The part of me still being a swotty headmaster’s daughter overly researching my homework wanted to check what ‘adventure’ really means, since recently the word has been increasingly flung at me by those unsure what else to say of my year plans: “Oh well! It’ll be an adventure, that’s for sure“.
‘Adventure’, you will therefore be fascinated to learn, stems from circa 1200. Not to be age-ist about this period but in those days surely an adventure was going between the neighbouring villages of Shoreditch and Spitalfields to swap chickens for chainmail? At this point ‘aventure‘ meant an event happening by luck, fortune or chance in Old French – like how Jack, by good fortune, swapped Daisy for a handful of beans and managed to get gold from the top of the consequential beanstalk. (His post on this topic would be great). It’s meaning then developed throughout the 13th and 14th century to become a ‘perilous undertaking’. Well obviously it would become perilous: “fancy that nice adventure to the next-door town again, Aeolfred?”. Plague. (Black Death is incidentally also why travel blogging never took off in the middle ages). Anyway, I like the original Latin meaning best. ‘Adventura‘ – something which is about to happen; something that is about to come. I like the future tense of it. I like that our greatest adventures are still en route.
So why now, in particular, is everyone fussing that I’m off on an adventure? Even my parents who know I’ve moved cites, countries and weather systems many times before? It is because on Monday I’m off to Asia: to Singapore: for 6 months: then travelling for up to 3 months more: roughly 11-17 new countries: five continents. “Shheeeeesh”, as they say. 2016 is therefore a pretty adventurous year.
Now who doesn’t love a list? Not me, that’s who. So here’s a list of how I’m going to manage this Adventura.
1. Saying ‘goodbye’:
Once, I got hypnotized so that every time someone says goodbye I will burst into tears. That’s a lie and goodbye isn’t my trigger word, but it may as well be. I always find goodbyes so painfully sad. I know a lot of Kiwis and Aussies living in London who haven’t seen their families in years and times like this, I can really empathise. London must be really great to trick people into staying… Having said goodbye to the majority of friends through tequila shots last weekend, this weekend it’s time to go home-home to sunny Staffordshire to say farewell to my parents, aunty, dog and puppy. (IMAGINE, leaving behind a PUPPY. Am I Cruella D’Ville?) Then I have the task of waving goodbye to my glorious sister/housemate/bestmate and my handsome boyfriend/partner/bae all in one night. Sob. On the upside – saying goodbye is most often the sign of a great adventure to come. And besides, I could barely call it an adventure if everyone came along with me.
2. Long haul flights:
Do not belittle this struggle. Singapore is a 13 hour flight. Sri Lanka and Australia are both a substantial distance on from there too. I can’t take turbulence. Not on my own. Not at all. On top of this, there is the fright of the cheaper airlines that I’m taking around the region. Getting on each plane to Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Myanmar, etc, is going to be a terrifying adventure in itself. Department of Wandering did a great post on how to prep for long haul which has actually given me some good tips (go to it here) but if you have any further advice LET ME KNOW!
I’ve given it a go and packing for 9 months of varied climates and levels of formality is tough. It doesn’t take the 30 minutes I had allocated to it, it takes all night. Learn from me.
4. Finding my feet:
On arrival in each country I will have to repeat the three step plan: (1) find bearings, (2) find friends, (3) find food. The first step will be easy as I did orienteering at school once and Google maps are way better than the Ordnance Survey ever was. Finding friends should be OK too as the ex-pat community in Singapore is apparently extremely sociable and even before moving, there are Facebook groups and email chains setting off. Food is the one I will need help with. I mean, obviously I can find the basic food places. But in London I’ve become accustomed to a certain way of dining (pop-ups, street-food, tasting menus, one-option menus, bottomless brunch) and now I need to start again in a new city. Basically, if you’re a Singaporean blogger, a blogger who’s been to Singapore, or just someone who has eaten there once: advice, please.
5. Solo traveling:
Whilst solo moving is a challenge, it is at least something I’ve done before. Travelling alone is different. From what I’ve read across the various blogs on solo travel: it is hard work, like even going to the loo on a journey when no one can watch your bags is tough, but apparently it also offers the greatest rewards. I’m picking where I go carefully as it’ll be rubbish turning up in the Maldives, say, and not being able to make friends with any of the honeymooners. People keep saying Bolivia and Peru are great for solo traveling as there are clear routes which everyone goes on, meaning you can easily get a gang of friends along the way. That’s the plan for September. Then there are the busses in New Zealand that everyone does as one jolly club. That’s another plan. Hopefully the time spent planning each trip, making them as safe and simple as possible, will help. Then hopefully my desperate eagerness to make friends will come across and people will take pity on me and let me join in their games.
Ultimately, 2016 and the Year of the 5 Continents is going to be crazy, fun and hectic. I will be a perma-tanned annoyance to all my friends’ facebook feeds. Maybe they’ll be pleased to live my adventure vicariously. Probably not though. Luckily, I started this blog so that my trips and tales, tips and fails can be documented to the web world that does care. And with that, I hope you want to join me, follow me and help me through this adventura.
Where I will be and when:
Singapore – March – August
Cambodia – April – itinerary coming soon
Vietnam – April
Philippines – May
Hong Kong – May
Malaysia – June
Indonesia – June
Sri Lanka – July
Australia – September
London – September
Malta – October
New York – October
Peru – November
Bolivia – November
New Zealand – December
The photos of Singapore, Sri Lanka and Cambodia aren’t mine as I haven’t been yet! Thanks to National Geographic, Reuters, Forbes and Sri Lanka Insight Guides for the pics!