It’s February 2013 and after an extremely long six months moving back home after university with endless “probably going tos” and “hopefully by…” [insert unrealistic plans], I finally took a last look at my unsuspecting bank account and set sights on South east Asia.
Basic route: Bangkok, N Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, S Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Home.
With another rainy January weekend passing me by, it was a Monday morning when the penny dropped. By Tuesday I’d left STA travel with a stack of information, Wednesday a rough route plan and a dubious peek at my finances; come Thursday afternoon it was done. Just like that. The non-refundable flight receipt sitting in my hand. It was only at this point reality began to sink in.
I’ve decided to travel solo and with current travel experience bordering as far as family holidays to France and a couple of blow outs on those islands, the term “brave” thrown at me from every direction doesn’t seem to cover it.
Really?? This is happening??
But to be honest, most of my time is entirely preoccupied with the four/five week leaving date I’ve set myself: slightly underestimating the endless nitty gritty visas, vaccines, insurance, exact dates of border crossings, local transport… and this is all just the beginning.
In many ways, if you’re nervous I would advise this don’t-think-just-do-approach… or perhaps be kind and give yourself 8-10 weeks breathing space to ensure time for vaccines and complicated visa processing.
This way you barely have time to think about how to actually start doing it. Time spent over-thinking how scary it could be is just time you could be spending planning a safe, but incredible journey. Then by the time you’ve blasted through the admin necessities, you’ll be in the departure lounge with no turning back. That’s my theory anyway…
On the plus side, Asia is cheap. I’m attempting to do 2.5 months on £2000. I have however been reassured that this is more than doable living on a shoestring which of course I plan to. That’s half the fun anyway, right?
In the meantime, I am setting up a new blog: www.charleetravels.com which I hope you’ll have time to take a quick visit. It aims to share plenty of experiences which might help the next person take a slightly simpler journey through the planning stages, which, even after a couple of weeks I’ve found are often over-complicated, expensive – not to mention daunting on all sorts of levels.
This could include anything from cheaper ways of doing things, reassurance and advice for female solo travellers, or making sense of long-winded route planning/ visa applications. Hopefully this will develop into some great experiences to recommend (or avoid!) and plenty of useful reading to set new travellers on the right track.
Please take a look if you’re interested. All tips, advice & travel companions welcome so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Happy Travels!