My Summer Plans for 2012!


As you probably know by now, a few days ago I finally left Asia and I am currently sat at home writing this post.

The rainy season in Thailand was fast approaching and after realising just how insane the rains can get at this time of year, I booked a flight to Europe with the plan of returning to Asia in November.

I now have 6 months to try and cram in as many epic adventures as possible and it looks like these will be taking place predominantly in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

As always, my plans aren’t fixed, but here’s a rough idea of what the next 6 months are going to look like.

May

Amsterdam

canals in amsterdam

I left Siem Reap at 7am on the 13th May and what followed was one of my longest travel days to date. 

A 2 hour taxi to the Cambodia-Thailand border. 4 hours of queueing in the sweltering heat to cross the border. 7 hours on a local bus to get to Bangkok. 1 hour in a cab to get to Bangkok airport. 4 hours of waiting at the airport. A 10 hour flight to Cairo. 4 hours in Cairo airport. A 5 hour flight to Amsterdam.

And then, finally, I was in Europe. 

And how did it feel? Like I’d never left, actually. It felt like my time in Asia had been one long and crazy dream and now I was back in the real world. It was cold. There was cheese. I ate bagels for the first time, I drank €6 pints of cider, and even thought I was expecting to hate it, I didn’t.

 

London

I’m now back home in London, and it’s not as strange as I was expecting it to be. I’m staying in my old bedroom at my parents’ house and it feels like nothing has changed.

I spent a few evenings telling them about some of the crazy ordeals that have yet to make it onto the site, I chatted with friends and we laughed at all the stupid things I’ve done. I’ve eaten cheese, drank tea and squealed when I had my first roast dinner.

It’s… nice. It  feels familiar and it feels comfortable, but it’s also helped to consolidate my belief that travelling, and making my income online, is 100% the right path for me to be taking right now. And as much as I’d like to be visiting London for the Olympics, the thought of sticking around for two months doesn’t seem very appealing! Two weeks will be enough for me.

June

Slovenia 

streets of ljubljana

Slovenia is my favourite country in Europe and Ljubljana my favourite city.

I can’t wait to return, and this time will be even more special as I’ll be celebrating my birthday there! Dave’s never been to Slovenia so I’m really looking forward to showing him around and forcing him to make it his favourite country too!

Most of our time will be spent in Ljubljana, but I also have plans for an adventurous two days in Bled. We’ll be taking a hot air balloon ride over Lake Bled at sunrise one morning and trying out canyoning for the first time too. No doubt I’m going to be absolutely terrified of both and I’m sure it’ll make for some dramatic posts.

Austria

I’ve travelled quite a lot through Western and Central Europe and I can’t believe I still haven’t been to Austria! Although this will only be a short visit to Vienna, I’m excited to explore the historic centre of the city, and I’ve already discovered a few themed restaurants that I’ll be checking out while I’m there.

Morocco

On the 10th June, I’ll be saying goodbye to Dave and flying out of Vienna to travel solo around Morocco for a month. I’m SO excited to take my first steps on the continent of Africa and especially in a country that I’ve dreamed of visiting for so long.

If you read this site when I first started then you’ll know that originally I had planned on starting my travels in Morocco! As soon as I made the announcement a few people advised me to choose somewhere else because of the intensity of the country.

I decided to save it for a later date and while I definitely don’t feel any more experienced or qualified to cope with the hassles and stresses of Morocco, I’m sure it will make for an amazing experience nevertheless.

My adventures will begin in Marrakech before I leave to spend a few days camping and riding camels through the Sahara Desert. I want to have my second surf lesson at some point, and I’m sure I’ll spend a lot of time chilling out at the beach town of Essaouira. I will definitely be spending a large part of my month in Chefchaouen, the gorgeous city where everything is painted blue!

July

Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia 

It’s back to Austria again in July, where I’ll meet up with Dave and we’ll begin our Eastern European adventure. From here onwards, our plans are extremely vague and can be summarised as “somehow getting from Vienna to Istanbul”.

The following is looking like our most likely route:

Starting from Graz in Vienna, we will head back through Ljubljana again(!), before visiting Zagreb and Plitvice National Park in Croatia.

From Croatia, we’ll most likely travel into Bosnia to check out Sarajevo and Mostar. I visited Mostar last year as part of a tour and could only spend an hour there. I’m looking forward to spending much longer this time around!

August

Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria

Here are when plans get really vague, but from Bosnia, we’ll probably travel through Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, before arriving at our final destination.

