Guide to female solo backpacking

What a daunting thought? Even writing it now I have to ask myself ‘was I mad?’ but of course we all know that I wasn’t mad at all, in fact I was mad to have not done it sooner!

Being a female solo backpacker has its many perks as well as raising a lot of issues you would never have thought about otherwise!

IMG_3183Firstly, you have to think about yourself! Sounds obvious right? I find that when you are alone for an extended period of time you get used to meeting new people and you just kind of go along with whatever they want to do for the company. Make sure you do what you want as well! I can’t stress enough how much stronger and confident you will become whilst backpacking solo, so instead of being that person that just goes with the flow, make the flow follow you!

Don’t forget you might have better ideas than everyone else and then the people you meet will want to come along with you because most the time, no one actually knows what they’re doing!

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Hostels. A massive hurdle for any first time backpacker to overcome (unless you have heaps of money that is, but then are you really backpacking in 5* resorts, I think not). Now the question your faced with, do you spend that extra few pounds, dollar, baht or rupee to get that female dorm? Most of the time it’s not needed although it is a bit strange if the hostel is like the above photo and you wake up facing some big hairy Fijian man! Before I left I was freaking about staying in a dorm with strange smelly men that I’ve never met before but in all  honestly, you get used to it! Don’t forget if it is that bad then you can just change rooms or leave the next day? Not a problem at all! Oh and lets not forget, girls can be weird and smelly too!

IMG_5107Further on hostels, you are more than likely going to stay in a few places that are not what you call, how do I say this? Fit for human life to live in? Okay that’s a joke, but they are going to be pretty dire. Just laugh about it! What more can you do? It is all part of the experience! This bathroom, WOW. That bucket you see, yeah that is how you flush the toilet and worms would come out the tiles on the floor when you showered. It was a delight!

Going back to that a previous paragraph and the part about freaking out, that happens. Just keep your whits about you, try and keep a level head and your be fine! Just be aware of your surroundings, if something seems odd, chances are it is! Your a smart, independent woman at this stage you will be able to get yourself out of that situation, just be confident!

IMG_5034Last but not least, have fun! Don’t spend your time worrying about what other people are doing or thinking, don’t worry if your hair is turning to dreadlocks (although the whole world does have coconut oil pretty much and that will sort it out) Hey, don’t even worry if something gets lost or stolen, I mean it’s a pain but there is not one thing that can’t be solved! You will learn to overcome any problems that arise and by the end of it you will look back and those things won’t matter as long as you have had the best time possible!

So if your at that place where your thinking about going, your thinking about travel and worried about doing it yourself, just do it. Worst comes to worst and you really hate it, you can just go home! Your never know if you like it unless you try!
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Making the move!

Woooooow it’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here and that being for a good reason! For any of you that don’t know, I’ve taken the plunge, packed up my life as I thought I knew and made the massive step of moving to Australia!!!

I know this is a common thing for us Brits to do a ‘gap year’ (although this is usually between studies which I haven’t actually done) and head over to the land down under where I am now part of the 2.5 million UK tourists in this wonderful country!

When I got home (home?) after my last travels, I landed to the cold, winter, greyness of the UK and instantly felt strange. I didn’t feel like I fitted in any more, in this place that I had lived my whole life, a place I have friends and family, a house and a job. Yet this wasn’t where I wanted to be, in fact I wanted to be anywhere other than there! I  just knew that seeing new places was what I wanted to be doing!

So there I was, day 2 of landing in the UK after months of being away, handing in my notice over lunch to my manager whilst still dreaming of the Thai adventures and Bali sunsets I had just left behind, mentally planning my next adventure!

I had to move out of my house, not realising how much junk I had actually collected over the years, arrange someone to move in, arrange adult things like gas inspections and mortgages. I’m telling you now, after only having to think about what to eat that day and finding places to stay this was WAYYYY  harder than I had thought, my brain had just stopped working like it used to. In fact everything about me completely changed from when I left the first time to when I went home.

On the 13th February, exactly 31 days after I touched down on UK soil I was off again!

IMG_4536.JPGNext thing I know, BAM, I’m in Australia, Perth to be exact. The heat is just something else, well I have got used to it now but that first few days, my god I was sweating like crazy after being in freezing temperatures for a month, it’s strange how quickly your body can adjust to different climates! So there I am, feeling groggy and jet lagged, desperate for a shower and a glass of ice cold water (or cider) I am ready to see what this place has to offer.

IMG_4514Margaret River is where we decided to set up base, about 3 hours south of Perth City. I was completely swept of my feet when I got here! The relaxed atmosphere, the beach, the kangaroos, you name it! Camper vans and 4×4 everywhere you look, winery that scream at you to come and taste their award winning wines, local food markets and outdoor cinemas. Do you understand why I wanted to come here now? This place is just an adventure in itself!
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IMG_6930.JPGStraight away I went and bought myself my own little 4×4… which is currently trying to die on me already but we won’t worry about that until it actually happens right? This gave me the freedom to escape to the beach whenever I wanted, to find new places to explore, to visit the tourist attractions (because I am a tourist still although this is now home), and to just enjoy this beautiful area with all the incredible people I have met along the way!

Keep your eyes peeled for more on my move and what I get up to whilst over in Australia!
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Fabulous Fiji

Oh Fiji, how you changed my life in so many ways.

