Woohoo – post #100! A big thank you to everyone who reads, comments, or mentions to me that they’ve seen a post… it is so fantastic to hear. I’ve been writing this blog since April last year, before I had even left New Zealand, and I have loved sharing my adventures in London and Europe so far.
I’ve got another very exciting year coming up, and even though it’s January, it is already filling up fast with trips. One of the things that struck me the most coming over to London is how fast everything books up – from gigs to restaurants to holiday weekends! Here’s a quick look at the places I’m heading, and a couple more that I’d love to get to this year.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
As I type this I am winging my way to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands for a dose of sunshine and warmth with Gin. I always planned to have some kind of break in the winter – being a summer baby there never seemed any option but to factor one in! With a super-cheap package deal sussed and a long weekend booked in, I could tolerate the super-long evenings and chilly temperatures of London. I’m looking forward to exploring somewhere I’d barely even heard of before moving to London, and of course soaking up some sun!
Nicole and I are heading to Newcastle for Traverse 14, the second annual travel bloggers conference. I’m expecting to learn lots from the different workshops they’re offering, and based on some of the social events they ran over the course of last year, to also have a couple of great party nights!
Just as I knew I wanted to have a sun break, I also knew I wanted to have a snow holiday this year. My family is not a skiing family, and apart from one weekend in the central North Island when I was quite young, my experience of snow has been limited to the annual work weekend away – not exactly conducive to building technique! My friend Kelly is working in Morzine over the season, so I’m heading there for five days of snow, and hopefully will be able to graduate off the beginner slope on my snowboard while I’m there.
This is definitely one of the trips I am most excited about for the year. A few friends and I are doing a 10 day trip round Turkey with Travel Talk Tours. While I’m not big on tours normally, we will be in Gallipoli for ANZAC Day on 25 April. This is the New Zealand and Australian national memorial day, which is an Antipodean pilgrimage made by many. To sleep on the slopes and wake up for the dawn ceremony will be very special for me and is only possible with a tour. In addition to that, we’ll be spending time in Cappadocia hot-air ballooning, and see Istanbul, Ephesus, Troy and much more – I’m very excited to see the country!
Thanks to Nicole’s lightning fast booking skills, I’m lucky enough to be heading to Glastonbury this year, and I can’t wait to experience the mother of all festivals. So far the only headliners that have been announced are Arcade Fire, which suits me just fine as they are one of my favourite bands. I’m crossing my fingers for another amazing summer like last year, but will be packing my wellies, just in case!
That’s all that I have definitely planned so far, but other places on my list include:
Thanks to the awesome folk at GapYear.Com, I won a £600 flights voucher with China Southern Airlines just before Christmas last year. They fly to many places, but given that China was not previously high on my list, I think this is a sign and am planning to spend some time in Beijing and visiting the Great Wall. It’ll also be a great chance to catch up with one of my best friends, Laura, who currently lives in Seoul.
Another trip very high on my to-do list is a sailing trip, and it looks like I’ll be heading to Greece at the end of August to make this a reality! Cruising through turquoise waters, past white-washed buildings and stopping off for olives and swims – sounds like heaven to me.
So far I’ve only experienced Budapest and Dubrovnik, and I’m fascinated by the region from Croatia’s beautiful Plitvice Lakes to Tirana, Sofia and Skopje. I’m not sure whether this will be one bigger trip or a few long weekends, but I’d like to visit this year if I can, so I’ll have to start figuring out how to make this one happen.
The City of Lights is calling my name – it seems crazy to be living so close and not yet have made it back. I’m hoping to visit my Parisian friend Lili sooner rather than later, to see Paris in the spring. In addition my younger sister Zoe is flying over from New Zealand for three weeks in July, and we’re hoping to rent an apartment for at least a few days to practice our French, munch baguettes, and soak up the Parisian atmosphere.
I have a few other places on my dream list including Spain, Iceland, Scandinavia, and Berlin, but we’ll have to see whether those should be saved up for next year. I would like to keep exploring the United Kingdom as well, and would love to fit in trips around the country on any spare weekends. I’m also hoping to make it back to Oktoberfest for another mad weekend of dancing, singing, beer and fun!
What a list! I’m so lucky to have this opportunity to travel, and I’m so glad to be able to make the most of it. Bring on 2014!