OH YES LESS THAN 3 BLOODY WEEKS TO GO!
In exactly one week I will have left my job and in just under 3 I’ll be on a plane flying to Kerala to start our 7 month adventure round Asia. I have a large plastic container under my bed filled with stuff I’m going to pack, I have my Indian Visa ready in my passport (Ben hasn’t yet, but let’s not talk about that too much) and we’ve booked more major flights and some accommodation.
I’ve also been super busy trying to get my TEFL course finished and just generally working my butt off at 2 jobs and selling off belongings on eBay to raise money, and then it was xmas etc etc I know I suck for not writing sooner, but there we go I am human and I have a life, a busy one at the moment. But soon that should change!!!
So now feels like a good time to reflect on the things I’ve learnt planning this trip. This trip despite being a biggie
We haven’t used any agencies or tour operators for anything as we wanted the complete freedom to do our own thing. Despite the fact that I have done a tour to Bolivia and thoroughly enjoyed it, it just felt right to do alone. We wanted to take our time, and Ben wants to have time to pop into the jungle every now and again to find a few snakes etc.
1. Travelling with someone else means you have to compromise
One big thing, that Ben has probably found harder than I have is that if you want to travel with someone else you might have to compromise some of the things you want to do. Unless you’re willing to split up and rejoin you’re basically gonna be stuck together doing the same thing. Ben is happy that South East Asia is full to the brim with snakes and lizards galore, and I’ve already come to terms with the inevitable treks in the jungle and all the fun that comes with it. I’ve already been instructed that I’ll be taking on the role of ‘flash bitch’ helping Ben get the perfect wildlife photos. But the problem is that there are so many different species that Ben wants to add more and more locations to the list, and as you can imagine, they’re often very isolated. Ayers Rock for example, is home to a certain type of lizard (I could not tell you which one, despite hearing all about it more than a few times) but going to Ayers Rock means using over a week of our time to drive non-stop to get there, and then what is the guarantee that we’ll see said lizard? Sorry Ben, had to put my foot down there.
2. It’s hard not to fall into the trap of competitive travel
Planning to me has meant trawling Pinterest, and other blogs and using . It’s so so easy to just keep on adding to the list of things you want to do, trying to cram everything you can in there. But I’m trying to remember that that’s not the way I want to travel. I want to relax and enjoy it, I don’t want to feel stressed constantly running for busses or trains, I want days where I do nothing, the days that you need. And most of all I want to feel like I’ve spent significant time in a place because if I just pass through in one day, I’m not going to get a feel for somewhere the same as if I take my time and take it all in.
3. Visas are VITAL
Since planning this trip I’ve realised that I may not have given quite enough attention to the really vital stuff, like visas, you know those things that let you into the country. I scrolled over a few pages about Indian Visas and assumed that you could apply online. Oh no no. It wasn’t until 8 weeks before we were due to leave that a family friend told me a horror story about a friend that had a difficult time getting his Indian visa back before he left. I felt my stomach curdle, and it wasn’t even Delhi belly yet. That night I rushed home and found more information, applied for my visa and sent it off within a few days. To my relief it came back much sooner than I expected, however Ben has not been so lucky so we’re not quite out of the woods yet. Lesson learned: VISAS ARE VITAL
4. Vaccinations are also VITAL
If you want to live life on the edge be my guest, but if you’d rather live a bit more carefully then you definitely need to get sorted with vaccinations. Make sure you know exactly what you’ll need by researching the recommendations and importantly if you know you’re going to some unusual places that most travellers don’t venture to (-cough- the bloody jungle -cough-) make sure that you’re covered. You might think it’s easy to walk into a surgery and get your vaccines but bear in mind that they might incur extra costs and you might want to shop around a bit. You’ll also need them at least a month before you leave, which can creep up faster than you expect.
5. It’s really not the end of the world that you’re not quite the weight you wanted to be before you left
One thing I’d really hoped to do was to try and lose a little weight before I left. I already lift weights so I have a decent amount of muscle mass, my goal for those 7 months at home was to try and shift some of the fat just so I’d feel a little more comfortable, and fit enough to carry around a massive backpack in the blistering Indian heat. But annoyingly life got in the way, I never really did get going and I’m only a couple of pounds lighter than when I started out. But that’s ok. There’s enough pressure to get things ready, I really don’t need to add how I look to the list. At the end of the day, I have someone lovely who loves me whatever I look like, and I’m healthy. Does it really matter if I’m carrying a couple of extra pounds in that picture of me in a bikini on a Thai beach. Nah. But hey, you never know, I might get the runs in India and lose a couple of pounds that way!!!
I’ve definitely learnt more than that in my crazy planning mode, but I’ll leave some of those tips for another post. But what do you think? Is there anything you’ve found when planning that you didn’t think about before?