Why I travel

Having recently read an article by Lonely Planet about the reasons why their staff travel, I thought I would write my own responses to cap off 2016. 

I travel because I love the excitement of discovering new landscapes, new cultures and meeting new people. I get terribly bored with routine and I love the unknown and curiosity that comes with being in a new foreign culture. I feel more open to possibilities and people.

My travel highlights of 2016: I have been very fortunate to have concluded a 12 month travel sabbatical that ended in July of this year. So there have been so many travel highlights in 2016.  In January of this year I finally saw Angkor Wat in Cambodia, marking this bucket list destination on a milestone birthday.  

I learned how to scuba dive in Thailand. With the initial plan to gain my PADI open water qualification,  I ended up extending my stay to finish with the PADI Advanced open water qualification. Later in the year, I spent one month on a marine diving conservation trip in the Carribbean. And in July, before normal life was to resume, I travelled to Tanzania on an amazing safari trip. 2016 has definitely been a year of bucket list places and events!

My 2017 travel plans: Scuba diving in the Phillippines, Prague and Finland.

My favourite destinations so far: Iceland,  Galápagos Islands and Venice.

Total countries visited so far: 34

Hiking with the Masai Mara in Tanzania was unforgettable.

Food glorious food – a vegetarian’s guide to Thai food on Koh Tao, Thailand.

I love to eat, especially when abroad in a foreign country. Saving money on food is never in my budget when I travel. 

In this month of January, I am in Thailand, sampling one of my favourite cuisines ever! And the great news is it’s all so cheap! 

During my stay on the island of Koh Tao, I found two places that became my local eating haunts. 

The first is a very simple food stall on the road heading left of the pier if you are facing it (follow the sign to Whitening).

 The woman who runs this place makes the best pad thai for £1.30 a plate! 

 My other favourite food haunt was a vegan vegetarian place called La Carotte Qui Rit on the one way road leading away from the pier and up the hill from the ferry port.

 
The food here is fresh, healthy and MSG free.  I ate here every day, sometimes twice! Here’s a run down of the different dishes I tried.

 I love papaya salad! And for the equivalent of £3.40 a dish including a coconut drink, this became a favourite of mine to order more than once!

 This fried glass noodle dish with shitake mushrooms and veggies is a great energy meal after a day in dive school. £1.90

 This mango salad with a mango drink was a good option for lunch one day. Light and fresh!

 One of the dive instructors at Master Divers told me to try their Massaman curry which is not spicy. I was not disappointed. It was so delicious, I could have eaten two portions, not one. £1.90 for the curry and rice.

 This green vegetable curry with rice and a lemon, mint and pineapple juice cost me £3.79 and filled the spot after a full day of diving. 

 My last meal here after another day of fun dives is a local favourite called Haw Mokk, a thick red curry with veggies for £1.90. 

I’m disappointed I didn’t work my way through the entire menu here at La Carotte. I highly recommend this vegetarian place if you’re on Koh Tao.