The places I visited and the things I did when I was in Thailand, one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to, are not things I will forget.

I’m thankful that when I was there I kept a diary, writing in it every day of the three weeks I was travelling. When it feels like a lifetime ago, I sit, read it and reminisce on my first real adventure. The first time I travelled on my own, the first time I really travelled. Even though this trip was such a long time ago, I feel like it’s the most important one to talk about. It was probably the trip that cemented my desire to see the rest of the world. The first trip which wasn’t a family holiday, laying by a pool or at a beach resort but was an opportunity for me to learn about cultures, traditions, different ways of life for different people, for me to see places I had only previously seen in photographs.

BACKPACKING THROUGH THAILAND

Okay, so maybe I wasn’t completely on my own in Thailand; I had booked myself onto a tour of the country. Backpacking Through Thailand kept popping up on my Facebook timeline and after revisiting the website over and over again, I knew I wanted to go. Talking to my parents about it made me very sure it was never going to happen. They were very much ‘if you want to do it, do it’ but with no real encouragement or help in organising flights and deciding if this company was the right one to go for, I was well and truly overwhelmed.

Although I see myself as pretty independent, I needed a little bit of guidance from someone else (and to know they’d be willing to drop me off and pick me up from the airport on the day). I decided to just go for it. I knew the tour company’s itinerary off by heart and after sending a few emails back and fourth with them, answering a few of my questions, I put my deposit down. I booked myself on to a tour a year in advance, and a good few months later, when enough people had also booked on, the tour was confirmed. Once I had received this news, I paid for my flights outright, choosing to fly direct with British Airways. It was a little more expensive than getting connecting flights, but when travelling solo, to the other side of the world, it felt more reassuring. A Facebook group was also created for others traveling on this tour and I was able to speak to the people I’d be traveling with months in advance, discussing what we were packing and how much money to take made it seem more and more real in the months leading up to my departure.

I couldn’t recommend this travel company more, and anyone looking to visit Thailand, either alone or with a friend, definitely have a look at the Backpacking through Thailand website. Since I went, I’ve recommended the company to my brother and a couple of other girls I know, who all too, had the trip of a lifetime.

The diary I wrote in whilst traveling is battered, its stuffed full of tickets and papers I collected over my three weeks in Thailand and there’s not a chance I’ll throw it away or write it up somewhere else neater.

I may however use it to share my travel stories with others, and encourage people to travel, see things they never knew existed and do things they never thought they would. I only hope I can inspire just one other person to sign up to a tour, jump on that plane and go.

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