Travelling while grieving - view from Tresco Island

Travelling while grieving - baby photos

I’ve recently taken a break from blogging and all social media due to a recent bereavement in the family. At the beginning of May, my beautiful, courageous, amazing auntie (who was more like a big crazy sister to me) was taken from us far too soon in a road accident.

Quite honestly, I am heartbroken and ever since we have been caught up in a whirlwind of emotions. However, in the true spirit of my ever adventurous auntie, I didn’t cancel my plans to visit the Isle of Scilly just two weeks after the accident.

I’d love to say this is the first time I’ve travelled whilst grieving, but last year I had a trip to Poland booked a week after the sudden passing of my Nan. In fact, I’ve lost three people that are very close to my heart within the space of three short years.

It takes guts to jump on that plane/boat/car, and if you’ve done it, hats off to you. If you’re struggling with the idea of travelling after loss, I hope this post can help you.

1) They would still want you to go.

While you’re sitting at home before the trip, the last thing you may want to do is get up and haul yourself across the world. But I know that my Auntie would not have wanted me to mope around and put my life on hold. Life is short and you only get one shot, bloody go for it.

2) You shouldn’t feel guilty.

Guilt is something I really struggled with on my recent trip. My family were still at home dealing with the aftermath of everything, yet I was soaking up the sun (for the most part) on remote blissful islands. But as with the above, if you have a strong & supportive family, they should also want you to go and not put your life on hold.

3) You will have down moments but it’s okay.

Nobody expects you to be okay after losing someone, Surround yourself with people you love who will cheer you up and make sure that you’re okay. I struggle to show emotion outwardly, instead I will bottle everything up and have some quiet time to myself when I need to – however you need to deal with things, do it.

4) It’s okay to make mistakes.

Before both of my trips, I didn’t have the time or energy to truly plan anything (luckily on my recent trip this didn’t matter as we were going to visit a friend who lives in the Isle of Scilly). Don’t feel like you’ve failed to plan a great trip, take some time for  yourself, get lost and enjoy the moment.

5) Travel might help – but it might not and that’s okay too.

After the whirlwind of emotions, I felt like getting away was exactly what I needed to an extent. It helps to clear your mind and give you something to enjoy – but by the end, I was ready to go home and spend time with my family to support them (anyone that knows me will vouch for the fact that I never want to come home from a trip)! But of course, as with everything, travel won’t solve all of your problems, but if it can provide a brief relief, then go for it.

Of course, both of my trips were long weekend trips relatively close to home, if you’re heading on a 6 month backpacking trip shortly after the loss of a loved one, things will be entirely different.

Just remember, you can do it, you are strong. And if you need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out to me – not only am I a tax adviser and a travel blogger, I’m almost a professional shoulder to cry on.

What are your top tips for someone travelling during an emotional time?

Finally – thank you to everyone for your supportive messages over this horrible time – it means a lot <3.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.





“You’re so lucky, you’re always travelling” is something that I am told regularly by friends, family, co-workers, strangers, basically anyone who has the misfortune of being stuck in a conversation in which I blabber on about my love for travel.

But is “lucky” really the right word? In some ways, yes. I am very lucky to have been raised in a wealthy economy and by a family who were able to support my childhood to a comfortable standard amongst other things. There are millions of people who through simply being born in a different part of the world will never travel and for that, I am obviously very grateful.

However, I do think that people I know using the word “lucky” is incorrect. Yes, I may appear to travel more than another person of the same economic standing, but that is because I make travel a priority.

There are a number of things that I have given up in order to travel as much as I can (well… as much as my job’s annual leave will allow in a year)!

This is in no way a “moan” or a cry for sympathy. I’m actually really interested/proud to see how much I’ve changed in the past few years – materialistic goods are completely out of the window and instead I really value experiences over tangible objects.

1. Expensive Fashion

Back in the day, I would have KILLED to have the most up to date clothing. In fact, I still have a very full wardrobe of things that were bought years ago and I need to completely get rid of as they just don’t get worn anymore.

