UK

The UK is our home country and despite all its faults (Brexit for one…) we still believe it’s a country worth visiting. London was our home for four years before we left to travel and it remains our favourite city in the world. We usually return to the UK at least once a year to visit family and friends and do some house sitting in the capital. Check out our travel musings and stories from the UK.

Since we left the UK in 2013, Andrew and I have stayed in hundreds of hostels, hotels, guesthouses, apartments and Airbnb places. While some have been incredible, like our five-star honeymoon suite in Thailand, we’ve also stayed in some real dives and battled with bedbugs more than once. Here’s a look at five of the most unusual travel stays we’ve experienced to date, from a longhouse in Malaysia to a lavish London pig sit.
It’s six am and a cat is prodding me. Now, I can hear the dogs rucking around downstairs followed by the insistent snorting of pigs in the garden. Yes, pigs. Welcome to our first London house sit of the summer! We’ve taken up temporary residence in a beautiful, leafy part of west London that we’d never in a million years be able to afford to really live in. Have I mentioned how much we love house sitting?
Hello from a very uncharacteristically warm UK! In fact, news channels have been declaring that we’re in the midst of a heat wave (or at least we were last week when I drafted this post). As always, it’s good to return to The Island for our annual summer visit, but future travels are never far from our minds. So, what are our plans for the rest of the year?
For me, a new year always brings with it a lot of reflection. While 2016 is full of promise: an exciting new life in Spain, a chance to travel in mainland Europe and explore new work opportunities, lately I’ve also been battling with some serious fears and worries about the future. We’ve spent the last few weeks cat sitting in London and while being back in my favourite city and catching up with friends has been wonderful, our time here has also brought a lot of doubts and dark feelings to the surface.
2015 has been a year of two very different halves for us; the first spent in Asia, the second in America and the UK. We lived in Vietnam’s crazy capital city, Hanoi, where we saved over £14,000 (and nearly lost our minds!) by teaching English. We relaxed on beaches in Thailand, house sat in London, toured South Wales and took the best road trip ever through New England in the USA. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas in Blighty for the first time in nearly three years, here’s our 2015 travel round-up.
Time has been moving at a frightening speed of late, especially since we landed in London and slipped straight back into the frantic pace of life here. This last week has been one furious blur of sightseeing, pounding the glorious streets of the capital and catching up with people. We’ve also seen a different side of the city by exploring with a child in tow and house and cat sitting in an unfamiliar area.
One of the things travel has taught us is that there’s always something new to discover, wherever you are in the world. We now see the UK with fresh eyes, when we visit we make an effort to explore new areas and we appreciate the natural beauty and cultural heritage of our homeland much more than we ever did when we lived here.
I was on a train to meet Andrew in Wales, chatting to the girl next to me, when she asked: “So, where do you live then?” the question had me stumped. After mumbling something about just getting back from Asia and visiting family in the UK I eventually had to admit that I don’t really live anywhere. “I’m just travelling around at the moment,” I replied. I could tell from the bemused look on the girl’s face that she thought I was odd and for a moment I saw my life from a different angle, one where not having a home, job or more than a backpack worth of possessions doesn’t look as amazing as it feels.
Where were you this time last year? We were in Thailand, relaxing by the river Kwai in Kanchanaburi whilst preparing for our trip to Burma. I’ve written many times about our love for the Land of Smiles and now that the weather has turned cold and wet here in Hanoi I often fantasise about heading back to the warmth of one of our favourite Asian cities: Chiang Mai. We have fond memories of this northern Thai oasis; volunteering at the nearby Elephant Nature Park, hanging out with visiting friends and family and celebrating the New Year’s water festival, Songkran.