Five Continents, One Girl: The Great Adventure of 2016 21

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.


Singapore marina bay

A view of Marina Bay, Singapore. And that’s the infinity pool perched on the top.

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.

singapore botanical gardens

Singapore’s elaborate green spaces at night.


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.

derbyshire staffordshire

Home sweet home in sunny Staffordshire.

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!

nat geo marina bay

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The largest and highest infinity pool in the world!

3. Packing:

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.


nat geog bolivia salt flats

Bolivian salt flats: I will urgently need to make friends to take photos of me here…

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.

Singapore map

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.


forbes angkor watt

The magnificent sunrises and sunsets of Angkor Watt in Siem Reap, Cambodia.


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.


Sri Lanka insight guides

Desert island beaches in Sri Lanka.

Follow me: on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook and on Bloglovin


Where I will be and when:

Mexico – done- see posts here (Playa Mujeres) and here (Isla Mujeres)

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



greg vance photography sydney opera house

Sydney opera house – where I’m meeting my sister for the first time in 6 months.


Koh Rong beach

Koh Rong beach in south Cambodia.


puppy golden retriever

How can I leave this puppy though!


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!

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21 thoughts on “Five Continents, One Girl: The Great Adventure of 2016

    • flashandfrugal Post author

      Thanks! I have the feeling it’s a once in a life time thing so I’m going to make the most of it for sure!

  • Bev Baker

    Oh no I am reading this at work and crying already!! And even more so as I am just in the middle of reading psychology reports on “Culture shock”. Please don’t Google it or you will never leave!
    On a lighter note I have something for you, to help “find your feet”.
    See you soon , tearful Aunt B X

  • Sarah

    Wow, wow, wow! What adventures you have lined up!! (Not jealous at all) *ahem*
    Although I’m very happy to say we’ll be venturing to Sri Lanka as part of our honeymoon.
    Have a great year of adventures – I look forward to reading about them. Thanks to the Travel Link Up!

    • flashandfrugal Post author

      Thanks Sarah! Amazing news that you’re going to Sri Lanka too! I’ve heard such great things about it! xxx

  • Jaime @angloyankophile

    How exciting! I loved Singapore when I was there last summer, but Sri Lanka is definitely my favorite destination on your list. I can’t wait to go back again. And October is the perfect time to visit New York – it’s so, so lovely in the fall. I hate long-haul flights too, but it’s the only way for me to get “home” to Seattle … a travel sized version of Avene’s thermal spray mist has saved me on numerous occasions when I thought I was going to go bezerk in the cabin. It makes my skin feel amazing AND has such a refreshing/calming effect. And – movies! Magazines!

    • flashandfrugal Post author

      Ooo Thanks Jaime, good tip! Will try and get some of the spray before the big trip on Monday! And yes, I’ve been to New York in spring before but barely got to see any of it as I was working so hard and holed up in my office – this time will be much more fun! xxx

    • flashandfrugal Post author

      Thanks Jessi! Yes- I’m mid air now on my flight to Singapore and I’ve already started making friends with the guy in the seat next to me- it bodes well!

    • flashandfrugal Post author

      Thanks Emma! Yes very exciting! Will need your advice when it comes to NZ in the new year no doubt! Xx

    • flashandfrugal Post author

      Haha amazing- I’ll be flying into Sydney and out of Melbourne so any tips for their would be great! (Including wineries nearby etc!!) and I’d offer puppy cuddles but she’s so so naughty she can’t be relied on!

    • flashandfrugal Post author

      Thanks! That’s lovely to hear. I’m currently mid air somewhere over Eastern Europe and getting preettty excited! And yes, keep following as there will be plenty of updates to come!

  • Zoe

    Hey thanks for following me on Bloglovin!
    Your trip is similar to what I have in mind for the year after I finish university!
    I live in New Zealand (feel free to ask for tips come december) so pretty much anywhere I go is a long haul flight. The best advice I can give is to keep your mind active, I get so bored and find I can’t watch too many movies they take too long. I tend to binge watch TV series from the planes selection, read and play a few games like sudoku or another puzzle game just to give my brain something to do.
    Also I find waiting until there is a bit of a queue for the bathroom gives you more time to stretch your legs 🙂