How to prepare for a 3-month backpacking trip in South East Asia

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm excited to announce, I'll be fulfilling my dream of heading back to South East Asia in January for 3 months of backpacking. I couldn't be more excited to get back to the backpacking way of life, discover new places, eat delicious foods and meet new people.

Whether you're new to backpacking or planning a trip, here is how to prepare for 3 months of backpacking.

This article contains paid content placements.

How to prepare for a 3 month backpacking trip in South East Asia

Figure out who you're going with

Deciding you're planning to go backpacking is a big decision, whether it's for one month, three months or a whole year. When you've made the decision to go, you need to choose who you want to go with as it's a big thing to plan. It could be your partner, friends, or sibling or you can go solo. Each decision means a slightly different style of planning.

Decide on the route and timeframe

You can go backpacking for as long as you want but making the decision on how long you have in mind, can help you save, budget and decide on the itinerary you'd like to follow. I've decided to travel for three months and visit seven different countries: Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Phillippines and Indonesia. You may decide to spend three months in one place or do as many destinations as me.

Research each place and decide on a rough itinerary

If you're spending longer in a place, there's more wiggle room to be spontaneous and travel slower, however, if you're spending less time in each place, it'll be best to do some research and decide if there are any must-have places you want to visit or specific landmarks to see. I've made a rough itinerary of the different places I want to go to and include the must-see things and do.

Book travel vaccinations

I cannot stress this point more because your health is the most important thing. It's not worth catching anything and being unwell in a place where healthcare isn't as accessible as back home. Check with your doctors and book an appointment in with the travel clinic and see what vaccinations they recommend for you to get. I had to get quite a few including Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis and Tetanus. I will say vaccinations can be quite expensive and you will need to budget for them, mine came to around £400. Some may be available on the NHS, it depends on your doctors.

Check with countries that need visas

Visas are another essential thing you need to do. Some countries allow you to enter in with no visa, some require a form for you to fill out whilst others may need a visa to apply for. Do this with plenty of time as sometimes they can take a while to approve it.

Book flights and accommodation

Once you have everything mapped out, it's time to begin booking flights and accommodation. I would highly recommend booking flights in advance because it makes things easier and cheaper in the long run. With accommodation, you can book it whilst you're travelling around, however, to feel more prepared, book the accommodation in advance. I've gone through and booked all the accommodation for the whole stay, saving me time and worry when arriving at each destination.

Book any other transport

Getting from one place to the other isn't always by flying, it could be through buses, trains or boats. You can easily buy tickets for these when you've arrived, however, booking in advance can make your trip a little bit smoother and sets more of a permanent agenda. I find 12Go as the best place to book this type of transport.

Buy travel insurance

Travel insurance is essential for any type of trip, especially when you're away for a long period of time as there's more time for potential things to go wrong. Purchasing the right policy is key; ensure you list all of your medical conditions, and cover the right countries and any activities you're looking to choose.

Organise a sim card

Phoning and texting when on a different continent can be very expensive and why purchasing the appropriate sim card can help with communicating whilst you're away. You can get sim cards at the airport or anywhere locally in the country you're visiting. 

Decide what your budget will be for the trip

When you've decided on where you're going and for how long, it's ideal to set a budget for the ideal amount you'd like to spend on the trip. Then, ensure you bring extra than the budget in case something happens or things are more expensive than you expect.

Download e-books, shows, films and podcasts

Months of backpacking mean you'll be experiencing many flights, bus journeys, trains and boats and you'll want to keep yourself occupied during them. Download as much entertainment as you can including e-books, tv shows, films and podcasts to help long travel journeys a lot more fun.

Download travel apps

Travel apps will come in handy when you're travelling around such as Grab for tuk tuks and taxi rides across Asia, and your accommodation apps including, Hostel World and Airbnb. Also, if you've to go the travel card from the post office, their app, ensures you can top it up and see your balance.

Photocopy documents

Your passport, visas and any useful documentation are vital when travelling. Unfortunately, accidents happen and you may lose important documents and why I'd recommend photocopying them so you have evidence of the documents. 

Create a packing list and decide what you need to buy

Organising your packing list can help you feel more prepared when jetting off. I'd recommend writing a list weeks before and keeping a note of the things you need to buy and what you already have. Once things have been bought, write a new list of what you need to pack and tick it off as you go. Don't forget packing cubes, they always help organise your belongings. You can shop here and browse a comfortable selection of clothing for your tip as well.

