Here are 10 things I accomplished instead of doing a journalism degree

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For as long as I can remember there has only been one real thing that I’ve wanted to do-travel. However, when I left school in the UK at 18, I made the ‘sensible decision’ to start university in London, studying for a journalism degree because that was what all of my friends were doing.

The thing is, for an impatient person like me, spending just three hours a week in uni, being tied to the UK, and the prospect of doing so for the next three years didn’t really make me very happy. I was anxious to start living the life I wanted to live, so I dropped out. Now as the summer arrives that I would have originally finished, I can say in all honesty that I am very happy that I did.

There are so many great reasons for doing a degree if it’s in something that you love and I’m not writing this post to say that going to university is a bad idea. I just want to show that there are other options too. So, here 10 things I accomplished instead of doing a journalism degree.

1. I started my own blog

I had tried and failed to start a blog many times before this one. The thing is, when you’re at home studying, keeping up a travel blog is pretty tricky as you don’t have that much to write about. It was only after I dropped out of uni and started travelling that I had the time to write and the experiences to blog about. Now two years on, blogging is quickly evolving from a hobby to a job and I couldn’t imagine not having this platform to express my own views on.

2. I went solo backpacking around Asia

Solo backpacking around Asia was my biggest dream and it was one of the first things that I did after leaving uni. I know that my friends and family had their doubts about my trip and so did I- but despite my fears, it was something I had to do. That first trip alone around Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia was one of the most liberating and exciting times of my life and it shaped me forever. I came out of that trip as a completely different person, with loads of confidence and a whole new perspective on life.

3. I did a working holiday in Australia

Travelling is amazing but having the opportunity to live and work in another country is something else. This is what lead me to make the decision to do a working holiday in Australia. Apart from getting to travel around a whole new country, my working holiday has taught me so much, from professional work experience to add to my CV along to life skills like living alone and travelling on a budget.

4. I completed an NCTJ Diploma In Journalism

I didn’t want to spend three years studying for a degree however that didn’t mean that I didn’t want to get some kind of training in journalism.  Instead, I decided to do an NCTJ in my hometown in Brighton which was a much better option for me.

An NCTJ is a short diploma in journalism, that can be completed in three months, studying full time. Unlike the degree I would have done, my NCTJ was both exam and coursework based, it was accredited, came with work experience at my local paper in which we would be published and it was a fraction of the cost. Of course, it didn’t have the social aspects of a full degree but I had a great class and I was happy to get the learning done quickly so I could get started with all of the other things I was desperate to do.

5. I worked (a lot)

The last few years have given me plenty of opportunities to work both during and in between my travels. Since leaving uni I’ve done everything from working as a social media executive and copywriter at home, working in cafes both in England and Australia as well as doing guest blogging alongside this.  All of this has helped me build up loads of confidence, gain experience for my CV and helped me to save money to entirely finance all of my travels.

6. I did loads of internships

Experience, experience, experience- that’s all it really comes down to, especially in an industry like journalism. The last few years have given me plenty of opportunities to do internships in everything from a media agency producing one of the UK’s most popular tv news shows to digital marketing and journalism, resulting in a whole portfolio of published work, all with my own byline. A lot of the other interns I have worked alongside have just graduated university themselves so it shows you that degree or no degree, we all end up in the same boat.

7. I backpacked through Central America

Another trip that I’ve always been desperate to do was Central America and that’s something I got to do for a few months last year on a tour with G Adventures. Countries like Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica had long fascinated me but I knew that the region had a reputation for being a little dangerous, hence why I ended up doing the tour. If anything, this trip awakened a whole new level of wanderlust in me and it gave me more friends and once in a lifetime experiences than I can name in this blog post.

8. I saved up a lot of money

I don’t know how many thousands of pounds worth of debt I saved from not going to university, but it’s a lot. The last couple of years have given me the chance to save up loads of money through working, enabling me to fund all of my travels.  What’s more, I’m now completely debt free.

