Yesterday my airline tickets arrived. It’s definately happening now!
My plans have roughly solidified (assuming everything I want to do is still available), it goes, China, Hong Hong, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and home.
Not really a round the world trip but certainly an extensive trip!
Now I’m spending my time trying to budget for everything – I think I’m going to have to be pretty stingy over the next few months!
So after a bit of frantic money moving and bank hopping yesterday, I’ve paid for my flights. I’ll be leaving on the 1st August 2008, ready to start training on the 4th. At the end of the martial arts academy I’ll be spending a week in Hong Kong before flying on to New Zealand, arriving on the 2nd of November.
Then with luck I’ll be going to Fiji around February, although I’ve yet to book this part (something for next year methinks!).
All of this means that I’ll be back in the UK around April 2009, which makes for a ‘career break’ of roughly eight to nine months!
It’s all pretty exciting, even though my iPod Touch still hasn’t arrived…
I spent last night leafing through an atlas, simply thinking ‘Ooo I could go there’. I expect this travel malarky can be addictive, in fact my housemate Anna made the bold statement that if I went travelling I wouldn’t come back…. Not likely but still :)
I’ve been on the phone to real gap and to a travel agent, the flight from here to china, then from china to New Zealand, then from New Zealand will cost in the region of £1500. If you ask me that is pretty damn good! It also means that if I save like crazy next year that I can probably go somewhere else too!
I’ve been tempted by Hawaii, this would make it a proper round the world trip – as in fly off in one direction and get back from the other direction. However there may be some problem with that idea as it seems that the program I was looking at may not be continuing… More when I know.
But that has given me the chance to look at Fiji instead. It’s expensive, just over £2000 for six weeks, without flights. Then again it does look amazingly appealing. Plus I’d end up with a SCUBA diving qualification!
It’s all very well saying ‘I’m going to go travelling’ but it takes quite a bit more for something to actually happen. With no idea where to start I turned to Google (bear in mind that at this stage it was still only a vague thought). I was surprised to find that there are actually quite a few companies out there dealing exclusively with gap years and career breaks. One that I liked for no particular reason (it may well just have been the first one I looked at) was realgap. But they had so much choice, and I had no particular plan on where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do.
So I employed a simple technique: Snap decisions.
I had a little look around the site for something that would catch my eye.
The first thing was martial arts training in China, that sounded pretty cool, if slightly scary. The next thing that stood out was the work program in New Zealand.
I started talking to some local friends about my plans (increasing the level of social commitment). Then I talked to my parents, who were very encouraging and supportive about the idea.
Then realgap updated their website with a travel story, someone had recorded their experiences at the martial arts centre. Immediately it seemed less scary, they had a great time and it suddenly looked like I’d be a fool not to go for it.
So just over a week ago on Saturday, I bit the bullet, and put down a deposit for three months of martial arts training in China.
On the following Monday I received a call from real gap:
“I have some disappointing news for you…” Damn I thought, there are no spaces for when I want to go “…you’ve won an iPod touch”.
This came as a bit of a shock, and certainly wasn’t the kind of bad news that I was expecting. I kept my wits about me though and broke my shocked silence early.
“Oh!” I said assertively, then with slightly more enthusiasm “Wow, cool”.
We confirmed some details and hung up.
Now I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the whole fate/karma type stuff, but I certainly have a general leaning towards good things happen when you’re on the right track. So I can take this good fortune as some kind of blessing on the whole trip :)
So here I am, I still don’t know if my place at the academy has been confirmed as any post about it will go to Guildford and I’m in Plymouth. My ipod touch still hasn’t arrived and I’m quite skint.
So to be honest it still feels a bit unreal, and until I’m sure that I’ve officially got a place it’ll stay like that.
There’s been a bit of tiding going on in the background here, as I’m going to start blogging again… waits expectantly for cheers of joy.
What – I can hear you ask – has brought this on? Well if you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll begin…
Over the last few weeks, or even months I’ve had a bit of a restless feeling. Itchy feet perhaps? I don’t know.
For about four and a half years before that I moved to Guildford I’d been at university. I was changing houses every year, living in Cambridge over the summers, at my parents for other holidays, moving myself and my stuff at least three or four times a year. I was yearning for stability, a period of stillness, just to get myself feeling centred again.
Now I’ve been in the same house for about four years, and the same job for going on three years. It’s been pretty damn stable I can tell you that! Trouble is it’s starting to get a bit boring. Also I’m getting to an age where living in a rented house with students doesn’t quite feel right.
So what should I do with myself? My first thought was to look around for a new job, but with no location restrains. My thoughts evolved from that idea a bit like this:
I’m bored of Guildford I should go somewhere else…
I could get a job anywhere in the UK…
Actually I could get a job anywhere…
Well hold on why don’t I go travelling for a bit, and then get a job somewhere
And low, a plan was born.
I have decided to take a ‘career break’ and go travelling!