Make note of emergency numbers 

You never know when you may have an emergency and by noting down the emergency numbers in each country, there at hand should you need them.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

Successes of 2022

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I cannot believe we're coming to the end of 2022, this has to be one of the quickest years ever. I never thought I would be where I'm at now at the beginning of 2022; this year has done a 360 turn in a good way. 

I love seeing people's highlights of the year and reading about their accomplishments, hence why I also like to write mine down. It's something that'll be great to read back on as the years go on. Whether you love a highlights post like me or want to share yours, here are my successes of 2022.

Successes of 2022

Travelling to five different places

Travelling is the love of my life and during 2020 and 2021, because of the pandemic, I couldn't travel as much as I wanted to. However, in 2022, with the world going back to somewhat normal and travel laws lifting again, I could fulfil my travel dreams and stick to my five trips a year rule. This year, I visited Budapest, Stockholm, Dubrovnik, and Sicily and visited my best friend in Dubai, as well as a staycation in London. 

Going on my first solo trip

I've always wanted to do a solo trip, however, I wasn't brave enough and the opportunity never arose. Although at the beginning of this year when a friend couldn't make a trip I had booked, I ended up going alone. Initially, I was hesitant, but when I arrived I fell in love with the solo travel way of life. There was so much freedom and pride as I walked around exploring a new city on my own accord, and on my own schedule. When I look back at 18-year-old me who was basically terrified of my own shadow, I can't help but beam with pride. 

Building my freelance writing business

Being a freelance writer has been a dream of mine for a very long time and this year it has really become a reality. I set myself the goal at the beginning of the year to be full-time freelance at the end of it and I'm excited to say, that's exactly what I've done. I've managed to build up a clientele of regular clients and one-off exciting projects in freelance writing and social media management, and honestly, I couldn't be happier. It's definitely been a year of learning in all aspects of freelance, as well as developing my writing craft further. Although it has been hard at times, I've loved every minute.

Meeting my partner

I never thought this year would be a year where I found the partner of my dreams. I genuinely thought I would be single for years and I was happy doing so, looking for a partner wasn't even on the cards and then he walked into my life, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I feel incredibly grateful to meet someone who loves me unconditionally, supports me and encourages me every step of the way. We are a team.

Finding an exercise routine I like

I love to exercise and keep active, it really benefits my mental and physical health, as well as boosts my productivity for the day. In 2021, I was all about the gym, going most days and really enjoying it, however by the beginning of this year, I found it wasn't really my thing anymore. Instead, I've fallen in love with pilates and now do that every day as well as a combination of dance workout routines.

Moving out

Moving out of my parent's home has been on the agenda for a while now, however, the right opportunity never came. This year, that changed and I moved out of my hometown with my partner and couldn't be happier in my new home.

Booking a backpacking trip

I've been dreaming of returning to south-east Asia since 2019, the last time I went and this year, I've booked a trip for next year, for a total of three months and I cannot wait. I'm incredibly excited to get my backpack out again and experience the freedom backpacking entails, as well as explore many new countries.

Reaching my savings goals

I've been extensively saving this year in order to book myself the backpacking trip and I was excited that not only did I save the amount I wanted, but I also exceeded it, giving me some extra money in my savings account.

Learning to put myself first

As a people pleaser who loves to care for everyone around me, I always found it hard to put my needs before everyone else's. However, this year, I've started to put myself first a bit more, learning my needs are just as important as everybody else's.

Developing stronger bonds with family and friends

Developing my self-love journey has meant falling in love with myself more, I've learned to love and be grateful for the relationships around me more, growing stronger bonds. I'm incredibly lucky to be surrounded by some wonderful friends and the most supportive and loving family, and partner.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What are your successes?

Thank you for reading <3

Reminders to hear before the new year

 Well hello to you my reader chums! 2022 has nearly ended, and I can't believe the year is nearly up. I say this every year, but it genuinely feels like I've blinked, and the year was over. This year has been one of the best, I feel incredibly grateful to have gotten back into travelling, meet my partner and spend quality time with family and friends. It has been another year of healing, furthering self-love for myself and growing even more.

Reminders to hear before the new year

The new year I find can be a time when many of us feel pressured into setting goals and changing our whole lives. However, just because it's a new year, it doesn't mean you need to completely change things, you can set goals which are sustainable for you.

