I’m off

That’s right, I’m out of here. I’m taking 8 months off work and I’m going to see parts of the world I’ve never been to before, armed with my camera, pen and pad (ok, iPad).

This decision has been a long time coming and to be honest I’m pretty nervous. I don’t know many 33 year olds who leave their home and job for 8 months to go travelling. Most of my friends are more concerned with which nursery to send their children to these days then which hotel to book in Hanoi. Quite a few questions have been flying through my mind. Will I miss home? Will it affect my career? How will I find travelling on my own for weeks on end?

I think I actually have a pretty good insight in to these questions. Yes, but I’ll cope. Hopefully for the better. I like my own company and I can be pretty outgoing when I put my mind to it. And a big part of this trip is to take myself out of my comfort zone and to live in the moment a bit more, something I’ve struggled to do in recent times. I love London and my job but it’s starting to tire me out. Variety is the spice of life and all that.

So what are my plans? I’m starting off with 4 1/2 months in Southeast Asia going from Bangkok to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Then I head to Chaing Mai and travel all the way down Thailand to Kuala Lumpur. After that I fly to Bali, then Singapore before finishing up with three weeks in Sri Lanka. See the map below.

For the majority of my time I intend to enjoy soaking up new cultures, trying new food, sampling a local beer or two and finding those deserted beaches you see on the front of a travel magazine. I can’t wait to explore the big cities of Southeast Asia, armed with my camera and practicing my street photography.

However, as part of my justification to LSE why I’d like this time off I’m also really keen to meet with NGOs who involve local volunteers in their work and look to learn more from some of the best practitioners of experiential travel. I’m lucky enough to have been invited to talk at Ayana Journeys Wisdom Wednesdays to speak about power dynamics in volunteering. So whilst I wouldn’t call this work I do hope to expand my network and learn things that will help in my job to help connect young people in the UK to causes they are passionate about. Thanks again to everyone at LSE who has been so understanding and supportive.

I return home in May for a couple of weeks and at the moment the plan is to include a bit of “Best of Britain in Summer” by hiking around the Isle of Wight with my dad. 70 miles. 7 days. Test Match Special. Sounds like a dream.

After that I’m heading off to Europe for around 10 weeks. I’m going to hire a car and travel to places I’ve never been before, despite them being on my doorstep. I don’t have an exact itinerary yet but I’m looking at about 12-15 countries, which should be incredible.

I’ll going to be blogging my way round about what I’ve seen, heard and learnt so do keep an eye on here. I’m also trying to make as many people as jealous as possible when they see my Instagram account so if you like looking at beaches when the weather is awful in the UK in February make sure you follow me.

If you do work/volunteer for an NGO in any of the countries I’ve listed above I would love to hear from you. Please email me on davidm.coles@hotmail.com.

I set off to Bangkok on 6th January. Tune in for adventures.

5 thoughts on “I’m off

  1. We are just in Phuket and it’s fab – aim for Kata if you are coming! In Bali Canggu is fab, I know a couple of people in the area and medewi was meant to be unspoiled but that was a year or so ago!! Enjoy!!

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