How I came to appreciate the UK again

During my travels I saw many sights and met many people from all different kinds of backgrounds. As I reached my final destination, back in the UK, I had learnt one very simple but important thing:

No matter where you go, the story’s always the same.

In each country across the world there will always be someone moaning about:

  • Immigrants
  • House/Rental prices and ‘foreigners’ buying them
  • Big companies buying up all the produce/land and hiking up the cost of food

It’s sad, but it’s true. As human beings, we can’t all get along and agree on the exact same thing; that’s what makes us human!

In learning that the rest of the world appears to have the same issues as home, I started looking at what the UK has, to appreciate it once again.

Free Healthcare – The NHS gets a bad rep, mostly by Conservatives, but if we didn’t have the NHS I don’t know how we’d survive. Over the years I’ve needed them for surgery, check-ups, injections etc. and although you get the occasional hiccup with waiting times, I’ve always felt looked after.

Food – We have such a large variety of food here in the UK. Not only do we have amazing restaurants bringing us cuisines from all over the world, but we also have great variety in our supermarkets.
I found Australia’s shops missing a lot of items which I thought were staple products, and their curries were nothing but heartburn to me. In Dubai however, they appear to have everything, and they have it beautifully presented. I’m always amazed at how neatly the fruit is stacked whenever I shop at Waitrose in Dubai Mall.
When you reach places like a remote island in Fiji you’re once again reminded of the ‘Western World’ we live in in the UK, and the amazing choice we get. For 10 days straight we were fed whatever the local fishermen had caught, and at some points the chefs struggled as it was the stormy season and no boats could come near us. Our fruit plates became banana plates, and the main courses diminished in size. Being based in the UK we have all of Europe growing fruit and veg, and we even have the specialised shops offering (highly priced) imported foods from America or China.

The BBC – Whilst living in Oz I couldn’t watch BBC TV over the net because I wasn’t in the UK. When I went on the BBC news website whilst in Oz, it was filled with adverts. When you’re in the UK looking at these things there are no adverts allowed as it is funded by us, the people of the UK. Other channels and countries have to have adverts all over their stuff to make money. I’m happy to pay for the Beeb as it’s given me Attenborough, Sherlock, as well as many classic TV comedies such as Blackadder and Only Fools and Horses. Now who can compete with that?!

The Countryside – I grew up in the countryside but have spent the last 10 years based in cities, rarely stepping out into a woodland or field. Over this time I completely forgot the fact that the UK is still at least 80% countryside.
When we drove around New Zealand I was amazed at how much was untouched. In the entire country there are only a few places heavily built on, the rest was just little towns or villages surrounded by mountains or lakes. It was stunning but also similar to the views of Britain. So as our plane flew in circles coming into land at Gatwick, I looked out at the land below and took in the fields and trees I’d forgotten about for so long. Now I’m back, I plan on seeing the country I grew up in.


We may all have the same problems of mass corporations buying everything out and hiking the prices, people buying out all the properties to invest and make more money, and an ever-increasing population from both immigrants and procreation, but the point is we ALL have that, and we’re ALL just people. If we can learn to respect one another and accept what’s going on around us (to an extent), then we will find a happiness within ourselves. I’m still working on this one but at least I’ve come to appreciate the land I grew up in and all it has to offer.

#JustDoIt

I’ve been told that I try to do everything now, that I need to slow down, and to hold off things until I’m older. But what I’ve always thought was…

‘What if I don’t get any older?

People try to save money all their life, intending to use it when they’re retired, then they find they’re not as nimble as they once were and can’t visit places they’ve been waiting to go to all their life.

Then there are the ‘off-putters’. The ones who say that now isn’t quite the right time for them. They may be waiting on a raise at work, or trying to raise a family. Either way they feel that whilst they’re doing one of those things, they can’t do much else. These people will never find the right time.

I was one of those people, and it was while I was walking around The Forum in Rome that I realised my mother was already at a point in her life where some traverses may be too difficult for her. As I scaled hills and hopped over relics in the sweltering heat, I could imagine my mother asking for a coffee break whilst trying to find a nice shady tree. She’s been retired for nine years, and in that time has taken every opportunity to travel. Most destinations aren’t too laborious, but she now has her sights set on Machu Picchu, a tricky place to:

a) Get to

b) Breathe at

I’m a firm believer that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. I’m also a firm believer of thinking outside of the box, and when people tell me you can’t just go off travelling the world after spending so many years forging a career path, I say yes you can! It’s difficult, and it certainly takes guts, but if it builds you more as a person, then it’s worthwhile.

The Ever Evolving Pack List

The Pack List

Getting your pack list prepared well in advance of setting off is probably one of the best things you can do right from the off. I made my decision to leave the country back in January, and since February I’ve been updating a pack list and purchasing items from the list as I go.

So far I’ve come up with the below. I’m yet to decide on clothing, so that will come into it closer to the date.

