2013 has been one of the most varied years of my life. Here is a run down.
I began the year in a very bad place: teaching English in Istanbul. My home was awful, my landlord was one of the worst human beings I have ever had the displeasure of meeting, and my job was less satisfying that ice sculpting in the desert. The best thing that happened to me in Istanbul (besides çiğ köfte) was the Gezi Park riots, when the centre of the town went into meltdown. I ran through the broken streets amidst the semi-chaos and hooligans who were jumping on the ‘bash the police’ bandwagon so that I could snap a few photos.
After gratefully escaping Istanbul, I wanted freedom. I, along with Leah and Daniel (two really great people), bought £30 bicycles and cycled from my family home in England, 1000 miles to Daniel’s family home in Slovakia. We slept outside almost every night (except when people invited us in), and foraged / went skipping for food when we could. In Amsterdam we were arrested for sleeping outside, although sadly couldn’t attend our court hearing.
After reaching Slovakia, the three of us and Patrick (our Danish addition) fulfilled a childhood dream by becoming pirates. What could be a better sense of freedom than getting onto a river and floating down it? We made our raft from old barrels and recycled billboards, trying to be an environmentally friendly as possible. We cooked dinner over open fires each night and slept on the side of the river until a couple of weeks into our journey, we were arrested once again, and made to dismantle the raft. We managed to recycle every part of it.
After the rafting, we split up. Leah and I hitchhiked through Poland, Ukraine (where we rented a cottage that caught on fire), Moldova, and Romania, before she left to teach English in South Korea. I then went to camp in the world’s second most haunted forest before visiting my family in the UK.
My original plan was to then journey overland towards Asia. After a dramatic change of heart, I am instead going to Korea to work on some personal projects and to start walking. After leaving Korea a year and a half ago and starting this blog, I never ever thought that I would go back (in fact I publicly proclaimed that I wouldn’t go back to teach).
2013 has been an interesting year, but I am even more excited for 2014. It starts on a small island in South Korea. Watch this space.
This post forms part of the ‘Where Have You Been?’ series. Check out some of these interesting people and where they have been during the past one or many years.
Everywhere We’ve Been on the Globe by Gabi of The Nomadic Family
How Many Countries Did We Travel in the Last 574 Days by Erin of Travel With Bender
Everywhere I Have Been in my Life by Alyson of World Travel Family
No Schengen Visa by Heidi of Wagoners Abroad
2013 Review by Manfred of Renegade Travels
2013 Country Run Down by Amy and Andrew of Our Big Fat Travel Adventure
How Many Countries Have We Been To? by Renee of RambleCrunch
20 Years of Travel by Emiel of Act of Traveling
Our Favourite Family Spots by Laurel of Capturing La Vita