9. I lived alone

I know that uni seems like the obvious way to move out of home but if independence is all you crave, there are easier ways to do it than signing up to a three-year course.  I love my home and staying back with my parents for a few months in between trips has helped me save up loads of money. However, for the last year, I’ve been in Australia where I have been living independently in a flatshare,  working and looking after myself. The whole moving out thing has been pretty straightforward and while it is harder to save up money now I’m paying rent and buying my own groceries, I get by.

10.  I made lots of new friends

The social aspect is another huge drawing point for going to university. However, I can vouch for the fact that the last few years travelling has given me more new friends than I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve met so many amazing and truly inspirational people from all over the world through work, internships, through my friend’s uni friends and throughout all of my travels. The only negative about having friends spread out all over the place is that it can be tricky to stay in touch. It’s hard when you do things on a daily basis with a person while travelling and then you suddenly have to say goodbye.

People are often surprised to hear that I didn’t do a degree. You see, not completing further education goes against the norm and it’s a shame there’s still such a taboo against not going. We have to realise that everyone is different and a degree isn’t right, nor is it necessary, for everyone. I wanted to write this post to discuss some of the benefits that come from not going to uni and to show that a lack of further education doesn’t mean you have to work in retail for the rest of your life either.

Do you have any more questions about any of the topics mentioned in this post or do you have a similar story? Feel free to drop me a message here. 

How To Write A Travel Journal

Writing a travel journal wasn’t something that I’d done before this year however I got really into journalling on my last trip and now I’m completely converted to keeping one. Writing in a journal while I was away was great for so many reasons. I loved making myself take the time to gather my thoughts, write down funny stories and stick in things like train tickets and cards from places that I’d been to. What originally started out as a way to fill spare time in cafes actually got really addictive, not to mention it’s been a great to look back on my trip: It’s amazing how much you forget about what you’ve done, even in a couple of weeks.

When it comes to journalling, social media sites like Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest are packed full of travel and art journal ideas and inspiration however it’s important to not get too precious with it. There’s no one way to keep a travel journal and everyone’s own one will reflect their personality, their passions and interests. So, whether you fancy starting an art journal, a line a day book, more or a diary or even a little bit of everything, just remember that your travel journal should be something that you do just for you;  no one else has to look in it if you don’t want them to.

If you’ve never given travel journalling a go, it can be daunting to know where to start and what to write in it so I thought I’d write a quick post with a few tips to get you started.

Here’s how to write a travel journal:

how to write a travel journal

Don’t get hung up on making it perfect

It can be so hard to get over the pressure of perfectionism when it comes to travel journalling but try to avoid the urge to start over if you feel like it doesn’t look quite how you wanted it to.  Tumblr might be full of aesthetically beautiful journals but don’t get hung up on making your journal perfect: Travelling will never allow for it. A real life travel journal will get battered in your backpack, it might have scruffy writing from when you wrote by torch-light in a dark hostel dorm room, it might have phone numbers and addresses scrawled at the bottom of one of the pages because it was the only bit of paper you could find: A real travel journal is an honest representation of your trip, not an application for art school.

Don’t force yourself to write in it everyday

One of the main reasons I’d never taken up travel journalling before was because I thought I’d have to write in it everyday and this really put me off. In reality, you’ll be way too busy having fun, travelling from one place to another or just out there making memories that you won’t give your journal a second thought and that’s totally fine. Instead just write in it when you have the chance, you can always reflect over the last few days. If you force yourself to write daily when you don’t feel like it you’ll just resent the whole thing.  A good tip is to try to include the date and location at the top of the page each time you write, this way it doesn’t matter when you write in it.

Remember that you don’t have to write pages and pages

Don’t feel like you have to write a full account of your day when you sit down to write,  even a couple of sentences about what you’ve done, a small sketch or a quick note about how you’re feeling is enough.

Write about your feelings as well as what you’ve done

Writing all about what you’ve done on your trip and what you’re going to is a great way to remember your travels but try to write about how you’re feeling too. This is something that I didn’t really do much when I first started writing in my journal but looking back, it’s those personal entires that are the most interesting to me now. Remember that no one else needs to read this journal but you and it’s a great way to reflect when you’re away and after you get home.