  • Clothes and Shoes
  • First Aid & Prescriptions – Make sure you stock up on any prescriptions you may need before leaving as the county you’re going to might not have the same kind of cost/service as your own. Australia’s healthcare is notoriously expensive so I’m hoarding whatever I can before I go.
  • eReader & books – I’ve got hundreds of ebooks already stored on my eReader, and currently plan to take one or two paperbacks with me for the beach
  • Phone
  • Chargers – Mostly usb cables to fit into my plug charger
  • Netbook
  • Passport, vaccination book, I.D.
  • Insurance and Visa Documents
  • Travel Pillow – I looked into the best one to choose and decided that a 2 in 1 would be good, with a loop to attach it to my bag. In the end I went with this one – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007REVRGI
  • Ziploc bags – Great for keeping belongings dry and away from creepy spiders!
  • Microfibre Towel – Light and dries quickly. I chose this two pack so my boyfriend had one – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00OXS67M0
  • Number padlock – I chose this one for a colour to stand out from the crowd, and ALWAYS chose a number one ‘cause it’s no good have a key padlock then losing the key for it… http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003KIUKMC
  • Ipod – My phone doesn’t have enough space for music (it’s kinda old!), so I decided to buy a 2nd hand ipod nano. That way I have music on the go, but can also change it every so often with my external hard drive of music and my netbook. I went for a 7th generation nano from ebay. I found that if it’s an auction finishing midweek you’re more likely to get a slight price reduction to the auctions finishing on the weekend. I managed to get mine for £65.
  • Make up & Remover
  • Nail Clippers
  • Hairbrush
  • Adapters – 2 should be suffice
  • Toothbrush & Paste
  • Shaver
  • Travel Guides – I’ve read through the guides already so might just write up notes from these/take pictures, and leave them behind.
  • Notebook & Pen – Always good to have a pen handy, but I might leave the notebook.
  • Moisturiser
  • Camera & SD Card
  • Travel Money – Just to start me off. I should have a bank card soon after getting there.
  • Sewing Kit – Something many people have said would be useful to have but I might just leave.

What’s missing? I’ll be revising the list again at the end of May.

The Career of Your Lifetime

Last night I went out for some drinks with old work colleagues. I hadn’t seen them since I’d ‘come out’ with my plans to travel around Australia, and they were intrigued as to what had made me up and leave. They’d always known me as a hard worker, always striving for the next level up in my career. For me to be leaving it so suddenly seemed quite unlike me, and they were concerned as to what I was going to do in the future.

I explained to them briefly what I’d come to realise over the past few years. London is a stressful environment, and where some people thrive on that kind of atmosphere, some can’t hack it. Being from the countryside, I never could quite sink my teeth into the London life, and ended up taking some time off of work towards the end of 2013. Since then I’ve had to view work differently, a little less passionately, and I’ve distanced myself from getting wound up with emails from clients. Everyone must realise at points in their lives that work pays the bills but shouldn’t be all you have time for. We all live this one life, and none of us know how long we’ve got. Although a grim realisation, we shouldn’t take it as such, but more embrace it. LIVE YOUR LIFE. It’s as simple as that.

I believe I’ve spent my entire life trying to be content but ever-reaching. I don’t think humans can truly feel completely content – otherwise what are they living for? My boyfriend is actually one of those people who says that he’s content with his life. Of course he’s still striving for the next step up on the career ladder, and he’s still saving up to move into a better place. So really, he’s not fully content. To me, to be truly content, you would need to feel like you’re comfortably living, you love and are loved back, and that you’re happy with the way you make money to survive.

I never used to think this way, and it’s only in the last year or so that I feel I’ve expanded my mind on work choices, which has opened up new horizons.  Our fathers are from a generation who worked their shifts to make the money for their families. We now live in a world where you can learn as much as you want from birth with the power of the internet. Having grown up in the last generation before the internet, some careers weren’t open to me as I didn’t know about them until it was too late. In opening up my views to a new way of working, I’ve learnt that you don’t have to do the 9 to 5; or in most cases the 8 ‘til 8.

From dropping my current life I have in London, giving up my career I’ve been building for the last 8 years, I’ve begun learning about the new ways in which people are earning a living without a set timetable. Whether it be by creating your own online business, or writing blogs or reviews, there are so many new paths you can take, with no specified location. The most important thing is that you have enough Wi-Fi signal.

My research into a new way of living began with a scriptwriting course my boyfriend had bought me for Christmas. In January I attended the course once a week and I learnt that the tutor had found a way of making money by reading and reporting on people’s scripts. All he’d done to get this ‘job’ was read a book called ‘Reading for a living’ by T.L.Katahn, and got to know enough people in the industry to be given their scripts for review. After being told about this book I immediately went online and bought it from Amazon. Yes it’s quite old now, but you can certainly still learn from it.

From reading this book, I started to wonder what other jobs there would be out there that I could take on from any location whilst I was travelling around Oz. I looked into digital nomads and the types of jobs people are taking. Having no qualifications in programming or coding, my options are currently limited, but that doesn’t deter me!

There are free online courses in coding, and introductory courses into just about anything. The information is all there if you know how to find it. Over the next few months I intend to learn about different areas I could get into. I’ve bought ‘The 4 hour week’ and ‘The happiness of pursuit’, and will keep you updated on how I get on.