Today, at precisely 4pm, I lifted a delicious glass of wine with my poor injection riddled arm (vaccine-galore) to toast to Thailand. I have finally finished my last week at work after massively stressful times of having to call about thirty women to book appointments due to a postal strike. Talk about the perfect farewell week at my hospital administration post! I hope those pregnant ladies enjoy their scans which I nearly had a stroke/ heart attack/ developed stress induced alopecia trying to arrange.

On a positive note, it’s now about a week until I fly out which also means a week to say a truckload of goodbyes and complete packing… I mean begin packing.

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Here’s my little baby that’s going to hold my precious goods. However, I faced my wardrobe last night and from the looks of things this is going to be one heck of a trauma. Eight months, one backpack, one girl with a massive wardrobe.

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A small tip of saving space and weight when it comes to products: a friend spent some time in Southeast Asia last year and swears by solid shampoo. The soap store, ‘Lush’, has an amazing array of lotions, potions, bath bombs, moisturizers and solid bars of shampoo and conditioner. The shop lays a serious beating on your senses from the sheer scale of funky colours and organic/natural ingredients, which left me staggering against some poor assistant. She was lovely though and took me through all the different types that are available:
Types to define ringlets, others to give volume, ones suitable for soft and hard water, others infused with coca butter to moisturise to the extreme, and there was even a Christmas themed shampoo bar that contained real flakes of cinnamon. I might pass on that one.

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After oogling the massive range for a good chunk of my life (it definitely wasn’t dark outside when I entered the store), I finally settled on ‘Tricomania’ – a conditioning solid shampoo enriched with coconut for dry hair which won’t leave pesky scraps of coconut locked in your tresses. It lathers up real quickly in cold or warm water and “lasts for eighty washes”. Hmmm, we’ll see. I think it will probably last about forty for me due to my overgrown barnet (really need a haircut actually). Check out their site for more examples of their products: http://www.lush.com/

After a quick scan over my list of things that should be done before fleeing the country, I think I’m actually nearly done! Without being a complete bore and going into too much detail, here are my top seven things I’ve needed to do to make this trip happen:

  • Visas, insurance, travel money, flight tickets blah blah.
  • Sort mobile phone contract: cancel the contract and get a crappy old phone that is unlocked for a Thai SIM card.
  • Book a hostel for my first chaotic night in Bangkok.
  • Speak to the tax man and the student loans people (apparently I can’t just send them a postcard).
  • Get injections (that Hepatitis B booster was a bitch).
  • Give loved ones my rough itinerary, bank details, photocopies of passport and e-tickets in case all my possessions decide to spontaneously combust simultaneously.
  • Get the words ‘Have you remembered your PASSPORT??!’ tattooed on my forehead, and ‘Don’t forget your toothbrush’ on my forearms.

O yeah, and that small matter of cramming eight months worth of stuff into a backpack that one would normally scoff at. I’ve taken luggage triple the size for a mere three week holiday in the past.

Sophie Saint was one of the original travelettes, from 2009 – 2017. After fleeing the UK with ink barely dry on her graduation certificate, she traversed the world with a backpack and spent a few years living in Melbourne – one of her favourite cities in the world.

She finally returned to the UK after a few years where she now whiles time away zipping off for European escapes, crocheting and daydreaming of owning her own hostel somewhere hot to live out eternal summers. See what she’s up to over on her blog saintsonaplane.com and instagram: @saintsonaplane