Hi there! This is my first blog post, and whilst I have lots of experiences and trips that I want to talk about. First of all, I thought I should give you a bit of a background about myself, why I’m starting a blog and why travelling has become my happy place.
My name’s Hannah and I’m 24 years old. I grew up sailing all around the UK, and loved every minute of being on the water. It was one of the places where I felt completely at home and free of everything. This progressed into racing around the world for Team GB and provided my first taste of travelling. I grew up with a family who also loved to go to different places on holiday every year, and whilst most of these were in France, I felt like I experienced a different piece of the country every time I went there. I, also, grew to love outdoorsy activities from walking to water sports.
When I was 16 I was diagnosed with ME (it’s an illness plagued by achy muscles and tiredness. Read more here if you’re interested! This meant I had to stop sailing and travelling for the next couple of years spending the vast majority of my time inside. It was a very difficult time and I lost my freedom to live as I would have liked to.
As I returned to full health, I headed off to university at Manchester to study biology. Here my love for sailing returned, and led to me travelling around the UK again. However, nearing the end of my first year of university, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This meant I had big periods of depression but also big highs – known as mania. Read more about bipolar disorder now.
I led a very unstable life and struggled to control my moods. However, after some difficulties with getting treatment, I was put on medication and my life started to come back together, however, I always felt like something was missing.
The beginnings of travelling
Around this time, something that provided comfort to me was planning trips. I could spend hours on my computer losing myself in places I wanted to visit, things to see and, also, finding the cheapest way to do it. I loved the idea of heading off backpacking, and was already going to Ecuador in the summer for a university field trip, when I decided extend this and plan my first big trip. I chose to be away just over 2 months, with 3 weeks of that being the field trip, a couple of weeks with my boyfriend, and the rest solo travelling.
My first backpackers trip
I’d read about just booking everything when you get there, but as my first big trip away I decided I’d rather have things booked before. I considered small group tours, but they seemed like a big waste of money. After much research, I realised I could do it myself for a fraction of the cost and by using and supporting local companies.
In August 2016, I headed out to South America with excitement, fear and every other emotion in between going through my head. But instead what I found was peace, happiness and exhilaration. I spent time trekking up to Machu Picchu, living with a local tribe, snorkelling with sharks in the Galapagos and bridge jumping in Bolivia.
Whilst scary things happened – I was scammed in Columbia, chased by dogs in Bolivia and got ill in the amazon – I had the most fun and my bipolar was the most stable it had been since I was diagnosed. Don’t get me wrong though there were difficult times, but these tips helped me to stay healthy while away.
My love for seeing new places and living each day differently grew so much on this trip. When I returned I knew what I wanted to do next and that was travel. That September I moved to Germany for a year to work as a researcher. I spent my weeks planning trips, and my weekends seeing as much of Germany as I could.
When I finished my degree last year, my aspirations for the future had changed. I still love the idea of a good career but for me, being happy is always what I will strive for. My drive to live abroad again currently outweighs my desire for a high income or high powered career. I want to travel, that’s all I know.
Therefore, I lived in China for a year as an English teacher, using my weekends and holidays to travel around… and life in Chengdu was good. There were many reasons to teach english in China, but it was a complicated process to get there!
So enough about me! This blog will include guides to destinations I’ve visited, my current travel fails and successes, and logistics including backpacking on a budget and how to become a TEFL teacher in china. I hope you’ll follow me on my future travels and enjoy my new blog!