An introduction to backpacking

Joe (left) Anna (right)

So! First blog and can I start by saying this is a very daunting prospect, however 2016 (the celebrity killer) although not a good year for many has been one of the best of my life so far travelling the world with my girlfriend. We have had many experiences, I now feel I am ready to share these and hopefully inspire budding travellers who:
1) are hesitant about leaving the comfort of their home, job or family
2) Assume it is expensive to get far around the globe
3) worry about money initially, working, visas and generally not falling flat on your face!
April 2016 had come around all to slowly for my liking, working a job in an engineering company in England. Myself and my girlfriend had chosen to quit our jobs and travel, travel without much direction and an absolute void of knowledge surrounding the whole escapade. The plan was to fly to New Zealand for a few months, see how it went, inevitably be homesick and probably return before Autumn as we figured are money would have run out by that point, and so of we went April the 13th we boarded the 30+ hour flight to Auckland.
On arrival so it began, with our prepaid Kiwi bus tour and hostel setups we headed into the big wide world. Granted, to start with this one track plan of destination to destination day after day was a great way to meet friends and see the country predominantly through the window of a bus, but after a few weeks we came to the realisation that this fixed, safe, predictable routine would probably grow tiresome so we ditched it. We departed the bus on the South Island in the popular Queenstown destination, a hotbed for adrenaline junkies, snow addicts and party animals. It was fantastic! 2 weeks passed, Queenstown draining our delicate funds like a vampire without us really realising the extent of our money issues, this became all to sudden of a realisation and gave us our first experience of stress in a foreign country and having to deal with our issues in the big wide world alone. Days passed desperately applying and lying for jobs we clearly didn’t have experience for until we got a lucky break, the local ski field would offer us both jobs as cleaners for a season. Another lesson learned here: if you want to keep travelling, don’t have a massive fanbase, are not computer savvy and don’t fancy a loan, you better damn well not be too fussy and see every opportunity to sustain yourself as essential!

View of Queenstown/ Frankton from remarkables mountain

View of Queenstown/ Frankton from Remarkables mountain May 2016 we started our jobs as cleaners at NZski, needless to say I wasn’t ecstatic setting out to conquer the world and winding up a month later with my head consistently down a toilet bowl but such is life. And so it continued and I can honestly say, the 4 months work at NZski were the best 4 months of my life. The job sustained my living, I was surrounded by an optimistic like minded set of people who would work hard during the night and hit the slopes harder in the days and all the while (although I didn’t realise it yet and I’m trying not to be bias) gave me the opportunity to save and see the most incredibly beautiful place I have ever been too and still sets the benchmark. Basically, the best experience came from what my ego and negativity told me would be my worse, go figure.

My mindset was changing, their was little security when the season had finished, we would have no home, no plans or security in this country literally on the opposite side of the world to home, all we would have where the good friends we had made, our beat up $900 dollar car, oversized backpacks and a tent

All geared up and ready to hit the road

Geared up and ready to hit the road
8 months we spent in New Zealand, 8 months! I could have never ever even considered back in England I would sustain myself in a relatively expensive country for so long and it would have been longer if we didn’t want a change. We lived out of a tent for a month, skydived, bungy jumped, conquered many of the great walks, swam with dolphins, sat with sealions, stroked baby seals, wandered Mt cook National park, summited mountains, experienced an 7.6mag earthquake in a tent and my friend even swam in a glacier lake to an iceberg (don’t ask) definately some stories to tell the grandkids!. All in all it was the most mindblowingly brilliant trip of my life and we left no part untouched, no regrets, no worries and an urge to head back again one day soon to experience it all over again.

This is why you leave the comfort of your home, your family and your friends because although it is hard at first and never gets easy the experiences you have are so profound and character building they are truly invaluable. We travelled this country with £3000 for 8 months, working 4 months of the time period and roadtripping the rest, consider that New Zealand is not a cheap country to live and for all the experiences we had, how much you would spend in a year back at home, I personally was burning through double this every 6 months maybe more!

Retro car roadtrip around NZ

Retro car roadtrip, 3/4 cars ready to tear the highway Working hard, saving and having a common goal with my partner to travel has allowed us onwards in 2016 alone to see Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and soon to travel to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand honestly on the cheap (we would have seen much more if we hadn’t have coincided with monsoon seasons) and survive alive, safe and wanderlust.
We work are way around, booking hostels/ hotels and transport in the mornings, checking cheap flights to places as and when, witnessing and exploring the countryside or cities in the day and posting photos in the evenings to try and inspire and make it known that really anybody if they set their mind to it can achieve a long term travel plan and experience backpacking in its Raw state. It’s great and so accessible in 2017, everything at your fingertips with the click of a mouse!

This was my first blog EVER and although not specific I pray somebody has read this too the end and I really enjoyed writing this (on the bullet train in Taiwan) to release my experience and show, that like you have witnessed a million and one times “anybody can do it!”

Snowboard season in Queenstown

Many more to come, Hope you had a happy new year and best wishes for 2017, any questions feel free to contact me on my Instagram I update and use regularly, it would mean a lot to check our photos out. Cannot wait to hear from you and help!

Cheers,

Backpackerphotos

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