2016 was the best year of my life. After years and years of dreaming about long-term travel but being restricted by university, 2016 was the year that I finally spent a full year away from home.
Close enough, right?
I flew to Thailand in January, where I met up with some friends from previous trips to Asia. We spent a few nights in Bangkok, before heading to Koh Chang for a few days of sunbathing, relaxing at reggae bars and motorbiking around the island.
We then headed to Koh Rong, Cambodia, where I’d spent 5 weeks of 2015. I was immediately given my old job as a promo girl back, but it wasn’t long before I quit, in favour of a more traditional bar job at Island Boys.
From February until the end of May, Island Boys became my home away from home. I already loved Koh Rong, but working in the best bar on the island (okay, I may be slightly biased here) made it so much more fun, not to mention the cute puppies and kittens we had!
However, 4 months living on an island where your entire life is confined to a 200 metre stretch of beach started to feel a bit claustrophobic, and so at the beginning of June, my friend and I spent a month working our way up Vietnam. We ended the trip with 10 days in Hanoi with our 2 friends who were teaching English there.
From Vietnam, we headed to Malaysia, where we spent 5 weeks exploring this incredible country. We relaxed on the beautiful beaches of Langkawi, drank cocktails in the skyscraper bars of Kuala Lumpur, and ate all the food we could eat (and more!) in Penang. We also took a long weekend to see Singapore, visiting its famous zoo and enjoying how clean everything was.
After Malaysia, we headed back to Thailand. We’d originally planned to spend a few days in my favourite place ever, Koh Phi Phi, before visiting our friend where he worked in Koh Phangan, but, as is always the case with island life, a week turned into a month and we became like part of the furniture, both at Alena Dorm Rooms on Phi Phi, and Echo Beach Backpackers on Koh Phangan.
After spending way too long partying in Thailand, we returned to Koh Rong. Needing some cash (my bar job only paid me in food and alcohol), I decided that I would split my time between living on the mainland, in downtown Sihanoukville, and on the island.
I rented a studio apartment for $200 a month in Sihanoukville and spent two nights a week there, blogging and doing freelance work online. The remaining five nights were spent on Koh Rong, working when I was needed and relaxing when I wasn’t.
It was a pretty sweet deal really.
Towards the end of my time there, my friend opened a new bar on a beach 30 minutes away, and so I got into a little routine of taking the dogs (and whichever people were around!) through the jungle and onto the other beach, where I could sip on iced coffees and enjoy the beautiful views.
And then it was time to leave.
December 16th saw me back in freezing. Manchester to spend some much-needed time with friends and family.
I originally thought that I’d head out back to Asia after a month, but do you know what?
I’m quite liking it here.
That, and I don’t have the money that I’d want in my bank if I were to do another big trip.
At first I was stressing out, thinking but I’m 24! Time waits for no man! I don’t have TIME to stay in England for a couple of months and save money!
But as it happens, I have no choice, and if life has taught me anything, it’s that there’s no point worrying about that which you cannot change.
In the time that I have in England, I’m going to work hard.
I’ve got a fancy new theme for my blog (which you’ll see very soon, yay!), and I’m moving away from WordPress.com and paying for my own hosting instead. Once all that’s done, I’ll be sorting out a monthly newsletter for all of you little stalkers who wanna keep up with my antics 😉
So, where does that leave travelling?
Well, my loose plan is to get back out to Cambodia around late Feb/early March, to work for a couple of months until rainy season begins in June.
I’ll then – probably – be back in the UK briefly, before seeing some of Europe.
Where, you ask?
I don’t know!
Isn’t that the beauty of being a nomad?
I keep seeing ‘travel goals 2017’ blogs, full of very specific plans and locations, but I really have no idea where I’ll be in 6 months, and I love that!
Maybe I’ll be working at an animal sanctuary in Portugal, or a cafe in Amsterdam. Maybe I’ll couch surf around Eastern Europe, or explore Bavaria.
With a job that means that all I need to work is a laptop and an internet connection, and sites such as Workaway that make paying to travel a thing of the past, the world really is my oyster!
For some people, a life like mine would be a nightmare. Some of my best friends could imagine nothing worse than not having a stable home, or income, or vision of the future.
I understand that.
But for me, it’s just fine.
What about you? Do you have big travel plans this year? Perhaps you’re changing your style of travelling, making the move from backpacker to flashpacker or fast to slow travel! Let me know what your travel goals for 2017 are in the comments below!