2013 is here, and It will be the best year of my life!

I hope that you have all had an amazing Christmas 2012 and I wish you all the best for 2013. May your year be full of travel and exciting experiences!

This was the last Christmas that I will be spending at home before my sabbatical. Hopefully next Christmas will be spent on Bondi beach or watching glow worms on the South Island of New Zealand.

I had a lovely time with my family but it made me realise that although I love my family, friends and living in Liverpool I need something more in my life. Excitement and new experiences. Going home for Christmas I noticed how many people that I knew from school and when I was younger were in the same place as they were last year and the year before that. This may be happiness and contentment for most people but it’s not for me. I have never been as happy as I was on my two trips abroad this year.

I have never felt so alive and I have never felt so ‘myself’.

2012 was a big year in my life, the year that I decided not to settle for second best in my life and the year when I discovered what makes me truly happy.

May 2013 be the year where I put the thoughts and ideas of 2012 in to action. Where my life changes immeasurably and where I feel unadulterated happiness when I wake up each morning, rather than dreading yet another ‘ground hog day’.

2013 will be the best year of my life!

My sister and I on Christmas day
Enjoying a Baileys on Christmas eve
Plaza Mayor in Spain, best enjoyed with an ice cold cana
Having fun with friends at a club in Munich

Dark beer and a stein in Munich

Amazing friends that I met in Spain
How was your Christmas and New Year? Did you make any new years resolutions to travel more or follow your dreams?

American Apparel ‘Le Sac’ dress! The perfect travel dress

I have been searching high and low for versatile items to pack for my round the world trip. I have invested in quite a few items from the crag hoppers nosilife range, they are impregnated in mosquito repellent that lasts for the life of the clothes! They are also really light, dry really fast and have built in SPF 50 so I don’t need to worry about burning in the sun.
What really perplexed me was the search for the perfect travel dress. I tend to wear a lot of vintage dresses and vintage style dresses which tend to have a lot of material (so are not suitable for travelling ) I have found the perfect travel dress that is light, crease free and versatile so it can be worn in the evening, day or even as a skirt.
The American apparel Le Sac dress!!!
I have also bought some spare straps to change the look of the dress without taking up too much space in my bag.
Check out the many ways in which it can be worn. Now I just need to decide what else to pack. It’s so hard trying to pack light for a year of travel! I want to buy some clothes when I get out there though, as souvenirs!

Now I just need to figure out how to wear it...

What do you think? Will it be versatile and enable me to have many outfits from just one dress or will I get all tangled up or fall down when a cheeky Aussie pulls one of the many straps?

Coincidence or fate…

I have had so much news over the past 48 hours that will affect my travel plans significantly.

Then I looked at the cover of my new issue of Wanderlust magazine. I saw that it featured articles about solo travel, the Great Barrier Reef and Darjeeling. Three things that relate to me because of my plans to travel to Sri Lanka and Oz, on my own!

I feel like something is pushing me to travel far, and soon. There have been too many occurances this weekend that all push me to travel.

Is this coincidence or fate trying to give me inspiration for the final push. To book my plane tickets and make my way in to the unknown?

I also emailed a podiatrist who works at Singapore General Hospital about what podiatry is like in Singapore. It turns out that he was the same man who interviewed me for a job in London that I applied for soon after graduation. He actually remembered me by name and said that I was just pipped at the post on the day so I must have made quite an impact.

Coincidence or fate…..

 

What do YOU think?

Welcome to Pearls and Passports

Hello! I’m Stephanie and I have created this blog to document my sudden desire for travel.

I have always been very ambitious with regard to my work life but I have never contemplated long term travel.

Before now!

I always thought that I would live to work and my desire for a good job has taken up much of my time in my life so far. Sadly due to NHS cuts I have not progressed as much as I would have liked in my career. I have an amazing social life, many hobbies and scores of friends,

But I lack real passion in my life.

Life is far too short and whilst I’m here I need to make the most of it. There is much more to life than work and so much more to life than staying in the same city, town or country seeing just one side of life. I want to see the world, experience new cultures and different ways of life. Broaden my horizons and embrace difference.

One of my favourite quotes is-

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

I want to read a novel, not just one page!
I hope that by challenging myself personally as much as possible and seeing as much of the world as possible I can see where I fit in relation to the grand scheme of things.
The day that I realised that I wanted to travel I also changed my perspective on many things. Theres no point getting upset or stressed as it would only affect and upset myself. Theres no point wanting to climb the social ladder because experiences are worth more than any material possessions. I opened my eyes to a life that held a lot more than the usual 9-5. I realised that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.

Travel, especially solo travel had always seemed such a scary concept.

Who would look after me? What if I got lost? What if I didn’t like it? The day I decided to travel I realised that I needed to trust in myself and my abilities. I lost most of the fear that I felt towards solo travel and it actually started to excite me.

So I decided to spend a year of my life travelling the world!

I started reading travel blogs and travel books for ideas. I realised that I would not be the first woman to travel the world on my own and I certainly would not be the last. I found that the world is not a scary place, it’s deliciously different and I feel a longing to experience all that it has to offer!

I hope that you enjoy reading my blog. I will include photos and articles detailing my experiences before the big trip and during my year of travel.

Edinburgh

I hope to inspire others to do the same and change their life for the better!

Two months until my round the world trip commences!

plane

I first started thinking about my trip in April 2011, since then I have done a lot of work trying to save up for the trip, organise my itinerary, get granted my sabbatical and researching safety, what to do and what to bring! I hve been thinking about this trio for so long yet it is hard to believe that in less than two months I will be leaving the UK, hopefully for 12 months!

