My 8th interview in the Inspirational Travel Interview series is with Sarah Shaw from Ready Steady Travel. From July, Sarah plans to be a full time wanderer and is currently in the process of planning her travels, which she writes about on her blog.
Why don’t you introduce yourself and your blog?
Hey there guys! I’m Sarah (21) from Ready Steady Travel.
Last year I went to Thailand and almost never came back. Unfortunately I ended up jumping on that return flight home back to Grey Old England when I ran out of money. Now it’s 2014. A New Year, A New Start, A New Life!
My blog allows you to join me on all of the stages of my travel experience starting from the get go. From planning and preparation to those crucial few weeks before jetting off, all the way to the ultimate life style adventure!
The goal of Ready Steady Travel is to inspire like minded people and show them how easy it is to just go for it and not be afraid to make that initial leap into the unknown, to show them what they could be experiencing and that it isn’t all about living and putting up with the 9 to 5.
I want to show that it is safe to backpack as a female and as a solo traveler and that it is not as scary as you would initially think. I will be traveling the world on a budget and provide my readers on how they can do the same. After all, if I can do it, anyone can do it!
My blog is still relatively new, so expect there to be lots of awesome and new changes! I will be video documenting as I travel along with providing blog posts and information on each country. Watch This Space! 😉
What made you hop on that plane to Thailand last year and why have you decided to travel long term this year?
Towards the end of 2012, I was at a point in my life where I realised I was not where I wanted to be. I just wasn’t truly happy. Don’t get me wrong I had a great job in an area of work that I love and I am very grateful for all my friends and my family who I will miss a tremendous amount. I just didn’t want a lifestyle that involved me working 9-5 during the week, and living for the weekend, where the only opportunity I had for a good time was to go out and consume a shed load of alcohol.
No way did I want to settle down in the same place I had grown up with that being all I had known. So I went online to do something about it and booked a trip to Thailand for the month. Purely for the fact that I had always wanted to ride an elephant one day. 😉 Which I did! Go Me!
And you know what!? It was the best thing that happened to me. I fell in love with Thailand and South East Asia. I wanted to stay out there but ran out of money, so returned to save up again and prepare myself for an adventure lasting a few years at least.
Where are you planning on travelling to? Whats the one thing you can’t wait to see/do/experience?
Ha! If I was to write all of the places, these guys would be reading forever! There is far too much of the world I want my eyes to capture, but I’ll let you in on the first section of my plan. I am returning to Asia starting in Laos, moving onto Cambodia and Vietnam. I then want to spend some time teaching in Nepal and exploring India to educate myself on the meaning of true poverty and also to appear in a Bollywood movie if I’m lucky! 😉
A big one for me would be to experience the Chinese New Year and walk the length of the Great Wall of China moving swiftly on to Indonesia where I would like to settle for a few months doing teaching or voluntary work. After that I will be going down under to good ol’ Straya! The plan is to stay here, work and save up again for even more backpacking over 1 or 2 years. I have always dreamt of moving to Australia so this will be a massive check off the list for me. Of course it won’t just be all work and no play! Definitely not!
Do you have a target savings amount for your upcoming travels and what are you doing to help reach it?
I am aiming to start with £2000 with the hope of finding work and sticking to a strict budget.
I am currently working a full time job where I earn roughly £1200 a month. I do have rent and bills to pay so from this I put aside £400.
Looking for a second job is on the cards too. I may not have much of life for the next 6 months, but the money I save will equate to the best one possible! All my wages from this will go straight into my saving funds. Wahoo!
Ebay is great! Seeing as I will have to squeeze my whole life into a 60L backpack the majority of my possessions have to go! I have simply been selling my clothes and shoes on there so far and within 10 days I made £70! I was not expecting that! My converse sold for about £30 and the rest was just ordinary clothes that I never wore, starting bids at 99p. It all adds up!
I also… get ready for this… QUIT DRINKING! (Unless someone buys it for me) I used to spend over £100 a month on going out and this January I have spent £3.50. Not bad! And I still had a fab time! It’s not all about that dizzy feeling folks! 😉
To be honest it’s all about motivation. If you want it , go for it! The only thing stopping people from living their dream are themselves.
