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Englishman Nick Braund gave up the day job to travel the world, taking in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji amongst others...



Why did you decide to go travelling?
I had worked in London for four years and was ready for a prolonged break after a family holiday to the West Coast of America that got my travel impulses racing! I also had recently broken up with a long-term girlfriend and was coming to the end of my flat lease. It was fairly impulsive in so much that I made the decision quickly and then that was it but it was thought through. When I had decided to go, I planned a lot to make sure I did everything I could and wanted to when I was away.

Did you go it alone? Was that daunting?
I did go alone and that was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It allowed me the freedom to literally do anything that I wanted to from booking a new flight and changing my schedule at moment's notice to deciding what I wanted for dinner! It was daunting though. My first flight took me to Toronto and I had never travelled alone or even stayed in a hostel. Quickly you realise that you're never alone and there are hundreds of people out there like you who want to do some of the things you want to do and you just do them together.

Did you make friends?
Yes and yes – I think you have to or risk being isolated. The kitchens were always great places to get chatting and within minutes of arriving in a new place, or country for that matter, you've already made new friends. It's just about being able to say 'hi' to a stranger and being open to people doing the same to you. If you're introverted and don't put the effort it, I'm sure you could stay on your own for a long while...

Where did you travel?
Canada, USA, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.

Why Australia, New Zealand and Fiji in particular?
I was never really bothered about Australia to be honest but had heard so many great things that I wanted to go to New Zealand and thought it would be silly not to include Oz as I was so close!
NZ was always described as a phenomenal place, with so much to see and do, and it really is. Oz is also very cool though and I'm really glad I decided to go there for two months. Travelling up the coast was amazing and led to be camping on Fraser Island, sailing around the Whitsundays and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef – all once in a lifetime stuff.
Fiji was obvious. I was flying home via LA so knew I would be travelling over Fiji so thought I'd finish my trip with a holiday from a holiday… and island hop in paradise. Not exactly a tough decision to take!

And what were your trip highlights?
Scuba diving with bull sharks in Fiji, learning to ski in Whistler, Canada, the Thai beach parties, sky diving, bungee jumping, and simply waking up in a completely new country with just a backpack and hopefully some money!

How did you travel?
Every mode of transport going - Flights, cars, buses, boats, seaplanes, trains, and even tuk-tuk. You name it, I took it.

Did you research the trip before you left?
Yeah I did quite a lot of research before I left the UK and if I took the trip again I wouldn't do so much because the best research you can do is chat to the people you meet in hostels. They will have pretty much done all the "touristy" things already or know someone who has.

What did that research consist of?
Internet, chatting with friends and tips from my travel agent.

How did you decide on your destination(s)? 
I really wanted to go to Japan, Canada and New Zealand, and added the others because of proximity, interest and recommendations.

Did you work at all while you travelled? 
Not a single day. It was another good decision!

What was your accommodation like?
My accommodation was much better than I expected (on the whole). Hostels have a bad reputation but they're actually perfect for what you want – good location, cheap and full of people and alcohol!

Did you have any problems on your trip? How did you overcome them?
I had my tablet and iPhone, wallet, etc stolen in two separate incidents. The latter really shook me and I was ready to come home but spoke with my parents who convinced me that I was just in shock and reacting, to take time and weigh up the situation and then decide. I'm so glad I didn't come home as I would have missed out on so much.

Did you need jabs?
A couple of boosters but that was it.

Did you need any visa?
Yep, visas for Oz, Singapore and a few others.

Did you take travel insurance?
Yep. I booked a cheaper one to start with and that was a mistake. The security that everything can be replaced is incredibly important. You really should be able to lose anything because it may well happen and you need to be ready.

How did you book? 
Through a travel agent. 

What advice do you have for those of doing something similar? 
Before I left, my Dad drove me to the airport and said "you always regret the money you don't spend" and that stuck with me every day. You can't invest in an experience like that and not do everything you want. I kept that saying in my head and the made me do some things I never thought I would, and because I did, I now have memories that I'll never forget.

For travel tips and advice visit tntdownunder.com/travel.


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