OK so I haven't been the most religious of posters in the last few months but everything has been a bit up and down and A LOT has changed, been planned and put into action.
Having flirted with the prospect of moving to London - locking myself in the lions den and fighting for scraps to survive - I've made a few decisions that will see me live day to day life in a rather different place......Taiwan!
Part of my decision not to push for a move to the English capital was financial. The appeal of internships on £100 a week just isn't a realistic possibility if you have to up sticks and move from Yorkshire. I'm not lucky enough to have a bundle of savings or inherently wealthy parents to fall back on. Nevertheless my experiences in London, the people I have met and the work I have had published, have no doubt helped me to the decisions I have made.
In May I will be travelling again, only this time I will also be working. I have my first paid travel journalism job with a company called Gap Daemon (http://www.gapdaemon.com/). Having had contact with them before and them knowing about my enthusiasm for both travel and writing I contacted them to ask about the possibility of contributing to their publication whilst away in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Putting a smile on my face, they said yes and are keen to take articles and updates from me as I roam through parts of South America. The specifics for larger articles hasn't been set but I am hoping to write around the subject of having fun on a PROPER shoestring budget. The thrills, spills, parties and landscapes you can get yourself too without having to go over what you think is already a miniscule budget for backpacking. Corner cutting is easy if you know the benefits of it at the end of the day so watch this space......
Obvisouly South America is a short term thing but the start of something really good regarding the journalism side things. It is a continent I have wanted to travel to for years and always the one most backpackers seem to be aiming for when you meet them elsewhere - I will be keeping my blog in the know with updates, pictures, videos and features.
Landing back in the UK on July 20th, I'm giving myself less than three weeks turnaround time before I jump the UK ship once more and set sail for Taiwan. Unfortunately I'm not going solely for journalism reasons but thankfully I've been accepted into a company that has positions to teach English as a foreign language to Taiwanese children. I've got some experience in teaching from my time in Africa but other than that I have a degree in Journalism, a thirst for travel, a pretty out going personality and a burning ambition to live and work outside of the UK.
Being a teacher will not mean I lose sight of becoming a journalist. I will still be writing regularly for papers back home in my local area and hopefully more and more oportunities will emerge from my work with Gap Daemon.
Taiwan is a growing country and before too long I can easily imagine it becoming the 'in' place for people to visit. It is well situated for making access to places like Japan, Hong Kong, China, Philippines, Thailand etc cheap and easy. The job opportunities for native speaking English people are ridiculous. Job hunting was not too difficult and once a Skype interview and a few applications had been nailed, a confirmation of acceptance e-mail quickly followed. There seems to be a strong will in Taiwan for English to be taught to children by educated, western adults.
For anyone reading who is interested, I applied with a company called Hess and you can find all you need to know on their website (http://www.hess.com.tw/). The money is good, the lifestyle is high and the expereinces with be rewarding and unique. It wont quite be travelling as such but working and living abroad, especially Asia, has been something I have wanted to do for a while and with opportunities to write for various publications whilst away in these weird and wonderful places, I'm already getting closer to legitimately being able to call myself a Travel Journalist!
***Keep checking back for my '10 places to see in 2012', which is coming soon.