Get creative with it 

A travel journal is meant to be fun so get crazy with it. Try doing a few drawings, write in multi coloured pens, stick in photos or tickets or decorate the pages with a whole load of washi tape (my personal favourite). Remember that you can always decorate your journal when you get home if you don’t want to carry everything around with you. Your travel journal should reflect your own crazy personality and yours alone.

Make note of useful information

On a practical level journalling has been a great way for me to keep note important information about my trip that I might want to remember at a later date. This can be things like the name of a cafe that I liked, the prices of a hostel that I stayed in, how I got from one place to another or even just the names of travellers I’ve met. This way if you’re trying to remember something from your trip, chances are you might have it written in your journal which saves you having to trawl the web for answers.

Write for your future self

One of the reasons journalling is so fascinating is because moments are frozen in time. Writing down your aspirations, your thoughts and feelings is a fantastic way to set goals for the future and looking back over what you’ve written can remind yourself of what those goals are if you ever feel a little lost.

My travel journal has proved a fantastic way for me to remember all of the adventures that I’ve had while I’ve been away,  Looking back over my own journal transports me back to where I was when I wrote it. It’s crazy how many of the little things from our travels that we forget and I love reading back over the things I’ve done,  reading about how I feeling and remembering the people I’ve met. Travelling changes us and sometimes coming home after doing so much and feeling so different, it can be surprising that everything back home is still the same. While photos and souvenirs are great ways to commemorate your trip, a travel journal is so much better because every amazing thing that happened to you was real and it’s all down there on paper.

how to write a travel journal

A quick guide on Picking your travel journal

Your travel journal is something that’s intensely personal to you so it’s important that you pick a notebook that you love the look of. It may sound trivial but picking a journal that you just love will make you so much keener to write in it.

Depending on what kind of person you are, you’ll have different needs for your journal. If you’re more of a writer then you’ll probably want to get a lined one however if you’d prefer to keep an art journal with only a small bit of writing then you might want to look at sketchbooks or a book with blank pages instead. My own one is from the Rifle Paper Company because I love all of their designs.  My book has a mixture of both lined pages to write on and blank pages for drawings and scrapbooking.

Decorating your journal

It’s worth investing in some nice pens to write with and anything else you might want to decorate the pages with. I have an obsession with buying washi tape to stick in my journal whenever I see one I like and I usually bring my pocket watercolour set with me when I travel so I can do a few sketches in my book too. If you have a Polaroid camera then why not stick a few of those photos in or cut out some clippings from magazines. Remember when it comes to journalling, anything goes.

Should You Do A Journalism Degree? Why I Did An NCTJ Instead

London like a Londoner

An NCTJ level 3 diploma is an accredited journalism course ran by the National College for the Training of Journalists. The course is designed to give you the knowledge and skills to begin a career as a professional journalist and it can be taken before, after or instead of university. In many cases an NCTJ is something that is requested by editors in an application process regardless of whether you have a degree in Journalism or any other subject.

So, should you do an NCTJ instead of a journalism degree?

If like me you’re considering taking a NCTJ then you’re probably a pretty impatient person too so I’ve put this post into subheadings so feel free to skim through until you reach the topic that you’re interested in.

Why I dropped out of University

When it came to deciding what to do after Sixth Form, we were really pushed towards going to university in my College and I think that’s the case for most places in the UK.

Writing is something I really enjoy and I was drawn to Journalism because it’s one of the most adaptable careers as you can apply it to almost any area e.g food, travel or science. So when I finished Sixth Form and it was time to consider Higher Education options, applying for a Journalism degree in a London university seemed like the right choice.

It may have just been my own personal experience but I was massively disappointed with my degree.  It had taken a lot of mental energy and a lot of money both from my parents, from the full-time job I had taken in a supermarket in London to support myself and from the heavy debt I was ranking up every day I was there yet for all of this, I felt that I was getting very little out of my degree or my university experience in general

Crappy flatmates aside (that’s a whole other post) for £9000 a year plus rent and all my other London living expenses I was getting just three hours tutored lessons a week, many of which involved sitting in a lecture hall while our lecturer put on a film he’d found off YouTube. My degree also wasn’t exam based, didn’t teach us shorthand, didn’t give us any help getting work experience and spent a lot of time getting us to write essays rather than articles.

