I have big exciting news that I quite literally can't hold in any longer! If you can't deal with people abusing exclamation marks I'd just close this now and move on, I'm probably gonna be expressing my excitement via the medium of punctuation a whole lot...
In January I'm leaving Brighton and going travelling indefinitely!!! INDEFINITELY! Such a huge word needs caps lock. After months of talking this over with Nick, throwing around ideas and making plans, the reality of just how big a deal this is has only sunk in in the last week. It's been my dream to travel, and not just to go on holidays and sojourns away from home, but to really travel, since I was a teenager. And it's happening. Like, really seriously actually happening. Flights have been booked. Backpacks have been purchased. I'm spending more time than usual devouring travel blogs and guide books. I'm in possession of a head torch and I'm so ready to add some more pins to my map. Although there won't be a map because I won't have a pin board. Or walls.
The wheels are in motion and I'm having so many feelings about leaving Brighton. Aside from the missing my favourite people issue weighing on my heart I didn't think I'd be all that bothered about leaving Brighton. I've been here for ages and it's definitely time for a change but I am definitely bothered. I've lived here for over 12 years, I moved here when I was 19. I made best friends here. I removed toxic people from my life here. I met Nick here. I discovered feminism and veganism here. I grew up here. I became me here. Hell, the name of my blog says everything about how attached I am to this place! To me Brighton feels like a huge vegan friendly village and I adore that feeling. It also feels like my home...I guess it is my home, my roots are tangled all over the place.
There are so many amazing memories attached to Brighton and it's going to be hard to leave.
I've already put Operation Icing on an indefinite hiatus (which I totally feel guilty about btw - I hate disappointing people and I know that people love cupcakes!) because there's just so much to do before I can just up and leave. A whole lot of work needs to be done to make my house rentable, Nick and I are in the middle of it now hence the lack of blogging in the last week or two, painting and sanding and sorting and having builders and scaffolders in and out of the house the whole time is exhausting and dirty (I'm a total clean freak, I'm not ashamed to admit I cried about the amount of dust everywhere last week) and not conducive to creativity at all. Hence this blog post, I need to focus on why I'm doing this! I want to see the world. I want to step way outside my comfort zone. I want to experience new places and smells and tastes. I want to meet and engage with new people and spend time with friends who are scattered around the globe.
Where am I going? Bangkok to start with to take on SE Asia. I depart mid January (My SAD is very happy about the shorter winter!) and will be heading straight to Thailand's islands for some relaxing beach time. It seems like the perfect way to ease into this new lifestyle. A month later I'll be at Elephant Nature Park, somewhere I've wanted to volunteer at ever since I heard of it's existence. Next I'll be travelling around Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia for sure, Indonesia, Malaysia and more if there's time.
I'm speaking at Vida Vegan Con in Austin (about travel of course!) in late May and to make the flights super worthwhile I'm going to be sticking around for five weeks before flying back to the UK to pick up a camper van (a teeny tiny camper van!) which I'll be living in and travelling around Europe in all summer...or until it gets too cold to be living in a van with no heating. Currently my plans look like this but I'm sure they'll morph into something a little different once we're on the road.
Then where? I'm not sure! Maybe back to Thailand for the Vegetarian Festival, Tesagan Gin Je, and to explore some of the parts of SE Asia that I didn't get to on the first trip. Maybe Australia and New Zealand. Maybe Central or South America. Hawaii? China? Fiji? The possibilities are endless and not knowing where I'll be this this time next year is part of the appeal.
I'll be doing all of this with Nick and I'm so excited that we're ready to embark on our next adventure. He's one of the main reasons that, to channel Chandler Bing, I couldn't be any more excited about this trip - I'm going to be spending every day having amazing adventures with my bff4lyfe and it's going to be so fucking rad! We both juggle anxieties (and I'm allergic to chilli!) so I don't for a second think that our journey is going to be easy or stress free but I want to be challenged, I need to do something new. Whether we're gone for one year or ten I'm ready.
Of course I'll still be eating all of the vegan food I can find and writing about it here. I'm working on some fun updates and tweaks to the blog but the name and site are staying the same, moving my real location is enough upheaval without moving my virtual locale as well! I'll always be Vegan in Brighton in my heart even if my physical self is elsewhere. ♥