Whether you're nervous or excited about the new year, here are the reminders you need to hear before the new year begins.

You don't need to become a new person

When it comes to the new year, everyone around us sets these big goals to try to be a new person and live a new life. And although most of this comes from good intentions, you don't need to follow people in committing to massive plans. Your life and your goals are okay as they are, you don't have to make drastic changes to match everybody else. You can make smaller goals or keep living the life you do, it's your new year, after all, it's your life. Nobody cares what you do as much as you do, so you should try and do what makes you happy.

The new year is what you make of it

The new year means something different to everybody. For me, I like it as a mini fresh start and a chance to look back on what the past year has been like. Also, how I'd like to go forward in the new year, whether that's making some changes or continuing work I've done in the previous year. Decide what the new year means to you and focus on that mantra instead of comparing yourself to everybody else.

This year doesn't have to have been the best year ever

Not everyone is living their best life. We've all had hard times, we've all had moments this year where we've struggled and that's okay. It's important to sit and remind yourself of that. You're not alone, you have people around you who have also been struggling.

Social media isn't real 

Social media is a point I talk about all the time, especially in reminder posts because it's the worst thing for comparison. This time of year, everyone posts their highlight reels and photos of the past year and as exciting as this is to see, if you've had a bad year, it can be hard to watch. Remind yourself, social media isn't real, people are sharing their highlights, not the daily ongoings of their lives.

You can start your goals at any point in the year

The new year doesn't mean you have to set goals, you can change your life or set goals at any point in the year, whether that's on a random Monday or at the end of the year. Goals are useful at any point and can be worked towards whenever you want.

Your happiness is the main goal

Your happiness is key in your life, you deserve to feel happy, and love the skin you're in and the life you have. In the new year, with all the pressure of new goals, we forget to focus on all the amazing things we already have, whether it's the people around us, where we live or our passions in life. These things feed into our happiness and make us who we are; don't stray from that because you're trying to change your life.

Age is just a number

Another new year means undoubtedly turning another year older. Whatever you feel about age, whether it's good or bad, it's important to understand it's only a number. Your age doesn't define who you are and what you need to achieve by a certain number. As I've gotten older, the pressure of my twenties definitely has hit harder, but I try to focus on the things I've achieved and not what society tells me I need to achieve.

Life really is what you make it

Life is incredible, life is about growth, life is about learning and we should all learn to appreciate it. We're all going to experience ups and downs, it's part of life. Whatever you're going through at the minute, it will pass and good things are coming. And, if you are experiencing a wonderful day currently, keep riding that wave, it's so exciting.

You are good enough

You are worthy, you are good enough, and you are amazing. You deserve fab things to happen to you. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. What would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

How to find moments of calm at Christmas

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Tis' the season for big social gatherings, festive markets and everyone's calendars being fully booked, and sometimes, it can feel pretty overwhelming. 

If you're someone who finds the festive season a little bit hectic and stressful, here's my guide on how to find moments of calm at Christmas

How to find moments of calm at Christmas

Book out designated 'you' time

It can seem impossible to have any kind of 'you' time over the festive season, especially with a busy calendar, however, it is possible. The best way to do this is by booking out regular 'you' time which suits you. Whether it's an hour every day or a dedicated day a week, choose something which works with your schedule and wellbeing. It could even be 10 minutes before bed after a social gathering to unwind and take that time to reflect on your mind.

Set boundaries for yourself in social settings

Boundaries are key for your mental health and wellbeing, especially during an overwhelming period. I struggle with social anxiety and find if there's too much socialising, I need that time to build my social coins up again, ensuring my wellbeing is intact for other events. For this reason, if you struggle in social settings, set boundaries. Give yourself a get-out clause or an excuse to allow you to leave when you like, such as you need to drive home. Alternatively, set yourself a time for when you want to leave as this gives you an estimated time to leave the social setting. 

Also, another thing to consider is learning to say no. Just because you've been invited to every event, it doesn't mean you have to attend them all. Attend the social occasions that suit you and you'll enjoy them, rather than going to ones out of festive pressure.

Don't overbook the calendars 

This is probably the hardest thing to do, especially when you want to fit family, friends, your partner and any work plans into the short month of December. However, make sure you keep evenings free and a day at the weekend here or there to schedule in that designated 'you' time or do something festive you're planning on your own accord. An overbooked calendar will add to the Christmas anxiety and cause additional stress. 

