And now…

…it’s all over. Nine months, 20 countries and 31 flights. My travelling style is militant. And I’m broken! I need a holiday…! Or just a decent duvet, lie-ins and Marmite. Lots of Marmite.

I love a question, so have summarised some FAQs to wrap this blog up.

What were the lows?

– rats partially consuming my favourite sandals in India
– being followed by a dog in Ecuador which kept licking an anal wound (it’s own!!)
– having to walk past a semi naked and begging toddler on a Mumbai roundabout
– being bitten by a monkey in Nicaragua

What were the highs?

– swimming through caves in Guatemala whilst holding up a candle for light
– being fed by happy families on sleeper trains in India
– wondering round Alcatraz Island at night in California
– Korea. Just…Korea
– getting a scar from a monkey bite in Nicaragua!
– …and too many more….

Was it lonely going alone?

At times, undoubtedly. But whilst your friends become strangers, strangers become your friends. Very quickly and very easily. More often I found myself wondering when I could steal some time alone to read / Skype / Misc Other.

What about Brad?

He is a paragon of all thing lovely. He looked after some of my life admin and was always contactable for catch-ups. I’m nauseous with gratitude! Spending time together at Christmas and Easter was also indescribably wonderful.

Worth it?

Absolutely. My mind has been blown more than my bank account. I have memories for my death bed.

Have I changed?

Yes. Browner and fatter. Higher resting heart rate. More information in my brain. And I like my feet more. They have been really useful.

It has also reinforced a deep contentedness with my life and huge appreciation…of being born…of family, of friends, of past jobs, of food, of health, of England and of small animals with furry faces (because they were always great).

———

If you’ve been reading my blog – thanks! It was mostly a venture to ensure I didn’t forget what I did, how I felt and what I thought. Others enjoying it has been a pleasant side effect. Travelling, writing this stuff – it’s been a ball!

And below is some pragmatic advise…

Byeeee!

————-

If your thinking of an adventure and you have the means…go. Admittedly, it took me a good 3 years of excuses to eventually bite the bullet. But I’m so glad I did. And if you do go, take these…

– extra long charging cables so you can plug in your electronics and sleep with them safely under your pillow.
– putty earplugs. Because they are amazing and people snore.
– gaffer tape. Fixes flip flops, seals food etc. Even if you never use it, others will and you get to look like a competent traveller
– nail brush. Good for hand washing grimy clothes.
– different bank cards. Because sometimes one just won’t work. Norwich & Peterborough do a debit card with no international fees. Capital One do a credit card with no international fees.
– screw top toothpaste. Clip down lid models have a tendency to pop open and decant over belongings
– wet wipes. For if you don’t have a screw top toothpaste
– see-through toiletry bag. Reduce daily rummaging.
– Lonely Planet Samples. Downloadable for free on kindle. Gives you top 10/20 sites and you can go from there. Apart from India! Full version needed. This is your bible.
– XE Currency Conversion App. Obvious.
– Coded Lock. For hostel lockers. And no key to lose.
– Chain. For securing backpack if taking sleeper trains or dodge buses.
– Anti-bacterial Gel. To kill the aids.
– Notebook. To transcribe hostel addresses etc when you don’t want to be flashing your phone about.
– Decent Backpack for day use. Such as the Jack Wolfskin Moab Jam 18. Don’t get me started.
– Small Shoulder Bag (for the ladies…). Because you don’t always want to look like a dork.
– black footless high denier tights (for the ladies…). Compact and lightweight modesty for temples and conservative Muslim areas. Can whack on under dresses and shorts rather than lugging around trousers.
– small lightweight gifts from home. Sweets, stickers… Really useful for street kids, saying thank you etc when you don’t want to give money.

Finally, as per Brads advise, all critical items (passport, bank cards, phone, cash) should have a ‘home’. If they are not in your hand, they should be in their home. Using this system you can save on unnecessary panicking and be quick to necessary panicking.

…that’s all folks!

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