It’s 2.53 am and I can’t sleep. Tomorrow is my last day in Munich before I leave on my round-the-world trip. This trip is what has kept me sane over the last three years while I was struggling through my PhD. Reading about other peoples’ dreams and how they managed to make them come true was what kept me going. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I made up my mind to go travelling, while I was still on my first ever solo trip in Israel in 2010. I remember tossing that 10 shekel coin at the beach in Tel Aviv on my last day there. I can’t even recall what the outcome was (heads or palm tree) but it didn’t really matter anyway. I’d already decided that travel would play a bigger part in my future life, even though it took a bit longer than I was expecting that summer, three full years.
I can’t believe it’s less than 5 months until my boyfriend and I pack our fancy new backpacks and leave behind the British winter for a year-long adventure around the world! I’ve been excited about this trip for the last 2 years and since we’ve booked our RTW tickets earlier this year I can hardy sit still anymore.
I love planning holidays, from day trips outside London to weekend getaways, and now this once in a lifetime RTW trip! For me that means, talking to everybody I know about their favourite places they’ve traveled to, reading guide books and novels about the countries we will visit and trying to cook the dishes I am so looking forward to, to eat! And of course, reading travel blogs. Many, many travel blogs.
One thing I keep on stumbling upon is people’s bucket lists (which I love reading) and things they want to experience before they turn 30. Now, what is it about that magical number 30 that makes people so obsessed with it?
In recent weeks female (and male) solo travellers from around the world have spoken out strongly about the beauty of solo travel. Personally, I am a believer in travelling solo. It gives you enormous freedom to do exactly what you want, to see what you want to see and to eat what you want to eat. It’s a great confidence booster and an awesome way to meet new people.
But I think it is time to talk about the ugly side of solo travel. There are bad sides? I hear you ask? Oh yes. There is one aspect that every solo traveller (no matter if male or female) has encountered on their journeys, and it looks a little something like this:
Yesterday evening I was nominated for a Liebster Blog Award by the lovely Amy from Amy the Nomad. Now I have to admit I hadn’t actually heard about this award before I was nominated but as it means “favourite” in German I knew this must be good.
The Liebster Blog award is a way for bloggers to high-five each other and to share their favourite small-ish blogs with each other. This is how it works: You get asked 11 questions by the blogger who nominates you, which you have to answer. Now it’s your turn to think of 11 questions which your 11 favourite bloggers have to answer. And for a little fun, you tell them 11 random facts about yourself. Simple!
So here we go.
Another fun drinking pic over at The Tipsy Nomads!
That’s me drinking Umqombothi (which is a beer made from maize, sorghum, yeast and water) and a traditional drink in the townships in South Africa. I tried it in a shebeen in Soweto. The vessel is called a calabash!
Thanks for sharing!
One of the best things about planning a RTW trip is getting excited about it, dreaming up your route and planning it! You can have so much fun preparing it all before you even hit the road, the time until departure day will just fly by.
I can’t recall how many hours and days I have spent looking at photos online, flipping through guide books and reading other people’s travel blogs online.
Here are my favourite blogs which gave me the courage to take the plunge and go, helped me with packing my backpack and how to budget for it all.
In no particular order:
A Little Adrift – Shannon’s blog was one of the first ones I came across and it has been indispensable in helping me plan my trip, especially the budgeting tips are great.
Her Packing List – Packing can seem like a big hurdle if you’ve never been away for a long-term trip, especially for girls. This blog has a packing list for virtually any occasion complete with photos, cute outfit ideas and all sorts of other travel essentials.
Never Ending Voyage – Erin & Simon are a couple who went on a RTW trip in 2008 and loved it so much they decided to sell everything and travel forever. Great preparation advice and budget break-downs.
Travel Fashion Girl – One of my favourite travel blogs especially for girls. Travel fashion girl proves that you can travel the world and look good at the same time. You can find outfit ideas, beauty tips, packing lists and shopping tips around the world.
Never Ending Footsteps – Lauren is a fellow English traveller who shows you how not to travel. She shares her incidents so we can learn from her (sometimes hilarious) mistakes.
Globetrotter Girls – Dani & Jess are a German/American lesbian couple who decided semi-spontaneously to travel the world. They give great advice on house-sitting and share delicious food from around the world, yum!
Tipsy Nomads – A really fun site that collects pictures of people with drinks from around the world. You can submit your own pic of you drinking your favourite tipple (I submitted one too)!
Inside the Travel Lab – This blog is run by Abi, a journalist who gave up a career as a doctor for life on the road. It’s a really creative source of everything related to travel accompanied by beautiful photos.
I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I did!
When my boss told me a few years ago that he was sending me to South Africa for three months on a placement my first thought was “please not to Johannesburg” and the second one immediately afterwards was “yay, I can go on a safari”. Turned out to indeed be Johannesburg, but I also got to go on my first ever safari which was a childhood dream.
Here are some of the things I learned from going on safari on a solo trip to South Africa.
Even in this digital age where travellers can find virtually any information online, from the most eco-friendly Inca Trail organiser to the best place to sample tarantulas in Cambodia, once we’re on the road we still rely on the good old travel guide.
You can buy a guidebook for a single city (or even just part of a city), countries or whole regions, like South East Asia. I am known to be a total sucker for guide books, they fascinate me. When I went to South Africa I think I brought around five guides with me, two just for Johannesburg, and they were absolute lifesavers, advising me where to try the best food, find the best and cheapest hostels and where to find the best safari adventure.
Unfortunately, these little companions aren’t exactly cheap. The standard Lonely Planet or Rough Guide will set you back between £13 and £18 (that’s a whole days’ budget in Nicaragua), so buying all the guide books to prepare for a whole RTW trip can cost you an arm and a leg.
Ok, our route is set, tickets have been booked and our rough itinerary is planned. But how the hell did we decide where to go? Whatever people may say about the world getting smaller due to the internet and globalisation, fact is, it’s still a pretty big place.
So how do you decide which countries to visit, which continents to skip and which way round to travel?
The most important piece of gear any backpacker will need for their big trip is, well … the backpack.
When I started planning my RTW trip over two years ago the backpack was probably the first thing I worried about. I admit that might have been a bit early to think about equipment in general but it just makes it so much more real if you can envisage yourself schlepping that big fat pack around the world with you.