Adios England! My Travel Plans

I started this blog in 2012 and have travelled to numerous countries since. In this post I share all of my travel plans over the last decade!

October 2012

The Road is Calling…

So that's it, I'm all packed and ready for my next big adventure – Jordan and Israel, all in aid of a research trip (well that's what I like to call it anyway).Why do I pick countries that people I know will probably never travel to?

In search of something different…

As much as I love going away, places where you can get a traditional English breakfast at any time of day, have never really fascinated me. Don't get me wrong, they are great for relaxation, but do you ever really get a chance to merge in with the local culture or try their delicious cuisine?

What I look for is ADVENTURE  – the ‘not knowing if the local bus will turn up to take you to your next destination' kind of place. A place that I really know little about and believe me, you can learn a lot about a country's history and its people once you've actually been there.

I want to eat what they eat for breakfast (unless it's some weird animal) and drink the local brew. I want to get lost in a new city and wander around aimlessly until some gem of a place draws me in. I want to be inspired by the local people, learn what makes them tick and make new friends in the process.

Alot to ask maybe? Not if you trust your instincts, have a sketchy plan of what you want to do and leave the rest down to fate. After all, you never know who's going to take that seat next to you – it could turn out to be the best moment of your trip.

Haechi Seoul

December 2012

Back in England, I'm busy working on the new website for Girl about the Globe – a destination guide and one-stop shop for the solo woman traveller. I want to promote ethical and sustainable travel using local guides and voluntourism and giving something back to local communities.

I'm working hard but during those moments of decision making, I find my mind drifting off wondering about pastures new. I've only been home three weeks yet my feet are itching to be on the move again. So giving in to my wanderlust, I am planning for the next big trip, which is going to be….. (drum roll please)

Mexico in North America!

Yes, the world is calling again and this time, I am heading west to the Land of the Americas.

But for now, back to the website ready for the launch in January.

It's time for a new way to travel. Coming 2013…

Colombia

March 2014

I cannot wait to be on the road again (some of us weren’t made to sit still) and this year is going to be the biggest year ever, not in terms of how many countries I will get to see (I very much doubt I can beat 2013) but because I am selling everything I own (except my increasing shot glass collection) and moving – yes moving to Latin America.

But not before seeing more of Europe before I go. So the rest of the year looks a bit like this:

Late March – The Baltic states. Having explored the Balkans last year and been so taken back by their history, I wanted to compare the two regions and have added the Baltics to my list. The fact that they are cheap also adds to their appeal.

April – Moving to Latin America. Twelve days in Cuba, then flying to Colombia!

The colourful houses of Cuba

Why Latin America?

Why not! I feel as though I have been travelling the globe (on and off) for the last 15 years (except when I was married), looking for somewhere to put down my roots. I tried in England but it just wasn’t to be and as much as there are some amazing places out there where I could definitely see myself staying for a while: South Korea, Shanghai, Dubai, Cambodia – there hasn’t been a continent that has grabbed me like Central America.

What do I love about it? It just feels like home even though I can barely speak Spanish (it's on the cards), stick out like a tourist with my blonde hair and find it challenging to travel around. I just love the place! And it’s part of the world that I have least explored so being based there will just be perfect for future trips.

Which country I will end up in, I really don’t know but the beauty of being freelance is that if somewhere isn’t doing it for me (which I really doubt), I can just move onto the next place.

Who wouldn't want to be laying on this Cuban beach!

What will I do?

I am still freelancing as a travel writer as well as writing an ebook on Solo Travel and designing tours with a difference! (watch this space). With a background in the travel industry and a Masters Degree in creative writing, these two projects are definitely up my street.

So, the next couple of weeks will be spent adding more content to the Girl about the Globe website and setting things in motion to go. I really want to help more women travel solo and have big plans to make this work for the rest of 2014.

So that’s me for 2014 (even though it's already March!)

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May 2014

This is it! After 5 months of being back in the UK, I am leaving for good (although never say never). I have finally faced the fact that I am meant to be nomadic so my big plans are: Cuba for 12 days then a one-way ticket into Colombia! But for the first part of the trip I won’t be solo. This doesn’t happen very often and after 42 countries as a solo I’m joining forces with a friend (another solo traveller) to explore Cuba as backpackers but for five nights only I will be a tourist.

