So, see ya 2014. I’ve just come back from taking my boyfriend to the airport so he can return to the States, and now the last whirlwind of the year – including Barcelona, Iceland and Christmas in the space of about 2 weeks – seems to be dying down. I’m very ready to end 2014, bring on 2015 and as a pretty inward-looking person, I’ve started thinking about the past year and what I’d like out of the new one.
Considering I have a full time job, I managed to fit in quite a bit of travel. This is what I got up to throughout the year…
February: Boston, USA
Of course, a visit to this US city to see my long-distance boyfriend. We went skiing on Mount Wachusett, an activity I’ve been in love with since I was first put on skis at 2 years old. It was actually at night on Valentine’s Day; a perfect date in my opinion!
See my post about skiing in America here.
May: Berlin, Germany
It was great to set foot on mainland Europe after far too long, and even better to have one of my best friends, Alex, accomany me on this weekend trip. Berlin was a city full of surprises for me, from its history and its attitude towards it to its cheapness and quirkiness, for example through its street art. I would happily go again as it definitely has a lot more to offer.
See my posts about Berlin here.
August-September: West coast trip – from Vancouver, Canada to San Francisco, USA
This was the whopper and very memorable. For those who might be unsure of all my US/North American-related adventures, the west is completely different to the east, as I realised almost immediately after landing.
We (my boyfriend and I) met and stayed in Vancouver, Canada, where we ziplined from mountain to mountain and witnessed Orcas hunt and play within metres of us. We then travelled down through Oregon and California, where we experienced the exquisite beauty of Oregon’s Columbia Gorge River, visited Portland, Crater Lake and drove and camped amongst Redwood trees. We finished in San Francisco, a city so full of character that I would welcome any opportunity to go back. As long as it didn’t involve placing my bum on a bike…
October-November: Boston (again)
I don’t really get bored of going to Boston because travel isn’t just about going to new places, it’s about digging amongst the old and familiar as well. Challenging yourself to find different, intriguing parts of a city you know well sometimes feels like it’s a talent, or nigh on impossible, but it’s rewarding once you do.
I spent Halloween in Boston, something I was interested to see in terms of differences to English traditions. It wasn’t startling, but there were so many more decorations out on the streets than in England. Enough that if you knew nothing of Halloween, you’d ask someone, “What are all these cobwebs and pumpkins with strange faces doing on doorsteps?”
December: Barcelona, Spain and Iceland
I did not realise just how busy December would be until it was the week before heading to Barcelona with my work (not too shabby for a Christmas party…) and I hadn’t packed or got much sorted at all – I was in full Christmas present panic mode.
The first few days in Barcelona, I unfortunately didn’t get to see the city as I was at my work’s conference/Christmas party. I extended my stay over the weekend with a few of the others, where we got involved with a copious amount of tapas and walking tours. Just like when I went to Berlin, it was great to be back in historical Europe (putting aside my home city of London, of course).
Next up was Iceland with my boyfriend, which was a big, big highlight of the year. We didn’t see the Northern Lights (let’s not talk about it… it still hurts…) but the snowy landscape was stunning. Waterfalls like Skogafoss and Gullfoss were surrounded by snow and embellished with icicles and the black sand beaches and Icelandic stories had me hooked. Reykjavik was so lovely to walk around, even when it was freezing in my (super stylish) ski jacket. Lots of blog posts to come, you can count on that.
Highlights: A toss up between Vancouver, Big Sur, San Francisco and Iceland.
So… what’s next for 2015?
There are a few things I’d really like for 2015, a mix of personal and travel. Obviously, I’ll talk more about travel here, but they both intertwine pretty closely most of the time for me anyway.
I don’t have any concrete plans for the new year yet, but this is what I’d like…
Go on a ski holiday
Even though I went in 2014 just outside Boston, it was only for an evening, and – I’m really sorry, Massachusetts – it didn’t compare quite as well to the French Alps. The latter is what I grew up on, and I’d love to go back. There’s a possibility I might get to do this with my family, so we’ll see (and we’ll see how a family holiday goes down after all these years)!
Return to Prague
I’m half Czech and my mum grew up not far from Prague, so I used to visit there with her quite a bit. I haven’t been for a while now, which makes me feel like I need to be reacquainted with a part of myself. I’m learning more of my mum’s Czech food recipes as I want to keep the culture going in my family, and I need to force myself to learn the language (which actually terrifies me as a prospect). Going to Prague with a travel blogger’s mindset will be a good experience.
Go somewhere hot
Ha… sorry, this seems so vague and a little shallow. But I’m a summer person and I realised that I haven’t been anywhere hot where I can regularly hang out in my bikini on the beach for a long time. California was definitely warm, but we didn’t go south enough, and I’m talking more like the Caribbean, Fiji, Bali… or Costa Rica, a destination I’ve had my eye on for a while now and can’t seem to get it out of my mind.
Experience a new culture
Basically, short and simple, I want to go somewhere that takes me out of my comfort zone. Somewhere that lives differently, somewhere unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before. This is again why I think Costa Rica/Central America would be a great shout…
Make a change…
I was talking to my boyfriend the other day about changes: the small and the big. It also reminded me of my post on how everyone should embrace change. I included myself in the title of that post, and I need to take my own advice. I think it’s time to incorporate little changes in my day to make myself feel more relaxed, like yoga, taking walks, carrying on with learning guitar and going on more runs as the weather and length of daylight (hopefully) improve.
But I think it’s time for a big change too. A few plans in the past year have screwed up a bit (I’ll go into those some other time) so I’m determined for 2015 to come through. Things can happen when you make them happen and aren’t scared to do so.
What are your 2015 travel goals? Whatever you want out of 2015, let’s make it happen, yeah?