Year Abroad Update: Two Months In

year abroad two months houses

So, I started writing this post more than a month ago, at which point I had intended it to be my “one month in” update for my Year Abroad, but sadly, I wrote a few sheets on a train in Austria and since then, they’ve been gathering dust on my desk. Funny, how life runs away with you.

It’s more than two months since I arrived in Tübingen. At risk of sounding like a cliché, it feels both as though I arrived just a few days ago, and like I’ve lived here for years. Maybe I was always supposed to be here, then. Perhaps it’s that I’ve had so long to get used to the idea. Continue reading “Year Abroad Update: Two Months In”

June 2016: What Went Down?

Summer has truly begun! I can’t quite believe how quickly the last couple of months have gone by and how much has happened, particularly just in June. I’m in something of a state of limbo, living with my parents in Somerset during the university holidays at the moment, but as you’ll find out, hopefully not for long! No offence intended, of course, to my parents who are being fairly saintly in putting up with me. Here are some of the most significant things which have been happening in my life this month!

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Pai: At The End Of A Winding Road

Hi everyone! To celebrate me getting back on the blogging train, I guess it’s time for a throwback to one of my favourites from my last trip!

One of the best places I visited on my trip to Asia last summer was a lovely little town called Pai. It has so much character and things to do for such a tiny place, and some of my happiest days during all that travelling were spent there. I was lucky enough to spend the Fourth of July there with some newfound travel friends from the US and Canada, and it’s surprising how the American celebrations managed to make it all the way to Thailand!

Formerly a “hippy enclave”, Pai is one of the northernmost towns in Thailand, and well known to those on the backpacker circuit known as the “Banana Pancake Trail” – the route around South East Asia popular with Western travellers. Trust me, the hippy vibe remains! It’s part of Mae Hong Son province, and lies about 150km north of Chiang Mai, the heart of Northern Thailand. Pai lies at the foot of the mountains and so it’s a popular base for visiting the hill tribes, though not so much as nearby Chiang Rai. Continue reading “Pai: At The End Of A Winding Road”

2015 Roundup

I’m writing this because… Well, to be honest, it’s because I keep seeing people writing soppy Facebook statuses about the New Year and I wanted to do one, but I also didn’t want to embarrass myself. So why not do a longer post here, a forum completely dedicated to embarrassing myself? Ha ha. Anyway, it’s probably going to wind up being a lengthy one, so buckle up.

I should be revising. How strange, and yet how completely predictable that I’m back in the position I was in at this time last year, with a few marked differences. I’m panicking about first-year exams I haven’t revised enough for, preparing to go back to Exeter to start another term. But I’m studying something I enjoy. Even though I have to make myself work sometimes, and I still get distracted by stupid things, and a lot of the time I just want to stay in bed, I don’t feel helpless. I’m not held back by a cloud over my head which makes me doubt whether I’ll make it into the next week, let alone the next year. Continue reading “2015 Roundup”

Why is the fun gone? Coming home, feeling guilty and dragging my heels…

Sigh. *paces* Harumph. *sits down heavily in armchair* Pfft. *blows fringe out of face* So I’ve been home for nearly a month, and guess what? I’m moving out tomorrow, back to Exeter for another year at university, this time studying a brand new course which hopefully won’t make me want to hibernate all day in my room, eating cheese and crackers and whining about my abject misery to anyone who’ll listen. But never mind that…

I’m all packed – as usual with far too much stuff to take – and aside from the usual last minute panics and remembering things I forgot, I’m ready to head back for Freshers’ Week. Take two!

Trouble is, I’m feeling a little flat. I’ve mentioned this already. Before I got home, I was so full of it. So keen on writing, I bought a few more notebooks – always a necessity – to start journalling by hand whilst my laptop was out of action, I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love, and I couldn’t wait to get home, and start catching up on all my posts. The trouble is, it hasn’t really worked out like that.

Me and the fam after my return

Continue reading “Why is the fun gone? Coming home, feeling guilty and dragging my heels…”

27.5.15; DEHRADUN, India

I’m ill, AGAIN… I swear, there’s not a week goes by that something isn’t wrong with me. What is it this time? THE BLOODY FLU. Seriously. In possibly the hottest place I’ve ever lived, I have a cold.

Thanks, Satan.

Last Tuesday, I finally made good on my promise to the girls, and we went to Shruti’s house to watch the first part of Breaking Dawn; for my sins, I have already seen all the Twilight films, and loathe though I am to promote the ridiculous and unhealthy relationship depicted within them, the girls seem to love it. *cue distressed sighing*

Disclaimer: In no way did I enjoy this film. Any outward appearance of enjoying it will probably have been caused by tiredness and a lack of light in the room required to read the book I’d brought with me in anticipation of boredom and mild amusement at the film. Anyone claiming that I enjoyed it will be sued for slander and defamation of character.

This led to the girls quoting a few scenes from it OVER AND OVER again for the next few days, which is admittedly quite funny, especially when I do it in the required American accents. I concede amusement value, at least.

Continue reading “27.5.15; DEHRADUN, India”

Travel aims a.k.a. what am I doing with my life?

I’ve already written a bit about my reasons for travelling in my article on “voluntourism” and gap year travel, but here’s a rundown for those of you who aren’t sure. Please note that the fact that I gripe on about my problems a little in no way means that I’m not aware of just how insignificant they are in the grand scheme of things, and how lucky I am compared to most.

Thoughtful pose?
Thoughtful pose?

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Voluntourism and the ‘gap yah’ stereotype; young people and the Western saviour complex

I’ve already mentioned how aware I am that sometimes, to those who don’t know much about what I’m doing and why I’m travelling, I could be viewed as just one of the hordes of young people on a gap year to ‘find themselves’ through travel. Maybe I am.

Such a stereotype! It’s one I am definitely familiar with, as many students at my university seem to have already taken a “gap yah”, so called in a mockery of the “rah” accent and background of the typical Exeter student; well off, middle class and privately educated. I assure you that despite falling into the fairly loose “middle-class” category, I am neither rich nor public-schooled. My parents have always made it clear that they will support me, but we don’t have money to throw around, and I am always conscious of my spending. I attended several run-of-the-mill comprehensive schools, and a state college.

So I perhaps don’t quite fit the “Exetah” stereotype, but as far as being a white, middle-class, “Oxbridge-almost” (that’s another story), lacking a regional accent, I suppose I fit some of the criteria. Not to turn this into some kind of tale about what a special snowflake I am, and how I’m not like other people. I am simply writing this to talk about my own feelings on this stereotype and what we can do to dispel it. Continue reading “Voluntourism and the ‘gap yah’ stereotype; young people and the Western saviour complex”