When I was just 15 I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. In 2012 one of my best friends decided to leave me and start a new life in Canada. To this day I’m still in contact with her. So in April 2015 I left my home in Manchester, drove 3.5 hours down south to London, stayed the night and flew from Gatwick to Calgary. But with who? NOBODY! I flew by myself at 15 years old! The flight was around 12 hours(it was slower due to the wind direction)! ALL BY MYSELF! So I was met by her Dad and then we drove about 1 hour to her house and I’m not joking. I have never seen someone so excited to see me! I was there for 2 weeks and I enjoyed every minute! I did everything from chilling on the sofa to snowboarding. I mean, I had never snowboarded before and to be fair, I wasn’t that bad (when I wasn’t on my arse!). When I was snowboarding I did it in Nakiska. We went to MacKay’s Ice Cream Parlour in Cochrane and even did the longest walk of my life. I’m not joking it was only an hour long but there was this one stretch of road that was never ending.
My favourite days were probably going to the zoo and going to the Malls. Me and Leah got SO MANY free samples of food because… you know my brother, uncle, sister, best friend’s neighbour’s dog wanted one and we were definitely getting it for them.
Vietnam was my first holiday in Asia and it was truly breathtaking. As soon as I landed in Ho Chi Minh City I knew this wasn’t going to be like a holiday to Europe. It was such a culture shock to me! So we went to get our cases. But as everything always goes wrong with my family, only my case arrived. So a bit of backstory… Our flight from MAN-DXB was slightly delayed and we were rushed from our plane in DXB to catch our flight to SGN. So we arrive at SGN and we are waiting… and waiting… and waiting. Then my case comes off so we are like oh its fine don’t worry. And then a board gets put up with names on. In big letters “ALISON FOSTER”. Shit. So we wander over to the luggage desk and they say that due to the flight being delayed the bags didn’t make it onto the plane but they will be on the flight tomorrow and they will be delivered to the Hotel. So we got some compensation and then we headed off to the hotel. Luckily, my Mum had planned for this and put some of her’s and my Dad’s clothes into my case. The cases arrived safely. Phew!
Honestly, Vietnam is absolutely amazing; the food, culture and the scenery! We did so many things from exploring cities (HCMC, Hoi An and Hanoi) to Scuba Diving, which really wasn’t that great! But the highlight of the holiday was Ha Long Bay. Stunning. Ha Long Bay is a collection of rock formations about a 3.5-hour drive from Hanoi. We went on a 2-night, 3-day cruise and went Kayaking, jumped off the ship, and sunbathed. It was truly amazing. I honestly don’t know how the captain could navigate because although every rock is different, they all look the same!
My favourite dish whilst in Vietnam was Pho. The best way to describe it is a noodle soup with meat and veg. It sounds simple but is so nice! I will definitely be visiting Vietnam again!
My most recent trip was to Sri Lanka. We flew from MAN-DXB and then DXB-CMB. We had about a 6-hour wait in DXB before flying to CMB so we decided to book an Airport lounge so we had a comfortable place to sit and have a kip if need be. When we landed in CMB we headed outside where we caught a taxi to the hotel which we were staying in. We stayed in Colombo for 2 nights before heading off to Mirissa. We hired a driver and tour guide for the whole holiday so we could get the most out of our time. Our driver/guide was called Hasantha and I have never met anyone so helpful in my life! He would suggest places to go, he would go out of his way to make sure our holiday was as good as it could be! His vast knowledge of the wildlife made sure I got the best photos possible! We got to jump queues because he knew people, for example at Yala Safari park the queue was about 100 Jeeps long! But we managed to sneak right to the front!
The food in Sri Lanka was amazing! Spicy, but amazing! Chicken and Cheese Kotu Roti was unbelievable. I don’t even know whats in it but it is the tastiest dish I have ever eaten! I’m not going to lie. I really wasn’t excited for Sri Lanka just like I wasn’t for Vietnam, but the country really surprised me! It was absolutely phenomenal. Sri Lanka is definitely still on my travel list!
Travelling has opened my mind so much. It opens you to a new way of thinking and what is quite sad is you don’t realise how lucky you are to be travelling. Local people are always so excited to see tourists and backpackers as they want to show off their country. I can’t wait to continue my travelling based life.