Turkey

We’re planning on arriving in Istanbul at some point in August and this will mark the beginning of a 6 week stint in the country. As for our plans? Dave will be going on a 2 week sailing trip around the Turkish islands and I may or may not be going with him, depending on how confident I am that I won’t get seasick. If I don’t then I’ll be planning a trip to Georgia or Armenia for the time that he is away.

As for Turkey itself? On my list are the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia and the hot springs at Pamukkale, but other than that I am completely open to suggestions and have no idea where I’ll end up.

October

Middle East

I’ll be spending most of October in the Middle East! This will be my first time in the region and I’m slightly apprehensive but really looking forward to spending some time there. At the moment it’s looking most likely that I’ll be visiting Lebanon, Israel and Jordan.

Thailand

beach on koh nok

Yep! Back to my beloved Thailand. In November, I will be returning to one of my favourite countries in the world. I won’t be staying for long though – this will just be a quick stop to revisit some of my favourite spots and to check out the awesome Yi Peng festival.

 

…And that just about summarises my next 6 months of travel. As always, I expect most of these plans to change and knowing me, I’ll probably end up spending 6 months in Ghana.

 

What do you think of my travel plans? Good? Bad? Any suggestions for any of the places I’ll be visiting? Will you be in any of the same places at the same time? Drop me a message!

 

 

Previous Month 10: Travel Summary and Statistics
Next The sunsets of Koh Chang are amazing

63 Comments

  1. Lindsey
    May 21, 2012
    Reply

    Take me with you? Looks like an amazing time! I can’t wait to see photos from Morocco an the Middle East. I had no idea there was a town painted blue – sounds too good to be true ;)

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2012
      Reply

      Doesn’t the blue city look incredible?! In all honesty, I’ll probably end up spending about 2 weeks there!

  2. Alouise
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    It sounds like you have an amazing 6 months of travel ahead. Morocco has always fascinated me, can’t wait to read about all your experiences.

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2012
      Reply

      It’s always fascinated me too and I’m so excited that I’m finally getting there after years of dreaming :)

  3. Amanda
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Awesome! You will be hitting up many of the same countries as me this summer, although not at the same time! Drat. Still sounds like a great (if vague) itinerary!

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2012
      Reply

      I know, I remember reading your itinerary and thinking we’d both be doing the same places! :)

  4. Sarah
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Wait, what? Summer lasts until October?

    But seriously, I’m way jealous.

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2012
      Reply

      HAHAHAHA! I know. I didn’t know what to call the post so ended up choosing a factually incorrect title. That’s just how I roll.

  5. Caroline
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    We’ll be in the Middle East around the same time (Jordan and Israel for us in the end of October/Nov). And I just loooove Eastern Europe, hoping to be there in September. Seems like you have a great 6 months ahead of you!

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2012
      Reply

      Awesome! I hope we’ll get to cross paths while we’re there! :)

  6. DebbZ
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Such an awesome plan ahead !
    Morocco, Turkey, Israel and Jordan are so beautiful. I had great experiences in those countries.
    Can’t wait to read your stories :)

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2012
      Reply

      Great! I’ll be coming to you for tips then ;)

  7. Micamyx|Senyorita
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    I love your travel plans especially the Slovinia, Morocco and Croatia part. These are the countries I would like to visit once I am based in the UK. I will temporarily move to the UK by August and I want to maximize my time by exploring the neighboring countries. For now, I also need to work on some of my sites and not be lazy (huhu i’m very lazy these days!). Looking forward to your upcoming travels. Your stay in Asia is a fun-filled one! :P

    • Lauren
      May 22, 2012
      Reply

      I hope my Europe adventure will be fust as fun-filled!

      Ah, that sounds like an awesome plan! :) I need to learn to not be lazy too… So much to do!

  8. Katie
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Sounds great! Shoot me an email if you end up heading to Georgia and/or Armenia – by the time I’m done in a few weeks I will have spent almost a month in Georgia and about 6 weeks in Armenia. Love both! (actually if you want to go to Armenia, you kind of have to go through Georgia since the border with Turkey is closed).

    • Lauren
      May 23, 2012
      Reply

      Awesome, thanks Katie! I’ll definitely be coming to you for advice if I decide to go :)

  9. Andrew
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Looks like a very full schedule. Glad you are getting a chance to see some of the less visited ends of Europe. I like the east, the few bits I have manged to see anyway.

    • Lauren
      May 23, 2012
      Reply

      I like it too! I only managed to see 4 or 5 countries last year, so I’m excited I’ll be getting to see an even larger area this time!