Flying into Holguin, we’re limited to just all-inclusives in Guardalavaca but for £27 each a night at Hotel Club Amigo Atlantico including everything, as much as I'm an independent traveller I have to admit that it's an absolute bargain! See, Cuba doesn’t have to be expensive. Then from there, it’ll be local home stays wherever we choose to stay on the island (and it’s a big one!)

From Colombia, It’ll be solo as I look to find somewhere to call home.

Why Colombia? It has to be one of the most intriguing countries I have yet to explore. With such a violent past, some parts of Colombia are still out of bounds but I want to see if it really is as dangerous as we’re led to believe.

So, I’m all packed up and heading to Latin America to find a place to put down roots (for a while anyway), before the wanderlust kicks in again. Where will I end up? I have absolutely no idea…

Travel

May 2015

1 Year Anniversary & New Plans!

How quickly time flies! Two weeks ago marked my first year anniversary of leaving England. In fact, this is the longest time I have ever been away from the UK and my friends and family and I must admit I’ve had the bouts of homesickness and wondered what the hell I was doing several times – desperately trying to make a brand work whilst paying the bills and staying afloat.

But in that year, I’ve written and published a book, met the most amazing Colombian man and found somewhere to call home. Not bad for a years work.

And that’s not all…

I started this blog 3 years ago when I decided to fling myself back onto the travel path after separating from my ex-husband. The first few months were pretty emotional and my earlier posts were honest and very raw. Since then, my posts have been more light-hearted and I hope – entertaining.

And… after 3 years of hard graft, the work has finally paid off and I am so excited to announce that I have been ‘highly commended’ in the individual travel blog category at the UK Blog Awards 2015!

So exciting!

To celebrate, I am back on the road after realising that I have stayed still for far too long, so I have left Colombia for 3 months to start travelling again and discover what the rest of Latin America and the area has to offer.

My Itinerary

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Having only explored Cuba, Colombia, and Panama in the last year, my new itinerary looks something like this:

Costa Rica,
Nicaragua,
Puerto Rico,
The rest of the Caribbean as far down as I can.

With the Caribbean being primarily marketed as a romantic place for couples, I want to see what the Caribbean islands have to offer women travelling alone, and if you can travel there on a backpackers’ budget (fingers crossed).

Taking Risks

I must admit my adventurous streak has calmed down in the last year. In the past I have hitchhiked in the Balkans, met an Albania drug dealer and a Cuban pimp, and have taken a few risks but having had so much luck in the past, I am not going to take any chances when it comes to safety. As much as I really want to visit El Salvador, the more I hear, the more doubts I am having.

“Don’t take the public buses,” being the main reason as well as travelling through Honduras to get there (I travelled through there before and didn’t really feel safe).

I’m not usually one to listen to rumours but more than one hostel owner has told me of people who have come through who have been robbed. And although I have met a handful of people who visited the country with no problems, I have also heard stories of more than a handful of people who have been robbed. Having lived in Colombia, I think I’m pretty vigilant but El Salvador has a more dangerous reputation, and as much as I don’t want to experience being held up at gun point, I also don’t want to be completely paranoid the whole time I am there. I am not taking any chances when it comes to my safety or losing my laptop, (I must be finally growing up!)

How am I affording this trip?

As well as earning money from freelance writing, travelling on a budget can be quite easy. If you eat street food, are choosy with the tours and activities you do and travel overland (the bus from Panama to Costa Rica only costs $45 dollars), then you can make your money last longer. I’ll be sleeping in a hostel dorm as much as possible then when I need my space, I’ll be opting for a private room and as I’m travelling in the low season, it will be easy to stick to my budget of £20 a day. There are even hostels on some of the Caribbean islands and for others, Couchsurfing should hopefully fill the gaps.

I have 12 weeks to complete my itinerary before heading back to Colombia at the end of July. So plenty more blog posts to come!

June 2016

It’s been a while since I wrote a personal post and with many changes happening, I thought it was time for an update.

This week has already begun as an emotional one. It’s the week I leave Medellin, a city that I have lived in for nearly 18 months. Months before I couldn’t wait to leave this city so I visited Manizales for a change of scenery and swopped the city life for quieter more mountainous one.

It was after I returned to Medellin that my situation changed. I met someone.

They always say that it happens when you’re not looking, and with only 6 weeks left on my visa before it expires, it happened and I found myself in a relationship. Four weeks later and I am now living with my boyfriend, (proving that relationships when you travel can be both intense and accelerated).