I actually have a blog post on this very subject! Check it out for more tips! http://readysteadytravel.co.uk
How’s your travel planning going? What have you found difficult to try to organise, what has been the most exciting and do you have any advice on how to plan efficiently?
My travel planning is going great surprisingly, as anyone who knows me will tell you I am the least organised person about! I’m on top of my schedule at the moment. I have almost completed my TEFL course, which will allow me to start applying for jobs. When I have my first job in place I can start working out where I need to be and when and base my traveling around that and begin booking flights! That’s when it starts getting real!
I have been a very good girl so far with my plan on saving! I have cut out the drinking, the excessive shopping and have found other ways to enjoy myself without burning a hole in my pocket! I do struggle to sit in a bar sipping on water when all of my friend’s have gorgeous looking cocktails in ice-cream sundae glasses, with cute umbrellas and cherrys sticking out the side. I have to close my eyes and picture myself holding one on the beaches in Indonesia!
I have now worked out what Credit cards I need. This was something that I found particularly difficult. I have always been sworn by the mother never to get a credit card as it put her in loads of debt, so I had to do lots of research before applying. I have applied for British Airways Credit Card and will be applying for the Virgin Credit Card Black. This will allow me to get flying and Avios points simply for signing up and spending with their partners. Then I can save these for free flights in the future!
I have also managed to pay off my Student overdraft. As I am planning on travelling for a few years, having to worry about debt is not something I particularly want to do.
I have been investigating my travel vaccinations and have had a couple of boosters at the Doctors. I am now aware of what I need and how much will be needed for these.
The most fun part about planning is reading about other bloggers experiences in my dream destinations and then hearing about new places entirely and adding that to the bucket list! Seeing their pictures, I get super excited and am reminded about why I am putting in all this time and effort to plan effectively.
My main tips on planning efficiently is to not try to tackle everything at once. For example; I haven’t started booking flights yet. I want to find out where I am able to get a job in order to work out where I need to be in time. Also don’t try to squeeze planning into a short space of time for long term travel.
There is far too much to sort out, the last thing you want to do is arrive at your destination and realise you haven’t sorted out a Visa! Whoops! Even if you miraculously plan everything successfully, taking the time to research and plan your trip will allow you save money and find the best deals and places!
What country are you hoping to land a TEFL job in and how do you think you will cope with a class full of kids?
I really want to do some TEFL volunteering in Nepal, and then work in Brazil, Chile, Indonesia and Cambodia.
It will be really useful if I happen to run out of money and need to stop and save for a while!
I think it will be quite challenging at first, especially as I won’t speak the language. Who knows what they will be saying! Ha.
I have been studying to become a Special Needs Teacher back in the UK and have worked full time as a Learning Support Assistant in this setting whilst doing supply work for the teacher when she has her PPA. I love teaching, but who knows! It will be interesting to see how the system works in different cultures! I am truly fascinated by that.
Who do you take your TEFL course with and what type was it?
I completed my TEFL with TEFL.org.uk. They had a 30% off offer when I signed up. I really recommend these guys. I completed 140 hours. It included 30 hours in Grammar, 50 hours in TEFL, 10 hours Phone teaching, 10 hours Teaching large groups and a 20 hour video lesson and then the 20 hour weekend sessions which you do in person.
They are brilliant, they reply to the online courses fast and the weekend lessons were very engaging even though the Saturday was 11 hours long! 9am-8pm. A great chance to meet some like minded people too!
What would you say to people contemplating the idea of long term travel?
Just go for it, don’t wait for that friend to save up. If you are ready, go now. They can always meet you out there after all. For those contemplating solo travel, it isn’t really as scary as the media hype it up to be. You are more likely to have a heart attack from stress in the corporate world than something happen to you out there.
So many people put things off and off and before they know it, they are looking back on their life full of regrets. Don’t let that person be you! Happy travels every one! 🙂
A massive thank you to Sarah for providing such inspirational and detailed answers. If you’re wondering how you too can prepare yourself to travel long term then I recommend you check out Sarah’s blog and follow along with her upcoming adventures.