Every day I couldn’t get over the feeling that I was hanging around, working myself into the ground at late night shifts at the supermarket and spending a lot of evenings scouring for bargains in the reduced section of Tesco just so I could make it to these three-hour tutored lessons. Being in London I thought I’d be having the time of my life. in truth I didn’t have the money or the mental enthusiasm to have fun and my weekly highlight used to be buying lunch once a week from Pret.

I knew something had to change and I thought, surely I could learn everything from this degree in a lot less time than three years and for a lot less money? This is why when I came home for christmas I decided to drop out of university, move back home and start my full-time NCTJ diploma in Brighton instead.

What is an NCTJ? 

In the UK an NCTJ (The National Council for the Training of Journalists Diploma) is an official journalism qualification that give you the specific skills required for the industry (A little like doing your accountancy exams if you’re training to be an accountant). It provides vocational lessons and exams in media law, court reporting, public affairs, shorthand, production journalism and essential journalism.

What are the entry requirements?

An NCTJ can be taken after a degree, before or instead of (the only entrance requirement is usually 5 GCSEs at grades A-C, one of which must be English and 2 A Levels or equivalent).

Where can you do an NCTJ?

NCTJ courses can be run by specialist journalism schools, in sixth forms, universities or by distance learning. There are a couple of university journalism degrees in the UK that are NCTJ certified however the latter are not and a lot of professional journalism jobs require that you take the NCTJ regardless of whether you have a degree or not.

You can view the full list of accredited courses here:

http://www.nctj.com/journalism-qualifications/diploma-in-journalism/Accreditedcourses/course-search

My NCTJ with Brighton Journalist Works 

I found out about the option to take an NCTJ after searching out alternatives to university for Journalism in Brighton. I studied for mine at Brighton Journalist Works, an independent journalism school in the centre of the city and took a news based course. I took the fast track course that cost £4,200 which although I had to pay upfront, worked out so much cheaper than university in the long-term.  There was also an option to get a loan or pay in installments. My course was five days a week, nine to five and could be completed in 16 weeks from March to July. There was also another fast track course that run from September to January and a part-time course that starts in September.

Our course was assessed at the end of the 16 weeks with seven exams along with an assessment of our portfolio which had to contain a mixture of news, feature and media pieces. On  the course we worked closely with our local paper where many of us, myself included got the chance to be published, including partnerships with other events in Brighton like the Fringe festival.

There were 16 of us in the class, the majority who’d just finished their degrees with three of us who hadn’t gone to university and a couple of people looking for a career change.

Brighton Journalist Works: http://www.journalistworks.co.uk

Why an NCTJ worked for me

An NCTJ really felt like the right option for me personally. Here’s why.

  • It gave me practical skills as a journalist
  • It helped to improve my writing
  • It had exams and I work well with an end goal
  • We had the chance to be published and received feedback and help with building our portfolio
  • We had inspiring mentors who were real journalists
  • It was great for contact building
  • It was full-time and gave me structure and really challenged me
  • It was a much cheaper alternative to university as I didn’t like the idea of being in debt
  • I could move back home which saved money and helped after my bad experience at university
  • It was short and I was desperate to stop studying and start working and travelling
  • It was interesting. Journalism schools have a strict criteria in regards to what they teach on the course so you really do learn a remarkable amount in a short period of time

Other reasons an NCTJ might be good

  • If you’re not sure if you want to be a journalist then it’s better to find out by doing an NCTJ than a full degree
  • Transferable skills for other areas like digital marketing, PR , sub-editing or copy-writing.
  • On a gap year
  • After university if you’ve done a degree unrelated to journalism but want to get into the industry
  • To improve your chances of getting a graduate job after doing a journalism or english degree
  • If you want to continue to study after higher education or fancy a career change

Finishing studying: A year on 

Since graduating I’ve not been very prolific on the job hunt because in all honesty I’ve just been travelling for the whole year. However the great thing about doing my NCTJ instead of university is that it’s given me a lot more time to play around with. Travelling  and this blog are my passions and at 21 I’m in no hurry to get a full-time job yet.

