In the space of a year, or 40 letters, my plans have completely changed. Plans for work, for living and, most importantly, for travel. It’s strangely apt that I wrote letter 117 about my travel plans after university, and letter 137 about how they’ve changed and how much travel I would be doing over the next 12 months. Now here we are, at letter 157, and I’m telling you that my plans have somersaulted, turned inside out and have been spat out a very different version of themselves.
I wrote this letter just before Christmas 2017, over a year ago. I had just finished my first semester of my final year of university, and I was excited. I was ready. I needed to get all of the plans swirling around my head out there in writing. It made them real.
I wrote about how I’d take a 3-week trip to southern Germany once I’d handed in my last project and then I would head off to Greece with my mum for a relaxing week, celebrating the end of university. I would then work in Edinburgh until mid-October, earning some much needed travel-cash, and then head off to somewhere to travel for a couple of months until Christmas. No destination in mind, at the time. Next on the list was a trip around Eastern Europe, completing the TEFL qualification and seeing these new countries. Then there was my mum’s 60th, which at the time we hadn’t planned at all. Finally, summer camp. I wanted to get back to camp and summer 2019, 3 years after my first summer in the States, would be the time.
I must say, it did sound great. Pretty much a year of straight travel. However, plans change, and these plans are mere memories now.
4 months later I wrote an updated plan. This letter also happened to mark 2 years of aletterfromlou. I was a bit more clued up about what the next 12 months would hold, so I decided to once again map it out.
This time around, it was slightly more accurate. Germany was replaced with Bulgaria, where my boyfriend and I spent a fortnight travelling through this insane country (posts can be found here: Bulgaria). Then, the one thing that stayed true, I went to Parga in Greece with my mum for a week – which was blissful. Strangely, I never had time to post about it.
Then it starts to break away from what actually ended up happening. I had planned to work until October (same as my previous plan) but then travel through Poland and the Czech Republic for a couple of months before Christmas, doing my TEFL volunteering. Then after New Year I would fly out to Belize, a country that has fascinated me for a long time, for a couple of months. After this would be my mums birthday which we planned to travel around a small part of India for a while. This is where I would then mark 3 years of blogging.
I’m silently giggling at my former self because actually, my life is very different to how I thought it would be. Based on my letter 137, I should currently be sunning myself in beautiful Belize right now. Instead, I am sat in my new flat in Edinburgh, with a cup of tea and a hot water bottle.
You know what? I’m so damn happy. Just because I’m not travelling, or fulfilling my previous plans, doesn’t mean I’m not having a great time.
Here we are. Letter 157. 40 letters after I thought I’d made a sound plan for the next couple of years. 40 letters wiser. Now I do feel like I have a good idea of how the next couple of years will pan out. Am I confident my plans won’t change? Hell no. I know better than that now.
As we know, I’m not currently swanning around Belize, diving and trekking through rain forests. I’m also not off in Poland completely my TEFL training. I haven’t even started. Instead I am working in Edinburgh, in a job that I actually love and am good at. I surprised myself so much, and my ‘summer job to save for travelling’ has turned into my first proper adult job where I now manage events in a stunning building in central Edinburgh.
I’ve now been working here for 7 and a half months and it has completely flown by. In that time I have embraced Edinburgh’s (very sunny) summer and saw loads of great shows in the Fringe. I also lived with my boyfriend for a few months which ended up being great and we can’t wait to move in together again. I moved into a flat with a friend which we love and is in a great location. I’ve had a few trips home to see friends and family and had a fabulous Christmas break from work.
I did sort of do one of the things I planned. Over New Year I went over to Poland and Prague for a 10-day trip which was amazing. I met so many fabulous people and I loved the cities I visited. You can read about these in my previous posts:
Whilst I don’t want to make too many plans, I do have an idea of what’s to come for me over the next couple of years. I have more realistic ideas now, and also a way to pay for them with my job.
As I have a job that I enjoy, in my favourite city in the world, with my friends and boyfriend nearby, I plan to keep it for a while. Ideally until the end of the year so that I can gain as much experience as possible, and save up for future travels. There are also a number of events and weddings this year that I intend to see through. Also in the pipeline is the possibility of buying a flat in Edinburgh in the next few months. My permanent position might make this possible and, in my eyes, this would set me up well for future travels when I can rent it out. We’ll see if this comes to fruition, but I have hopes.
One of the plans that is (hopefully) happening, is India. We still haven’t booked, because flights are a little expensive, but we should have it confirmed by late February. This will be my next trip and will be in April. I’m trying not too get too set on India, because if flights don’t go down, we may be going somewhere else, but I really hope we go.
I have a week off work in May when I’ll hopefully be jetting off somewhere warm with my boyfriend. No idea where but probably somewhere hot, with a beach, where we can hike and is cheap. Bulgaria is my inspiration. We absolutely loved our trip there last year and I’m thinking something along the same lines this year.
Check out my trip overview here: COMPLETE BULGARIA ITINERARY
This year, my summer will, yet again, be spent in Edinburgh. Hopefully the weather will be good, and I intend to make the most of it. I’ll have my tent up in Edinburgh , so ideally I’ll spend some weekends camping and walking in the Scottish countryside. I’ll also hopefully move into a new flat…
This little country is still making it’s way into my plans. I have just shifted it by a year. I am hoping to spend about 3 months making my way around Belize in early 2020. My plan would be the same as before, to fly to Cancun and head south, also spending a little time in Guatemala. It is the top place on my bucket list and as soon as I finish work, it will be my first stop.
Also still featuring in my plans is the TEFL training, which I intend to do throughout spring and summer of 2020. I still want to use the same company, Angloville, and I still want to volunteer in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Eastern Europe and the Balkans
Following on from the previous point, I intend to spend the rest of summer 2020 travelling around Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania… the list goes on. I probably won’t get around all of these countries, but I want to spend a good few months exploring as much as I can.
I haven’t actually got definite plans in mind for this particular part, but (loosely) I would like to live in Spain. I would love to move out there, for around 6-8 months and either work as an English teacher, or just find a job. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try and I think Autumn 2020-Summer 2021 would be the ideal time to give it a go.
There we go. That’s as far ahead as I’m going to look – and who knows? That plan might all go tits up anyway. Perhaps I’ll have a better idea in another 20 letters time?
If you actually read this whole letter then congratulations – it was a very long one!
If you have any exciting plans coming up – share them! I’d love to hear about your travels or your life in general!
All the love,