It’s that time of year! Yes, with only a few days of it left, it’s time I recapped my past 12 months!
And it has of course been the year when I finally took the plunge and became a proper traveller, firstly by immersing myself in Asia for a good few months, before returning to swelter on European shores and actually remember what a summer was!
Whilst I would have loved to be writing this telling you about my entire year spent on the road, unfortunately reality did bite, and I’ve now been home for a few months. But the “to-do” list has only grown, and I’ll hopefully be getting to work on checking some of those off soon…
This will be divided into two parts, as it was turning into a real epic when I started writing. So here’s how the first six months of 2012 ran for me:
With me and Chelcie having formally made the decision at Christmas to hit up foreign lands, January was mostly spent with me staring at my desk calendar at work counting down the weeks, days, hours and minutes, even though we hadn’t decided on a leaving date yet. Oh and also attempting to do some work.
Outside of work much time was spent poring over maps and reading guidebooks trying to work out a rough plan.
After realising that a RTW trip was a bit beyond our planning capabilities with the time-frame we were seemingly giving ourselves, and after my first chat with STA in Exeter, we decided to concentrate on Asia and Europe. So on the 25th of Feb we made our way down to Exeter – me for the 6th time that week – and ended up booking tickets: LHR – HKG; HKG – BKK; DPS – HKG; HKG – LHR.
Oh and we had of course decided on our leaving date – But only on the way down to book! May 1st…
We started booking accommodation for our first few destinations – Hong Kong, Bangkok and Chiang Mai – so that we could get into the travelling groove easily. We both drew up epic lists of stuff we wanted to see and do.
On the less exciting side though, the time had come to hand in my resignation. This saw me having a massive “WHAT AM I DOING?!” moment a few days before, but as soon as it was done – with me giving a generous 6 weeks notice – it was full speed ahead, and the excitement really started building.
With only two weeks before we flew, I decided it was time to tell my friends – Nothing like a surprise hey! Injections were had, supplies were purchased and lists were checked. I finished my job on the 25th and came home that night to a joyful reunion with my best friend, who had just returned from his own 6 months of travels. An entertaining leaving meal followed on the Saturday night, and by the final night of the month I was all packed and ready to go!
This tweet summed it all up:
We said our goodbyes to the parents, and took off from Heathrow at 6pm, landing in Hong Kong around 1pm the next day. After being hit by the sweltering South East Asian heat – our epic walk down Nathan Road not helping – we slept and enjoyed 5 days in Hong Kong, before jetting over to Bangkok.
Thailand began with us being nicely ripped off by a Bangkok taxi driver, but once settled in we went temple hopping and wandering. 8 days in Chiang Mai followed, including that horrible train trip. Some bad news from back home made the next week or so a very difficult one, but we carried on by flying back to Bangkok. A few days later we flew down to Koh Samui – It was time for sun and sand! So it rained torrentially on our first night…
Countries visited: Hong Kong, Thailand
Flights taken: LHR – HKG, HKG – BKK, CNX – BKK, BKK – USM
After six days of Samui it was time to ferry onwards to Koh Tao, which we truly fell in love with. Landing an awesome accommodation deal, we loved the island and wished we could have longer. But Koh Phangan was calling for Full Moon, where we saw some infinitely amusing sights. Another short flight to Phuket took us back to more commercial – and more sleazy – Thailand, where we checked out Patong, Phuket Town and Karon. Our final stop in Thailand was a weekend on picturesque Koh Phi Phi, but after six weeks it was time to move on…
To Malaysia! Truly Asia. Truly fantastic. Landing in Penang we knew little of it, but fell in love with the stunning Straits Chinese inhabitated island, helped by our amazing hosts. We were sad to leave, but we hit the road and headed to down to the capital for an awesome five days. Another road trip down to Singapore followed, where we finished the month blown away by the sights of the superb city-state.
Countries visited: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore
Flights taken: USM – HKT, HKT – PEN
I’ll be back in the next couple of days with July – December. Where were you in the world from January – June?