One thing I can say is that when I have applied for jobs I haven’t knowingly received any rejection because I don’t have a degree. In so many respects the NCTJ has given me more than a degree ever would have: Shorthand, a portfolio of published work, law and court reporting practice.

It’s also given me a lot of confidence, saved me a lot of money and has given me a lot of time. In a year since graduating I’ve started this blog, spent months travelling, I’ve done copy-writing, an internship for one of my favourite news and current affairs programs and I’ve earnt enough money with all this and working at a cafe, to travel the world.

I’m sure next year when a lot of my friends graduate, lots of them will walk into graduate jobs straight away, but some won’t and some won’t want to. I’m not sure where I’ll be this time next year, be it working or travelling but my plan is to keep saying yes to experiences and keep writing because even though I’m not studying anymore, I’m still learning every day.

My Ultimate Summer Bucket List 2018

There’s always so much pressure when it comes to summer. The sun is shining (supposedly), everyone’s back home, the evenings are bright and the summer months  seem to stretch out endlessly ahead. Every year I make so many plans for summer and then before I’ve even had the chance to head to the beach, all those weeks are swallowed up in a culmination of work and procrastination and before I know it it’s time for Autumn again. As my best friend out it, ‘Last summer seemed to go in a flash of ‘working and working out‘ and I couldn’t sum it up better.

I don’t have big plans for this summer. Being free from studying means that I have the freedom to travel whenever so summer for me is a great time to enjoy the weather in the UK, catch up with friends, do short trips and most importantly earn money.

Either way year I’ve decided to make a summer bucket list of things that I want to achieve over be next few months. I’ll be doing updates on this as I tick things off and I’ll do a follow-up blog post in September to see how well I’ve done.

What’s on your summer bucket list this year?

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My Summer Bucket List 2018

Be a tourist in my own town: 

I’m not denying that I live in a pretty cool place. My hometown, Brighton, a city just an hours train away from London has more vegan eateries, cafes, vintage shops and record stores than you could ever want, plus in summer we get to spend our days at the beach, (it’s no wonder then that Brighton was voted the most hipster city in the world 2018).

Last summer I just didn’t seem to have the time to enjoy summer at home. I finished exams late, did my internship and then worked loads. This year I want to really focus on being a tourist in my hometown and making an effort to go to the beach and eat my way around all the fantastic cafes in the city. (Keep an eye out for more Brighton related content coming up on the blog).

What’s your favourite thing to do in your hometown? 

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Do yoga classes: I really got into yoga classes when I was in Costa Rica and it’s something I want to keep up now that I’m back home. Unlike other exercise, yoga is great because it has the meditative benefits as well as improving your physical health and flexibility so there are so many reasons to make it a regular part of my routine.

Cook more vegan meals: Veganism is something they I’ve really started to embrace over the last few months. Being in Brighton, veganism is a topic that’s hard to avoid (oat milk in cafes is the norm, not the exception). Me and my family originally started trying it out as an experiment because I really didn’t think I could live without cheese but it’s actually been quite effortless. While I don’t think that i’ll ever be completely vegan, I’m aiming for it 80 % of the time so I’m going to dedicate some time this summer to mastering lots of new vegan recipes.

Rent a city bike and ride along the beach: City bikes are new to Brighton for this summer so riding one along the beach has to go on my bucket list. They operate in the same way as London’s bikes so all you need to do is download the Social Bicycles app and  pick one up from numerous docking stations over Brighton. They are really cheap to rent,  just £1 for 30 minutes and 3p a minute after that (Much more affordable than the £2.60 bus).

Visit my travel friends: One of my favourite parts about travelling is meeting new people and having friends all over the world. This summer I’d love to do a few small trips and visit a few of the people who I’ve met abroad as many of them that don’t live too far away. Visiting friends is a fantastic excuse for a trip and it’s so much better to discover new places with people that live there.IMG_6121.jpg

Blog lots: This summer marks one year since I started my blog and I want to continue to work on it this summer. Blogging has become my biggest hobby and I can’t imagine how I ever functioned without it before. I’m going to spend a lot of time this summer finding and writing new content and making my site more accessible. Let me know if there’s anything you want to see more of or change on the blog!