  10. George
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Sounds amazing, although I expect like you you won’t stick to it. I would suggest though a trip to Hungary (bit out the way but so worth it) I would say that is my fave European country everyone there is just SO wonderful x

    • Lauren
      May 23, 2012
      Reply

      No! I went to Hungary last year and really didn’t like it! I think I’m one of the few that feels that way, but I just found it really boring…. But I did eat a pigs knuckle!

      • George
        May 25, 2012
        Reply

        Oh god maybe the pigs knuckle is the reason why ;). I guess a lot about a country just depends on your past experiences, and if yours was boring you’re not gonna be back are you.

  11. Chris
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Jealous of all of your upcoming adventures, but particularly Slovenia and Turkey. Two places I’d absolutely love to visit someday.

    I still think you’re harvesting the organs of homeless people to make all of this happen though…

    • Lauren
      May 23, 2012
      Reply

      Homeless people? Like Dave? You could be onto something… ;)

  12. Gina Marie Ramirez
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    :-) This sounds like a fabulous plan!!

    • Lauren
      May 23, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks, Gina!

  13. Vicky
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Seems like a great plan! My boyfriend and I are starting our backpacking trip in Japan in September and will be traveling around Asia for 9 months before jumping over to Europe. Looks like our paths will not intersect anywhere but I’ll be reading all about your Eastern Europe experiences since we’ll be heading over there eventually. I spent 10 days in Israel on a tour with a 2 day stop over in Jordon and whole heatedly recommend both countries. I absolutely loved Petra and the Wadi Rum in Jordon (I wrote 2 posts about them on my blog if you’re interested). Make sure to check the regulations though – I know some Middle Eastern countries will not let you in if they see an Israel stamp in your passport (Jordon has no problem with this, but Lebanon might).

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Yep, I might have to look into that. My boyfriend has 2 passports so it won’t be an issue for him! :)

  14. Gregory
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    What makes Slovenia your favourite country? And Ljubljana your favourite city?

    By the way, how do I get my picture to show up with my comment?

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Ah, it’s such a wonderful country! Ljubljana is small, easy to get around, not mega-expensive, great food, tons of bars lining the river, gorgeous architecture, friendly people, musicians everywhere on the streets. PERFECTION.

      You can get an image from gravatar.

  15. Sam
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Looks like you’ve got an active six months planned, awesome. I’ll be back home in six months – to all the homely familiarity that you’ve just experienced – at least I hope that’s what it’ll feel like, will have been two years since I was last there…

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Really it feels like nothing has changed, it’s bizarre! :)

  16. Waegook Tom
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Lauren, your plans sound AMAZING! Love that you’re going to force Dave into loving Ljubljana – I plan on doing the same with bf next year and Istanbul. “What? No, you DO like it, really.”

    Can’t wait to follow your adventures! As for Turkey, check out Ayvalik on the Aegean coast if you have time. Gorgeous and sleepy little town, feels a world away from the rest of Turkey. Ignore anyone who tells you to go to Canakkale, it’s shit.

    Malatya in the south-east-central part of the country is fabulous – such a surprise! But, expect Turkey to be HOT in August – I’m talking dry heat of 38C+ in some parts (I had a week where it didn’t dip below 41C when I was there).

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Awesome, thanks for the tips! I’m sure the heat will make me cry and then I’ll be even more dehydrated and then I will die.

  17. Jen
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Amazing! I’m so jealous! I’m headed to Vienna in November so let me know everything please. Hopefully I’ll get to see you while you’re in LDN lovely xxxx

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Will do! I’ll give you a list of crazy themed restaurants to visit! ;)

  18. Sky
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Wow, sounds amazing! I particularly love the Morocco part – I’m DYING to go there. I think sometime in the next two/three years I’m going to go and spend a few months learning Arabic there.

    • Lauren
      May 23, 2012
      Reply

      Doesn’t it look so incredible?! Learning Arabic there would be such an amazing experience… :)

  19. Aaron
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    Funny that feeling when you come home. I find that the more I travel instead of being satisfied at what I’ve seen it only whets my appetite to do more.

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Yup, and that’s why I don’t plan on ever going home! :)

  20. Sabina
    May 22, 2012
    Reply

    I’m excited to hear you’re heading to the Middle East! I’ve never been to Lebanon but have lived in the UAE and traveled through other Persian Gulf countries, spent a week in Jordan, lived in Israel for almost a year and have spent several months living in Egypt, where I am right now. There’s nothing to be apprehensive about, honestly. All is safe and peaceful these days, the people are great and I personally feel safer in these countries than I do at home in the U.S. I hope you’ll spend a few days at least in northern Israel. It’s full of history and just beautiful! And I hope you’ll stay inside the Old City of Jerusalem too. It’s an experience you will never forget.

