The two fortnight-long road trips which Global Grad offer between study hub locations are a highlight of the semester. Complimentary to the slow travel you will do in your main locations, you will be able to see many iconic sights within a short period as well as using many modes of transport.
Some people loved the road trips whereas others (still loved it, but) found it a bit annoying having to pick everything up and get it out each time. How can you make it more convenient? Here are a few suggestions:
Before you head out on your Global Grad semester, have a trial week where you can only live out of what you have placed in your backpack. Then, take out what you don’t use. This will make your bag a lot lighter as you will realise you aren’t as dependent on some of your things as you will believe! This will make carrying your bag around a lot easier and convenient.
ORGANISE YOUR THINGS
It’s your first night of the road trip and you’ve put the thing you need right at the bottom of your bag, meaning you have to empty it all out…damn! Before going on your road trips, make sure you note what you’ll need the most e.g. clothes and toiletries. An easy way to organise is getting packing cubes- then you can pull these out rather than trawling through all your individual items.
MAKE YOUR BAG IDENTIFIABLE
On some occasions, you’ll be travelling with solely fellow Global Grad’s, on others, you will be with large crowds. On the January 2019 semester, several students had the same backpack! Find a way that will make your bag unique looking so you can spot it in a crowd. One cool idea which some students used was stitching the patches of the countries you have visited on your backpack. This will be great memorabilia and will help you spot your things.
MAKE SURE YOUR BAG IS COMFORTABLE
If your straps aren’t evenly weighted or the distribution of your things isn’t even, then you could easily do some short- or long-term damage to your back. Before you go, find out what you’re comfortable carrying and don’t go over that, and organise your bag so it won’t cause an injury. 20% of your bodyweight is an ideal guide of the maximum amount you should carry, but if you go over this, make sure it isn’t too extreme.
GET USED TO A VARIED ROUTINE
Some nights you’ll be in a hostel, others you may even be able to have a room to yourself or with a friend. Maybe you’ll sleep on a train or in a bus. Either way, the variety of activities will mean that you’ll be having early nights some days and will be up into the early hours of the morning on others. You will end up tired by the end of the road trip, but you will have so many memories that you’ll think it’s worth it.
In the multiple weeks you get in your study hub locations, you will begin to pick up on little hacks to get around the city, such as which alleyways are safe and accessible and how to cross roads (which is much more important than you’d expect in South East Asia). However, you will not be in the cities you will be visiting on your road trips long enough to know the tricks of the trade. Follow the advice of your Location Managers, the locals and be aware of your surroundings and belongings and you will be fine.
The road trips contain plenty of activities which you will not be able to do again in your lifetime/very often. Make the most of it and take the leap! You may want a couple of lazy days during the fortnight but use it as a chance to explore the amazing cities, islands and nature parks that Global Grad are taking you to.
About the author
Jasmin Dawling is one of Global Grad’s January 2019 students and is completing a full-time Bachelor’s degree with the Open University in International Studies. While this is her first time formally blogging, she has had plenty of writing experience in the past, from novel writing since the age of six to working on the school newspaper. Apart from seeing the sights of South East Asia and working on her degree, Jasmin spends most of her time either procrastinating or writing down her novel ideas, be it on her travelling-inspired new ideas or the 7-part series she’s been toying with for almost ten years.