Okay, so we’re now halfway through our month in Thailand, which has gone insanely fast, so I thought I’d do a quick update on how we’re getting on. Some of you might remember we set ourselves some pretty big challenges for our time here, and I figured I’d be accountable on the blog and let you all know whether we’ve met our goals or not.
We’ve also just about planned our route home from here over the next 3 months or so to round off our current travels to around a year from when we first left the UK. It’s a horrible cliche but I cannot believe how quickly 9 months of travelling has gone and what an amazing time we’ve had. We now well and truly have a bad case of the travel bug (as if we didn’t already!), and already have a couple of longer term plans which I’ll also include here for posterity. I do tend to feel that writing here and putting plans out there to the world makes me a little more driven to stick to them, although our plans are pretty awesome so hopefully we’ll manage to achieve them anyway!
Well, pretty good actually. We’ve stacked up reasonably well on the adventures front – having a fab time celebrating Songkran in Phuket, hiking to various waterfalls, exploring National Parks and beaches, visiting lots of night markets and generally loving our time getting to know Phuket. I can definitely see why people come here for a couple of weeks and get stuck for months as it’s pretty awesome and totally not what I expected. The only thing we haven’t really done so far in this category is any island hopping as we’ve just been so busy. Perhaps in the next couple of weeks we’ll manage at least one other island.
Healthy eating is also going well. With the exception of perhaps a little too much mango sticky rice and perhaps more wine drinking than anticipated (onsite cafe sells takeaway wine for £2.50 for a generous 1-2 glass serving), we’ve eaten healthily fairly consistently. We’ve discovered some great healthy cafes and restaurants as well as eating loads of fresh seafood which has been pretty awesome.
Exercise is another positive. We are now halfway through our 30 Days of Yoga with Adrienne and I’m loving doing yoga every day. I think I’ll write about the course in more detail once we’ve finished, but it’s so motivating and easy to keep up with. Similarly we’ve had two rest days (one per week) since we’ve arrived and have worked out every day other than these, with a good mix of cardio and HIIT sessions. I can really feel the improvements in energy and can see some muscle tone building which is a brilliant motivator. Those abs will be with me soon!
Where Are We Failing?
Obviously it’s not all perfect and we have fallen short on a few things 🙁 namely work and some of our other goals. Workwise we’re a little behind on where we had aimed for – not in terms of missing deadlines, just not getting as many new projects in as we thought we would, although we expect a couple to land in the next few weeks. On the flipside it’s been great to relax and we’re both feeling so much better for it, so I’m not too worried. I’ve done a fair amount of blogging and have 6 new travel guides drafted and nearly ready to launch. We also have 10 upcoming or recently launched features on other travel blogs and websites which is amazing and it’s been great to write for so many new sites.
Sadly I haven’t read any books, unless browsing Harry Potter on the beach counts… and I’m still spending too much time online. Lots of it has been trip planning and ‘research’ though, so it’s not all bad!
Overall, I’m pretty happy with where we’re at and I have a renewed energy for our next set of travels to take us home to catch up with friends and family.
Our 2017 Travel Plans
Onto the exciting bit – what’s next! We’ve veered so far away from our original itinerary it’s quite hilarious so I expect this won’t turn out to be completely accurate but I was doing my usual stressing because we didn’t have any plans from Thailand onwards. So, here’s our route home as it currently stands:
Our next stop will hopefully be China, where we’ll be spending just over 2 weeks exploring Beijing, Xi-an, Giulin & Yanshuo and Shanghai. First we have to wrangle with the intense visa requirements to make sure we can get there, but that’s a job for the next two weeks. We plan to do China on a real budget, back to hostels and even dorms, so we can spend more on some awesome tours we want to do while we’re there.
We will possibly be stopping off for a day or so either side of our China trip in Hong Kong but this massively depends on flight prices. It’s also an expensive city so whilst we’d love to tick it off the list, A I don’t want to be a box ticker to see as many places as possible, and B it might just not work out on this trip.
Next stop is Bali, where we’ll be spending Rob’s 3oth! Hopefully this will be in a fairly nice AirBnB as they’re not too expensive and it’ll be nice to have a base for a couple of weeks. We plan to do lots of hiking, yoga, healthy eating, working and fingers crossed a trip to see those Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island.
After Bali we’ll hop over to Singapore for a few days where we’ll be sorting some more visa bits for a couple of other countries on the list.
