Juliet Abbot: If there is something you want to do, do it!

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Juliet Abbott is a 22 year old girl from Loughborough, England who decided to make a journey of her life. After almost two years 'on the road' she is going home. This is what she said exclusively for BackPackers Post.

How did you decide to go 'around the globe' on your own?

I graduated with a history degree in July 2012 and began travelling on October 3rdyear. 2. How did you decide to travel?Well, really it all stems back to my first year at university in 2009. On a drunken night out, myself and one of the girls in the same university halls as me made a pact that we would go travelling when we graduated. I forgot about the conversation but my friend definitely did not, and the subject came up a lot over the next couple of years. Every grim deadline and soul-destroying essay we would remind ourselves of our world plans if we graduated. One day, when we were in the depth of dissertation hell in our last semester, we took a break and walked up to the closest STA Travel shop. Clueless, we planted ourselves at one of the desks and asked for advice.

How long have you been on the move now?

- Ah, the question that makes me feel the most guilty! It has been almost 2 years now; 21 months to be exact. I am currently sitting in a hotel in Bangkok writing this, feeling nostalgic, as I prepare to finally fly back to England. The trip I originally planned with my friend in 2012 was a 4 month around the world ticket: leaving in October we would hit Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, Fiji and Australia before returning to England on January 31st Zealand.  I knew 4 months was just not going to be enough and decided to apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa; the best decision I have ever made. When it came to January 31st from Cairns to Sydney and begun my search for work.

After 3 months of working in Sydney, I found a job in the outback in order to gain my Second Year Working Holiday Visa; just in case! I spent 5 months in the outback, working at the best job I have ever had and met the best people. My whole outlook on life and humanity changed in those months and I will never ever forget those people or experiences. When my working visa ran out, in December 2013, I was still not ready to go home. I jumped on a flight to Fiji for a week and applied for a 3 month tourist visa in Australia. When this was granted I headed back to Sydney, bought a Campervan off Gumtree, and drove back out to my job in the outback to spend Christmas and New Year with my new found Aussie family! After the New Year celebrations I began a road trip around Australia; hitting South Australia, Uluru and Kings Canyon, Alice Springs, Mt Isa, Port Douglas and all the way back down the East Coast to Sydney. Since leaving Australia I have been to Bali, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and spent my last few weeks at a Muay Thai training camp in Thailand. I can safely say I’ve had the time of my life, and I’m still 22 (just!)

How did you prepare for your journey? 

2013. when we got to New Zealand my travel buddy hopped on a plane back home and I caught a flight. Wow,  that seems a long time ago now!

To prepare for the journey I just worked really. That’s all you can do. Save as much money as you can and be willing to spend it! When you travel you really have to have an open mind with your money. So many travellers worry about a ‘budget’ and miss out on things, but how do you know if you’re ever going to have that chance again? If there is something you want to do, do it, because if you don’t you will probably regret it.

Other than that there wasn’t any preparation really, I just quit my job and chucked a few clothes and some flip flops in a bag.

What is your favourite anecdotes from your journey?

Ah gosh, way too many! Also mostly predictably inappropriate. There is one thing that couldn’t really have happened anywhere else in the world. So I had just bought my Mitsubishi Express Campervan in Sydney and driven out to broken hill (about a 15 hour drive) ready for Christmas day.

I stocked up on beer, cider and goon (YUCK) in Broken Hill and headed out for the 2 hour journey to the roadhouse I used to work at. Five minutes after leaving, a huge emu ran out from behind a pile of rocks and straight into the bonnet of my newly purchased van. I had no chance of stopping; it made quite a noise! This was 9am Christmas morning, so I convinced myself that I couldn’t be that unlucky and carried on driving believing that the few feathers caught in my windscreen wipers was all that had happened to my van. When I arrived at the roadhouse, the family all ran out to wish me Happy Christmas and welcome me back.

The mother, my boss, hugged me and said ‘come inside and don’t look at the front of your car.’ Obviously I did, and there was the exact imprint of an emu’s body in the bonnet of my van. It turned out that dent smashed the whole air-conditioning system; so for the next 2 months I was driving through the outback, in the blistering summer heat, without aircon. Nice.

When I was working at the roadhouse, in the outback, there was a group of about 30 RTA guys building a new tarmac road to replace the dirt one previously there. They were the most awesome bunch and a great laugh to have coming into the roadhouse for their smoko breaks and in the evenings for their dinner and a beer. Being the generous guys they were, one of them asked me if I wanted to have a go in one of the huge JCB diggers, and obviously I said yes. I ran outside and started to climb up into the drivers seat. I’m not a short person, but the steps to get in the cabin were very high up and took some gymnastics to get your leg up to that height. It turned out wearing black skinny jeans that day was a big mistake; as I hoisted one leg up there was the loudest ripping noise followed by a chorus of laughter. I

f you want to make a bunch of Aussie guys laugh on their work break, rip your pants!

What was great and what was disappointing about Bali?

Ah Bali, not one of my favourite countries on this trip. I had heard very mixed reviews of Bali, especially going there from Australia as it is a big holiday destination for the Aussies. I really enjoyed my experience in Ubud as I stayed in a detox retreat, which was a beautiful place to chill out and wash all of the Australian beer out of my body. I was not so impressed by Kuta, Sanur and Gilli T. For me these were all way too touristy and seemed to lack culture and things to do. Of all the places I’ve been, I would not be in a rush to go back to Bali. 7. How did you communicate with locals?Bali has been open to tourism for a long time, which means communication is fairly straightforward. Most Balinese, if working in shops, restaurants or any tourist attraction, will have a fairly good level of English. 8. Which countries have you visited so far? On this trip I have been to: Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Bali, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. I highly recommend Myanmar to anyone heading to Southeast Asia: what an untouched gem!

 

To be continued...

Last modified on Sunday, 22 June 2014 13:52

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