I really wanted 2015 to be a great travel year, and for the most part I succeeded – even with knowing I’d be trying to move country and the necessity to save up for that.
That meant that it wasn’t consistent travel all year – after my February fun, I had to keep my head down and save like crazy until mid-year when everything went crazy in a whole new way.
Six countries (two brand new), my first real solo travel trip, two family holidays and a whole country move, 2015 has definitely been the most eventful for a while!
Here’s my year in travel followed by my goals for 2016…
I’m lucky enough to have learnt to ski in the French Alps since I was two years old, so it’s one of my favourite places in the world. You cannot beat those mountain views!
How to get to the French Alps via Eurostar
I experienced the tail end of the crazy cold winter Boston (and New England/eastern North America) had – and I definitely timed my visit during a spell where the weather was much more forgiving.
In the new year I’ll make sure I have a lot more posts about Boston – I’ve been weirdly neglectful!
Costa Rica and Panama
This was my first ever (proper) solo travel trip and it was mentally exhausting, exhilarating, challenging and a weird adventure. There were definitely highs and lows, but my best memory would have to be my time on Bocas del Toro.
Nerves before my first solo trip
Cloud Forests and Sloths in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Cerro Chato, Costa Rica: A Short but Tough Hike
Why I was disappointed with Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
7 Things I Learnt on my Solo Travel Trip
My love for Bocas del Toro, Panama
6 moments of worry during solo travel
This was an amazing highlight of the year: celebrating my dad’s birthday by going on a family holiday cruising around Norway. We hiked, we ate, we saw fjords, we ate. We really ate a lot.
Photo Diary through Norway’s fjords
Beautiful Norway: Skjolden’s Hikes & Waterfalls
Beautiful Norway: Olden’s Glaciers & Fjords
Moved to Canada
The biggest change of the year! Finally my boyfriend and I moved in together, putting an end to long distance. It was a crazy whirlwind and it took us a while to sort everything out, from visas to making our apartment homely. It feels totally normal to live with him and I’ve been relatively calm over the whole change that sometimes I wonder if I’m dreaming or in some trance?
Toronto Neighbourhood: Church-Wellesley
Things already confusing me about Canada
Highlights of Living in Toronto
Another return to Boston! I don’t think I’ll get to the point of calling Boston a home away from home at this point but now that I’ve been there plenty of times, it holds a lovely familiarity and understanding – I love revisiting favourite places, discovering more and building up my connection with the city.
We went for a quick trip here for Osheaga Festival, which was pretty awesome: I finally got to see Florence and the Machine, among other amazing acts, a lot of drinking in the intense sun and feeling a little sick on a pulled pork poutine (worth it).
Bruce Peninsula National Park
This was another highlight of the year – this area in northern Ontario is utterly beautiful, beyond anything I imagined in this Canadian province! We camped beside an incredibly clear lake and walked along the coastline which was more reminiscent of the Mediterranean or the Caribbean than Canada.
Reasons to Visit Bruce Peninsula
I took a little trip to New York in order to see a few friends: one of my best friends from university, Sarah; a friend I met in Costa Rica, Jenny; and a colleague from the UK who recently moved back to NYC, Annemarie. I packed WAY too much into a few days, but had a lovely time wandering around SoHo and taking in the view from the Rockefeller Center.
This was my second Thanksgiving in the US as an honorary Brit visitor ready to take advantage of piles of yummy food. It was lovely to visit the quiet little town my boyfriend grew up in – as much as I love city views, it was nice to have trees infront of my sunsets instead of buildings.
LA & Vermont
I’ll be spending Christmas in Long Beach and LA with my boyfriend’s family and then we’ll be swapping beaches for snow when we head to Vermont to ski over New Year’s!
2015’s goals – did I achieve them?
All in all, 2015 was a decent year for doing the things I set out to do – no wonder, as I frequently felt in limbo and stagnant (a lot to do with my long distance relationship). There are things I didn’t do, but I’m not going to beat myself up about them.
Go on a ski holiday
Yay, I did this! Can’t express enough how much I love skiing and the mountains.
Return to Prague
Unfortunately, I didn’t. It would have meant a lot to me and I feel slightly disappointed in myself for not making the time, but there were a few more immediate things to prioritise. I will make it back though!