Followed by the adventure that will be India. I’m kind of nervous about this one, as we’d originally planned to take a tour but realistically now we’ve travelled solo so much we can’t really justify the added cost. We’re only going to spend just over a week exploring Northern India, specifically the Taj Mahal, New Delhi and Jaipur. This will be our 6th world wonder and the last one of this trip!
While we’re in India it would be rude not to drop in on Nepal… providing we can find some affordable flights which is looking fairly positive. We’d love to do some trekking in Annapurna – sadly it’s the wrong season for Base Camp and it seems a bit out of our budget at the moment.
It’s then surprisingly budget friendly to get to Moscow from India and it’s a place we’d love to see. As history lovers we’re super keen to explore Moscow and St Petersburg, and plan to spend a couple of days in each place to see the highlights.
We then intend to travel back to London by train, starting with a journey to Warsaw where we’ll spend a few days and will hopefully be able to visit Auschwitz. I’m sure this will be as devastating as we expect, but it’s a place we’re extremely interested to visit.
Next up, it seems simple and affordable to get to Germany and we’re planning a day or so each in Berlin and Cologne. We’ve made loads of amazing German friends on our travels and I would love to see more of Germany, but I think that’s all we really have time for on this particular journey. We’ve been told these are the highlights (by people who live there!) so we shall see.
From Germany we’ll take the train to Brussels and spend a day here, and we’re also v v v keen to visit Bruges. Inspired by the film In Bruges and a million christmas markets, I appreciate it’s the wrong time of year for this exact experience, but we still want to drop in.
And finally…. back to Blighty! Hopefully we’ll manage it by the beginning of August as we intend to travel v quickly to cover plenty of ground in as little time as possible
Does That Mean We’re Going To Stop Travelling?
So does that mean we’re going to grow up, get married, have some kids and put our traveling behind us…? erm, probably not, sorry Mum & Dad. I’ve already said that travel will always be a huge part of life for us, as it always has been and I am determined not to let this blog wither and die after so much hard work! We’ll do lots of UK travel, and we have 3 travel adventures specifically in mind for the 6-8 months after we get home… I don’t know if this means we may carry on freelancing for a bit or whether we’ll find a very friendly employer who is happy to let us have a little bit of time off in February but we will see.
Plan Number 1 – Canada
I have developed a recent obsession with Canada. I have no idea why but I think it may have something to do with Instagram. I’m also turning 30 in September, so there’s no way that after Rob has spent his 30th cavorting with Komodo Dragons and chilling in Bali that I plan to spend mine in sunny Lutterworth. Nope. We are desperate to have a quick 2 week trip to western Canada to see Vancouver, Banff, Jasper, Calgary and Tofino (to mention a couple of places). If we have money and time to drop in on Iceland or Alaska on our way then that’s all the better, but we’re keeping it a bit more realistic for now.
Plan Number 2 – Patagonia & Antarctica
Missing seeing Patagonia is one of our biggest regrets from our South America itinerary and inspired again by Instagram, as well as my sister’s recent trip there, we are extremely keen to visit and see, well just about as much as possible really. How’s this for starters. If we’re in Argentina it would also be a convenient place from which to visit Antarctica… which would also happen to mean we’d visited all 7 continents together before the end of our 30th year. It could even coincide with our 8th anniversary. I mean, it’s like fate or something right?! Joking, kind of, but we are very very excited at the prospect of a little Antartica cruise and just have to work on saving up £10k first. This would be a 2-3 week trip with just over a week each in Patagonia and Antarctica so hopefully it would fit around any job.
Plan 3 – The Van
It might surprise you to find out that our craziest and most ambitious travel plan when we return home isn’t managing to achieve either of the above. We actually have this quite serious plan to buy a van, and convert it into a camper! We’ve read a lot online and it’s so serious that I now have a Pinterest board dedicated to this project. Plus it’s not like we’ll be able to afford the money or time for such exotic travels as we’re used to once we’ve done the two above trips, so we figured we could get a van on the road, chuck the dog in it, and spend some time exploring the UK and Europe over the next couple of years. Very excited about this one and hoping it happens. Obviously I am quite useless when it comes to practical things so this will mainly be up to Rob to lead the way on!
Well not quite the end, but I’ve been writing this post live over the last hour while Rob works out (he knows about these plans, honestly), and have managed to chuck out 2000 words so I’d better stop for now. Would LOVE any feedback on our travel plans and if anyone wants to reassure me that they’ll hire me when I get back that would be fab. 🙂