Nowadays, I am much more specific in my clothing choices. Mixed with the fact that I seem to be fluctuating between sizes every other day at the moment, I just can’t justify having expensive clothes/buying clothes regularly.

By the end of this year, I want to have a complete capsule wardrobe of key pieces that will see me through any occasion! My inner minimalist animal is VERY excited at the prospect!

2. Beauty Procedures / Products

In a similar vein, I’ve scaled back my beauty regime significantly! Don’t fret, my basic hygiene is still in tact and I haven’t yet succumbed to letting my body’s natural oils do the job themselves ( although I do admire anybody who has done that with their hair – I have to wash mine daily or I feel gross, I am grease’s arch nemesis).

Forget the high-end expensive make-up brands, essentially there is always a high-street dupe that will do exactly the same job for half the price!

Regular hair cuts and manicured nails are also a thing of the past – now I’m just playing a waiting game for my hair to reach it’s old long and self-maintaining length again. As much as I loved my short hair, I don’t have the time/energy/funds to keep having it cut into the perfect style.

3. Luxury Accomodation

My family have recently become big fans of 2 week all-inclusive resort holidays and I now opt-out of those trips pretty quickly!

A week or two trip costing £1,000 – £2,000 to essentially sit in a hotel just isn’t for me. I’m all about the experiences and seeing the cultures, I would much much much rather spend my money on experiences than accommodation!

I recently booked a trip to South Africa and the price of the flights scares the living daylights out of me given I have been exploring Europe using budget airlines recently, but sometimes you have to splurge on flights in order to get to dream destinations and have the coveted experiences (safari, whale watching, canyon kayaking and cave exploring here we come)!

4. My Own Space

I still live with my mum and dad, despite being 22 years old and working in a well-paid industry since the age of 18. This is a conscious decision and I am often asked “so when are you moving to London Dan?!” but the answer is always “hmm, not right now”.

In a perfect world, I want to never rent accommodation if possible. Rents in the UK are extortionate and even though I do have to pay ridiculous train fares to commute to work, it is definitely the lesser of two evils at the moment!

I am saving up to hopefully buy a house as I am well aware that I can’t stay with mum and dad forever, but for now, I’m staying put and focussing on travelling!

5. University

You’re probably thinking “WOAH WOAH WOAH, are you telling me not to go to uni?” and the answer is absolutely not. There are some absolutely incredible benefits to travelling while at uni – let’s face it, you’re never going to get a few months off every summer plus a month or so at Christmas and Easter at any other time in your life!

However, there’s no denying that it is an expensive endeavour in the UK! I started working as an apprentice tax advisor at the age of 18. Now I am 22 and I am nearly a chartered tax advisor while others my age are just graduating university and starting out on the same career path – while it’s not the right choice for everyone, it has obviously given me a decent starting point for saving money to travel!

6. Being Picky

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I get completely fixated with a destination and I HAVE to visit it – South Africa and Slovenia I’m looking at you!

But most of the time, I try to be super flexible about where I visit and that means that I tend to see a lot of places that other people may not consider – when £25 return flights to Ohrid (Macedonia) popped up, I couldn’t resist!

When I was also planning a trip to Vienna, I realised that the time of year and accommodation for 3 people were definitely going to blow our budget, instead of getting stroppy and giving up, I planned a trip to nearby Salzburg instead and we had the best time – being flexible can never go wrong!

What are your current priorities? What are you saving up for?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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6 things I've given up to travel

Today I turn 22! *runs around the house singing Taylor Swift’s song 22*.

Today is actually a bit of a rubbish day because I have exams and no real celebratory plans as I’ve been so busy studying, but I’m sure I’ll get round to doing something (thanks RyanAir for this encouragement)!

In true blogger style, I thought I’d set out my 22 goals for being 22!

