Hi! My name is Laura and I have (started to!) put together this blog. I am a 25-year-old English graduate who recently quit her banking job to travel around India and South East Asia. This is something myself and my partner Matt have been dreaming about and planning for a long time, finally it is becoming a reality! Both working in demanding 9-5 jobs we have spent the last year and a half pouring over lonely planet guides, saving every penny we can and coping with the stress of everyday life by saying, ‘this time next year we will be…..’

I first went travelling after I graduated in 2013. It was a hedonistic six weeks in Thailand and Cambodia, filled with not much more than buckets, beach parties and massages. After a back breaking year of studying and achieving more than I hoped for, I just wanted to party in the extreme! This I succeeded in, but the trip also ignighted a desire in me for more. I loved the feeling of being free to spend your days how you wanted, the thrill of new experiences and challenges and the communal and friendly atmosphere among travellers. So when a few months later, in a grey Tesco carpark, Matt asked me whether I would want to go travelling with him, there was only one possible answer!

Originally the aim of our trip was to experience new countries, learn about other cultures and generally have fun together. But as time has gone I have come to think of the six months as a period of self development and an opportunity to do other things I love. The most significant of my other passions is reading.

I read anything that sounds interesting to me, which can be both fiction and non-fiction, and usually at least one from each category at a time. I tend to read contemporary bestsellers to see what the hype is about, sometimes getting it, sometimes not! I also read classic novels and am currently working my way through a seemingly never-ending list of books that I feel I ‘should’ read in order to be an enlightened and committed book lover. Some of my favourite fiction books are Jane Eyre, the Oryx and Crake trilogy (in fact most books by Margaret Atwood), Harry Potter (of course), All the Light You Cannot See (Anthony Doerr) and Fugitive Pieces (Anne Michaels).

Other non-fiction books I read are often around the topics of sex/sexuality/gender/relationships, usually from a feminist perspective and offering an alternative to widely held stereotypes and beliefs. (My interest in sex is purely academic of course….) I enjoy some poetry, particularly by Carol Ann Duffy and also have an obsession with Japanese haikus.

In this blog you will find articles about the places that I have visited, including any tips that I think may be useful to people intending to undertake a similar journey. I will also post reviews of some of the books that I have read along the way. The countries I will be visiting are: India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, The Philippines, Tawain and Indonesia. The whole trip will be six months.

I read for too many reasons to list here, but it strikes me that some of the reasons I read are the same as the reasons I travel. I want to learn more, about everything, and have experiences to remember and treasure. Both reading and travelling develop your sense of empathy and compassion, values which are really important to me. I want to broaden my perspective on life and feel like I’m truly living, whether that’s by getting on a plane or enjoying a good book.

Join me on my literal and literary journey!