“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page”
– St Augustine of Hippo.
So at the end of July 2015 I packed up my comfortable life in Sydney, Australia to embark on the cliche “next phase of my life / exciting adventure”. Like so many other young Australians before, and after me, I found my calling in London where the easy access into Europe would ignite a “see the world” lifestyle – where I could jump on a plane and be in another country within the hour.
I had travelled to Europe and the United States on two fairly big trips before. Once in 2007 where I visited family, and then went on a four week bus trip around Western Europe. And then there was the solo expedition in 2010 where I only had flights booked in and out of continents, a train ticket, an iPad, hostel chain membership, and several contacts should I have needed a couch or a home-cooked meal.
After each of those trips, I was determined to make the next one longer and was itching to repeat some of the best experiences of my life.
So with a Masters degree completed in mid-2015 and my work contract up for renewal, it seemed right to stop imagining and put my dreams into action. I applied for the two year, UK Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) visa, bought the one-way ticket and packed up my things.
And here are the stories and photos from along the way:
stumped BY PLACES I’VE BEEN:
- DENMARK: Copenhagen – Couldn’t resist a short weekend trip when EasyJet and RyanAir were promoting flights for as little as £25 return.
- FRANCE: Disneyland Paris – Disneyland could not be any more accommodating for people with disabilities. The park has barely any steps, wheelchair users are treated with great respect and have privileges that day-walkers envy. You really are in the happiest place on earth.
- HUNGARY: Budaepst – Warm days and blue skies make for perfect conditions to relax in outdoor Turkish baths, and with amazing sights around the city, Budapest has become one of my favourite destinations in Europe.
- ITALY: Amalfi Coast – The 50 kilometre stretch of road from Salerno to Sorrento, can be quite stressful for drivers and requires a great deal of patience. The roads are narrow, and you have to contend with vespas, and buses – going in both directions!
- ITALY: Bari – Much of the (minimal) action is based in a central business district that covered a few square blocks around the town hall.
- ITALY: Bologna -a brief stop at a small cafe that served a bowl of bolognese, which quenched my appetite for pasta.
- ITALY: Cinque Terre – Literally translates to the five lands, these sea side locations are becoming a hot spot for Europeans to get their dose of sun, water and Italian beauty.
- ITALY: The Great Dolomite Road – simply amazing road that takes you through the alpine region of northern Italy. Not to be missed if you love a good drive.
- ITALY: Lake Como – The first day of a nine day roadtrip around Italy. Lake Como in Italy’s north is a two hour drive out of Milan, providing a suitable getaway for those looking to retreat from the busyness of a city and enjoy some Italian tranquility.
- ITALY: Pompeii – In the distance when you walk around the ruins, the giant figure of Mount Vesuvius – the volcano that smothered the area in ash and dust – looms in the background.
- ITALY: Rome – I had been to Rome before but this was a chance to investigate the city in much more detail.
- ITALY: Sorrento – Not a very busy city and one that you should spend a day in, to read, have good pizza or pasta and pick up some Italian souvenirs.
- ITALY: Tuscany – Escape to the country side covered in grapevines and drive through the winding roads and hills.
- GERMANY: Bremen – only a brief stop on the way to Hamburg.
- GERMANY: Hamburg – time to explore the German Christmas markets.
- GERMANY: Hamburg’s Miniatur Wonderland – a surprisingly big attraction of small model trains.
- GERMANY: Leipzig – an alternative city that has an entrepreneur energy.
- GERMANY: Stuttgart – visit family and again explore the Christmas markets.
- NETHERLANDS: Rotterdam – feasting on Indonesian food appeases my cultural background and for me is one highlights of travelling to the Netherlands.
- NETHERLANDS: Zaanse Schans – wooden windmills and houses from the 15th and 16th century line the river Zaan.
- SPAIN: Madrid – sun, sangria, tapas and paella, a perfect way to celebrate nine months living abroad!
- SWEDEN: Abisko – a great location if you are chasing a good view of the northern lights. It’s only a short flight from Stockholm to Kiruna then an hour transfer to this sleepy town.
- SWEDEN: Gothenburg – I was only in Gothenburg for 24 hours and discovered that much of the city is surrounded by small islands that form an archipelago. One of the best afternoons of exploring I have done, the highest point overlooks the area and is a great place to watch the sunset.
- TURKEY: Gallipoli – a pilgrimage with a thousand other Australians and New Zealanders to the place where the Anzacs fought in WW1
- UK: Leeds – a visit to my friend in the north and stories from the night out
- UK: Leeds (part 2) – second part of the night out in Leeds
- UK: London’s Winter Wanderland – I wasn’t sure what to expect from the London Christmas markets but it gets you in a good mood when it starts to feel cold.
- UK: Oxford – a day trip to become more ‘edumacated’ in this famous university town in central England.
- UK: Stonehenge & Bath – a day trip by car out to Stonehenge and Bath
Articles and blog posts written by other people relating to travel:
- Seven sustainability lessons we can learn from backpackers – Benjamin Iaquinto and Katherine Williams from the University of Melbourne takes a look at how the lifestyles of backpackers can be applied to our daily living
other travel bloggers
Here are some other people who blog about their travels:
- Best World Yet – American couple, Bryan and Andrea Leblang, who describe themselves as ‘digital nomads’ and have been going around the world since they left the USA in 2005.
- The Broke Backpacker – Brit, Will Hatton has been a nomad for the last eight years and shares how he’s been able to do it on the cheap.
- The Common Wanderer – Australian couple, Mark and Miranda have quit their cubicle jobs and chosen to travel
- Drift Away – Canadian, Kyle travels around around the world.
- Expert Vegabond – Photographer, Matthew Karsten has an open itinerary and has been travelling for more than five years.
- The Intrepidista – New Zealander, Cat who is travelling the world with her boyfriend around the world, starting in Asia before going to Europe, South America and the United States.
- Nomad Revelations – 15 years of travelling by Portuguese, Joao Leitao.
- Nomadic Matt – Author of the book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day his website is packed full of information and stories from his trips. Great details on not only where to go, but the practicalities to help you on your next trip.
- Travel with a mate – a collection of travel bloggers posting advice, tips, destination reviews and travel observations from around the world.
- Travellers Anonymous – Canadian Jessica Lim moved to Australia blogging about her time as she discovers that the island-continent is not like home.
- Travelling the World Solo – 22-year old Ellen from South Australia is a solo backpacker who has already listed her trips for 2016 and 2017! Great photos and tips from a variety of destinations around the world.
- The Travelling Tom – Brit, Tom spent one year in Australia and then time in New Zealand and has the longing to keep travelling.
- What an Amazing World! – Jakarta-based, Bama has travelled much of the Southeast Asian region and has an objective of visiting 30 countries by 2020. His detailed descriptions of Asian countries is a great read.
- World Ahead, Home Behind – An Australian (no name) who travelled solo to Europe and various parts of Asia and America.