Implement exercise into your daily routine 

Exercise and fresh air are life's medicine as cheesy as they say and honestly make a world of difference on a day-to-day basis in the festive period. When it comes to exercise, it doesn't need to be intense or something you're not used to, it can be slow exercise. Slow exercise can mean a stretching routine, pilates or taking a leisurely walk around your street. As long as you feel the benefits of moving your body, it can do wonders for your mental health.

Practise gratitude and mediation 

I've written many articles about gratitude and how it can change your life for the better. It helps you find the good things in life, even when everything isn't going well, and that can easily be applied to Christmas when some of us feel overwhelmed. Practising gratitude and naming everything you're grateful for can switch your mindset and help you feel a sense of calm. Mediation aids the practising of gratitude; they're two practises which go hand in hand. Mediation brings you back to the moment, whilst gratitude helps point out the little things of the day bringing you joy.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

Top 10 tips for long-haul flights

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm a big fan of flying long-haul, I prefer it to short-haul flights. There's something about being able to get settled, plan out what film you're going to watch and eat surprise aeroplane food which really excites me. 

Whether you're new to flying or want some helpful advice, here are my top 10 tips for long-haul flights.

This article contains paid content placements.

Top 10 tips for long-haul flights

Plan a comfortable outfit

Comfort is key with long-haul flights. Whether it's 7 or 14 hours, you want to stay as comfortable as possible throughout the whole airport journey from arriving to landing at your destination. To feel comfortable, plan an outfit you can move easily in, sleep in and have a complete comfort appeal to it. My favourite type of outfit is loose trousers or a jumpsuit with lots of room and a jumper to throw over the top to keep warm. Also, when it comes to shoes, wear a pair which feels like a dream on your feet, I usually go for trainers. DK active have an excellent selection of activewear for your exercise and workout routine.

Bring things to do for the airport 

With longer flights, you're more likely to check in luggage which means you will arrive at the airport a lot earlier than if you just have a carry-on. An airport is a busy place and even though this can be true, sometimes I've found myself getting through checking in luggage and security and like 20 minutes, which leaves a lot of time before the gate is called. This is why you should plan for things to do to keep yourself occupied if mooching around the shops isn't your thing. It could be a book, catching up on a life admin to-do list or listening to a podcast, whatever will keep your mind occupied.

Prebook your food (if you want changes)

I made this mistake on my last flight. However, for all long-haul flights, you will be given a meal including snacks and drinks also. If you're not interested in the set menu or have allergens, ensure when purchasing the flight, you change the food to suit your meal preferences.

Pack an extra pillow

On a long-haul flight, you want to be comfortable and most likely, rest. Most airlines provide you with a pillow which is always a dream, however, for additional support, purchase a travel neck pillow. This can help provide you support and make a couple hours of sleep possible.

Stay hydrated

Dehydration is so common on a long-haul flight because you either forget to drink or you're moving about. I always find I can get the worst headaches when flying long-haul because I don't have fresh air for a long period of time and don't drink as much. Try and bring a water bottle onto the flight because even though the flight attendants will bring you a couple of drinks here and there, you may need more than offered to stay hydrated.

Move around as much as you can 

Sitting in one place for an extended period of time isn't good for your body especially if it's 8 hours plus. I would recommend trying to get up and moving around as much as you can, not just for the toilet. Every few hours, get up and walk along the aisle and back to move your legs and keep the blood pumping. It can help you feel a lot better overall.

Bring home comforts 

If you're an anxious flyer or the thought of a long-haul flight is worrying, bring home comforts which will make you feel at ease or safe. This could be a particular jumper, a cuddly toy or even a specific pillow. You could even spray your favourite perfume onto your clothes to help you feel relaxed. There's always something you can do to feel more at home.

Find the things which bring you calm

Even if you're a common flyer, sometimes the flying experience can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. For that reason, it's important to know the things which bring you a sense of calm. This could range from a breathing app, a certain playlist or a certain scent. Whatever the thing is which brings you calm, have it with you so you can take it out at any point to reduce stress.

Remind yourself not everything can always go to plan

Unfortunately, as much as we plan things, not everything can go by the book, especially when it comes to flying. From delays, and cancellations to random mishaps, you need to mentally prepare yourself for blips along the way. I don't necessarily mean anxiety thoughts, but life hiccups, and things you can't control. Remind yourself that whatever happens, it will all be okay.

