{2019 Update} Bali, New Zealand & Life Plans.

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Hey Pals, How are ya?

So I’m back at the blog after a couple months “off” (aka worrying about other things lol). I thought I’d jump back in with a life update since I’ve been up to a lot since things have been quiet on here. I’m nearing the 9 month mark since I left on my travels. Writing that down, it doesn’t seem like a long time but my god, lots of things have happened:

  • African Camping for over a month.

  • Swimming at the top of Victoria Falls.

  • Skydiving over the Namibian Desert.

  • Seeing the “Big 5” in the wild.

  • Experiencing India (and the associated culture shock).

  • Finally seeing Thailand and all those temples.

  • Living in Chiang Mai for a month as a “Digital Nomad".

  • Visiting an Elephant Sanctuary in Laos.

  • Travelling around South East Asia (and having depressive episodes).

  • Picking myself back up with a few weeks on the beach in Phuket.

  • Deciding my work/life future in KL (and shopping in the malls!).

  • Finally seeing Orangutans in the wild in Sumatra.

  • Being reunited with my family at a luxury villa.

  • Rescuing a dying stray puppy in Bali.

  • Activating our Work Visas for New Zealand.

I’ve got so many posts to write 😅

I (and probably you) don’t want this to turn into a 5000 word essay so I’ll summarise the past couple of months 😂

After we left Thailand and headed into Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia, my mood changed. I’m sure this was me reaching my limit for travelling full time. We’d been travelling at a rather fast pace for a few months and it was getting to me… I had an anxiety attack on the sleeper bus and ended up crying into my paper-thin blanket with a packet of oreos in my hand. This was probably my ‘low-point’ travelling and the most depressed I’ve felt. It was a mix of a few things that got me to that stage but this was when I had to fix my relationship with travel. I want to write a post about that in the future but for now, I’ll leave it as “I became depressed and it took a couple of months for me to enjoy travelling again”.

Phuket was a lovely break. It was so good to see some beaches again, even if they were chock-a-block full of tourists. We spent a week in Patong then a week in the quieter Karon beach on the south-west of the island. I preferred Karon because the quieter, non-brit-party-tourist-spot are way more my vibe! After Phuket, we made our way through Malaysia. I’d heard good things about Penang and Kuala Lumpur but nobody mentioned the thunder storms!! They were the BEST storms I’ve seen - my bed was literally shaking from the thunder (which makes a change from a pair of revved up 18-year-old backpacks in the next bunk!).

I took a small weekend break away to fly to Indonesia to see Orangutans in the wild. This was one of my favourite moments in the whole trip. I remember watching nature documentaries with my mum when I was younger and we both pledged to see them in the wild one day. It’s cliche af but I actually thought I’d never get to see them and that it was just ‘one of those dreams’. It was very surreal to see them so up close. The whole weekend was amazing and well organised so I’ll type up a post about my tour sometime soon (you know what I’m like).

 
 

That weekend was the first time Scott and I had been apart in 7 months an taking the break was one of the best things for us. As soon as we left each other on the tram platform, we instantly missed each other. We spent the next few days sending long voice messages to each other and chatting about our future. Distance does, in fact, make the heart grow fonder! It was good for me to force myself to socialise without Scott. I’d been too reliant on him stating conversations with people, doing most of the talking and asking for directions/food etc. Getting a bit of independence back was good for me, and good for challenging my anxiety. Once I’d finished gallivanting with the Orangs in the forest, I went back to KL to catch our flight to BALI!

Bali was a mental reset for me. Seeing my family again after so long apart felt like a relief. The homesickness that had been constant since leaving Aberdeen dispersed and I felt content in our villa, surrounded by the people I love. Cheeeeese (but true). Although I did forget how loud scouse families can be, I became comfortable and found my footing after a few days. It takes a lil bit of practice to not take the interruptions and shouting to heart - it’s who we are! 😂 My family are massive dog lovers, so when we found a puppy at the side of the road looking worse for wear, we had to help it.

I fed and watered the little guy and contacted some rescue services around Bali. After a few of them said they wouldn’t take him, we offered to drive down to the vets, cover his medical bills and sponsor him until he found a forever home. We found two lovely women who offered to look after him and after dropping him off at the vets, we decided that Scott and I would give him a forever home in sunny Scotland. You can see the full story of Benji’s rescue (and my Bali trip) on my Instagram Highlights.

 
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After about 2 weeks of falling in love with Benji and Bali even more than before, we left for New Zealand.

Before we even set foot in Bali, Scott and I had decided that we wanted to go home after New Zealand. We’d both reached our limit in South East Asia (thanks Asia lol) and couldn’t see ourselves carrying on the 3-year travel stint we’d planned. We were both raised with close families and the feeling of missing out on life back home, missing the opportunity to settle down with Benji and the thought of having marriage/babies away from our family was too much. We booked our flights home from NZ and now we have a goal to work towards.

I’ve been managing my anxiety better since fixing my relationship with travel and improving some things too. I’ve started a morning routine, putting value on the amount of sleep I have, and getting some exercise in, to name a few. The past few months have taught me more about my Anxiety Disorder than I’ve ever read online 😅

We’ve shortened our 1-year New Zealand visa to 8 months and now we’re saving our pennies for a deposit. Once we get home, we’re flying Benji back and settling down in our little fishing village. We know that we’ll both miss travelling full time (and forget the little bad bits) as soon as we touch down in Scotland but it’s the best decision for us. Basing ourselves at home allows us to build a life so that we can see more of the Scottish Highlands and see the world with a higher standard of travel - goodbye hostels and rice diet!

We spent our first week in NZ in Auckland city center. We walked around town, went shopping and met up with some travel friends which was lovely. It felt so good to be in a city again but a week was enough for us. We setup our bank accounts, IRD (tax) numbers and headed off on the job hunt. Ideally, we’ll arrive back home with a deposit so we can buy a house, so NZ is working time! We camped for a week in Te Puke since we were promised Kiwi Picking jobs but they fell through… We realised through talking to other backpackers that fruit picking isn’t the most reliable or well-paid job you can have so we scrapped that idea anyway! We’re be working for a construction company in Tauranga and I’m doing bits and bobs for my Web Design on the side. Realistically, I can’t take on clients while I’m in New Zealand (time differences and my busy schedule, plus protecting my mental health!) but I’m taking this time to build some foundations for a potential ‘side-business’ income once we get home.

There’s a lot of things I’m looking forward to in the next year. Flying home to Scotland, Benji coming home with us, camping adventures, starting work at the family’s business and buying our own house (finally!). Plus lots of exploring around New Zealand.

Lots of exciting things coming up, lots of posts to write and things to do.

I’m off to take Scott shopping for comic books!

Have a good day! 🌞

Steve.