Now, with only 1 day to go until I leave this city, I find myself not wanting to leave. It’s ironic in a big way but travelling teaches you so many things and the biggest lesson it teaches you is that nothing is permanent – everything is temporary. From the place you call home, friendships you make on the road, and romantic relationships.

As much as they are tough lessons to learn, they all come as part of the digital nomad package. It’s a mindset and I have to remember how privileged I am to be able to live my life this way instead of focusing on what I am leaving behind. So I’m shifting my focus and having just being chosen as one of the Best Conscious Travel Blogs 2016 by GreenMatch, I have just been given the boost that I need to refocus and change direction.

I want to visit projects which are making a difference in the world and write human interest stories, and show what the world is really like. Having just been chosen as one of the Ambassadors for visit.org a social impact platform which brings together purposeful travel connections, now is the perfect time for me to take a different direction with the perfect opportunities coming along.

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So where does the world take me now?

After visiting the rest of Central America and most of the Caribbean last year, I’m off to explore the rest of South America, slow travelling and visiting projects as I go.

I still have 4 months of my travels in the Caribbean to catch up with so expect posts about Puerto Rico, St Martin, many more other Caribbean islands as well as those three little countries grouped above Brazil in South America – Guyane, Suriname, and French Guiana (ever heard of them? Never had I!)

Having already seen Peru and Bolivia and Santiago in Chile 13 years ago, there are still many more countries in South America to see. So I’m starting with Ecuador. Flying into Bogota then visiting the desert before travelling overland to Ecuador where I have arranged with the charity Shelter Box to visit one of the areas affected by the devastating earthquake last year. Then possibly back through Peru to northern Chile before heading to Argentina, hopping across the water to Uruguay, then Paraguay and Brazil.

To be absolutely honest, I have no idea where I will be in a few months. Maybe I will find myself back in Europe or even end up back in Colombia? My intended itinerary gives me the option to come back up the Amazon into Colombia when my visa starts again in January 2017. Time will certainly tell but for now – it’s time for packing, planning, and saying goodbye to this chapter and hello to a brand new one.

As England exits the EU, Lisa is exiting Colombia. I guess you could call it a Lexit.

Things To Do in Manaus

October 2017

Finding Love in Manaus

I was on the last stint of my South American solo trip. Having travelled through Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, I was now in Brazil, heading to the Amazon. When I had to leave Colombia I had to leave behind my boyfriend. Now, we were about to be reunited in the Brazilian Amazon.

After 9.5 weeks, 26 different beds, 7 night buses, and 5 social-impact projects visited, I was about to unplug for 3 weeks and venture into the Amazon to fish for piranhas and watch the sunset over the rainforest with my man.

Boarding the plane from Foz de Iguazu, I was tired, excited and apprehensive, from waking at 3.30am. I had been on the road for nearly 10 weeks and although we had kept in touch via Skype, I was still nervous. As I tried to sleep on the plane so many questions flooded my mind:

Would we still feel the same when we saw each other again? Having been to 70 countries alone could I travel with a boyfriend? Could I survive without Wifi for 3 weeks! But most importantly would we still find love in the Amazon?

Visions of watching sun sets over the world’s most romantic river, spotting pink dolphins together and spending hours cuddling in a hammock made for two with no cares in the world drifted into my head. In a few hours I was about to find out… * Read: Things To Do in Manaus

Did I find love again? Spending 5 nights together sleeping rough in the Amazon is enough to test any relationship. For me, it was back to being solo…

December 2017

It’s been 7 months since I have set foot in a new country. No wonder I am getting itchy feet. And with 2018 nearly upon me, it is time to get back on the road and clear that travel drought.

So what are my plans?

This week I am returning from Luxembourg where I have spent 5 days seeing this small European country which is bordered by Belgium, Germany and France. Luxembourg is a multicultural city and it’s actually nice to have some down time and just browse the Christmas markets.

I wasn’t solo for this trip as I was travelling with a friend but after doing so many trips solo sometimes it’s good to have a travel buddy.

Then it’s back on the road for a proper solo adventure – Moldova and Ukraine until 10th December.

Luxembourg City (photo @ VirtKitty)

Ukraine made headlines in March 2014 when Russia invaded the Crimea. Since then it has been reported that more than 1.7 million people have been displaced. The east of the country is still occupied but the areas that I am traveling to remain unaffected by the war. I’ll be learning more about the political situation in the country during my visit.