I am trying to ‘wing it’ as much as possible on my trip because it’s going to be such a long and varied trip. The thing that I love most about travel is meeting new people from all around the world and if I have a very basic itinerary it will enable me to be more spontaneous and to travel where I like with who I like.

I have been researching different destinations and safety by reading various travel blogs, mainly from fellow solo female travellers who have done a trip of this scale before me! Reading the blogs has put my mind at rest because every blogger seemed to have the time of their life on their travels and many said that they felt safer in Asia than they ever have in a Western country! I have also bought the majority of my clothes and equipment for the trip which is alot harder than it sounds! I will no doubt lose a considerable amount of weight whilst on this trop so I have had to take this in to consideration when planning my travel outfits and bikinis. I also want to save some room in my backpack so I can buy some souveneirs in Asia.

Soooo, what have I been doing during the past few weeks apart from planning? I have been making the most of the time I have left in the UK by visting friends and trying to tie up loose ends. I have also been getting my travel vaccinations each week. I decided to buy the Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies vaccines alongside the free ones offeredg by my GP. They are costing £325 which is a large chunk of my travel budget but I decided that money doesn’t mean anything If I’m not here due to a crazy tropical disease! I have also bought a kindle 3G with my Christmas money which has free internet access all around the world. It means that I can always email my family to say that I am ok whilst on the road.

Christmas fancy dress fun! (I told Santa that all I wanted for Christmas was to have a safe and fun round the world trip!)

It was hard thinking that this time next year I will be spending Christmas in Asia or Oceania! Will I be on Bondi beach, trekking through the rainforest or watching glow-worms in South Island New Zealand….No one knows! I had a lovely Christmas with my family, we even went for a curry on Christmas day!

Christmas Dinner!

My Mum and I on Christmas day

I hope that you have all had a merry Christmas and I wish you all the best of luck for 2013. May all of your travel dreams come true!

Drinking Baileys on Christmas Eve

I got granted a Sabbatical!

sabbatical, Spain, Bull, Linares

Today I received the news that I had been anticipating for weeks.

I have been granted a sabbatical from work!

This means that I will have a job to go back to when I get home from travelling around Asia and Oceania!
This is amazing news and such a bonus in this economic climate. One less worry off my mind!
I was initially rejected for the sabbatical but I foyght hard, appealed and had a hearing which went in my favour! It just proves that you need to fight for the things that you want in life, even if you come across hurdles you can still attain what you want if you try!

pod

A photo of me that was taken when I wrote an article for the Nursing standard magazine! Very official Huh!

Missing Munich

 munich, germany, artchitecture

 The post travel blues really do suck. I realised yesterday that I’m a lot happier when I’m travelling than when I’m static at home. I crave new social interactions and I love learning about different cultures, histories and languages. Travel enables me to do all four everyday!

Ah well, only 14 more weeks until I set off on my big trip. My next task is to learn basic Arabic to help me get by when in Dubai.

Bigger is better in Germany! A massive beer and a massive pretzel! Mmmmm…
Me in a typical Bavarian hat!

I have bought my (perfect) Backpack!

perfect backpack, osprey, travel

I have finally bought my backpack, one of the most important items for my round the world trip!
After reading various travel blogs and advice from friends who have travelled I decided to buy the osprey kestrel 68. I have only heard good things from osprey and the bag is really light with loads of cool features such as pockets on the hip belts and it sits away from the back to avoid getting the dreaded sweaty back!

Decisions

I was torn between the Osprey Exos 58 and this bag. I decided on this one because the straps and hip belts have more padding and it has a handy sleeping bag compartment at the bottom of the bag so I don’t have to search through my backpack to find things!

Cost

I bought it for £130 from Cotswold in Liverpool. They guy was really helpful when I bought it and I tried a few bags to compare how they felt with weight in. I initially tried the s/m but I could immediately feel the difference when I tried the m/l bag on. It felt so much lighter! I also tried a Berghaus to compare but I felt like I was going to topple over! It’s well worth spending more for a decent, well designed backpack!
I will leave you with some photos of me looking very pleased with my purchase 🙂

It’s the perfect size!
Osprey Exos 68
What features do YOU look for in your perfect backpack?

Germany here I come!

Germany, Munich, street

Today I am going to embark on my second solo adventure! It’s different to the last one because I have nothing arranged once I get to Germany. I’m just going to get to the hostel and see where life takes me!

During my time in Germany I hope to practice photography and see some of the amazing museums and architecture. I also hope to visit Salzburg (where the sound of music was set!) and Dachau concentration camp.
I’m not going to lie, I’m also looking forward to trying German food and beer!

Prost!!!

My pint of Stella at the airport, my holiday tradition!

Remember remember the fifth of November…

fireworks, red, November

In England the 5th of November is known as ‘bonfire night’ or ‘Guy Fawkes night’. It’s is a celebration of the fact that Guy Fawkes, a member of the gunpowder plot was arrested whilst guarding explosives that were placed beneath the House of Lords. It celebrates the fact that king James the 1st survived this. In 1605 people lit bonfires around London and England carries on this tradition to this day. Although now we manly set off fireworks to remind us of this historical event

I love bonfire night, I have many happy memories of celebrating it at home in my parents garden. We would buy boxes of fireworks and rockets and have our own mini display whilst eating autumnal comfort food such as scouse and loaded potato skins!

This year I decided to go to a local fireworks display with my friend Brandi held at Sephton park in Liverpool. After a long walk from the train station we made it to the park and watched the 20 minute display and accompanying
Music. It’s one of my favourite British celebrations, I think it’s a very English
thing to celebrate!

Vintage fashion and Fireworks!
My friend said that I looked like a Russian Princess!
Brandi; an American celebrating a very English holiday!
Have you ever celebrated Guy Fawkes night in the UK? What did you think of the Fireworks?