Why I Can’t Stop Travelling
I first began to travel in the summer of 2013. My friend and I innocently popped into a travel agents and had a browse of where there is to go in the world. We wanted to see and do new things that England just doesn’t have to offer. Being stuck in Manchester day in and day out got very tedious and living amongst concrete gets very depressing. We booked 7 weeks in Australia. 2 weeks of conservation work in Cairns and then 5 weeks of free lance travelling down to Melbourne. I wasn’t keen on doing the voluntary work, and was quite reluctant to do it, but Kim persuaded me and i’m so glad she did because it was the best experience of the whole trip.
We arrived knowing that we had 2 weeks of work ahead of us, based in Cairns. However, there was a planned trip up North to Mapoon that we hadn’t been told about. We got the cost of the trip right down because as they were telling us what was involved, it didn’t sound like something we would be interested in. It would take 3 days to get to Mapoon by trooper car. We eventually accepted that it could be an amazing opportunity and that we may never be in Australia again, so we went. The trip included spending a night at a ‘hippy festival’ literally in the Australian outback. Ross the boss was amazing at making sure that we made the most of our time up there. During the three day drive, he would make extra effort to make a slight diversion, or stop to allow us to take photographs. It was the most stunning place I have ever been to. We visited deserted beaches, just off the oldest rainforest in the world which we were driving through. We saw the second most deadly snake in the world, it just slithered past the car.
Overall, probably the best experience in my life. Looking in the car, we were with people from all over the world, which spoke different languages. There were people from America, Germany, Switzerland, England, Belgium and more. Not many tourists get to go where we did. It was completely untouched, unruined. The free lance travelling afterwards involved Kim and I just wondering from place to place, hostel to hostel, with no pre-bookings or anything – just our backpacks and us. If we loved a place, we would stay there for a longer amount of time than scheduled (I say scheduled, I mean just glancing at the map and estimating where we were and how much time we had left on the trip). We met so many people along the way, all of the hostels were very social and it was difficult to say goodbye. Many of them signed my notebook with a message which meant a lot as we would probably never meet again. Nipping into that travel agents on the off chance actually introduced me to the best experiences of my life – and I can’t wait to see more. Then, I caught the travel bug. Mum was the first to spot it, even before I knew.
As soon as I got back from Oz I was already mentally planning the next big trip, but couldn’t decide where to go next. It would either be Asia, America or Africa. Sian had mentioned travelling in the summer, and I would always rather have a travelling buddy than going solo. So we pared up, and went to the same travel agent company. Before we knew it, we had booked a group tour from Bangkok in Thailand, through Malaysia and then onto Singapore. The group tour lasted two weeks, then Sian and I had the chance to spend the last 6 days of our trip in Singapore. Asia was such a different experience to Australia, which is what I wanted. If i’m going to keep travelling, I want to visit a different place every time, and I would never stay in just one place. To capture the best experience of each destination, you need to keep moving, and say YES to all that you can. Sometimes even doing the things that I didn’t particularly want to do, ended up being the most memorable and beautiful experience.
Taking good pictures that captures each places character is very important to me. The Australian photographs were incredible, but I struggled in Asia to get the perfect photograph. The trip was much more rushed, it was a blur of excitement and new places. We travelled with 15 others, including a team leader. Individuals from the group were from all over the world; America, England, Australia (Phil from Australia actually has family in Mapoon where we visited, really strange considering it has such a low population), Germany, Austria… We all got on really well, considering we were quite a large group. And our team leader, Lek was amazing. She’s over 50 years old and had tonnes more energy than any of us did! She didn’t seem to stop walking, seeing things, despite having done the same trip so many times. The places we visited through to Singapore were all different from one another. It was amazing to see the transformation from place to place. We visited an Island in Thailand called Koh Panang which was just stunning. It wasn’t touristy and the only way of getting to where we stayed was by 4×4 on a horrificly bumpy dirt track. But when we arrived, it was just paradise. We were practically the only ones staying in this particular area. It was such a transformation from Bangkok. Bangkok was humid, dirty, smelly and cramped. Funnily enough, it’s usually where Tourists go to stay or to start their trip. My absolute favourite place of the whole trip was Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. The town is based over 5,000ft above sea level, and it was basically one huge tea farm. It was stunning. There were tea factories, everybody’s job seemed to involve them planting, picking or selling tea. It was the best tea I have ever tasted. I’m not sure if it was the best because I hadn’t had a decent cup of tea in weeks or just because it was so good. It tasted fresh, strong and full of flavour, despite just being a standard breakfast tea. Was so happy to finally get my hands on one! I wish I had bought a box of the tea bags, but there wasn’t enough room in my backpack.
The most bizarre memory of the Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore trip was the attention we sometimes got from the locals, particularly in the Cameron Highlands. A lot of people had never seen a white person before, so Sian got the most attention also because of her blonde hair. Groups of people would approach us with cameras and would ask for a photograph with us. We didn’t understand why at first, but Lek told us why that was happening. It reminded us that we’re so lucky that we can visit places like that, and others aren’t as fortunate. I want to do more of Asia, we only covered the surface. There’s so much beauty there that I felt we didn’t see. It’s difficult to sum up a trip like these two in a blog post.
But the photographs tend to do the talking.
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