Do an internship: Internships are a fantastic way to build your CV and get some experience in the field that you’re interested in and summer is the time when the most opportunities are around. There are so many options available particularly in the blogging, copywriting and marketing sector which is what I’m interested in. If you want to go travelling then internships are great as you’re not tied in for as long as a job, (they usually just last a few weeks to a couple of months) and some of them offer a salary or at least to cover your expenses. It’s also a chance to get out and see more of your own country. Last summer I did a two week internship in Oxford so not only did I get a ton of experience but I got to explore a new city too.

Master an extremely difficult french recipe: This is the antidote to aiming to be more vegan this summer but as an enthusiastic baker and Great British Bake Off addict, the idea of mastering an extremely complicated French recipe is really appealing to me. My baking tends to be restricted to sponge cakes and biscuits so I’d Like to spend a few hours getting to grove with something more complicated like French tarts or croissants

See more of the UK: I’m usually so preoccupied planning trips abroad that I forget to explore the UK.  This summer I’d love to do a few trips and explore more places nearby like Bath, Bristol and Windsor.

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Keep a journal: When I went backpacking around Central America I made myself keep a travel journal and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed writing in it. It’s so nice to make yourself take the time to sit down and write about the day and get really creative with it, adding in drawings and washi tape. On my bucket list this summer is to keep a journal for day-to-day life and really focus on slowing down in general.

Get off social media: As I use social media to promote my blog it’s easy for me to get sucked into it but spending too much time online is really draining. I want to get better at being more efficient with social media and really focus on unplugging at places like the gym or on a run.

Plan more travels: Deciding what to do after summer means endless opportunities. I’m not completely sure yet if I’m going to do some work at home, abroad or go on a longer trip but either way there will definitely be some travel involved over the next few months. There’s nothing I love more than spending a few hours with a map and my notebook researching trips, so I’ll be setting aside some time this summer and also doing some shorter trips in the meantime.

So that’s it, my summer bucket list for 2018. It’s nothing particularly crazy or life-changing but it’s full of (hopefully) achievable goals with the overall aim being to relax, see friends and just have fun. After all, what else is summer really about?

 

 

 

What to do if you want to travel but have no one to travel with

Stop waiting for others: Here’s why being alone doesn’t need to stop you from travelling

You’ve got the money, you’ve got the time and you’re all ready to jet off and travel the world.  There’s only one problem, you’ve got no one to go with.

Going travelling is one of the most exciting experiences ever so it can seem crazy that’s it’s often hard to rustle up people who are willing to do it. The reality is that travelling takes time, money and a lot of effort and most people can’t just give up everything and go off for a few months the second they feel like it, which can be so frustrating if you’re ready to do just that.

However having no one to go with is really no issue so, whether you’re on your gap year, planning summer travels or taking a break from work, here’s what to do if you want to travel but have no-one to travel with.E4A988B2-63FF-4890-88B0-1B30D9485847.JPG

Go solo

If you’ve never travelled by yourself before then the idea of heading off to another country or countries on your own can seem really daunting but solo travel is one of the most liberating and rewarding experiences ever and just because you’re travelling solo, it doesn’t mean you have to be alone.

Travelling offers more opportunities to meet people than any other time in your life, particularly in popular backing countries like Thailand and Indonesia. If you’re worried about meeting people then book yourself into a sociable hostel, (look for party hostels) and really put yourself out there. If you’re willing and open to meet people then you’ll barely have a second alone. When people ask me if I’m going solo travelling? I say ‘no, I’m travelling with friends I just haven’t met yet’. 4124246F-81B1-45E7-84C7-B7E8174F3614.JPG

Book a group tour 

Gone are the days that a group tour meant boring. Thanks to adventure travel companies like Busabout, Contiki and G Adventures, there are so many young, fun, active and largely inexpensive tours out there all across the world. These are a great option to ease you into travel if you’re worried about going solo as you’ll be travelling as part of a group. These tours will usually arrange all your accommodation and transportation, and some even include meals. You could always leave some time at the end of your tour for some more travelling, as people in your tour will probably be staying on and you’ll most likely feel more confident as a traveller at that point anyway.