1. Take Another Solo Trip

At the age of 20 I took my first solo trip and it was one of the best experiences of my life. The year of being 21 was a hectic one and I never got to do another solo tip (I VERY nearly made it to Norway but everything was cancelled at the last minute).

2. Keep Saving Money For An Epic Adventure

With plans in motion for a travel adventure spanning a few months, I need to keep my savings going! I’m yet to set a goal for the year but know that it will be a big one! I’d quite like to come back from my travels with enough savings still in the bank to start looking for a home!

3. Take This Blog More Seriously

In April, I set myself the goal of uploading every Wednesday and Sunday. It’s safe to say that I didn’t stick to this plan at all. Over the next year, I want to really try and stick to this schedule and keep a constant upload scheme.

4.  Improve My Photography

I have a bad habit of trying to snap a picture of something whilst walking or quickly taking a picture and then walking away. Then when I get home and try to edit my photos, everything is seriously wonky, not focused properly and I end up so annoyed at myself. I love having photos of everything, so I want to make sure they are good!

5. Pick Up My Scrapbook

In 2015 I bought a load of tools to begin scrap-booking but didn’t get very far after this blog (and social media) became my favourite way of documenting my life – I want to start printing my photos and having a big book of memories to flick through.

6. Travel Outside of Europe

My recent travels have seen me stick to Europe mainly due to time restraints, this year I want to venture outside of my little Europe bubble (no matter how much I love it) and explore a new continent. I am heading to Toronto in December but having already visited North America multiple times, I’m not sure whether this counts!

7. Become a Chartered Tax Advisor

A few of you may know that I have been training to become a Tax Advisor since leaving school at 18 and declining my place to study at university. In 2015 I became a qualified member of the ATT (Assosiation of Taxation Technicians) and this should be the year that I finish all of my exams and become a member of the CIOT (Chartered Institute of Taxation)!

8. I really want my bloody braces off. 

This isn’t really a goal that I can reach for, it’s more of a hope. I will be the happiest human in the world if these big ugly metal bricks came off my teeth. In September 2010, I naively paid to have these monstrosities put on my teeth in an attempt to be super vain and get straighter teeth (they were already fairly straight). 6 years later, one dodgy orthodontist and a lot of pain, my teeth are worse than they’ve ever been but hopefully this is the year of fixed teeth!

9. Drink More Water

This is probably the most boring goal, but everyone tells me off for not drinking enough. So this one is for you Mum/Dad/Rest of Family/Callum/Emily.

10. Whilst Drinking More, Maybe Get A Bit Fitter While I’m At It

Working in an office has taken a serious toll on my weight and I want to start doing a little bit more to tone up and get in better shape. A quick jog for the train now leaves me out of breath… oops.

11. Conquer A Fear

It sounds ridiculous but I have a real phobia of fish and all other sea creatures. Before I go on my trip spanning a few months, I want to find a way to conquer or at least control my absolutely irrational phobia. I’m not a massive fan of paying a therapist tonnes of money to basically torture me… any advice welcome!

12. Get Rid of Unnecessary Things

I feel like my bedroom is just so cluttered. I want to get rid of absolutely everything that I don’t need, start completely a fresh and have extra space. It would be nice to not have every drawer bursting with unnecessary crap.

13. Whilst I’m At It… Create A Capsule Wardrobe

I want to invest more in decent clothes and accessories instead of drowning in stuff that I have picked up on a whim and don’t really love.

14. Volunteer

This year I was meant to be heading to Africa to volunteer with endangered rhinos but I had to cancel the trip due to study/work commitments (you can read the full plan/cancellation story here) – boo! This year I want to start doing some volunteer work a bit closer to home (but probably still focusing on animals because I’m a sucker for a little furry face).

15. Make The Most of Every Moment

I find myself spending weekends at home just dreaming about exploring the world. I need to put some plans into motion, explore more of the UK and make solid plans for every weekend. As all the kids are saying these days “you only live once”!

