Welcome to my new Travel blog
Hello, and welcome to this, which is new for me. So, you’re probably thinking who is this, and why should I read this blog? Well, I’m Lydia and this is my partner Alex. This is my first attempt at blogging; so I might be a bit ropey to begin with, but sure, we are all human! I’m not expecting to be brilliant, but I hope you stick with it and enjoy. My aim is to start sharing my travel adventures with you all. Both past and future ones.
I have just finished a (very long) PhD in Northern Ireland. Before I started it, I had planned to go to travelling, specifically to Thailand with Alex, but timing wasn’t right and we couldn’t afford it before I started the course. But now, 6 years later, and I have finally finished (well, mostly – I just have final corrections to submit, but I have defended it and technically passed and can call myself Doctor – oh yeah!) and we are finally planning our travels for later this year. But first, there is the move back from Northern Ireland to sunny Somerset, in the South West of England, where we will stay for a month or two and enjoy spending some much needed time with loved ones. Then pack our bags and head off to South East Asia in September. We’re finally doing it! The second dream to come true in the space of a year! The first was to live within walking distance of the sea – which happened last September when we moved to Portrush, in Northern Ireland. It has been amazing, and will definitely be missed, but I will probably do another post with more about that. It has meant I have visited the Giant’s Causeway so many times that I have lost count as every friend and family member that visits wants to check out one of the “Seven Wonders of the World”.
For now, I am going to share with you a bit more about myself, some of our future plans and what you can look forward to reading about in the coming months if you choose to follow our journey.
Throughout the PhD, I had the great idea of trying to start a travel photography business. It was definitely a procrastination technique and escapism from the PhD life at the start, but you know what – I think I’m gonna give it a go! So I have been gathering pictures over the last little while and need to put that into action. But I am keen to submit the final PhD thesis corrections before charging at that photography dream like an angry bull! I hope to have submitted that by the end of July, before I leave Belfast, and with any luck have the photography business started before we start our travels, so that I can just keep adding to it while we’re away. Now I have told you all that, it makes me accountable to do it!
For the last few months I managed to secure myself a maternity cover research position at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) to restock the diminished funds after going over time on the PhD and completely running out of money. But luckily Post-Docs are paid quite well and so I will have managed to save a bit up again before we head off. My position ends at the end of July, while Alex’s contract ended last week. He is currently on his way back to Somerset with a friend that he convinced to come and drive our van back with a load of stuff. They are currently stopped in the Lake District, and I have to admit, I am a little jealous – I loved that area when we went through it last year. I shall then join him back in Somerset at the end of the month. My lovely daddy was over last week to take a big car load of my stuff back, he did both overnight ferries from Liverpool to Belfast. Just spent the day with me and then back on the ferry later the same evening. He was telling me how the soft play area isn’t a terrible place to sleep when the kids are all in bed, although his lilo kept deflating which doesn’t sound so fun. He must have been exhausted, poor man! But what a trooper- he’s very good to us all. While he was here, we managed to splash about in the cold Atlantic for a bit, had great fun jumping into and over waves and generally being a bit silly! Luckily, my friend happens to need a dog and house sitter for most of July, which worked out extremely well timing wise as it coinsides with when I need somewhere to stay.
Alex and I have been together for close to 7 years now, and are very much looking forward to the next chapter of our lives together. We both love being outdoors, being active and having a good time. I have to admit, I have a bit of an obsession with people having ultimate control over their bodies, anything that requires balance, strength and flexibility intrigues me; I’ve either tried and loved it, or want to try it! For instance, gymnastics, yoga, circus, dance, slacklining, rock-climbing as well as AcroYoga which also requires good control over a partners body. That being said, I have never enjoyed running, for some reason that just makes me feel like I’m dying and I get an awful headache etc, so I tend to avoid running where at all possible. Despite loving active lifestyles, we also enjoy lazy restorative sofa days too.
About a year and a half a go we got a little converted van and have had a fair few adventures in it already, again I will probably do another post to cover some of that at some point. But in my opinion, it has been the best buy we have ever made (well, Alex made as I was totally skint at the time). We’ve been camping in it up through England and also in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We have also used it fairly regularly to have a delicious fry up at the beach – Benone beach in particular, just drive onto the sand and open up our portable stoves and away we go! Any excuse for a picnic, or bbq, or generally cooking and eating food outside in beautiful scenery! I love it, it’s a favourite pastime of mine! We will probably spend a fair bit of time in August in it throughout the West Country, in places like Exmoor, Dartmoor, Quantock and Blackdown Hills etc. May even convince him to take me back to the Lake District before we set off further afield.
We have not booked a flight out to S.E. Asia yet but currently, the very vague plan is to probably start our journey in Thailand, work our way down Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, through Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, maybe Papua New Guinea, and then if there’s enough money, or if we can top up funds somewhere, Australia, New Zealand, and Tazmania. We have a few friends in some of those areas so will be making stops to see them on our way. I am extremely excited!
I have had a couple travel jabs already, but need to double check if that’s all I need and if I need any boosters etc. Other things to sort out include renewing my passport as it runs out next year and don’t want to be stranded, checking what visa’s will be needed and if they need to be done in advance, maybe getting a travel money card, booking a flight, and generally planning what we want to do there, and what to take with us. I have a few ideas already – I’ve been taking notes from when I see cool places popping up on my social media channels etc.
Let us know if our current route is coming near you, it would be cool to meet up with current friends who are already travelling, as well as like minded adventurers that we haven’t met yet! I’d be keen to hear if you have favourite spots that you think we should check out!
I think that’s it for now, but I hope to share more with you soon about previous explorations as well as how plans develop for future ones. I will try to post at least once a month, but we shall see how that goes.
Tchau for now!
P.S. If you love the pictures I have put in this blog and absolutely can’t wait to find more of my pics – follow me on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/ldz_159
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