How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

FeaturedHow To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Travelling long-term is something that I always wanted to do and to this day I have an ever-growing list of places that I want to see and experiences that I want to have. However, as much as I want to travel long-term, continuing to learn and build my CV  is important to me too.

With the internet and changing attitudes to a work-life balance, the way that we learn and work isn’t the same as it has been in the past. Education can extend past the walls of a classroom and working doesn’t mean having to do the 9-5 in an office.

There have never been more opportunities to travel the world and build your CV at the same time than there are today. Here are some of my favourites.

Paid and unpaid internships

Paid or unpaid internships are a fantastic way to gain skills and experience in an industry that you are interested in.  In terms of a learning opportunity, I can’t recommend them enough.

What’s great about internships is that they are generally really hands-on, giving you the knowledge, experience and the confidence to work in that industry after. What’s more, doing an internship in a foreign country is really going to make your CV stand out from the crowd.

Throughout my time spent in Australia on a working holiday, I have done three internships in marketing and content writing, all of which have taught me more than I’d ever learned in a classroom, as well as looking great on my CV.

There are loads of paid and unpaid internships around and a good place to find these is on job sites like Indeed, Seek and Jora. Travel agencies like STA and GVI also offer plenty of internships abroad opportunities too, although these usually come at a cost.

How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Online courses

Never underestimate the value of online courses: they are a fantastic learning opportunity and demonstrate a willingness to learn on your CV. What’s more, they needn’t cost you any money, with plenty of free courses available.

Depending on the topic of study in, some platforms will be more suitable for you than others. A couple of places that I have done online learning include Skillshare, Moz and Google’s Digital Garage.

Study abroad

If you prefer to learn in the classroom but you’d like to combine it with living abroad then studying in another country is a fantastic idea. After spending a year on a working holiday in Australia, I am now staying longer in Melbourne to study here. Being an international student is a completely new experience for me and it’s an invaluable one, allowing me to combine getting a qualification with travelling long term. You can read more about my experience of transferring from a working holiday to a student visa here.

Language courses

Following on from study abroad options, opting to learn a language in the very country that it’s spoken is an incredible learning opportunity. Not only is immersing yourself in a country the most effective way to learn a language, but it’s also a fun and unique experience. These days, having a second or even third language to add to your resume is a skill that many employers look for so enrolling in a language school abroad really is a smart move.

There’s no end of options when it comes to language courses abroad. Some of my favourite ideas are Spanish school in Barcelona, Spanish school in San Pedro, Guatemala or learning Korean in Seoul (like one of my best friends, Izzy is currently doing).

How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Volunteer abroad

Volunteering is an incredible and meaningful way to travel long-term while doing some good and improving your CV. Volunteering abroad is also incredibly diverse and there’s a wide range of areas that you can work in. This can include anything from marine conservation to community development.

Teaching abroad

If you’ve been researching long-term travel then TEFL is something that you’re probably familiar with, right? Getting your TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualification, allows to teach and live in an endless list of countries across the globe. Not only is this a unique and culturally enriching experience, but it is also one that allows you to earn money abroad. That way, you can afford to travel long term while developing new skills to add to your CV.

Working abroad

If you already have some qualifications or work experience then why not try working abroad? Of course, the country that you are from will have some bearing in terms of which countries you’re legally allowed to work in.

Some common options: a working holiday in Australia or New Zealand, a working holiday in Canada or a working holiday in England. You could also work in the US as a Camp America counseller or through being an Au Pair on a J1 Visa. For Europeans, why not try working in another European country? Alternatively, another option is becoming a tour guide with a company like G Adventures or Contiki where you actually get paid to travel.

How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Blogging 

Last but not least, blogging is one of my favourite ways to travel long-term while creating something to show for it. Setting up a blog is quick and easy and you don’t have to be tech-savvy or invest in lots of expensive equipment to do it. All you need to do is sign up for a blogging platform like WordPress and start writing. To start with, you’ll probably just be writing for your friends and family. However, stick with it, and who knows, one day you might be being paid to travel the world.

Travelling in itself is one of the most valuable things that you could do, particularly in your early twenties. Even without working or studying abroad, travelling helps to develop a huge range of skills including everything from budgeting to conversation skills and resilience. However,  if you want to travel long-term but you’d like a little more structure, then some of the ideas in this blog post might be a great option for you.

Have you ever done, or are considering doing any of the long-term travel ideas in this blog post? Get in touch- I’d love to hear. 

 

City Girl Vs Small Town Girl: Life In Melbourne

FeaturedLife In Melbourne

When I was 18, I followed a life long dream and made the move from my small town of Brighton up to the UK’s capital of London.

