A month too late but here’s a roundup of where I went in 2017.
Lahore and Islamabad, Pakistan
I started year off with a bang in January. As part of the Active Citizens programme with the British Council I was chosen to go on an International Study Visit to Pakistan. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so grateful that I was chosen to take part. I met lots of inspiring young people tackling issues such as gender inequality and access to education. Trips were included and we were taken to some amazing mosques and temples and it was really special. I also met the president of Kashmir so that’s fun to say! On top of all that it was all expenses paid and we were put up in luxury hotels and taken to fancy restaurants. It’s definitely a trip I will never forget and I would love to go back to explore such a mysterious place.
In April I went to Venice and it was as beautiful as I expected it to be; my favourite part was probably just getting lost wandering around the streets. I did all the touristy stuff and got to tick going on a gondola ride off my bucket list. I consumed my body weight in pasta and wine and ate gelato twice a day. It was a pretty good trip!
In June I went on a relaxing trip to the resort town of Side with my parents before I moved to Vietnam. It wasn’t too eventful and I spent my days lazing by the pool, going to the beach and going shopping. I spent a lot of my family holidays here when I was younger and hadn’t been back in about seven years. It’s changed a lot!
The big move! In August I quit my job as a mental health worker and moved away from the town I grew up in to be an English teacher in Ho Chi Minh City (later moving to Thai Nguyen which you can read about here and here). Since then I have made a few trips to Hanoi, and visited Da Nang, Hoi An and Hue. It’s a crazy country but I love it and am still here going into 2018.
Kuala Lumpur and Taman Negara, Malaysia
In November I took advantage of an expiring visa and went on a visa run to Malaysia. You can read all about my trip to Kuala Lumpur and Taman Negara here. Malaysia was an unexpected gem and I plan to return this year.
Side note: I’m adding festivals in here just because I love them and I went to some new ones in 2017.
Also in June I went to Download festival for the first time. I got into volunteering at festivals in 2016 when I volunteered at Leeds festival, and haven’t looked back since. I volunteered with Hotbox events and can’t fault them. I’ve always got my deposit back on time and got all the shift patterns I’ve requested. Although I have to admit they were slightly disorganised at Download, but so was the whole of the festival. I had a great time and got really lucky with the weather but I don’t think I’d return, at least not as a paid festival-goer because there was a lot of disorganisation and stress and queues. All I can say is that I was thankful for staff camping!
In July I went to a festival I have always wanted to go to but never thought I would have the chance because it’s so far away, and I’m so glad I did because it’s probably my favourite festival now! This time I volunteered with child.org which I enjoyed because I worked shifts during day but got to see the headliners every night. Henham park where the festival is held is beautiful and there are so many things to discover. A highlight was definitely the Dacha tent that was modelled on a 1917 Russian house that played ome kind of bizarre Russian ska.
I thought that 2017 was a pretty boring year for me pre-Vietnam. Looking back it was probably one of the best years for travel I’ve had. 2018 will mostly be spent in Vietnam and I hope to explore here a lot more. I have a trip to Cambodia coming up and plan to return to Malaysia, after that who knows?
Where did you go in 2017? What are your travel plans for 2018?
If you want to see more photos of my travels you can go look at my Flickr where I upload them all