hey,

Well I've been getting all restless again recently, and wish I could be traveling around with just a backpack again. I suppose the situation got really bad when I started taking brochures from the travel agents and renting out world music from the library! To keep myself busy I've been working on one of my life ambitions - to travel to 101 countries (or more if I get that far!) in my lifetime. I've already been to 11, 12 if I count the country where I live, and I worked out that even if I go to 5 countries every year, it will still take me eighteen years! Eighteen years! After realising the huge challenge I've gone and set myself I decided to get to work.

So as I get some generous holiday time from my university I've decided to get a few more countries checked off while I'm still a student. Last night I sat down with my inflatable globe again and got all overexcited planning out where I will go and when. (Something harder than I first thought due to weather, distance, etc. for example Norway is nearby and I could go during the Xmas hols, but it wouldnt be very fun unless I enjoyed being very cold!)

So my rough plan for the next few years is:

Summer 2006 - Australia :D

Xmas 2006 - Portugal

Easter 2007 - Iceland (to see where Anna lives if she'll have me!)

Summer 2007 - This would be my last chance for a working holiday in the USA, as the government only accepts people for this scheme who are going back to study, so it's now or never. I say now!! (Woo! The states baby yeah!)

Xmas 2007 - Morocco

Easter 2008 - Luxembourg

Summer 2008 - Japan and South Korea (should have done a year of Japanese by then at uni).

Xmas 2008 - Turkey

By this point I should be very skint and very tired, and probably have forgotten I'm supposed to be getting a degree here, but I will have put the number of countries visited up by many!

I love traveling so much, but sometimes I look back over entries I've just written, like this one, and realise just how much of an idiot I am.

How did this idea get in head anyway, *rolls eyes at myself*

xXx

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