A three week trip to Fiji suddenly turned into 5 weeks and my god where they full of adventure, thrill, fear, and hangovers!

img_3934When you think of Fiji, you think of the luxury, the white sandy beaches and the utterly gorgeous surroundings, but there is so much more to this place than anyone can ever imagine. For any of you that don’t know, Fiji is a group of 332 islands that are based in the South Pacific and yes, backpackers, there is a place here for you too!

Turning up at Fiji, being greeted at the airport by a guy from the hostel, the second destination on my trip, I had no idea what to expect other than what I imagined as per the last paragraph, oh no was I wrong. Rocking up to the hostel the beach was  covered in grey/black sand, you know that sand that burns your feet if you walk on it? Yes that. The water wasn’t clear and there was a TON of mosquitos (which FYI just hang out around me using my legs as a feeding ground, NOT COOL) as well as a crying English girl telling me how awful the place was within the first 5 minutes of my arrival, don’t judge a book by its cover! As soon as you get to the islands it all changes, in fact even getting 5 minutes from the main land by boat it changes!

 

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In instant panic mode, the only thing you can do is book as many things as possible in order to make sure you have the most amazing time. First of all diving, my uncle is an avid diver therefor my dad suggested I complete my open water diving qualification. This was the first time I have ever dived and to be honest, I am not sure how I feel about it! I completed it, but I did have a little slight hiccup as part of the qualification you have to take your mask off underwater then back on and clear it. This sounds simple, but when your 5+ metres under the water this is a tiny bit unnerving to say the least!! The good 100% out weighs the bad in diving though, we got to see the most incredible sea life ranging from Leopard Sharks to Lobsters! Unimaginable amounts of fish swimming within touching distance and coral of all colours your eyes wouldn’t even believe, it is just when you look up, to a sheer face of coral wall when you realise how deep you really are!
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img_8934The next thing on my list of things to do was island hopping, this is a must for any backpacker that’s heading over to Fiji, this is something you will never experience (well you might but still do this anyway!) I booked this through a company called Awesome Fiji, although you can book it yourself all separately, 6 days and 5 nights hopping from island to island, I did it as cheap as possible because you want to experience the real deal right? Oh, and it’s quite expensive but SO worth it. Each island had no hot water (fine if you go in the summer and it’s boiling hot, not so fine if the weather is cooling down and you have to wash your hair in the evening and OH EMMMM GEEEEEE putting your head under the water and yeah, wow, you get my gist). Electric? What electric? Okay, that is an exaggeration, you get about 1-2 hours electric a day but lets not forget your in paradise, who needs electric and wifi when there is so much more to experience! I made friends with an awesome girl named Jen and we did the island hopping trip together BUT you can 100% do it on your own as well!

img_3990So what I am trying to get at is that Fiji has plenty to see and do, don’t be put off thinking it’s all honeymoons and couples because it’s not, it’s music festivals, zip lining, diving, swimming, partying and just experiencing the local life. Visit a village, get on a bus to anywhere, buy food from the markets and soak up the life these people lead because it really is incredible! Who wants to stay on the tourist path anyway?!

Keep your eyes peeled on the blog for further in Fiji, you really thought I could fit 5 weeks in 1 post?

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What I learnt whilst backpacking

If you throw out the idea that your thinking about going backpacking, people will instantly start taking the piss and asking questions such as ‘What? Are you going to find yourself or something?’ and ‘How are YOU going to manage that?!’but what these people didn’t realise is that their negativity spurred me along in reality.

I am one of those people that if you say I can’t do something, majority of the time I won’t stop until I prove them wrong so although it was hard at times, I actually did learn a lot about my self!

For starters, I’m weak as hell. My backpack for my last 3 and a half month trip was 12kg at most, no matter how much I went to the gym, I struggled to carry this. Has any backpack designers ever thought of making a backpack for someone petite and not a normal size adult because we backpack too?! The backpack was huge pretty much… but its just something you have to deal with!
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You have to have faith! Give people the benefit of the doubt! If you live your life scared of every person you see you would never get anywhere, obviously be cautious, I’m not saying being stupid, I’m saying if your lost, ask a local, get on that local bus, get in that taxi and just have a teeny bit of faith they’re not going to murder you because they probably aren’t!

You don’t need many clothes! I’m about to embark on my next trip and the amount of clothes I have thrown out whilst moving from my place in the UK is ridiculous! When backpacking you probably end up wearing the same 4/5 outfits on repeat and your fine with that! Until you end up sitting waiting for your clothes to be cleaned and dried whilst in a blanket naked…

img_4673Micro fibre towels are the one. I owe the person who told me to get these big time!! They’re horrible, don’t get me wrong but anyone that has used them knows that 1. when you finally  get to use a real towel its like wrapping yourself if a sheet of perfect softness which really drys you! Its amazing. 2. They dry quickly, they fold up small, they’re easy to carry. If I was to have tried to take a real towel I would have spent half my time with a smelly heavy towel on my back making the backpack harder to carry!

Last but by far means least, the people! I don’t think I can go on enough about the people I met whilst away. I would say the number 1 thing I have learnt is to be patient! I met some of the most weird and wonderful people whilst I was away. You might be with someone that you think is the oddest person ever but thats fine! The world needs odd people! The same thing goes, chances are you will meet some of the best people who you really think you want to be friends with for life!


So yes, this is just a few of my 6am thoughts whilst I STILL cannot sleep properly although I’ve been home for a month now! Too many things going on in my mind to rest, like my next trip! Keep your eyes peeled!