At first, the hustle and bustle and novelty of walking past iconic landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace as part of my daily commute was overwhelming.

However, it was a brief stint that lasted just a few months until the loneliness and franticness of the city wore me down and I moved back home. That experience in London led me to believe that I just wasn’t a city girl and I was resigned to that: until I moved to Melbourne.

I arrived in Melbourne at the end of last year on a Working Holiday Visa- you can follow my travels from day one on this section of the blog.

The decision to do so was totally random and in my mind a short term one. At first, I said I’d be home by Christmas, then that extended into April. Then April came and I said I’d stay until summer. Then that brings us up to the current date now, almost one year on and still here. 

Although it’s been voted the world’s second most livable city for years in a row according to the Global Livability Index (coming in only after Vienna), Melbourne isn’t a place that’s particularly high on the tourist map- I’m guessing mainly because it’s so damn far away from the rest of the world.

So why Melbourne?

Well, I’ve visited quite a few cities over the last few years: Paris, New York, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Sydney and Hanoi, to namedrop a few. However, there’s just something about Melbourne that makes it so unique in comparison to other places that I’ve been to.

Life In Melbourne

 

Space

For starters, on the map, Melbourne is way bigger than London (almost six and a half times bigger) to be exact. However, Melbourne’s Central Business District or CBD is much smaller and way more compact so almost everywhere is in walking distance. Secondly, its population is proportionally lower than London at 5 million compared to 8 million. So, although Melbourne’s tourist attractions, bars and restaurants busy, it never feels overcrowded.

Australia’s cultural capital

Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital which means that there’s an overwhelming amount of exhibitions and galleries to explore on days off from work. That goes without mentioning the countless festivals and events that are held throughout the year- and then, of course, there’s Melbournes ever-changing street art scene.

Eating and drinking

Next reason- Melbourne’s drinking and dining scene in the city is out of this world. If you’re a foodie then this is the city for you. Last week, my parents visited me from the UK and they commented about the huge amount of dining options available in the city: and it’s true. Next, there’s the city’s love affair with coffee. Melbournian’s are coffee addicts and Melbourne has more cafes per capita than any other city in the world. In fact, it’s actually referred to as the coffee capital of the world. 

The best of both worlds 

Like my hometown, Brighton, Melbourne is located on the coast. This means that in summer, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to relax on and enjoy the warm weather. What’s more, Melbourne is also surrounded with outstanding natural beauty in all directions such as National Parks, vineyards and of course one of the world’s most iconic drives, the Great Ocean Road. This coupled with everything that the city has to offer, means that Melbourne is the best compromise between city living and the great outdoors.

Life In Melbourne

I could go on and name lot’s more reasons why I love Melbourne so much but you only need to go and take a look through the posts on this blog to see why. Besides, that’s not the point of this post. The purpose that I’m trying to get across is that this move has proved to me why it’s important to keep expanding your comfort zone.

I’m from a small UK town of 600,000 people. It’s by the coast and it’s seasonal meaning that winters are quiet and sleepy. At home, I spend my weekends going for walks and baking rather than doing the rounds of rooftop bars and making coffees in a busy cafe with queues out of the door.

My time living in London led me to believe that I wasn’t a city girl but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I was content with my lifestyle in the UK but in Melbourne, I’ve never felt more alive. In a city where I have the space to express myself and do the things that I love but also an ever-changing list of places and events to keep me occupied, this year living in the city has been one of the best of my life.

It all goes to show that sometimes if things aren’t going to plan, it’s not you who needs to change but the place that you’re in itself. 

Have you ever had an experience similar to mine where changing the place that you lived changed your whole perspective? Please get in touch, I’d love to hear.

Confessions Of A Melbourne Barista: Spilling the beans of what it’s like to make coffee in Melbourne 

Confessions Of A Melbourne Barista: Spilling the beans of what it's like to make coffee in Melbourne 

I love the routine that I have going in Melbourne- and when I’m not busy writing or out exploring the city, you’ll find me at my cafe job, making coffees.

Coffee making is something that I’ve been doing on and off for the last few years back in England- ever since I was seventeen and I got my first cafe job. It’s a job that I not only enjoy but it’s one that has enabled me to fund many a trip over the last few years.

If you’ve never done it and you too love drinking coffee and enjoy chatting to the public then I would encourage you to go on a barista course: it’s a valuable set of skills to have that you can use anywhere in the world- plus cafe work can be a lot of fun.

Having said that, before I got to Melbourne I was very doubtful that I’d manage to find a coffee making job at all. Melbourne is famous for its coffee and boasts some of the best baristas and cafes in the world.

