Today is my day of birth!!! Hollaaaa. 25 today. Wow I’m so excited. I love birthdays, not just mine, everyone’s! I feel like most people prefer Christmas but I’ve always been a birthday girl. I think there is something really special about celebrating each person, individually and having one day where it’s all about them and you get to show them how much you love them. And today it’s my turn!
We don’t have any real plans for today. I have requested pancakes for breakfast and then I’ll probably just hang out with the hubby at home and open my presents (eeeeeek!). My main celebrations are happening this weekend.
Paul is taking me out on Saturday for a surprise. I love surprises and especially his because he can be extremely thoughtful so I can’t wait to find out what we are doing. On Sunday I am celebrating with my extended family at my mums house with a little party. So a whole weekend of celebrations! Can’t wait.
I’m excited about being 25 and getting stuck into my mid twenties. I really feel like I’m ‘there’ now being married and (almost) on track with my career I’m looking forward to seeing what this next chapter holds for me.
How do you celebrate your birthday?
I’ve been lucky enough to do quite a bit of travelling, both alone and with others. I love writing about the places I’ve been but some of them are so different and special in their own way they are impossible to compare! So instead of doing a ‘Best Places’ article I am going to do a series of ‘Best Places For…’ something.
My top places in the world for solo travelling.
ONE. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The coolest city in Europe, in my opinion, and it’s packed full of backpackers, young people, art and culture. Apart from the obvious draws of partying, cheap drink and the possibility of dabbling in a naughty herb without getting into trouble, the city has an amazing vibe and is extremely beautiful. I went to Amsterdam alone for a few days and stayed in a backpackers hostel, which pretty much guarantees you meeting some cool people as long as you are a relatively friendly person. It’s also a super safe place if you do fancy wandering around on your own and the local people are really lovely. Dutch people are some of my favorite people in the world.
TWO. Sydney, Australia. I absolutely loved my time in Sydney. I turned up on the other side of the world by myself and checked into the Base Sydney hostel for three weeks wondering what on earth I would do with myself. By that evening, I had met the best bunch of people who all happened to be staying in the same dorm as me! They were the closest friendship group that I formed for during my whole trip because we were all sharing a room and all seemed to be staying for a reasonable period of time. That’s one of the things that makes Sydney a great place to travel alone; a lot of the backpackers there are in it for the long hall, looking for jobs etc so people don’t change too much and you have the opportunity to build some good friendships. Sydney is a party town too so everyone is there for a good time and is open to meeting new friends. Also, in terms of the backpackers circuit – literally everyone comes here, all nationalities, all cultures and all types. There is no shortage of people to befriend. I met some fantastic people here from all over the world and never once felt lonely.
THREE. Thailand Island Hopping. The south of Thailand is home to more iddylic beach islands than you could wish for. They all have their own merits and some are more well trodden than others, but many travelers take ferries in between and spend a few days on each to experience the different vibes. Again, these are well trodden on the backpacker circuit (particularity the Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Ko Tao side) so it’s easy to meet people, but I’ve selected this one for people who are potentially travelling solo because the like spending time with number one. I spent a few months on Ko Tao as well as time on Ko Lanta, Phuket and Ko Samui and they are fantastic for travelers who just want to kick back, relax and be alone with their thoughts. Ko Tao and Ko Lanta in particular have a really chilled vibe and as a solo traveler I never felt hassled or out of place. They have everything you need; beaches, bars and places to stay, and something about being on an island makes you feel totally removed and disconnected with the real world. Perfect enjoying your own company and reconnecting with yourself.
FOUR. Anywhere in New Zealand. Good God this country is easy going. I love kiwis they are so so friendly and nice. I traveled the length and breadth of New Zealand (both North and South Island) on a backpacker bus called ‘Kiwi Experience’ and it was literally the time of my life. The Kiwi Experience is famous for it’s amazing bus tours and everyone loves them. It is honestly the best way to meet amazing people and make friends for life. The trip is organised for you, you travel with the same people and stay with the same people in hostels along the way, stopping in all the beautiful and interesting places New Zealand has to offer. You can be flexible about it; spending longer in one place and getting the next bus, but I really enjoyed sharing the whole journey with all my new friends. The bus drivers are brilliant as well and get everyone involved and interacting with games on the bus. I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone travelling alone. Unless you don’t particularity like other people, in which case, probably not for you!
So they are my top 4 places where I have had the best experiences travelling alone and found it most easy to fit in and meet new people. I have never had a problem with being alone on any of my trips, but these were just my favorites. It also is very much luck of the draw as to the people you get, but generally I have found fellow backpackers open, friendly and hilarious people. My one piece of advice to anyone traveling solo for the first time, or anytime, would be; give it a chance. An example: after having an amazing time in Sydney my next stop was Byron Bay which I had heard fantastic things about. However, when I got there I just didn’t gel with the girls in my room and found myself super lonely and sad for 3 days! I pulled myself together, did some things on my own and before I knew it some new dorm mates had moved in and I made friends with them instantly. You are not always going to be surrounded by loads of friends, but it’s a good time to build your independence and ability to spend time in your own company. Solo travelling is a seriously liberating experience and I would recommend it to anyone.
Since I got married and I have lost my fixed ‘goal’ in terms of something to work towards I have struggled with motivation slightly. In the last few weeks since we got back from Portugal and work has been really full on I have noticed my gym routine start to slip slightly.
SO this week, I am back with a vengeance. I have pledged to attend the gym 5 mornings before work at 6.30am and adding extra cardio after work too. I pretty much despise cardio but by committing to a very short blast of running outside (20 mins max) after work every day I can seem to cope with it.
I am feeling really inspired at the moment by the Olympics and the likes of Laura Trott and Jess Ennis. Their abs!! Seriously – goals.
My abs are getting there and you can juuuust about see them in the right light (!!!) but take a lot of work and dedication to maintain.
I’m feeling motivated and ready to get back on it and embrace those early morning gym sessions again and boss it!