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Published: July 19th 2011
With precisely 102 days left to go, that’s just under 15 weeks, I’m sat here at my desk wishing the days away, staring out the window acting like I am busy, as I am, of course, supposed to be working. It makes it just that much harder knowing that I’m going away to get any motivation together. It’s also stunning outside and I know weather like this will become the norm soon so I’m not really appreciating it to the fullest! Nor am I appreciating the endless work conversations around me. I just want to jump up and go now! Or at least be able to talk about it! And It’s getting harder and harder to keep my big mouth shut...OK so I told Alana straight away, then John, Andrew and not directly to Lynn but she knows!! It’s hard not to tell, I’ve had a photo of Sydney on my desk for over a year, my internet history could not be more blatant, along with mine and Mitch’s endless emails about our adventure plans. My desktop background is a map of the world, my calendar is inundated with countdowns to the leaving date (it started at 39 weeks!) and even a countdown as to when I can hand my notice in...it must be obvious! I think they’re just humouring me... ‘Let’s see just how long she can keep quiet!’ Well it’s killing me! I’m not exactly employee of the month at the moment so I best keep my head down....
The travel story so far....I’ve always wanted to explore the world and for many reasons in my 23 years I hadn’t taken the plunge for a world trip. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been to some amazing places in my life which I have appreciated, particularly throughout my childhood, but I needed a trip on a grand scale to satisfy my desire to travel. It took a holiday to Barbados last October and I had such a blast, then I came back to rainy, miserable Ashford and so I made it my mission to go the following year. So in January 2011, with only a vague idea of where I wanted to go, I headed off to STA Travel to book my ticket (taking my Mum for moral support!) I literally could not decide on how long to go for or even where so I just sat down and without thinking I had booked a 9 month trip as follows:
UK - San Fran – LA – Fiji – New Zealand – Australia – Singapore – Cambodia – Laos – Vietnam – Thailand – India – UK
Cue excitement! I spent the rest of the day flicking through brochures, brainstorming, shopping (with restraint due to my new budget!) lunching and I had a great day. Thanks Mum xxx
At this point I was two weeks into dating some nice fellow by the name of Mitchell James White. As the weeks rolled on and I got to know him & ultimately fall in love with him more & more, the excitement for this trip almost diminished as I knew that it would have to end at some point if I were to go away. So in typical Anna style I just buried my head in the sand, consciously ‘forgot’ the trip and enjoyed every second in the meantime. Until one morning the conversation turned to said trip and we decided to go together! Cue excitement to the extreme! Needless to say I was a very happy girl that morning and ran into work and announced very loudly ‘Mitch is coming on holiday with me!’ (‘Holiday’ was my Sherlock Holmes code at this point! Genius!) This then generated a number of questions from my boss:
‘Where are you going on holiday?’
‘ How long are you going for?’
‘A week in Australia?’
‘Strange....Have you booked the time off?’
You get the idea!!
That night we went out and celebrated in Canters with a glass of wine or two. With the world map awaiting us on the wall in Mitch’s room we decided to flip a coin to determine our fate for the night...Heads meant we stayed in Canters to have a nice dinner, a few drinks & no doubt end up in one of the clubs showing the kids how to move! Tails meant we ordered a takeout and went back to his to gaze at the map and plan our adventure. It flipped to Heads but on the walk to Cafe Des Amis we both admitted we secretly wanted Tails, so we grabbed a Subway and headed back to his to look through the books and start planning!
After we researched the trip together we changed the initial plan, reducing the trip to 5 – 6 months and deciding on a three month road trip, hopefully in a 50’s style Mustang or Cadillac, through the USA starting a month after we come back! Once we have finished playing in America the ultimate plan is to get working Visas to Australia, Vancouver and New Zealand, find our favourite place and settle down...Not bad work! As we’ve been together six months, some people have said it’ll make or break us but we’ve said we’ll make it make us
So far we have booked the flights, booked a pretty spiff place in Fiji - on its own island and no under 16's thank you very much! Booked an apartment in Sydney for a month over New Year and booked a camper van for New Zealand for three weeks! A lot of daydreaming and list making thrown in there too! It’s hard to know where to start really! Next on the agenda is to book a volunteering project, hopefully with Tigers, Panda’s or Elephants, book our flights for USA part deux & something great for New Year & Christmas in Australia...it’s all very exciting! I have a travel box which is getting bigger by the minute, rammed with new clothes, scrap books and photo albums to fill, passports to stamp, bottles to collect sand from various beaches (how I'll get through customs I don't know!) flip flops to play in, rain macs to get wet in & a camera to document every moment.
Saving so far has taken its toll but not as much as I had expected - the standard festivals were out the window, nights out limited, my already jammed wardrobe is looking a little out of date, the salon appointments are decreasing...but I know it will all be worth it! Plus for two people who are going travelling we’re not really slumming it! We’re hitting Barcelona in a few weeks, which is my birthday present from Mitch xxx along with a hot air balloon ride and we have done some great things over the past few months and have more great plans to look forward to to see us through the next few months before we say goodbye to good old Blighty!
I’m really looking forward to seeing the world with our own eyes and experiencing each unique culture to the fullest. Every destination is so different & our approach combined, we decided to blow the budget slightly in Fiji, before touring New Zealand in a camper van with no toilet (romance killer having to empty that one!) before we prepare to rough it up a little in Asia. I think our standards exceed some hotels i’ve heard about and hostels are simply out of the question, so again not exactly slumming it! And we cannot wait for all of it equally!
I want to have endless memories & stories to tell when we are older, I want to tick all the boxes and try everything. We went to visit Mitch’s grandparents the other day and they have travelled America many times and they had so many stories to tell. You can see the excitement in their eyes when they talk about it & what’s best is they did it together. That’s exactly how I want to be in years come, having lived a life of adventure and excitement and looking back with fond memories. I want to try as many things as possible, push my boundaries & just go for it. At least we tried if it’s something we don’t like. Live life for the now & the future and not the past.
So....with less time to go than when I first started typing this I’m off to a particularly dull meeting, where we all know I will be daydreaming about our future world adventures to come and the ultimate trip of a lifetime....
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain
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