I’ve wanted to see the world since I was about 12 years old, when I realised just how much there is out there to see. Documentaries and films have shown me various environments and cultures, so different to the one I was raised in. The prospect of experiencing it in real life has always been enticing to me. But even though I would talk about all the places I planned to visit, I never actually went. I think in five years I went abroad just twice, to Venice and Amsterdam. I loved both trips, but they were short weekends away, and I dreamed of travelling for a longer period of time.
In September 2015, I sat in the bathroom looking at three little white sticks, displaying markings that meant… I was pregnant.
At that time, I wasn’t even employed, and was known amongst friends for being terrible at holding down a job. (Quite simply, I don’t like being told what to do.)
But thankfully, knowing I needed to provide for this kid I was going to have, all of a sudden I had the motivation to not only get a job, but keep it. I was really ill over the Christmas holidays when the kids were off school (I work as a nanny), but I didn’t even take any sick days. For me that really is a big deal.
Anyway, a few month later, in May 2016, I became a parent. I had just under a year to spend looking after my daughter before it was time to renter the working world. My occupation choice is very handy as it means Stormey can come to work with me. Eight months into a job which frankly, nearly destroyed my soul, I decided it was time to do something to reignite my love for life.
My eldest brother and sister in law live in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnams capital. I also had a friend at the time who was going to be housesitting in New Zealand (this changed, I’ll explain further along). These two circumstances plus the money I’d saved from working and the need to do something big, lead me to a phone call with STA travel. A lovely chap from Ealing helped me out, and within half an hour, I had booked tickets for both me and Stormey to visit both countries. Seven flights and just under 8 weeks worth of travelling were now logged into our upcoming itinerary.
That was 110 days ago, I remember the app counting down for me, today is the day we go. In three hours we’ll be heading to the airport!
We are now booked in on 11 flights in total and three countries. As I mentioned, my friends plans changed, so we no longer had free accommodation for New Zealand. Initially this concerned me greatly, as I am doing this on a budget. But I basically took the sometimes necessary attitude of ‘I will find a way’, and so far it’s working for us, I’m glad to say.
I didn’t fancy being in New Zealand for a whole month as originally planned, purely as it will be their Winter season when we go. So I booked two weeks in Rarotonga, the biggest of the Cook Islands. To be frank, it was the cheapest South Pacific Island to fly to from New Zealand. I needed to spend as little as possible but also get a couple of weeks of Sun. After a lot of Googling I’m chuffed with my decision, it looks like paradise.
So Vietnam, the Cook Islands and New Zealand are the places we’re heading too. I’m nervous, excited and grateful, as I look at Stormey currently napping next to me, that her unexpected arrival into the world gave me the motivation to actually achieve my ambitions. I’m finally going travelling, even with a toddler at my side.
I’ve done a whole lot of preparation to make things go as smooth as possible, but ultimately, we’ll just take it one day/journey/flight at a time.