16. Double My Social Media Following

In line with taking my blog more seriously, I also want to take the social media tasks that come with running a blog more seriously. At the moment, I spend more time on my personal accounts than I do my blog accounts (Instagram & twitter) and that needs to change!

17. Practice A New Language 

A year or so ago, I became OBSESSED with DuoLingo and was practising German on my commutes to London every day, I’ve slowly slipped out of the habit but I want to start learning more basic phrases/conversational pieces. Although I’m thinking of switching to Spanish given that my extended travel plans look like they are going to be in South America!

18. Learn How To Chill Out (… Without Falling Asleep)

I need to stop getting so wrapped up in work, studies, back to back travels etc. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to relax and procrastinate. At the moment I have two modes: 100% full power turbo or asleep. I need to find the middle ground!  It would be nice to make it through a whole film without falling asleep!

19. Make Some Epic Memories With My Hella Epic Friends

I’m an avid believer that when it comes to friendship, it’s all about quality rather than quantity and I’m pretty damn lucky to have some absolute babes that I get to call my buddies! At the moment, we all live scattered across the UK (to name a few – Essex, Norwich, Portsmouth and even the Isle of Scilly!), so it takes a bit more planning and organising to get us all together but it’s definitely worth it!

20. Get a Few More Kitchen Skills

I’m not looking to become the next Gordon Ramsey… but being able to make more than beans on toast would be fantastic.

21. Treasure People

This year, I suddenly said goodbye to someone very special to me and I live every day in regret for not treasuring her more towards the end of her life. Don’t take people for granted, they won’t be around forever. If they ask you to make plans, do it… there might not be tomorrow.

22. Just Enjoy This Year

I seem to have a good year, then a bad year, then a good year etc. etc. 2014 (age 19) and 2016 (age 21) were both awful years for me personally. 2017 (age 22), please please please live up to the heights of 2015 (age 20).

Do you have any plans you want to accomplish this year?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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The Nomination

Whilst I don’t think that I’m all that versatile (more of a travel-mad-weirdo), I have miraculously been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you to the super lovely Sarah at “Sarah C C Bence” for my nomination! You should definitely check out her blog (and her Twitter and Pinterest while you’re at it).

The Small Print

There’s always a catch with these awards. In fact, they seem a bit like those chain emails people used to send round through fear of bad things happening to us! This time, the “catch” isn’t so bad: I nominate a handful of blogs to receive the award next and also share seven fun facts about myself. Easy peasy.

I don’t think I’ve ever properly introduced myself on this blog, so this seems like the perfect way to do it!

7 Things About Me

1) Whilst I’m a travel maniac, I am not a full-time traveller (sigh). Instead, I live in a small town in Essex and commute to London every day to fulfil my day job of being a UK Tax Advisor (sounds riveting, I know). I’m completing my exams to become a chartered tax advisor at the moment and will hopefully be done by July 2017 – yippee!

2) I have a super, huge, irrational fear of fish and other sea-creatures. Nobody knows what traumatic incident I had a child to spark this fear but my earliest memory is crying at a “You’ve Been Framed” video where a little boy had been fishing and was proudly holding his latest catch, only for the fish to flop into his mouth – I cringe just typing this. If anyone has some therapy techniques to get over completely irrational fears, let me know! I feel like I’m missing out by not being able to go in the sea!

3) One of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make was declining my place at university. I started an apprenticeship instead and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who isn’t sure that university is the right option for them! I’m now 21, almost a qualified tax advisor and have 3 years of experience over graduates my age who are coming into the same field. Doesn’t seem like a big scary decision at all anymore!

4) I don’t watch TV at all. Unless I get addicted to something and then I absolutely binge-watch the hell out of it on Netflix. I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed of the fact that I watched every single episode of Gossip Girl in 2 months. I’m currently binge-watching Pretty Little Liars…

5) I can’t stand selfies. Big group selfies during a fun day with your friends is fine, but I’ve never felt the need to pick up my phone and snap 50 photos of myself just randomly… I don’t understand it. So you are much more likely to see me behind the camera rather than in front of it!

