Preparing for a Life Changing Experience – by Master Divers Life Winner Katie Woodroffe

Is it the 28th of August yet? That is the day I fly out of Birmingham and begin my journey to Koh Tao. I can’t hide the fact that I have been watching an endless amount of travel vlogs on the island- I could probably write an entire book on the paradise-like setting.

Really though, how does one prepare for something that promises to be a life changing experience? If I’m honest, I feel as though I have been preparing for this for a while. Since I left my last job and moved back to England from Thailand at the end of last year, I have made several changes in my life so that I could gear myself towards achieving a career in the Scuba diving industry. But none of this felt wrong or out of place, it all felt well timed and almost synchronistic with elements of serendipity intertwined into events. Maybe preparing for a life changing experience is easier when you’ve already envisioned it.
Either way, since this vision has become real, there have been a few preparations I have had to make to ensure my journey to my new home is as smooth as can be.

I Quit My Job…
Upon returning to England last year I began working part time at a pub that I worked at when I was 19. It was certainly strange going back and I bumped into lots of familiar people. Since finding out that I was the winner of Master Divers Life, I have handed my notice in and have already been saying my goodbyes to the people that I serve across the bar. I think I seem a little eager to leave, but I don’t mind.

..And got Myself a Visa
This went surprisingly well. I had gotten a visa for Thailand before, and remember it taking a while to sort out. But this time all it took was a few emails and a phone call and I was able to pick up my visa the following day from the Thai Consulate in Cardiff. Luckily, my boyfriend and I had planned this around a three-day trip to Pembrokeshire in South Wales, and we were in and out of the office in minutes.

I Started Packing (yes.. already)
It may be 4 weeks until I fly, but I have always been the kind of person to begin making a pile of things earlier than necessary! I always aim to travel light, yet always seem to take clothes with me that I never use (like the 50 bikinis I have already bought). In all seriousness, I will only be taking a bag or two with me, a carry on back pack and a larger bag for the hold luggage.

Finally, I Carried on Diving!
The weather here in England is ridiculously warm. It apparently is the hottest summer we have had in 100 years – don’t quote me on that though. But it has presented the perfect opportunity to make the most of open water diving here in the UK. I even dived without a hood and gloves last week, something that I had not yet done in the UK! I live right in the centre of England, so diving in the sea is not something we do often. However, we have a lovely quarry close by that I visit on a regular basis along with other divers from the centre that I did my Dry Suit Speciality and PADI Rescue Diver courses with. My Dry Suit Speciality was completed at a quarry called Capernwray back in February and the water temperature was a chilly 5 degrees Celsius – that is one memory of UK diving that I will not forget in a hurry!

It’s been a great six months with them, and I will really miss them when I leave. But I cannot wait to get back diving in the ocean again- diving quarries in dry suits really has been an amazing experience and I have enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, but there is nothing like the wonders and beauty of the deep blue (and the warmth of the tropics!). Until then, here is a photo of me on my last dive, on PADI Womens Dive Day, feeling all free and happy without the restriction of a hood and gloves!!

So that’s it really, I’ll be getting my head down at work for the next few weeks and when I begin my journey over to Thailand, I will be sure to capture some footage and throw a little vlog together once I have arrived and settled in, so keep an eye out for updates!

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