Go somewhere hot
Ah yes, the superficial wish! I’m glad to say I did during my solo trip: Costa Rica was hot but not that sunny, but Panama had beautiful weather. It’s part of the reason I adore Bocas del Toro.
Experience a new culture
Central America was where this played out, especially given my lack of language skills!
Make a change…
In my original post, I referred to the little daily changes to make yourself happier, but what I was mainly talking about was moving country. While I was still in my job, I couldn’t really go blasting around about how I wanted to start the Canadian visa process and be able to finally be in the same location as my boyfriend.
So, I’m now living in Canada with said boyfriend, so I’d say that’s a pretty monumental change and a goal well-achieved.
Goals for 2016
To be entirely honest, this has been difficult to think about – so much of my energy has been focused on dealing with 2015’s goals that I’ve not had the same definite stance on what I want from 2016.
But, ever the thinker, I was sure to come up with a couple of things…
Don’t take my 20s so seriously
Sometimes I feel like I’m in a major rush to do everything I possibly can in my 20s. For some reason, I feel pressure to fully prepare and set up certain aspects of my life; “I should be here at this point, I should be doing this right now”. I’ve actually said the phrase (more than once): “I haven’t really done much with my life yet”, and I’m only just 24.
A 24 year old who’s lived in three countries, visited between 20-30 of them, had a full education and has curated and stuck with a blog for over three years, no less.
That is ridiculous.
Yet I’m probably not alone. 24 is young, yet even when I type this I’m slightly freaking out. It’s not even that I have a particular age in mind on when I should have achieved A, B or C. So 2016, I will try to chill and freak out less on you.
Do something I’ve always wanted to do
Kind of cryptic and vague, so I’ll expand. I want to see, do and experience a lot – just ask my boyfriend who daily hears me say, “ohhh, I want to go there” or “how amazing would it be to do this?!” followed by thrusting a laptop screen or book in his face.
But there are those special things. The things I’ve wanted to do for so long, and have such a deep connection to doing – I suppose kind of as though it would change me somehow, or something that’s also fairly nostalgic as it’s been in my mind since I was a little girl.
So, I think it’s time I do one of these things. Whether that’s swimming with whale sharks or dolphins (in the wild), dog sledding, seeing the Northern Lights, going on safari, head back to Australia (and do the thousand or so things I want to do there, new and old), work on my surfing in a beautiful and warm destination, volunteer with elephants in Thailand, go to Antarctica, see Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands…
I could so easily go on. These are things that have a special place in my heart that I think would be enough to make me cry once I’ve experienced them – but life, other plans, conveniences and expenses get in the way. In 2016, I want to make sure I go out of my way to achieve a few.
See more of Canada and USA
Now that I’m living in Toronto, different places I’m not used to thinking about are in closer reach. I want to make the next year, until my visa is up, about making sure I see as much of my adopted country and its neighbour, the US, as much as possible.
I’m hoping to see polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, head for Caribbean weekend breaks, finally check out New Orleans and road trip through the Canadian Rockies.
Visit home for the important moments
There are some moments you just can’t miss out on, and family time you need to have. I want to make sure I visit and spend quality time with my loved ones back in England throughout the year – Christmas 2016 is definitely at home, and I very much miss the spring and summer in the UK.
Phew! Severely impressed by your travel this year! xx here’s to a fantastic 2016 xx
Sarah Elizabeth || Sediva Abroad recently posted…Joy to the World: Motivational Monday
Sounds like you’ve had an incredible year on the travel front! I REALLY want to go to Norway. Scandinavia in general has been quite neglected on the travel front with me and its something I aim to rectify soon!
Rachel recently posted…Gozo is Heaven on Earth
So many amazing destinations this year! Can’t wait to follow along on all of your 2016 adventures!
Rachel recently posted…The Last-Minute Christmas Scramble + Giveaway
That’s one impressive and incredible year of travel there Kirsten! And Bruce Peninsula National Park looks absolutely beautiful ? I hope you have an equally amazing 2016!
You had a fantastic year! I really feel inspired by your travels and I want to try to travel more during the 2016! I’ve visited many places last year, too! I went to the Netherlands two times, Germany and Finland. I am also planning to move to the USA this year. I hope that I will have everything working for me! Thanks for sharing about your wonderful adventures! :)