I was worried that I wouldn’t make the cut.

Thankfully, by some miracle, I managed to find some work pretty quickly. Since then my coffee-making abilities and my caffeine tolerance have been pushed to the limit- but being a barista has never been more fun than here.

On difficult coffee orders

It’s always when I have a ton of dockets up that I get that request for- an extra hot, dirty chai latte with almond milk, please. To the average person, coffee is coffee, right? Well to many customers there are a lot of variables and common requests include everything from burning hot to weak, 3/4 full, in a mug, made using particular brands of milk or made with varying quantities of foam.

On coconut milk

Soy, almond and lactose-free are fine but I’m sorry coconut milk is just a nightmare to work with.

On regular customers

We have a lot of regular customers who come to get coffee and chatting to them makes my day. Most people are really friendly and will always ask questions about you and what you’re doing. I always try and remember the names of our regulars, but between staff members, we often refer to people by their coffee order instead.

On the people that don’t know what they want

In Melbourne more than any other city, there are a lot of customers who know exactly what they want when it comes to coffee. The other half- Well they don’t have a foggy clue. Requests for ‘just a coffee’ are the norm. Sometimes you’ll bring over a short mac and they’ll laugh or complain that their cappuccino is too foamy. Difficult requests are the worst but those customers that require a breakdown of every single coffee on the menu, well they come pretty close.

On making coffee

Melbourne is famous for its coffee and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what makes the coffee different here to coffee at home in England- and I’m sorry, there is a difference. The fundamentals are that coffees in Australia are generally weaker, with a regular size containing just one shot of espresso. However, the coffee sizes are also smaller here so it evens it out. in Australia, a lot more emphasis is given to the espresso shot here- whereas in England its all about the aesthetics (aka latte art). Here the baristas know the importance of packing the coffee properly and they can spot the difference between an over and under-extracted shot: something that I had to get to grips with.

On coffee making hacks 

A barista will know that there is a difference between a latte and a flat white-despite the cup. That being that a flat white should have virtually no foam. However, if you’re inundated with coffee orders, you can use the same milk to make the two. Just pour the flat white first, holding the milk jug at a height so that the foam doesn’t sit on the coffee. Then use the remainder of the milk to make the latte.

On Magic Coffee 

Contrary to the name, no special powers are required here. Magic coffee is a special Melbourne creation- and it’s quite a particular one. Technically, a magic coffee is like a smaller stronger latte that is made over a double ristretto or restricted espresso ( that’s the first half of the espresso shot only). If you were to serve this is in a normal latte glass, you would then top it up to two thirds full with steamed latte milk.

On Melbourne

There are a lot of fantastic cafes and baristas in Melbourne. I don’t claim to be anywhere near the best however I wanted to assure anyone that’s coming to the city and hoping to find cafe work. There’s a lot of prestige that goes with being a Melbourne Barista- but you don’t have to be a latte art genius or a pro at grinder calibrations to get a job. You need to be chatty, hard-working, enthusiastic and most importantly, you need to have a love of coffee and a drive to find out as much as you can about making and drinking it.

So don’t let your fears hold you back. If you’re looking for a coffee-making job in Melbourne, just get out there, get chatting and hand out some CVs. After all, it’s worth a shot.

Solo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Whether you’re starting out on a solo backpacking trip around Asia or you’re just simply passing through, the idea of being alone in a city as busy as Bangkok can be a little overwhelming.

I remember that when I first set out solo travelling a couple of years ago, it wasn’t until I was in that hotel room in Bangkok’s city centre that reality really set in: I thought, what the heck am I doing here? Since then I’ve been solo in the city a few times and I can vouch for the fact that not only is Bangkok an easy city to be a solo traveller in, it’s a really fun one too.

So, if you too are feeling daunted at the prospect of being alone in the busy Thai capital, don’t stress. Here are my top tips on how to enjoy Bangkok as a solo traveller.

Book a hostel

That moment that I mentioned, where I was alone in a nice hotel room in Bangkok freaking out about things, is exactly the reason why you should book a hostel if you are a solo traveller. While having a luxurious hotel room is nice, backpacker hostels offer the chance to meet people who you can explore the city with and have some fun. What’s more, hostels are generally cheaper, better located and fully equipped to help you sort out all of your travel arrangements.

