2019 was a good year. For me, it was a time of healing, acceptance and growth. It was also a brilliant year travel-wise. I visited 11 countries, 5 of which I visited for the first time which brought my total to 51! I saw some incredible places, made new friends and made lots of new memories. With a new year comes a whole slew of opportunities for me to board a plane, pollute the environment a little bit more and go see the world. In case you’d forgotten, I have made a decision to leave my comfortable flat, well paid job and my large, established and cherished support network in London behind to hurl myself solo into the unknown again, just like I did when I was 21. Today it is 123 days until I board my one way flight to Tokyo. I’m a little excited as I’m sure you can imagine.
I’m not just spending those 123 days sat staring at my calendar wishing the time away though. I have to stick with my job for another few months (here’s hoping no one from my company stumbles upon this blog! I haven’t told them yet) which means I have a few days of annual leave to make use of. Obviously I’m supposed to be saving up my money for Japan but it was too difficult to resist a couple of trips…
My friend Noah who I went to Greece with last summer has invited me to visit his hometown of Bergamo in northern Italy. I’m going for a long weekend in mid-February. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the highlights of the region. Italy is a stunning country – one of my all time favourites – and I always relish a chance to visit. What we’ll see exactly I’m still not quite sure. I trust him to show me a great time.
For the past 16 months, I have lived with two lovely people named Louise and Killian. They’ve been friends for years since they studied together at Trinity College Dublin. They moved to London together around the same time but still have a large network of friends back in Ireland. I proposed the three of us go on a little trip together so that we can hang with their friends and also so that I can see and understand a little more about the country they have called home in the past. Killian and I are going to fly out to visit his hometown in County Clare in the west of Ireland and see (most likely) Galway before catching a train across to Dublin to meet up with Louise and friends for a weekend there. Killian’s hometown is nearby to the extremely stunning and well-known Cliffs of Moher. I’m super excited to see more of Ireland – I’ve been before but for just one night back in 2013. Time to do it some more justice I think!
Aside from that, I have a potential visit to Cardiff for someone’s birthday and a few trips back to Shropshire to see my family. This allows me plenty of time to spend time with the people I care about before my big move.
As for that big move – people keep asking me if I have a job lined up for when I get there. Ergh. No? Stop asking me. I’m planning to backpack up and down the country for about 4 months first. Funnily enough, I can’t for the life of me find any blogs or accounts of people doing this (for that long) anywhere online. Or in print. It reminds me actually of when I was researching backpacking across the USA. There was nothing about it and on top of that – people warned me not to do it. Well I proved them wrong. It does plant a seed in my mind though… if no one’s written about it before; obviously I should be the one to do it! I can’t wait to get started.
Hi Charlie, you may know of this by now but there’s an excellent book called ‘The Roads to Sata’ written by Alan Booth in which he relates his 2000 mile walk through Japan from North to South – it’s certainly worth a read and might provide some inspiration/ideas.
Hey Ben, thanks for the tip! I haven’t come across that book before, definitely going to find it! I recently bought Hokkaido Highway Blues, written by a guy who hitchhikes from one end of Japan to the other. Looking forward to reading it!