I didn’t know if anyone would actually be interested in hearing solely about the planning stages of my 2016 trip, but I thought that as I’m going to be blogging about the time that I spend there, it might be nice to do this from start to finish. Today I started my journey in a way, because today I booked all the flights, insurance and tours that I had planned. I am now considerably less financially stable, but I’m far happier knowing that this trip isn’t just some vague idea anymore; it’s now a definite plan. At 8am on January 16th 2016 I will be leaving the UK and jetting off on (hopefully) the trip of a lifetime.
Ever since I decided that I was going to do this I knew I was either going to do it properly, or not at all. I have definitely inherited the ‘organiser’ gene from my mother. My older brother went off to Australia last year without even a vague idea about what he wanted to do with his time there. For me however, the thought of leaving the country without a place to stay at the other end is my idea of a living nightmare.
So, after some meticulous organising, I came up with this: my final plan.
The first leg of my journey involves a stopover on my way to New Zealand in Malaysia. This was a recent addition to the plan after some of our family friends who live in Malaysia (working for Shell) came to visit. Their offer of free lodging and meals for a week in their beautiful flat in Kuala Lumpur was really generous, and after I discovered a stopover wouldn’t even change the cost of my flights, I couldn’t refuse.
After just under a week in Kuala Lumpur I’m travelling to Auckland, New Zealand. I’ve also got some friends based there so I’m staying with them for a few days before moving on. Apparently they’re keen scuba divers and they’ve offered to show me around their favourite dive spots as they know how much I love diving. Hopefully I’ll have enough money saved up by then to make this plan happen.
After staying in Auckland for a few days I embark on the G-Adventures ‘New Zealand Encompassed’ tour, that I booked through STA. This tour is the most extravagant plan I’ve made. I’m travelling alone, so it really didn’t seem like a good idea to just wander around New Zealand for a month independently, and as I really wanted to explore properly, I thought I’d just go with a group tour.
It covers everywhere I’d want to see and gives me the chance to take part in daily activities like skydiving, kayaking, bungee jumping and whale watching. With any luck I’ll have ticked off quite a few bucket list items by the time this tour is over!
After this I’m staying with some more friends in Wellington for a few days before flying to Sydney to start the ‘working holiday’ part of my trip. I’ve booked the STA ‘Full Monty’ package for my first week here which I am really excited about. It includes things like a welcome meal, a beach BBQ, a city walking tour, a day of learning to surf, zoo tickets, a trip to the blue mountains, 7 days of accommodation and wifi, and help finding a job. Hopefully I should be able to find a nice bar in Sydney that I can work at in the evenings after a week or two so I don’t use up all my money in the first month in Aus.
After this I’m really winging it. All I know is that I have a flight back to England booked for the 12th September 2016 from Cairns. I’ll have to get up to Cairns somehow so hopefully by August I’ll have met some other travellers in the mood for a road trip up the Gold Coast. I really want to get to Cairns a bit before my flight home so that I can fit in as much scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef as I can afford. I’ve booked a three day live aboard dive trip that includes 11 dives which should be brilliant, but ideally I’ll be able to fit in even more time under the sea.
Once I’m back in the UK I’ve got a few weeks at home to get myself organised before I leave home again to start my Master’s Degree. I still can’t really believe how drastically everything’s changed recently. I’m still not sure I’m OK with it all, but hopefully this trip will give me a chance to leave the past behind for good, and an opportunity to make some amazing memories with some great new people.