Use Grab or Uber instead of taking a taxi

Whenever I travel alone, that initial getting from the airport to my accommodation is the thing that I always find the most stressful. Bangkok is notorious for its taxi scams so save yourself the hassle (and the money) and download one of the ride apps such as Grab or Uber. You can order a car from the airport by connecting to the wifi or alternatively pick up a cheap sim card once you land. This way you have a price set before you get in the car and you don’t have to stress about being scammed or the driver not knowing where they are going.Solo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Solo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Eat a lot

Bangkok is a great city to be solo in because you could basically spend the entire length of your day eating. Seriously, the Thai capital is a metropolis of mouthwatering spicy street food and sweet treats, all of it for very little money. Being a solo traveller means that you don’t have to comprise with anyone else so you can eat what you want- when you want it. What’s more, Bangkok’s incredible street food scene means that you could even grab your food to go if you feel stressed about dining alone.

Walk wherever you can

The best way to get orientated in Bangkok is to walk as much as you can. Many of the cities main attractions are in walking distance of each other so try and save getting a tuk-tuk or the Skytrain for when you’re travelling long distances. If you are looking for walking routes in the city, I’ve included a few links to some self-guided walking tours of Bangkok here.

Find a pool

Wandering around a city as hot and humid as Bangkok can get pretty tiring after a few hours. So, if you’re looking recuperate after a busy day out then I really recommend finding a pool. I stayed at Mad Monkey Backpackers hostel which had its own pool. However, if you don’t mind parting with a little more money then the rooftop pool at the Sofitel hotel is supposed to be incredible.

Do a cooking class

Travelling solo but don’t particularly want to be alone? Booking a class is a great option. There are loads of companies running them throughout the city and not only are they a lot of fun, but they are a great way to meet like-minded travellers.

Solo In Bangkok: Survival TipsSolo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Be alcohol savvy

Lastly, on a more serious note, remember to look after yourself when it comes to going out. Bangkok has a wild party scene- and as fun as it is to drink out of buckets and dance to your heart’s content, remember not to get too carried away. The best thing to do is buddy up with a few people from your hostel and stick together. Don’t go home alone and make sure you get a taxi. When buying drinks, keep a hold of yours at all time and make sure that they mix the buckets and cocktails in front of you in the bars. Generally, though, going out in Bangkok has always been a laugh and I’ve never had any problems.

I hope that you found this advice helpful. If you’re planning a solo trip to Thailand and the rest of South-East Asia then trust me you’re in for a treat. I don’t think there’s a better or more exciting region to travel alone in.

Do you have any questions about solo travel or female travel in Thailand? Or any tips of your own that you want to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or feel free to get in touch with me here. 

 

Living In The Ricefield: Inside Our Amazing Ubud AirBnB

FeaturedHow To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

What comes to mind when you think of Bali? Is it golden beaches or beautiful temples? Or maybe it’s vibrant coloured acai bowls or Eat, Pray, Love?

Well for me it’s rice fields. Lush, green, beautiful rice fields- that’s the image that always came to mind. That’s why having the opportunity to rent out a gorgeous Airbnb in the heart of Ubud’s ricefields was a dream come true.

The Airbnb that we stayed in was called the Firefly villa, and it is located in the ricefields, just a few minutes walk from the centre of Ubud.
Comprising of one living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms, this Airbnb can easily sleep three or four people and for just 45 GBP or AUD 80 a night, it’s fantastic value- especially if there are a few of you splitting the cost.

firefly villa airbnb ubudfirefly villa airbnb ubudfirefly villa airbnb ubud

The Rooms

The Firefly Airbnb consists of one beautiful, large and open living area with a cute kitchen that overlooks the garden in the back. Downstairs is the master bedroom, a huge and luxurious room that opens out on the most insane outdoors shower.

The second room is an upstairs loft which, despite being smaller, was by far my favourite. To get up to the top room, you had to climb a little narrow bamboo ladder. Once you’re up there, it’s more of a balcony than a room, comprising of little more than one low double bed.

What I loved about this room is that it’s completely open with just a mosquito net covering the bed. Getting woken up by the natural sunlight and the sounds of wildlife was such an incredible experience and it really is the nicest place to enjoy that morning cup of coffee.

firefly villa airbnb ubud

firefly villa airbnb ubud

firefly villa airbnb ubud

firefly villa airbnb ubud

Getting to our Airbnb

Getting to the Airbnb itself was such an adventure. The instructions from the host were to pass our phone over to the taxi driver when we got to Ubud so that he could receive the directions. It turns out the directions were to wait outside Starbucks- so we did. A few minutes later, our host arrives on a motorbike. He somehow manages to carry our three massive backpacks on to the bike with him before directing us to a cut-through down the road, telling us to walk through it. He will meet us with our bags outside the home.

