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Saturday Showcase – BackpackerBanter!?

This weeks Saturday Showcase is slightly different – mainly due to the fact today marks a pretty epic moment in both this blog and also my own personal travels. This day 2 years ago I boarded a plane. That plane changed altered my life forever.

That plane landed in Cairns, Australia – where I began my working holiday visa – and got my stoke for travel really going.

So this week I thought I’d bypass Elle’s nomination (for the time being!) and bring you an interview with myself – not because I’m vain or anything, simply due to the fact I’m going to take this landmark in my travels to update you on where I currently am, what I’m up to, and what you can expect to be reading about in the future…

What’s so special about this week then?

2 years ago to the day I embarked on a years working holiday visa in Australia – it’s by far the best decision I’ve ever made.

It came about slightly by accident and the demise of a long term relationship – but by condensing my life into a single rucksack I changed the way I think and the way i view the world (check me being all deep and spiritual here!).

Anything not so special?!

Unfortunately this week also marks me being back in the UK for a full year – a massively depressing fact!

So what have I done over the last 365 days?

I’ve used the last ear pretty productively to be honest – and I’ve been extremely lucky about how everything has panned out.

I scored a sick job at STA Travel within a few weeks of being home and it has allowed me to embark on some awesome mini breaks to help the year go by – like my recent trip to Thailand or my surf trip back to Morocco earlier in the year.

Of course there was some festival carnage on my return to Glastonbury, but I’ve also used my time wisely to pimp out my CV – qualifying as a surf coach, beach lifeguard and also enrolling myself on a TEFL course.

This all boils down to the main goal of my time back in the UK – to prepare myself for my next RTW trip in 2012, from both an experience and financial perspective.

How’s my first big trip changed things?

Oz taught me the joys of long term travel – I’m now no longer content with a short break, I’m aiming big and trying to create a plan that maximises my time abroad.

I’ve already blogged about why I think a gap year is better than going to uni and I stand by the fact I’ve learnt heaps from my travels – and it’s definitely shaped everything since.

I got my bucket list started in Oz, lived out my dream of having a bed in the back of a van and surfing everyday in Byron Bay and experience the joys of the back packer bubble.

That in turn got me a job at STA, which forced me to learn about countries I’d never considered traveling to before, which helped me plan my next trip and also gave me some excellent discounts!

…all of which would have never have happened if I hadn’t gone away!

What’s the best travel tip I’ve picked up?

I’m always intrigued when interviewing people or chatting to travellers what everyones top travel tip is – and I get asked it alot at work.

Before Thaiand I’d say the old “lay out all your clothes and money – half the clothes and double the money” or “roll your stuff dont fold it”.

But honestly now I’d say one of two things;

Always carry about $20 in small US bills in your wallet (I’ll explain why in an upcoming Bangkok post!)

And make sure you’re flexible with your plans and open with the people you meet.

…both will serve you well in very different ways!

How’s the blog going?

The blogs coming on nicely and I’m stoked with the new layout after the relaunch in April. I’ve been blogging for about 3 years now and it’s great to get feedback, entertain you all and pass on hints and tips I come across!

My twitter account is slowly increasing in followers and I’ve met some amazing people through the whole thing – plus I get some pretty good kick backs!

What’s next?

Over the next 7 months I’m trying to fill my time with as much surfing and useful stuff as I can. But ultimately everything is now focused towards jetting off to warmer climates in May next year.

In the meantime though I’m sure I can fit in some mini breaks and I’ve got loads of stories, photos and advice to get you stoked for your own travels.

…and of course it would only be fair to have to pick my favorite travel pic!

In the theme of the whole reminiscing my first major trip it’s definitely this shot – taken through the palms at the main car park in Byron Bay. For me this pic sums up everything I went to Oz to find.

Empty waves, beautiful sunshine and a sense of tranquility.

It won’t inspire everyone to travel, it won’t be everyones perfect image of exploring the world – but it’s mine. And that’s what travel is all about – finding the moments that make you happy, and that keep you hungry to explore more.

Don’t worry the Saturday Showcase will be back as usual next week – when I’m not moping around thinking of where i was “this time last year” – it’s a curse of the backpacker life, but it also reminds me how lucky I’ve been…and keeps me stoked to get back out on the road!

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