Before age 18, I had only travelled in dribs and drabs through small family holidays to Cornwall, France and Thailand.
In September 2009, University represented independence and the ability to pursue my love for adventure. This transformed into a new form passion of travelling, seeing and experiencing the world, financed by my student loan.
University Year 1 – 2009/10
Aged 18, I travelled to Tunisia in April 2010 with ‘ISH Events’, a cheap student travel company.
The exposure to the culture, the people, the food, and the sights of Tunisia invoked my curiosity for travelling the world. I emailed Tiija, Director of Volunteer East, asking her about the voluntary work that was advertised on a corkboard at university.
Nepal was my first independent trip in June 2010. I volunteered in a orphanage and I travelled for a month. I visited the Durbar Squares and cycled around Pokhara lake. I sobbed when my bag (with my passport!) was stolen in Thamel Market. I returned home to a summer job in a chippy after catching the travel bug.
University Year 2 – 2010/11
For the beginning of Term 1, the opportunity arose to tour Sicily with ‘ISH Events‘ again. I learnt to embrace every chance for travelling and I visited Catania, Taormina and Siracusa in September 2010.
My second volunteer abroad trip was in the Easter Holiday of April 2011. After a interview and application form, I travelled with BUNAC to volunteer on a construction project in a rural village in Juaso, Ghana. After volunteering, we visited the beach, a national park, a gold mine and a waterfall.
University Year 3 – 2011/12
Undoubtedly the fastest 3 years of my life, 2011/2012 was my final year at university. In September 2011, I travelled with 2 college friends to Verona, Lake Garda, Bologna and Venice in Italy.
The Easter Holiday of April 2012 represented my first sisterly holiday to Malta. We had similar interests and our trip involved mountain biking, hiking and explored Gozo/Comino during the holiday.
In June 2012, I travelled independently to Uganda where I volunteered as a teacher in Bududa district with a small NGO in Eastern Uganda (Volunteer East).
Post Graduation – 2012/13
In the Christmas holidays of December 2012, I visited Paris for the first time. I stayed with a friend I met at SOAS and we celebrated the new year together.
In May half term, I hiked to the summit of Mount Toubkal (4,167M) in Morocco (Adventure Company). It was my first ‘big’ mountain climb. The experience fuelled my passion for the outdoors and left me wanting to take on more hikes and bigger mountains.
With my one year contract at City Year London drawing to a close, I volunteered as a English Teacher for Summer 2013, in South Korea. My placement was fully funded by ‘Global English Mission’.
Full Time Work and Travel – 2014
I’m 22 and it’s Christmas 2013. I job hunted avidly for three weeks before I luckily managed to land a support role at Exodus Travels (Adventure Travel Company). I was ridiculously happy that I got a job in a field that I genuinely love.
I spent my first Easter 4 day weekend away in Edinburgh. Two weeks after, I travelled up to Fort William in the Highlands to do a solo Ben Nevis hike for the May bank holiday weekend.
Full Time Work and Travel – 2015
I’ve worked full-time since 7th January 2014 and I am genuinely happy that I have found a job I love. With a smaller holiday allowance vs being a student, I’ve learnt to embrace my time off work as much as I can. My first big trip for 2015 was in Feb/Mar 2015, where I (somehow) managed to summit Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895M) in Tanzania.
My second work trip was to Jordan in May 2015, where I had the opportunity to explore Petra and go desert trekking in Wadi Rum.
With the May bank holiday fast approaching, it was Exodus holiday take 2! I travelled to Ireland with my colleagues where we explored the Giants Causeway, spent 2 days in Dublin and embraced all things Irish.
Summer 2015 was a collection of mini weekend breaks!
- Canyoning in Scotland
- Coasteering in Dorset
- Beatles in Liverpool
- Apaca Trekking in Kent
My 3rd Educational was the Mont Blanc Highlights trip in August 2015. I spent a week trekking around the Alps, paragliding and glacier trekking. I managed to add on a bank holiday weekend break in Geneva at the end of my trip.
In November 2015, it was city break take 2 with my college buddy in crime, Sophia. We purchased £35.00 return flights to Copenhagen where we mistakenly ventured into a soft porn film, explored the Christmas Markets and embraced the concept of Hygge (Hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people).
After 7 years, I finally visited my parents in Thailand (retired in Phuket!). It was a hot family Christmas with island hopping, kayaking and indulging in lots of Thai food for 3 weeks in December 2015.
Full Time Work and Travel – 2016
7th January 2016 marks my 2 year work anniversary at Exodus Travels. It’s a January made up of weekends away with New Years in Lymington with Alex, Brighton with Sophia, Devon with Alex and a subsidized Winter Mountaineering Course in Scotland.
From 8th – 22nd February 2016, I decided to go on my first solo backpacking trip in Costa Rica. I managed to luckily secure last minute cheap flights through a work discount (return flights to Costa Rica for £275!).
It was a unplanned trip with a 6kg rucksack and a Lonely Planet for inspiration. It truly hammered home that freedom equates to pure happiness. “Paint the sky, make it yours”.
In March 2016, I visited Gothenburg, Sweden. Sophia and I enjoyed a city break and then visited the Archipelago Islands where we embraced the pure freedom of golf buggying on a car free island.
May 2016 marks my 30th country (Austria!). I cycled 300km from Passau (Germany) to Vienna (Austria) along the Danube River with Alex. We took in the sights of evergreen Austrian forests, the spectacular watercourse of the river and abbeys, castles and palaces.
In June 2016, it was my very first sales weekend to Madeira, Portugal. It was a short break away with lots of Portuguese Food, cliff side walks and a toboggan ride.
From 9th – 18th July 2016, I went on my 4th Educational with Exodus, a week of climbing craggy mountains with Via Ferrata in the Dolomites!
The summer of 2016 was x2 trekking Educationals with work. For my 5th Educational, I went on the trip Summits and Ridges of the Queryas in August 2016.
In September 2016, I went to Iceland with my partner in crime, Alex. We backpacked the 55km Laugavegur Trail together, described as one of the most beautiful walking trails in the world. I’ve wanted to do this trek for years and it was an experience of a lifetime!
From 5th October – 9th October 2016, it was Round 3 with my work buddies to Macedonia! We explored Lake Orhid, took a bus to Skopje and motor-biked through the mountains.
2016 was an incredible year for travel and marked a lot of firsts. My first dedicated cycling trip, first solo backpacking trip, first experience of Via Ferrata and the first time I found someone I’d genuinely love to share every travel venture with.
Full Time Work and Travel – 2017
A new year and a new job role! I’ve changed from the Operations Department to Sales. In January 2017, I travelled to Poland & Slovakia on a Winter Activity Week with dog-sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and thermal pools – A great introduction into winter sports with my little sister.
From 4th to 11th March 2017, Alex and I travelled to Tenerife! It was a extremely cheap break away (£275pp with flights and half board in a 3* hotel). Together we went kayaking with dolphins, trekking, visited a water park and hired a car for island exploration.
In April 2017, Alex and I embarked on a route notes checking trip with work, cycling approximately 250km from the mountains to sea. It felt like a real project amending write ups, taking photos and editing the Route Notes for Exodus!