Across the border, Moldova is known for its wine and has both the biggest wine collection in the world (at Milestii Mici), and the largest underground wine city in the world (at Cricova winery). I’ll be visiting the underground caves at Cricova.

But Moldova is also the poorest country in Europe. Unfortunately this also means that Moldova is a prime source for victims of human trafficking. Wanting to understand more about this, I will be visiting the La Strada project. This amazing project works with human trafficking victims, including the sexual exploitation of children. I am really honoured that they have allowed me to visit them to learn more about the problems that women and children face in Moldova.

Chapriana Monastery, Moldova (photo @ Andrey)

So my itinerary will look like this:

Three nights in Chișinău, the capital of Moldova exploring the city and visiting La Strada.

A visit to Cricova winery to sample Moldova’s best wines (of course!)

A trip to Old Orhei, a cave monastery and open-air archaeological complex 60km northeast of the capital. A trip to Soroca, the country’s gypsy capital plus a craft centre to watch local women weave traditional carpets.

Then it’s off to Tiraspol, in Transnistria. This part of Moldova appears to be its own state and is a country which doesn’t exist. Transnistria is an unrecognised nation between Moldova and Ukraine which is an open-air soviet museum. Even entering from Moldova you have to go through a border crossing and register that you are here.

With things to do here listed as; tank show and army show, this is definitely going to be an experience. Deciding to stay with an expat for this part of the trip who suggests drinking the locally-made brandy with the locals, I have absolutely no idea what will happen in Tiraspol, especially as my local tour guide is former special forces. At least I’ll be safe!

From here it’s across the border by bus to Odessa, Ukraine’s third most populous city, located on the Black Sea. No stranger to the Black Sea, I spent a few days in Bulgaria in the nightlife capital of Sunny Beach. After experiencing endless nightlife, tacky neon lights and shot-drinking Brits, it will be interesting to experience Ukraine’s touristy side. 

Then it’s an overnight train up to the capital. With temperatures dropping to below freezing,  this could be a bad move but definitely an adventure.

Kiev

Kiev

Always one for walking tours, I’ll be taking two walking tours to explore the ancient Kiev, and the Soviet Kiev to learn more about the history of the Ukrainian capital.

Then I’ll be experiencing the deepest metro station in the world on my way to Kiev Pechersk, the most beautiful cathedral in Ukraine and known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves (it looks beautiful!) As well as taking an Ancient Kiev tour and Soviet Kiev tour.

Last but not least, I’ll be taking a tour of Chernobyl. In 1986 a catastrophic nuclear disaster took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat in northern Ukraine. As a 10 year old girl I remember watching news reports of what they were describing as the world’s worst nuclear disaster (at the time).

I’ll be visiting Chernobyl and reactor no 4, the cause of the disaster which according to List 25 released at least 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I’ll also be visiting the ‘dead-town’ of Pripyat where its 50,000 inhabitants fled within 24 hours.

There is so much you can do in Ukraine, from driving a tank (and yes that is now on my bucket list), to shooting rifles, to exploring the underground tunnels. Twelve days in both countries just isn’t going to be enough. Wish me luck!

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan (photo @ www.neri.biz)

February 2018

Funny how things can change.

Having just returned from a two week trip in the Canary Islands (the Spanish islands off the coast of Africa), I have felt compelled to throw caution to the wind and get back on the road.

Not being a fan of the winter (hence why I escaped to the Canary Islands), I’ve decided that if I’m going to be cold, I’d rather be cold in a new country whilst researching for the site. So my new itinerary will look like this:

Belfast – I’ll be spending 6 days in this European city starting with the Titanic Museum then exploring the Giants Causeway. Having grown up with news reports of the IRA, I want to understand more about this political situation and will be taking a tour with a political ex-prisoner from the Republican community to find out more.

Then after a quick night’s stop in Dublin, I’ll be flying to Milan but only for a pit stop on my way to San Marino. If you’ve never heard of it, you are easily forgiven as San Marino is a tiny microstate which although is actually situated in Italy, is its own country (think Monaco near France).

After a week in Italy/San Marino, it’s time for some proper adventure. Always drawn to emerging destinations I’ll be flying to Georgia in Asia.

