‘To Whom it may Concern,

I have thoroughly enjoyed working for this establishment over the past few months. Everyone has been very kind and welcoming, however I would like to take this opportunity to give in my notice. I’m getting the hell out of England, enjoy the office – bye!’

Ok, the last sentence was a bit of improvisation on my behalf, but yes. Today is the day that I am giving in my notice to resign from my office admin job, thank god. This also means it’s about three weeks until my flight to Bangkok.

Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey... a little bit further East please...

I’m going at it alone for the first couple of months, which is pretty daunting as I’ve always had the nurturing shadow of family or friends who would kindly, yet firmly, guide me by the elbow to the correct terminal/bus stop. Also, holidays usually involved a body bag size of a suitcase that dragged deep crevices into the earth, filled to the brim of every outfit I could possibly need (I might have a need for my fur scarf…in Borneo… maybe). But with only a simple blue backpack (with industrial strong padlocks), my first mini-mission is to pack ergonomically and economically for the seven or eight months. Ruthlessness is required.

I have a rough shaky skeleton of a plan, by which I mean a map of Thailand with black marker pen circling my top destinations pinned to my wall beside my flight tickets. My preparation has mainly involved essential things to pack or to do jotted down on scraps of paper, but now it’s time to gather all these post-it notes that have filled up my leather satchel and execute them in a calm and orderly fashion…

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I have relatively urgent things to do, like book somewhere to crash for my first night and set up a bank account with a bank that doesn’t want my blood just to withdraw money abroad (NB British travellers: Nationwide don’t charge you anything!). But the most pressing issue on my mind is to get hold of a decent camera. Lets face it, I think I got my priorities in the right place!

My main part of effective preparation is not to worry too much, pretty hard for me since this is my first backpacking experience. The advice that I’ve gathered so far is that less is definitely more when it comes to planning. Keep in mind how long a journey can take and be realistic with a rough itinery. Don’t over-plan your trip as it’s not much of an adventure if you’re constantly running to make connections and deadlines – I remember someone said that if it takes more than five minutes to explain what you’re doing on your trip, then the chances are that you’ve planned too much.

But hey-ho! I’m young, I’ve graduated, I’m ready to make mistakes (inevitable wrong trains and buses), but most importantly, I’m ready to strike out alone and do this. These last few weeks are going to fly by, so I’ve got to make the most of England despite the looming winter…

Cavern

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