By NICOLE TAN
TRAVELLING has always been a great passion of mine. Ever since I was a child, I have dreamt of taking a plane to the four corners of the world, visiting every country and covering every inch of the planet.
At the age of 19, I flew across the globe to pursue my studies in the Britain. After waving goodbye to my parents I boarded my solo flight, feeling intimidated and nervy but full of anticipation!
Living in the UK was a culture shock to me. The simplicity in food, the heavily accented language, the open work attitude and freestyle study behaviour were all very different to what I was accustomed to back home. But I loved every bit of it and quickly adapted myself to the lifestyle.
One of the best discoveries was the introduction of budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet. By the time I hit 20, when I was out of university, I packed my bags and left my student house in Hull with a few clothes, a passport, credit card and cold hard cash to begin my venture up north alone. Next thing I knew, I had been travelling for two months across Europe.
It was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. Unlike any other travelling experience I had as a child, backpacking gave me a whole new perspective on travel.
There were no wake up calls, no appointed lunch or dinner times, no arranged transport to certain destinations and, most importantly, I did not know where I would be tomorrow or the week after. I was lost and getting lost in a city in an unfamiliar country is the most thrilling experience you can give yourself.
My love for travelling blossomed in those two months. At that moment, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I was not to know that my life would change drastically in the next three years to come.
When Asia's first low-cost airline launched in Malaysia, I was one of the first to jump onto the budget flyer bandwagon.
A year ago, I cleared my desk at my company and drove home humming to myself. It was my last day at work and I'd made the decision to move on to the next phase in life. I quit my job, took up blogging full time and was determined to, finally, travel the world. The following week I took my laptop and flew to Japan.
I have visited quite a number of countries since that day and am still travelling (I should be on my way from Adelaide to Melbourne in Australia while you're reading this).
I've done things I never thought I was brave enough to do, eaten food most would cringe at and met people from all walks of life: an inspirational globe trotter, a self-made multi-billionaire, a 70-year-old retired drug dealer, an 84-year-old diver and his wife!
I've even met a cancer patient living her last moments in life travelling the world. It never ceases to amaze, excite, and inspire me to look at life in a different light. But most of all, I was fulfilling my dreams, I am travelling the world.