Georgia is on the coast of the Black Sea and sits northeast of Turkey, next to Russia. This former soviet republic is known for its mountain villages and cave monastery. With my private room advertised as having complimentary wine and brandy, this country is also known for its hospitality.

From Georgia I’ll be taking an overnight train down to Armenia which was the first Christian nation. Being more curious than religious, I am intrigued by Armenia especially as the capital city Yerevan is older than Rome.

The country has many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the longest non-stop double track cable car (called Tatever Ropeway), and an archaeological site called Karahunj – which is 3500 years older than Stonehenge. I’ll be visiting the Genocide Museum to learn more about the genocide which happened in 1915.

I also want to learn more about the political unrest between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Although they are neighbouring countries you can’t cross the border due to the conflict. So I am hoping to visit Doctors without Borders to learn more about the territorial and ethnic conflict and to document the work they are doing during the tensions between these two countries.

From Armenia it’s back up to Georgia to head across to Azerbaijan on another overnight train. I am hoping to visit Artsakh which similar to Transnistria in Moldova is an unrecognised state. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan looks so interesting with its Ferris wheel, old city and modern skyscrapers which are in a design that I have never seen before.

This part of my trip is going to be a proper adventure and I honestly have no idea what it will entail. Being there in the winter also means that I need to prepare for snow so I’ll be armed with fluffy boots and my thermals.

Then it’s back to Georgia on probably another overnight train to fly to Cyprus where I am lining up some co-working with a friend. Having never been here, I’ll be exploring ruins and seeing what else the island has to offer at the beginning of its tourist season, before flying back to Barcelona for the spring.

In fairness, I had been toying with this itinerary for a few weeks and wondering if I should be travelling whilst trying to work full time too. But being a bit of a workaholic, travel actually forces me to have days off. I have to have at least one day a week when I travel, I have to sightsee and I have to socialise so it’s the ideal situation.

And the times when I don’t have Wifi, I use as my reflection time. With my focus being on making the GatG site more user friendly, I need the time to get completely clear about the direction.

I also want to show how I travel on a budget. With people always asking me “how do you afford to travel?” I’ll be documenting what I save and what I spend in each country to show you my travel hacks.

And I’m going to be more active on social media. Follow my Instagram to get inspired.

So that’s it. I still have Santorini in the autumn and my Sahara trek in November and am considering an overland trip through West Africa in December… but my plans always change. I never know who I’ll meet or what opportunities will come up so for now it’s back to being Girl about the Globe and getting back into the travelling flow.

Some people are not meant to stay still, and I am definitely one of them 🙂

September 2018

After being tied to Barcelona for the whole summer, I have finally been let loose and am heading back on the road! As much as Barcelona is the best place to be during the summer months, I am ready to explore some different culture.

In September I visited Tunisia (which completely blew my expectations). In October I head to ‘The Stans’ to explore more of these Central Asian countries and discover more of the Silk Road.

Having been to Armenia this year I am excited about learning more about this ancient trading route which ran from Asia to Europe. For this trip I'll be travelling with another travel blogger instead of travelling solo. 

The best way to explore these countries is with your own vehicle but being unable to find a company which allows you to take a car across the borders, we’ve decided to fly, take the train and local taxis.

So the itinerary will go like this:

  • Kazakhstan,
  • Tajikistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Back to Kazakhstan

Planning these trips are literally taking hours. Now I understand why people usually take tours for these countries. For example, there is one train a week from Uzbekistan to Kazashstan which is sold out during our trip so we’ve had to plan the trip in reverse with internal flights.

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan

Our trip starts in Kazakhstan. If you’ve never heard of Kazakhstan, then maybe you remember the film, Borat, in which Sacha Baron Cohen played a fictional character from the country? Things to see here are the Charyn Canyon (the country’s rival to the Grand Canyon), the Nur Astana Mosque and the Buddhist rock carvings at Tamgaly Tas.

Tajikistan

Tajikistan

From here it’s a flight to Tajikistan, a neighbouring country to Afghanistan, known for its mountains and snow-capped peaks. This country oozes nature and the main attraction is the Pamir Highway, a road trip through the Pamir mountains near the Kyrgyzstan border. Lenin Peak is also meant to be a mecca for climbers and those looking to hike and camp in the mountains.

Tourism infrastructure seems virtually impossible in Tajikistan and not knowing any Russian is definitely going to be a challenge.

