When There’s Too Much Map To Explore
My Boyfriend and I had only been together a few months when we decided, and booked that same afternoon, to go travelling.
We were in our first year of university, still fresh-faced and high on a recent student loan payment. We sat across from one another eating pizza and talking over a one week trip to Lake Como in Italy. Fast forward less than an hour and we were sprawled out on my cramped and dusty student hall floor. Laptop open. Keyboard blazing. One week became three and Italy became Europe. We discovered interrail and decided hopping from train to train around Europe was exactly what we wanted to do with our summers.
We booked it all less than an hour later.
This has become the theme for everything in my life since. Each trip I’ve taken has grown and grown into more weeks, more months, more map. Check out a French class, move to Paris. I’d give scuba diving a try, I’ve got to learn to teach this thing.
Since that one fateful afternoon, I’ve travelled across continents and set up camp in pretty places and fuelled a Lonely Planet pocket guides addiction that deepens with each addition.
It’s hard to not get carried away when your feet get itchy and there is just too much map to explore.
So we interrailed around Europe before stepping foot in Asia for the first time. This trip would be the one that sets off the love affair, the one that kept us coming back to this corner of the world time and time again.
First up, we did the classic Banana Pancake Trail of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. It was the perfect introduction to the region and, although a well-trodden path, an amazing path to tread nonetheless. On our next visit to Asia, we flew back to Thailand then made our way south, zig-zagging through Malaysia before finishing up in Singapore.
I then moved to Paris for four months to work as an au pair and eat all the crepes.
For our third Asian trip, we stopped for a fly-by visit to Hong Kong before landing in Indonesia. We lived on Gili Trawangan for two months, completing our dive master training and basking in island life, then made our way around the country before returning to London.
In between, we’ve dived in Malta and I’ve solo tripped to Barcelona and, most recently, we spent a weekend in Rome, because: pizza. Even after all this travel together, this was our first city break.
And, naturally, we still haven’t done that one week trip to Lake Como.