My name is Jo, a 28 year old from Reading, UK. I’ve spent the last few years working to fund travel and exploration around the world. I left the UK over two years ago in January 2015 – backpacking around Asia and Australia for 2 months, before arriving in New Zealand. I’ve been in NZ for just over two years, and I’ve just submitted my application for residency – who knows when I’ll be back on UK soil!
Why Slap on Sunscreen?
I wanted something unique for my blog name – something no one else would have. I didn’t want the generic ‘Jo goes travelling’, ‘Jo’s adventures around the world’, ‘Jo goes abroad’ nonsense. So I settled on something a little more obscure. You may ask, why the strange name? Well, it’s because I’m ginger. And we need our sunscreen! I set this blog up initially for my first backpacking trip… but in all honesty, I didn’t really need it on my European travels – not really the right kind of year – but, in anticipation of further travels, I decided to stick with the name.
Just a little about me…
I first realised I'd caught the travel bug when I returned from my first major (I say major because this doesn't include family holidays!) trip abroad in 2006 – a month long adventure with my school to Uganda. We climbed mountains, painted schools, played with children and of course did the mandatory safaris of Africa; it was amazing. I then headed off to Swaziland in my gap year, this time as a volunteer at a Pre-School. With University looming I came to the realisation that I'd been well and truly had and I'd want to go here, there and everywhere for the rest of my (young) life.
Whilst at University I participated in a hitchhike to Morocco – an event run by the charity Link Community Development who raise money to fund education in sub-saharan Africa. This was an exhausting but rewarding 6 days spent hitching through France and Spain, but with a fantastic holiday in Morocco afterwards!
In 2010 I headed off to America to spend 3 months at a summer camp in upstate New York. This again was a fantastic experience. I worked as a counsellor at a camp for underprivileged kids; it was tough, but totally worth it. Three weeks was spent travelling with friends afterwards, this included visits to Washington DC, Boston and of course NYC.
And so in 2011 I graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Theology. I luckily secured a job fresh from University and spent the next 18 months living and working in digital marketing in Nottingham. Having begun to get restless with the daily grind, I decided to pack it all in and head off to France for my first ski season. Unfortunately however, this didn’t work out so I found myself back in my hometown, living with my parents, and without a job. This was swiftly rectified and I continued to work in marketing.
It quickly became clear that I craved to be on the move, to wake up in a new place, to explore the world and to experience somewhere a bit further away from home. A week after leaving my job I packed my rucksack and set off on my first solo trip – backpacking around Europe – something I’d wanted to do ever since my brother came back from his trip a few years ago. I decided to be spontaneous and only booked the first leg of my journey. Travelling out of season has huge benefits in that respect!
I spent 2 months travelling around Europe. Not knowing where I was going next until the last minute, arriving in some places with no where to stay, and relying on advice from others about where to head next. It was exhilarating and I loved every minute.
This trip around Europe was something like a fresh start for me. After another year at home raising funds for more adventures, and a fantastic trip to Jordan (and I-P) for a month in the middle, I finally booked flights to Asia, Australia and New Zealand. And so that brings us up to today. Having left home in January 2015, backpacked around Vietnam and Cambodia for 6 weeks and a quick stint in Melbourne for 2, I am currently in New Zealand on a work visa where I hope to stay for the foreseeable future.