Now I’ve got to tell you to find this cut through if you’re ever in Ubud. It’s accessed by a tiny narrow path that goes off of the Jalan Raya road. There is a signpost at the entrance of the cut through that says Subak Juwuk Manis (Magical ricefield in Ubud).  It looks like nothing at first but rest assured,  follow it through and you’ll come out at the most gorgeous, lush green rice paddies with virtually no one but the local farmers around.

firefly villa airbnb ubudfirefly villa airbnb ubudfirefly villa airbnb ubud

Eating and drinking

Although it feels secluded, this Airbnb is minutes away from the centre of Ubud where there are many restaurants and bars to choose from. However, one hidden gem when it comes to eating is the Sweet Orange Warung, located just a 5-minute walk from the Airbnb, a little further into the ricefield. This place did delicious and inexpensive food with unbeatable views- it’s the best place to go for breakfast.

sweet orange warung ubud

The views expressed in this blog post are entirely my own. If you’re interested in booking this Airbnb, click here to find out more. 

How To Plan A Backpacking Trip (Without Really Planning It)

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I know that the title of this blog post might sound a little bit cryptic but read on, I’ll explain what I’m talking about. After having spent the majority of the last couple of years travelling, one question that I get asked a lot is- ‘how do you plan your backpacking trips?’ Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t- at least not in the hostel booking, schedule planning kind of way anyway.

Here’s why I don’t plan my trips

I find planning boring

I know some people find that planning a trip is part of the fun- I hate it. Whether it’s booking accommodation, coming up with an itinerary or researching what to do in each place, I find it so tedious. In fact, sometimes researching a trip puts me off even going in the first place.

You can’t plan for the unexpected

Travelling is all about embracing the unexpected and you simply can’t plan for that. Who knows what hidden gems you’ll discover along the way, the people you’ll meet or the things that happen that are totally out of your control. Trying to stick to a rigid plan while backpacking is just going to cause you more hassle than it’s worth.

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It’s better to follow suggestions from people you meet

One of the best things about travelling is meeting people that are doing similar things to you. This is great because not only do you meet like-minded people but you also get to hear all of their recommendations first hand. This is how you really discover those hidden gems while travelling.

It ruins the adventure

Lastly, planning trips totally ruins the sense of adventure for me. The thrill of backpacking is that it’s a journey into the unknown. A routine is non-existent, each day brings endless possibilities and you really get the chance to live in the moment. That’s what travel is about for me.

Here’s what I do plan

I know that turning up in a new country with virtually nothing planned might seem really overwhelming but trust me, it’s the best way to do it. Having said that, there are a few things that I do organise or at least research before I go. Here’s what.

The first few nights accommodation

I think that it’s practical and sensible to book your accommodation for the first few nights before you arrive. This is because wandering around looking for accommodation when you’ve just got off a long flight isn’t a lot of fun. It’s usually easy to extend your stay in person in hostels so I wouldn’t advise booking more than three days accommodation in case you don’t like the place.

How To Plan A Backpacking Trip (Without Really Planning It)

Looking at the weather

Before even booking your flights, I would advise to check out the weather. It’s easy to forget that ‘warm countries’ aren’t always warm and the last thing you want to do is book a trip in the middle of monsoon season or fly to a beach destination in the height of their winter.

The highlights

Once I pick a region or country to travel in, I’ll usually come up with a rough idea of some places that I want to visit. I like to do a little search before I go about some of the highlights in these places whether that’s beaches, cafes or hikes. Then I jot them down on a list for me to refer to when I’m away.

A Rough budget

I’m a naturally cautious spender so I don’t feel the need to stick to a strict budget or keep a note of all my spendings. Having said that, I do like to come up with a rough estimate of how much I’ll spend before I go. I do this by researching the average cost of accommodation, food, activities etc.  I then multiply this by the number of days I expect to be away, in order to make sure I have enough money for my trip.

Booking Flights 

Flights are the one thing that tend to get more expensive the later you book them so I tend to book the main ones as far advance as I can. By this, I mean booking any long-haul flights as well as any for countries that require proof of onward travel. (Some countries will not let you enter if you do not have a flight or a bus booked out of the country). Generally speaking, internal flights are ok to leave until the last minute to book.

How To Plan A Backpacking Trip (Without Really Planning It)

Obviously travelling without a plan doesn’t work for everyone. I understand that if you have restraints like a lack of time, a strict budget or even if you’re travelling in a group then it can be tricky to travel fully spontaneously. Even so, I urge you when you can, leave whatever you can to fate- You never know what surprises are in store for you.

Are you a travel planner or a travel winger? Let me know. 

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.