When I first left the UK almost a year ago I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from a year of travelling. Of course, the expectations were high.
Truth is, (as expected) the year was incredible - but I learnt lots and it wasn't all plain sailing. Some of which I'll share here:
1. Don't try and predict anything.
We planned most of our trip, so we knew when and where we were going to be most weeks - however rough the idea was. In Australia we were particularly excited for sunshine and beaches - but instead were greeted by tropical storms and weather warnings. On our first flight of the trip, my boyfriend's luggage got left at the wrong airport. In Las Vegas our budget suddenly disappeared (of all the places!) Did it stop us enjoying it? Of course not. You can never predict how time is going to pass or what's going to happen - so don't even try to. Book some decent insurance, make sure you always carry a spare bit of cash - and make sure at least someone knows where you are and when. That's about as much as you can do - then just roll with it.
2. You can get through pretty much anything.
I have a pretty bad fear of flying, and during our Asian leg of the trip it seemed to be one turbulent flight after the other. In Hong Kong we landed in the middle of the night, through a terrible thunder storm, with lightening flashing feet away from the plane... at one point the plane dropped through the air and everyone on board screamed. It would be no exaggeration to say I struggled - but I can safely say I appreciated every single second I was on the ground. I knew I would struggle with my fear before we left, but I almost saw it as a necessary evil - something I hoped I would get used to eventually. Whilst I wouldn't say I overcame my fear, I became much braver and by the end of the trip I was coping pretty well with flying.
3. You have to adapt.
Travelling through different climates and countries you realise pretty quickly that you need to be switching up the way you do things. I found myself constantly checking beauty advice sites for advice on how to stop my hair going frizzy, which make-ups brands were best to keep skin looking matte, which deodorants were most powerful, etc. Sounds silly - but you forget that a new country can be a culture shock to your body and your health - not just on a cultural level. We had to get used to drinking only bottled water, brushing our teeth with bottled water, and steering clear of ice in our drinks - all things which took a while to adapt to. But I think once you're open to this kind of change you tend to just get used to it and becomes part of routine just as much as anything else does.
4. It's all about the experiences.
It was tempting to splash out on new summer dresses, souvenirs and stuff when travelling - but we soon realised we'd much rather spend our money on actual experiences rather than items. We had some amazing days (and nights) out, and looking back now, those memories are far more valuable than any material possession I could possibly own.
5. You won't remember the bad days in a years time
We did have some bad days when travelling (who doesn't) - that flight into Hong Kong I mentioned above would definitely fall into that category. I also suffered terrible jet lag when we were in Vegas, which at the time seemed like a huge downer. Some friends of ours who rented a camper van in Oz got two parking tickets in 3 days. The list goes on. Are these the things I remember when I look back on our trip? No. So don't sweat it. What seems like the end of the world right now, will be a funny story in a couple of months time.
6. Make sure you try new things.
It's when you take yourself out of your comfort zone, that the magic happens - so make sure you're open to trying new things and experiencing new things. Part of seeing the world and witnessing what it has to offer is getting involved in it too. In Hong Kong we did a foodie tour - something we've never really done before.. and it was definitely an experience, and took us completely away from the tourist city, and into the local's city.
You can find a video of my travels here, if you want to hear more about my travels.
Photos by Elle-Rose Williams