Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Why do I travel?

Greetings fellow traveller!

My name is Scarlett, or at least I pretend it is, and I'm 23 years old. So why Scarlett I hear you ask? Here's a fun story for you - my mum was going to call me Scarlett, but I was born in an ambulance so they called me Amber. My father joked my middle name should be lance... but thankfully mum put her foot down!

Anyway, I digress! My parents always enjoyed taking us travelling as children - instead of stops at resorts in Miami, with four children to cater for, we went on long-distance camping trips all over Europe in a van we dubbed 'the mystery machine' (for its similarities to the one used in Scooby-Doo)! Further, at 11 years old, my parents picked up my life and moved our family over to Canada. After a hard year, we decided to return home. My eldest sister fell in love and stayed out there, she still lives there today with two children and a husband, so I always have an excuse to visit. But on the whole, my parents are a large part of why I love exploring the world so much, and hearing about my mother's stories from her youth inspired me to do the same.

But why did I decide to continue travelling without them? Well,  aged 17, I picked up my best friend Olivia on the morning of our exam results and we stopped at McDonald's to calm our nerves. In our glass half empty approach to life that morning, we discussed what we would do if we failed. We jointly concluded we would just get up and leave, escape the stress, and travel around Southeast Asia. At that moment in time it felt like such an odd concept, we did not have any friends that had been travelling, and it felt like we would be the only people in the world that had gone to Southeast Asia at such a young age. Of course, this was entirely naive in hindsight, but we definitely were the youngest people in every group we met, hence the blog name "Never Too Young To Travel".

But that's skipping ahead... anyway, needless to say, we both passed our AS level exams with flying colours, but the fun thoughts we had of chilling on a Thai beach and riding motorbikes through Vietnam lingered in the back of our minds. That is, until we realised this didn't have to be a pipe dream, with hard work we could do this.

By October, we had booked our return flights to Bangkok and were due to celebrate the end of sixth form in style. We would bring in Olivia's eighteenth birthday on a Thai beach sipping pina colada's. I worked as a shot girl in bars across Suffolk and Essex every weekend to make enough money to go. Of course, I was lucky enough to have my parents contribute to it for birthday and Christmas too. Oddly enough, we actually also received funding from our school. An alumni student, Derek Wyatt, ran a travel scholarship every year. After giving a presentation on why he should pick us, he gave us a  bit of money to help us explore history in Vietnam.

When the summer came, we had the best time of our life. Every day was just filled with endless excitement and I never wanted it to end. That was it, I had officially and irreversibly caught the travel bug. I couldn't stop myself from booking trips! I spent three years living in Leamington Spa near Coventry while studying for my undergraduate at the University of Warwick. Being a student, I had three months off every summer to play with.

In my first year at University, I returned to Southeast Asia again due to the low cost of living. I visited all the other countries I hadn't been to yet: Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, and Singapore. In my second year, I journeyed for two months to South America: Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. I was also fortunate enough to be awarded an Undergraduate Research Scholarship and thus travelled to the USA to scour archives at Texas Tech University. Naturally, I managed to find time to also go to Florida and New Orleans. In my final year, I was awarded another research scholarship. This time I was investigating drug use in 1960s California. I ended up spending two and a half months visiting the states in the East, and then flew from Chicago to Vegas and finished in California. 
After Warwick, I studied for my masters at the University of Oxford in US history. Naturally, this meant another research trip to the US was necessary. After being granted a Santander research scholarship, I spent Easter in Massachusetts and Rhode Island before taking a tiny diversion to Barbados. Upon graduation, I decided I wanted a completely different change of scene, as a result I travelled the Middle East: Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.

Today, after several failed corporate law interviews/ assessment centres, I started to grow disheartened. Unsure of what I want to do with my life, I have decided to go on around the world trip. I also promised my sister I would visit her one day in her new home: Melbourne, Australia. Naturally, that's where my trip will start! I then plan on heading to New Zealand, Hawaii, mainland a USA and Canada. I'd love to do Iran, Mongolia, Mexico etc. but we'll see what's going on.

To fund this trip, I've done a lot of promotional work: a month-long stint in the freezing cold welcoming people to Volvo UK, promoting Xbox at EGX games show, selling makeup in Tesco etc. I also completed a whole variety of online work (including writing an introduction to a long-distance walking book, researching through archives for the Canadian history channel, and proofreading a diamond website). I plan on continuing the online work to help me travel further!

Come join my adventures! The aim of my blog is to inspire you, and show you how to travel on a really tight budget for as long as possible.

With love,
Scarlett xxx.