Tashkent in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan

From Dushanbe, the capital, we’ll be travelling to the border to cross over into Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan looks stunning. It was once a core destination for the ancient Silk Road and has many beautiful mosques and shrines to see. This is where we’ll spend most of our time, visiting Bukhara and Samarkand. One of the most magnificent things to see here is the Registan, a stunning piece of Islamic architecture in Samarkand.

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan

From here it’s off to Kyrgyzstan, to see Osh, an old city with a vibrant bazaar. The country is dominated by the Tian Shan mountains which are also part of the old trading route, and is one of the greenest cities within the region. Its capital, Bishkek has less than one million people and has several museums, as well as former Soviet monuments and a Monument to the Martyrs of the Revolution.

Then it’s back to Almaty before flying home.

I’ll be working with accommodations, and tour companies to see how female-friendly this part of the world is.

The trip will take 18 nights and will be a mix of internal flights, scenic train journeys, buses, and private taxis. It will definitely be an adventure. If you’ve ever wanted to explore these Central Asian countries, then I’ll be blogging about them soon.

January 2019

It’s 2019 and what better way to start the year than on a trip! When you are reading this, I will be sat on an overland truck making my way through West and Central Africa for 3 months.

Having been on an overlanding camping trip 5 years ago, I can honestly say that South Africa was a life-changing experience for me. I overcame my fear of insects (temporarily anyway), went on numerous safaris, and camped in desert landscapes. Will West Africa and Central Africa be the same? I imagine it’s going to be a lot rougher with even more bush toilets.

Both West Africa and Central Africa are known for their political unrest and tough terrain. This trip is definitely going to be challenging. Out of the 12 countries that I am planning to visit, eleven of them require visas which I am hoping to get on the road.

These countries aren’t destinations that I would have chosen to travel to independently but I will be solo for parts of Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and some of Angola.

So my itinerary for the next 3 months will go like this:

West Africa

I’ll be arriving in Ghana solo and spending two night alone before joining the rest of the group in the city. Then from Ghana we travel to Togo, and Benin, before finishing in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso has the most unique landscapes but this country has recently hit the news declaring a state of emergency in the north following extremist terrorist attacks. Hopefully it regains some stability very soon.

Cape Coast in Ghana was known for its slave trade and was the largest slave trading centre in Africa. The country also has some of the best beaches in Africa and attracts surfers to its first class waves.

Togo is a small country with bizarre markets. Benin has ruins and palaces from the Dahomeyan empire, and is the birthplace of voodoo so I expect this part of the journey to be a fascinating one.

Cote d'Ivoire

Then I’ll be flying to Cote d’Ivoire, which is one of the safest countries in the region. Cote d’Ivoire has rainforests and beach resorts. They speak French so I’ll be brushing up on my French vocab before I arrive. I’ll be hoping to catch up on some blog posts, visit a project and do some guided hiking for the week.

Central Africa

From here I fly to Cameroon for a few days solo before meeting a friend. With a quick flurry of visas, I then start my next overland trip with Madventure. From Cameroon we go overland to Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, and DRC, before leaving the group in Angola (they are continuing down to Cape Town).

Cameroon has beautiful beaches, mountains and jungles and a capital city with monasteries and galleries.

Equatorial Guinea has just opened up to tourists so this country is going to be extremely interesting seeing it in its infancy. We’ll be looking for gorillas which is a complete first for me, and seeing chimpanzees and elephants.

Gabon also has nature reserves and we’ll be trekking the rainforest searching for buffalo.

Both the Congo & Democratic Republic of Congo don’t have the best reputations for safety and we’ll be passing locals in Congo who haven’t seen tourists before. From Congo we’ll be crossing to the DRC by ferry.

Angola

Angola has a history of decades of civil war and is also only just opening its door to tourists. The country has a mini Grand Canyon with strange-looking rock formations as well as mountains and waterfalls. I’ll be learning more about the history of the ancient slave port of Benguela, the country’s most relaxed city.

Sao Tome and Principle

After a few days in Angola getting used to a bed again, I’m flying to Sao Tome and Principle with my friend for a few days. This island is its own country and unlike the rest of the countries that I am visiting on the trip, it doesn’t require a visa. Sao Tome is a volcano island with a jungle preserve which sits off the coast of Gabon. It looks absolutely stunning but there are issues on the island so I am hoping to visit a project to learn more about the way of life whilst I am here.