If you want a compromise between a group tour and solo travel then you could consider travelling with a hop on- hop off bus pass. These passes include your transport and some activities but allow you to travel independently at your own pace and without a tour guide. This can be less stressful than travelling fully solo but less structured than a tour. You’ll also have a member of staff that you can contact if you have any issues. A good company for these hop on-hop off passes is Bamba (bambaexperience.com), as they have passes all over the world.

Couch Surfing 

Couch surfing is a really unique way to travel abroad. It works by matching travellers with locals in the area who will let you stay in their home for free. This allows you to experience places like a local and it means that you arrive at least knowing someone. It’s also a really good way to save money. Granted this isn’t going to be for everyone but its worth taking a look online either way. (www.coachsurfing.com)

Work abroad

Sometimes having some structure when you’re away can make the idea of travelling by yourself so much less daunting. There are limitless opportunities to find work all over the globe, which not only means guaranteed structure and company but it’s also a culturally enriching experience and it allows you to save money and travel for longer. Just a few of the very many work abroad options include; Working visa in Australia, New Zealand or Canada, Doing a ski season, Tefl, Scuba instructor/ training in Thailand, Hostel or conservation work (Lots of these listed on Workaday.info), Camp America, Kibbutz in Israel, Au pair jobs, ashram in india).

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Volunteer

Volunteer programs are another fantastic way to spend some time abroad if you have no one to travel with. Volunteering is also a great option as it can be really rewarding and may be beneficial to your future career goals or interests. There are a few different types of volunteering that you can do abroad.

  • Volunteer programs

These can be run by tour companies like Frontier, Intrepid and GVI, or by charities and these tend to cost some money. However they are generally cheaper and longer than just booking on to a group tour to travel. These programs also usually include accommodation and food. You can do any thing from marine and wildlife conservation projects, to construction or teaching. Loads of companies also offer really career specific volunteer projects which can give you credits that go towards a uni application. Just make sure that any volunteering you do is with a reputable company as some volunteer programs can do more harm than good.

  • Free labour

Another great way to find more informal and cheaper volunteer projects is on sites like workaway.info and goabroad.com which have a range of listings from conservation work to construction projects and often exchange voluntary work for food and accommodation.

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Study abroad and internships

Studying abroad is a fantastic decision if you want to spend some time away but maybe don’t feel confident to just go off alone. It also means that you’re gaining an education while experiencing the world too. There are endless ways and endless options for places and subjects to study abroad.

  • Internships

Firstly some travel companies like frontier offer study abroad programs. They have loads of options from wildlife conservation internships to journalism internships. Another idea is doing a TEFL internship which combines studying for your TEFL certification to teach english in another country and then usually incorporates a work placement after.

  • Language schools

If you’re interested in leaning another language then why not enrol at a language school. Central/ South America and Europe are all great places to do these. You may also want to look at doing a language course with Education First which have lots of language schools all over the world and offer a very social experience.

Depending on your hobbies, there are so many ways to study absolutely anything abroad so get inventive. There are plenty of sports programs out there, international art schools or cooking schools so whatever you want to do, there’s a way to incorporate it with travelling.

Combining university and travel

If you’re wanting to travel in the future then you may want to consider a year abroad. A  lot of universities offer year abroad in second or third year and these are usually listed on the university’s website so, if you’re thinking about a degree then finding a course which has this option could be ideal.

I hope this post has shown you that not having anyone to go with you doesn’t have to mean that you can’t go travelling. There are so many ways to get out there and see the world, even if you don’t quite feel ready to tackle solo travel.

Sometimes when you’re at home deciding to do what next, the amount of options out there can seem overwhelming but don’t let it get you down too much. Follow your heart and pick something and somewhere that appeals to you. One thing I’ve learnt is that when it comes to travel, there are no wrong choices.

Do you have any more thoughts on this topic? If so drop me a line or leave a comment below!

How Instagram has edited the way that we travel

Why searching for instagrammable places means we’re missing hidden gems when we travel

As an aspiring travel blogger I love to visit new destinations. However as the blogging and social media world starts to grow and travel is as much of a hashtag as it is a passion, have the terms, Influencer and inspirational become negative words? And are we more concerned with brightening our feeds, than enriching our lives?