Enjoy the entertainment and relax

Long-haul flights can be so much fun! I love having the opportunity of enjoying the on-flight entertainment and eat the free food, as well as being away from my phone for a few hours. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view of being up in the sky and adventure of your new destination.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

How to deal with Christmas anxiety

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Tis' the season for social events, present planning, festivities and busy calendars. It's a busy time for those who celebrate Christmas, whether you're young or old. However, it's also a time that can cause anxiety for many reasons, this could be financial or mental health.

I find the Christmas season very stressful because it is so busy and usually my calendar is completely full, plus there's the pressure of finding presents and being present. 

If you're dealing with Christmas anxiety or want help with stress, here are my best tips on coping with Christmas anxiety.

How to deal with Christmas anxiety

Plan in advance as possible

I plan Christmas earlier and earlier every year as this helps me free up time in December to enjoy what the festivities bring. This post is probably going out a bit too late to use this point as a tip, however, even if you can spend a few hours planning today, it'll save you time in the run-up to Christmas. I usually like to start my planning in October time as then I can organise how much money I'm going to put towards Christmas, and what I'm going to get everyone as well as social plans.

Schedule in evenings for 'you' time

'You' time is incredibly important anyway but especially during the festive season. For me, I find it can be very overwhelming with work, social plans and little things to do here and there, so it's crucial for me to schedule quiet evenings or days. This gives me a chance to calm down and be present with myself and my mind. If I push myself too hard, I'll end up burning out and not being able to enjoy Christmas.

Ensure you get a good night's sleep

This may sound like a simple point, however, getting the right amount of sleep every night does wonders for your mental health, especially in the festive season when it's cold and dark and many people are stressed. I would set an ideal bedtime and wake-up time every day and try to stick with that as much as possible. It'll help the flow of your body as well as allow you to rest.

Stick to your usual schedule as much as possible

This leads me to your routine. The festive month of December can throw our usual schedule out of whack because of getting together, parties, social occasions and a different flow to work in some companies. Due to this, I would advise trying to stick to your routine as much as possible. This could be your fifteen minutes of exercise in the morning, regular food prep or bedtime. Whatever it is, a sense of normality can bring calm.

Practice gratitude

Gratitude can change your world in many ways. Being grateful can help us see everything in a more positive light, especially if things are really hard. I know this year many people are going to be struggling even more at Christmas time and practising gratitude may be hard when things are already hard. However, finding the smallest of things can bring you some form of hope. For example, being grateful for those we have around us and the little things which make us smile every day

Understand the true meaning of Christmas

Christmas isn't about the gifts, it's not about the flashy decorations or the perfect Instagram picture. Christmas is about the love we have for one another, it's the season of kindness and doing things for other people. It's the time of bringing people together and enjoying the wonderful thing that is connection. However, I think many of us get lost in the world of the media and marketing, thinking we all need big presents, expensive decorations and loads of food for a good time. The most important thing at Christmas is you're spending time with people who mean the most to you, and that's enough.

Avoid getting sucked into the Xmas expectations

In a world of social media, Christmas expectations are huge. I always see these pretty pictures of families with matching pyjamas, happy smiles, expensive gifts and every Christmas outing under the sun. And although a lot of these things many can enjoy, you don't need to do all of these things to have a good Christmas. Christmas is different for everyone and you don't need to get sucked into the expectations of others to enjoy yourselves.

Enjoy the good things Christmas brings

Despite the anxiety and stress Christmas can bring, think about all the good things it also brings. For example, I love being able to spend quality time with my family and friends over the period. I love how I'm able to do kind things for people by planning gifts or experiences we can do together.

Ask for help

It's okay to ask for help even at Christmas time. Don't let social media fool you that everybody is happy and peppy, as it's a time of year when many do struggle with their mental health. If you're not okay, reach out to family, friends, colleagues or one of the mental health services. You're not alone. 

Move at your own pace

Christmas can be fast-paced and that's one of the reasons it causes stress and anxiety among people. However, you don't have to keep to that fast pace, you can take it one step at a time so you can enjoy it and do Christmas how you want. Organise a schedule that works for you, say no when it doesn't feel right and put yourself first if it's all too much.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What tips would you add?

Thank you for reading <3