6) Similarly, I can’t stand watching myself on video (especially when I’m speaking), so don’t expect an Escaping Essex YouTube channel anytime soon! I had perfectly fine teeth as a child, just a tad wonky (like any normal human being). But I was vain and decided to fork out money to have braces (the NHS refused to pay as my treatment was deemed “cosmetic” – which is fair enough!). 6 years and 1 dodgy orthodontist later, the braces are still with me, my teeth are worse than ever and my jaw doesn’t sit together properly – I can’t bear to see it move on video! The Essex accent doesn’t help much either ;-).

7) I have an un-diagnosed fainting disorder – Doctors have done all the tests known to man and can’t work out whats “wrong” with me. One minute I’m standing and perfectly fine, the next I’m unconscious with no recollection of the past 10 minutes. It’s almost a party trick.

My Nominations

And in no particular order, I award the Versatile Blogger Award to the following lovely people:

  1. Grace (Finding Graceland) – For being one hell of an epic bestie. Also for writing this post about me and another friend last year that still makes my stone cold heart happy (if you can’t tell, I’m sassy but secretly sweet Sophie).
  2. April (April  Everyday) – For being one of the most welcoming people I’ve come across since blogging! And for having a lust-worthy insta <3.
  3. Yaya & Lloyd (Hand Luggage Only) – Two more very welcoming faces. Even though these guys are “mega bloggerz” with a whole army of followers, they are two of the nicest, funniest guys! Their tweets/snapchats have me cracking up!
  4. Ashley (Adventure To Anywhere) – Does it count if me and Ashley found each others blogs because were were both nominated by Sarah for this award? Oh well, I’m nominating her again for having a god damn fabulous blog.
  5. Jaime (Angloyankophile) – So many gorgeous photos. Jaime is the Queen of the camera, you only have to open her Instagram to see that!
  6. Rhiannon (The Gypsy Heart Travels) – Her recent posts about Amsterdam have made me want to go back!
  7. Sarah (Moon and Forest) – Sarah is posting every other day in October (I am in awe), so there’s plenty of amazing content to check out right now!
  8. Cat (Hello Cat) – I’ve been following  Cat for years, literal years. We knew each other back in the day when I did fashion/lifestyle blogging around 5 years ago! She was much better at keeping up with posting than me (as you can tell) and her blog is definitely worth a read!
  9. Bethan (Wanderlust Bee) – Oh my god, Bethan’s recent posts about her trip to Asia have got me thinking whether South America will be my next continent conquest – amazing photos and writing!
  10. May (The Little Blonde Backpacker) – May has just got back from an interrailling trip around Europe and I can not wait to read about it!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.

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Picture Location: Mexico

First things first (queue you singing the rest of Iggy Azaelia’s “Fancy” in your head), welcome to my new little blog venture. Some of you may recognise me from my previous circa 2011 – 2013 blog antics – yes, it was one of the standard “fashion and lifestyle” blogs that we are now inundated with.

The main reason you’re reading this post is that my interests have changed. Don’t get me wrong, I love an ASOS sale as much as the next girl, but recently my money seems to disappear into the deepest darkest depths of the travelling world. I’m that friend that will text you (while I’m probably meant to be working) simply saying “I’ve found £30 return flights to Copenhagen, you game?”.

As the name suggests, I currently reside in a tiny little Essex town, which while lovely, it’s a tiny little bit boring. I am working as a personal tax advisor in London, and lets face it… confined office walls are also rather boring. But I make sure that every single annual leave day/bank holiday/fake sick day (oops…) is spent doing something amazing! Maybe one day I will bite the bullet and leave the rat race in order to travel the world… (please don’t read this boss!).

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to see a fair chunk of the world – albeit I am only 20 years old and the majority of this was dictated by my parents, now I’m ready to see the sights for myself, do things my way and hopefully write a semi-interesting blog along the way!