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Great to hear that it’s all safe and peaceful. I’ll put northern Israel on the list!

  21. Christy @ Technosyncratic
    May 23, 2012
    Reply

    We just recently visited Amsterdam for the first time and LOVED it! We definitely need to go back.

    That’s quite an ambitious itinerary you’ve got there – I’m excited to read all your posts, but mostly the ones from the Middle East. :)

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      It is ambitious but I’m sure it’ll change and I’ll end up doing something completely different!

  22. Chrystal McKay
    May 23, 2012
    Reply

    These plans sound incredible. And being currently IN Morocco – I am excited to see how you enjoy the country. Also – I’ll be in Slovenia at the same time in June – Maybe I can meet up with you and Dave somewhere if you have time! Also – You won’t be able to do BOTH Israel and Lebanon. If one or the other country sees either stamp in your passport you will be denied entry. Look into that! Otherwise Happy travels and I SO look forward to your posts!

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      I’m hoping I’ll be able to get my Israel stamp on a piece of paper (apparently you can do that…) but if not I’ll have to choose one or the other!

  23. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    May 23, 2012
    Reply

    Sounds like you have some wonderful adventures in store for you! Out of curiosity, when exactly is the rainy season in Thailand? I thought it was much later in the year (around November?)…

    That blue city in Morocco looks AMAZING! I have to admit, Morocco is one country that I absolutely cannot wait to visit, so I am really excited to read about your experiences there! And I’d love to know what it is about Slovenia that makes it your favorite country in Europe… I hadn’t planned on spending time there during the Europe leg of my trip, but I don’t want to miss out!

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Rainy season is around May to September or so. November is dry and hot!

      You NEED to go to Slovenia! It’s so pretty, the people are friendly, it’s not overrun with tourists, great food, gorgeous buildings, not too expensive… Ah, I love it so much!

  24. Ruth (Tanama Tales)
    May 23, 2012
    Reply

    Sounds fantastic!!! I am eager to read all your adventures, especially the ones related to Turkey. The country has been an obsession lately.

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks, Ruth! I’m so excited to explore Turkey! :)

  25. Ali
    May 23, 2012
    Reply

    Sounds like an awesome plan! So many places I loved or really want to get to one of these days. Andy and I really loved Turkey. If you’re going to Pamukkale, you’ll be just a few hours from the town of Selcuk and the Ephesus ruins, which were really awesome, probably one of my favorite parts of Turkey. Selcuk was a neat town too. But really the food in Turkey is just amazing! Have a great next 6 months of travel!

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Excellent! I’m getting more and more excited about Turkey because of the amount of people that freak out with excitement when I say I’m going there! :D

  26. Ava Apollo
    May 24, 2012
    Reply

    I haven’t been to any of these places, so I’m excited to see what they’re like!

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks, Ava!

  27. Lauren G
    May 24, 2012
    Reply

    Spoke to you a couple of weeks ago about making an income online etc….as it happens I’ll be making my very first stop in Thailand in November it would be cool to see you there! X

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Awesome! Let me know if you’re in the same place at the same time! :)

  28. Ayngelina
    June 4, 2012
    Reply

    Turkey sounds fantastic, so looking forward to reading about it.

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      Yeah, I’m so excited about it!

  29. Kieu ~ GQ trippin
    June 4, 2012
    Reply

    It’s very you! I love it!! Looking forward to your next 6 months and Morocco! Keep Dave sane. :)

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      I’ll try. I think I’m more likely to do the opposite!

  30. memographer
    June 5, 2012
    Reply

    Wow, Lauren! Your summer plans look fantastic!!

    Vienna, definitely, cant speak for Austria (especially with a short visit). If you decide to stay in Austria longer, I would recommend to visit Hallstatt, Austria. One of the most beautiful places in Europe (in my opinion).

    Good luck with the plans! Cant wait for your updates :)

    • Lauren
      June 7, 2012
      Reply

      I hope to explore Austria a bit more, hopefully I’ll get a chance to!

  31. Gladys
    June 30, 2012
    Reply

    I’m really look forward to more post from Europe form you! I just love Europe especially Amsterdam ….. =)

    Enjoy life!

  32. Chelsea
    August 6, 2012
    Reply

    You should definitely go to Krakow, Poland!! You will love it. It’s amazing!!

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