Today we are talking about leaving everything and traveling for several months! This is the dream of almost everyone, you too right? And this is what my friend Charlotte (@luluescape) has done! She left everything for traveling for 5 months! She spent 3 months in Asia in 2 months in Australia. How amazing is that?
I met Charlotte one year ago, just after her amazing trip. We immediately find out we had the same passion for traveling and adventures. We even traveled together to Santorini! You can read the post about Santorini here. This girl is really surprising and courageous, and I wanted to share her amazing experience with you! If you are planning a long trip or if you are dreaming to do it, read on! 😉
Traveling for 5 months: the example of Charlotte
Tell me a bit about yourself!
I’m half English, half French, born and raised between London, Ibiza, Madrid, and Paris and I’m currently living in Bordeaux. I’ve always been obsessed with traveling and after living in different countries and having traveled to several destinations in the world, I started my own travel blog Lulu Escapes in 2016 to share all my travel tips and recommendations.
Why did you choose to leave everything and visit Asia for 3 months?
I was tired of my 9 to 5 office job as a lawyer, I went through a break-up and I was about to turn 30 so I decided to pack my bags, give up my Paris life and go traveling on my own to explore new destinations and live in the moment. Plus it was the winter in Europe so I desperately needed some sunshine and beach vibes.
What was your itinerary?
I spent two months in Australia visiting the west coast and the east coast. I then flew to southern Sri Lanka for two weeks. After, I spent a week in Cambodia (mainly Siem Reap) and another two weeks in Vietnam. I visited Laos for a week before spending a few days in Hong Kong and Singapore. I ended my trip with a whole month in Indonesia where I visited Bali, the Gili Islands, Lombok, Komodo, and the Nusa Islands.
What were your favorites countries and why?
That’s such a hard question because each country I visited had something amazing to offer but I’d say that the two countries I would love to go back to explore more of are: Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Sri Lanka has beautiful wild beaches, the food is delicious and the people are really kind. I would love to return one day to visit the center and the north of Sri Lanka. Indonesia boasts some of the most incredible islands in the world and there are so many more I’d love to visit one day. Plus, I found the locals to be extremely pleasant and welcoming, especially in Bali.
What places you didn’t like and why?
Out of all the countries I visited, Vietnam was the destination I liked the least. Probably because I had been dreaming about visiting for many years and I was a bit disappointed once I was there. Overall, the food wasn’t as good as I expected, most Vietnamese were a bit offish and I found a lot of places quite dirty. That being said, Hoi An was my favorite place in Vietnam and one of the highlights of my trip to Asia.
What activities have you done during your trip?
I went on a safari in Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka. It was so nice to see wild animals in their natural habitat and respecting their distance by not getting too close. I did a lot of snorkeling and diving in Indonesia which was incredible, especially Komodo National Park. I also went on a boat cruise around Ha Long Bay in Vietnam which was such a unique experience. Regarding cultural activities, exploring the temples of Siem Reap was one of my favorite activities. There’s no other place on earth like this!
What is your best memory? And your worst?
I have so many amazing memories but I’d say that diving with Manta Rays in Komodo was one of the most memorable experiences of my whole trip in Asia. Overall, everything went really well and the only bad thing that happened to me was in Ho Chi Minh City when a taxi driver tried to rip me off and got all aggressive when I argued about the price. He even threatened to take me to the police. I managed to get out of the car and speak with locals to help resolve the situation. It’s quite a common thing to happen when traveling and it sure isn’t very nice to have to argue with someone who you can barely communicate with…
How have you planned your trip and decided which countries visit?
When planning such a big escape like this, you don’t know where to start. After doing all my research online and speaking with friends, I put my list together and did each one step by step. I kind of already knew that I wanted to travel around Australia and South East Asia. The problem is, that when you start to look into each destination in more detail, you realize that there is an abundance of amazing places to visit and how are you ever going to be able to plan it all?!
The way I did it was to start by making a list of all the countries I wanted to visit, then check when is the best time to visit each country (try to avoid peak seasons, monsoon seasons, etc.) and then make a more detailed list of the main places to visit in each country – read blogs, ask your friends, get inspiration from Instagram, go on Lonely Planet! You might not be able to visit every single place on your list as you’ll want to adapt yourself when you’re there and have some spontaneity but it’s good to have an overall idea.
Don’t forget to check your country’s foreign affairs official website for each country you plan to visit as some destinations might be highly unrecommended. I then booked all internal flights, accommodation, and activities as I went along my trip because it was too complicated to book everything in advance.
What budget do you need for a trip like this?
It’s hard to give a figure because it all depends on the kind of hotels you stay at, the number of activities you do, etc. Day-to-day life isn’t expensive in Asia but as soon as you do tourist activities prices go up very quickly. For example, you might pay the equivalent of 3€ for a meal and then spend 200€ to go diving. Accommodation can range from 20€ a night for a budget hotel to 500€ or more for a luxury hotel.
Do you have advice for someone who’s planning a long trip?
– Don’t stress too much about organizing everything beforehand.
– Sort out all travel visas and necessary vaccinations before traveling.
– Get travel insurance and an international payment card.
– Try to avoid traveling with valuable jewelry or other personal belongings.
You can read more detailed advice here.
What represents traveling for you?
For me, traveling is a way of escaping somewhere new and discovering something different from my day-to-day life. There are so many wonderful countries to explore and sometimes I worry that I won’t have enough time to see it all… I’ve always been obsessed with traveling and I absolutely love planning new adventures!
Do you think this experience made you grow? Why?
I believe that traveling is one of the richest resources in life. It allows you to be open-minded, curious and down to earth. Traveling also helps to understand cultural differences, to learn different languages and to knock down foreign barriers.
Could you resume your experience in a quote?
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”
Are you planning a long trip?
To conclude, I hope you liked this post about “traveling for 5 months” and getting to know everything about the amazing experience of Charlotte! Let us know in the comments!