Then back to the UK. From April I am hoping to base myself in England and see what the rest of the year brings.

Minsk in Belarus

Minsk in Belarus

June 2019

This month I visited Norway, Belarus, Poland and Barcelona where I'm writing this from. Belarus was the host country for the 2019 European Games which ended today on 30th June. It was really exciting watching Minsk, the capital city set up for the games. This country really surprised me. The streets are wide, the buildings are colourful and it's incredibly clean. I definitely recommend this European capital for a weekend break.

I also visited SOS Children's Project during my stay to find out more about their work with vulnerable girls affected by the Chernobyl Disaster. I'll be blogging about this very soon.

Poland was also amazing. Krakow is a beautiful city and there is so much to see and learn about here. I did a walking ghost tour, took a tour of the old city and visited a Salt Mine and saw the most magical chapel. You can take tours from Krakow to Auschwitz to learn more about the concentration camp.

Having previous visited Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Germany, I had had the feeling that I shouldn't really be there and during my visit to Poland, it didn't feel like the right time for me to go.

Krakow

Krakow

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Admiring a salt version of the Last Supper at Wieliczka Salt Mine

October 2019

There’s a saying that there can be “too much of a good thing,” and travel is definitely not excluded. This month the very thought of boarding another plane filled me with dread, and packing and unpacking a bag just overwhelmed me. Even planning my train travel to the World Travel Market next month felt too much.

I know it sounds a bit cliche and self-pitying but I spend my life planning trips, travelling to emerging destinations so that I can write about them to encourage other women to travel to them too. Being a travel blogger I need to travel but when you travel so much, travel starts to lose its excitement. Living out of a bag, sitting next to strangers on another flight and working out how to get to your next accommodation time after time soon feels like a chore.

In October I was longing for a bit of stability, to hang my clothes on hangers and to lounge around in my pjs on my laptop instead of having to take a tour because I needed to write about it. After travelling so much this year I have so much to write about and each new trip meant new articles to write.

For anyone who has experienced long term travel you probably know where I’m coming from. When the sparkle starts to dim on your trip and seeing a waterfall feels like ‘just another waterfall.’ When you start becoming a bit jaded and a flight feels like a chore then it’s time to stay still for a while.

Feeling the urge to just work instead of taking a research trip I extended my stay in Barcelona and revelled in the fact that I had 3 long weeks of no flights and airports. I co-worked with friends Monday to Friday and found solace in having a routine. I could do whatever I wanted in Barcelona without feeling the need to write about it (I already have a solo guide to Barcelona).

Then I returned to England where I had another 3 weeks of being able to consistently work until one day I found myself clicking on the Skyscanner page and having a look at flights; ’just to see what was out there.’

Then I found myself planning a rough itinerary for November; ‘just as an idea.’

Then I found myself voicing my rough itinerary to my friends – just because the flights were so cheap – who then made plans to meet me along the way so I HAD to book my flights as I now had commitments and that rough itinerary suddenly became a concrete plan.

Then I realised “I’m finally ready to travel again!” So where am I going?

My new trip!

After the World Travel Market at the beginning of November I’m flying to Toulouse in France. I’ve wanted to go to this ‘Pink City’ for a while and now I’m finally going! Then I’m taking the bus to Andorra to reach my 100th country solo and finish the year with a huge milestone.

From Andorra it’s a 3.5 hour bus ride back to Barcelona to co-work with friends before flying to Malaga in Andalusia for a few days then Granada (a few hours away). Then I’ll be in Marbella for a week before heading south to Gibraltar, Seville and crossing the border to Portugal to finish in Lisbon for my birthday! I’ll be travelling through four countries (five if you count Gibraltar which is actually a British Overseas Territory) in just over five weeks.

Why am I doing this trip?

There is more to this trip than just a research trip. Will I be writing about them? Yes but I’ll also be visiting these places to seek out a potential home for next year (for three months at a time at least with the ever impending Brexit).

Always one to follow my intuition I’m feeling pulled towards Marbella, and I want to check out the co-working scene in Lisbon. As soon as I arrive in one of these places I’ll instantly know that that is where I want to begin my new chapter. Once I’ve returned to the UK for Christmas I’ll be making plans to return to my chosen place in the New Year. Hopefully anyway!

2 thoughts on “Adios England! My Travel Plans

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