There was once a day when travelling meant journeying into the unknown and going with the flow. We used to arrive at a new destination with little more than a travel guide and a sense of adventure.

These days we are so overloaded with information that we can book our hotels and  plan where we’re going to eat before we’ve even left the house. However by making sure that we see absolutely everything when we travel, have we lost something else along the way?

Thanks to influencers and bloggers, the world has never been more accessible, but social media presents a very filtered version of travel. Often we’re so busy ticking off the trendy destinations off our lists that we miss the hidden gems, and we’re so consumed with taking the perfect Instagram photo that we forget to take it in ourselves.

Social media sites have revolutionised the way we travel in so many ways. We’re able to travel around the world from our office desk, however it’s important to remember that there’s more to travel than what we see in the camera lens.

So, next time you go globe-trotting try to find your own adventures. Make friends not followers, memories not posts and get off the beaten path, because the real influencers are the ones blazing the trails, not following everyone else.

The time has come to log out of your Instagram and go make real stories. There’s more to see in this world than what pops up your news feed.

Dealing with anxiety as a solo traveller

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IMG_6145.JPGIf you think your anxiety means that you can’t go solo travelling, think again. Anxiety is more common and less of a taboo than ever before and its a topic that came up in conversation as much among other travellers, as it did with friends back home.

Everyone thinks that to go travelling alone you have to be an overly confident, self-assured and adventurous person. It’s just not true. If you have anxiety, it may be harder to make yourself go, but you have so much more to gain from your travels than anyone else.

Anxiety is more prevalent than it ever has been. It may be because we’re more aware of it,  because of increasing social pressures and competition, or as an effect of social media. Either way, Anxiety can leave you feeling lost, isolated, nervous and a little angry. Making the decision to go travelling can seem massive but my advice is to just do it. If you’re really worried, book a small trip or a group tour, but I can’t stress enough the benefits of going solo. Either way, just that process of putting yourself out of your comfort zone means that you’re one step closer to tackling this illness.

When I was away I met so many people who had come through or were still suffering mental health disorders. There were those who’d had eating disorders, those who’d had breakdowns, those who had come through anxiety or who still suffered from it.  I’m not saying go travelling is the cure-all to all problems. I’m not saying you won’t get anxiety attacks while you’re away. But sometimes all you need is to put yourself out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, meet new people and discover new places. Don’t let mental illness control your life, you might find travel is the best form of therapy you’ve ever been prescribed.

Five ways to deal with anxiety when you travel

Be organised

Sometimes, feeling out of control can make your anxiety seem worse. Being prepared can give you that extra boost of confidence that you need. Pre-plan an itinerary, have a list of accommodation options available and have a folder with all of your important documents in it.

Be open to meeting people

Anxiety can play havoc with your self-confidence but forcing yourself to meet people is what travel is about. Having new people to talk to and do things with can make you feel ten times more confident.

Look after yourself

Remember that you’ve really put yourself out of your comfort zone by going travelling in the first place, so don’t be too hard on yourself. If something is really worrying you, then listen to yourself, even if it mean paying a little more. If you feel like you need some alone time, book yourself into a nice hotel, or if you’re worried about visiting a place by yourself, book a group tour for a few days.

Bring snacks

Sometimes, something as simple as having low blood sugar can trigger an anxiety attack. Keep a plentiful supply of snacks with you at all times so that you’re never caught off guard. It’s one less thing to worry about also.

Don’t think about it

Worrying about your anxiety can be enough to trigger it. Luckily travelling offers a world of distractions. If you feel an anxiety attack coming on try distracting yourself by listening to some music, going to chat with others in a hostel common room, sitting out in the sunlight and even having a few motivational phrases that you can go over in your head.

Anxiety may be a part of your life, but there’s not need for it to stop you living it. The hardest thing about travelling with anxiety is making yourself go in the first place,  but just think about all the amazing experiences that you’re going to have. You might find that you’re so busy moving forward, your anxiety just won’t be able to catch up.