I enjoyed writing my first monthly review so I’m doing the same now I’ve been travelling for eight weeks. I’ve now been to six countries; the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia. (Bosnia was realistically just five miles or so on the coast as I got a bus from Dubrovnik to Zagreb – a very long but surprisingly good trip).
My lists of places has vastly grown; Amsterdam, Starnmeer, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Buxtehude, Esterbrügge, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Figueres, Lloret de Mar, Canyelles, Tossa de Mar, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Materija.
I’ve now done four workaways. I’ve worked at a sustainable workplace in the Netherlands, relandscaping an orchard and developing my sanding skills, I’ve worked with refugees in Germany and helped build a ten chicken hen house. I’ve cleaned cottages, fed animals, power-washed and planted vegetables in Spain, and now I’m working on a farm, weeding the organic produce in Slovenia.
I’ve learnt so much.
I’ve read three books, and I’m reading a fourth: Feral by George Monbiot, The Believers by Zoe Heller, The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and now, The Vagabond by Colette.
I’ve listened to a load of life-changing podcasts. Here is my top three:
- Love Louder and Deepen Relationships with Preston Smiles
- How to turn pain into creativity with Whitney Cummings
- Wisdom from great writers on every year of life by Joshua Prager
I’ve spoken new words in many languages: Dutch, German, Spanish, Croatian, Slovenian, French
I’ve experienced huge things, changes, learnings, regrets and realisations to take into the future: I realise that moving to Manchester and staying at a job that made me miserable was a big mistake. It’s taking me a long time to regain the confidence I lost there, and I won’t let myself into that situation again. I knew when I should’ve got out but I wasn’t brave enough to do so. I’m building confidence each day, thrown into these new situations.
I’m trying desperately to be more open minded and struggling with the introduction at my current Workaway of one particularly narrow-minded person. I wonder if me thinking this about them makes me the narrow minded one, but I want to get what makes them that way. It’s hard to accept that there will always be people I meet when I travel whose values don’t align with mine, or necessarily bring value to me. Not everyone travels for the reason I do. Sometimes, I find it helps to look inward and work out why, other times, it’s good to just avoid these people, or leave communication at a nod and a smile.
I’m excited about my future again. I have fledgling thoughts of owning a B&B, adventuring in Canada, hiking, biological/organic gardening work, working for the planet. Even the idea of working with kids – a challenge I thought I’d never be brave enough to undertake and something I put down to lack of experience. Life with more animals. I’ve fallen in love with some little (and large) animals on this trip. I’ve also been repeatedly pissed off by some. Animals help you learn, and anyone who says they are great because they don’t answer back is lying. Goats can be so moody and dogs can want to follow you everywhere ALL THE TIME and even when they really need a wash.
Phot of the cutest animal on the trip so far. If ever. ^
I’m also getting used to travelling by bus. Busses used to make me feel travel sick, even just thinking about them, but I’ve finally got it sussed, and learnt how to enjoy the ride. Music, podcasts and the window seat. It’s a great way to sense some beautiful bits of Europe and save on the faff of flying. Bring on my next 8 hour bus journey D:
I’ve also perfected my travelling attire after too many journeys getting too hot in my walking boots because I thought they wouldn’t fit in my bag or would make it too heavy. Both thoughts proved untrue. Don’t knock it til u tried it.
New paths and new places: the rigorous plan changed. We skipped Switzerland and Italy and I went to the Spanish coast and Croatia. I’ll now miss Czech Republic and Denmark in exchange for France and more of Spain. I’m also going to pass through Italy, and probably conclude the trip in Portugal, very different to the original plan of Scandinavia.
I’ve met some incredible friends: Saskia and Marlie in particular have been incredible friends for me and helped support me (as well as my wonderful family and friends at home, thank you Alex and Grace) through a particularly big challenge. I’ll always be grateful for these gals (and guys).
Money, money money moneeey. My finances have remained under control, for the longest duration of my life, ever. I knocked some money off my original budget to put more in my pot for Canada, and so far I’ve spent: £1233.59. Just over half my budget, half way through my trip. This review, I made a beautiful (ha) pie chart of my expenditure.
I’m surprised how big the equipment pot is, but it included books, pens, a new dress, nail clippers, shampoo, soap, sun cream and so on. Toiletries make heavy stuff, so I avoided getting many before I set off. Commodities means things like lockers and toilets. Gifts include mainly postcards and stamps (I hope to increase this section now 😉) I’m also surprised how small the ‘entertainment’ category is. Mainly because nature is my new playground and that has no entrance fee (thankfully and most of the time). In general, I’m really impressed with what I’ve achieved for the £1200. The accommodation section is pleasantly low thanks to Workaway and the food and drink section is interestingly similar to what I’d spend at home, despite Workaway. It works out to about £40pw. I’m blaming coffees for this cost, and might look to cut down, though simple joys/homely joys are appreciated when travelling. A cup of the hot stuff on a morning makes me feel good. I wish I’d kept a separate tally of how much coffee had cost me, I bet it would be a third of this total. In general, I’m on track and can afford the next few months, which look something like Ljubljana-Bled-Milan-Bordeaux-Granda-Coimbra…
I’m excited to see what the future holds and look forward to review 3.