Last December I started to panic. I was about to hit the danger age of thirty. Alongside the pressures of succeeding in a career and becoming a property owner, society seemed to expect me to settle down, find a partner and reproduce. The thought of me doing this evoked the exact same feeling that I would experience many months later, on the top bunk of the Chinese sleeper train from Chengdu to Guilin; pure claustrophobia.

At some time in my life I would love all these things. But now is not that time. My head teacher understood me perfectly; I love my job at The Joseph Rowntree school but the itchy feet feeling would not go away. I have her to thank for convincing the governing body that a sabbatical year would be a good idea. And it was, I’m now two months into a year of exploring and the itchy feet feeling has gone. My world is now all in a backpack and I’m content. It’s not easy, there are times when all I want is a sofa, Dairy Milk and Downton Abbey on the telly, but not once so far would I swap what I’m doing. I am hugely lucky to have a supportive family, friends and colleagues and thank my lucky stars every day for the opportunity I have been given.

The plan is loose, we’ve done China and Laos, hopefully we’ll hit Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji before arriving in California, where I’m joining the Del Oro team led by Greg Kelderman on the south west trip he runs each year. That will be the icing on the cake of an amazing year!

The blog started as just a diary for Laura and me to record our experiences. Maybe you’re a family or friend from back home, or someone we’ve met along the way. Either way, thank you for looking us up. I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures, hopefully it’ll make you want to plan your next one!

Love Katie xxx


About Katie:

Age: 30

Profession: Chemistry teacher at The Joseph Rowntree School, York


  • Staring out of the window on long bus journeys
  • Sticky rice
  • Sunshine
  • Dairy Milk fruit and nut


  • Rats
  • Chinese train toilets
  • The smell of body odour from the man sitting next to me on the bus
  • Hostels “accidentally” losing our reservation


Every now and again in life you get distracted by a stick in your walking sandal, you bend to remove it, and then straighten up to walk face first into a tree. Before your brain even registers the pain in your bleeding nose, it registers shock, because the tree was huge and you didn’t even see it coming.

This happened to me when hiking in China but also, metaphorically, in life too. I got distracted by work, or money, or love and when I looked up, BOOF, life hit me right between the eyes.

I realised it was time for me to go and have the adventure I’d been dreaming about since reading, The Famous Five, as a child. All I needed was a great friend (hello Katie Holmes), a bit of treasure (thank you HSBC) and lashings of ginger tea (excellent after food poisoning).

And here I am!

As Katie mentioned, we are keeping this blog both as a personal diary and also to keep our family and friends updated during our journey. The tips, advice, encouragement and comments we’ve been left have been hugely supportive – thank you to all those back home who always want the best for us.

About Laura…

Age: 27

Profession: Teacher


  • Learning new things!
  • Teaching


  • Idle chit chat around the breakfast table (I’m just not a morning person).

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy our blog! 🙂

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