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With the evenings drawing in and the cold weather firmly here to stay, it has got to the time of year where I start to decide on my travel plans for the following year. This does not always mean booking, it just means sorting through the ideas and putting the goals in place, sometimes life throws a curveball and they do not go ahead but often they seem to play out.
I feel like in 2019 I did not travel as frequently, but looking back I did and I had some really incredible trips. The year started with a winter weekend in Paris and a trip to Disneyland, followed by a spring trip to South Africa. It is no secret South Africa is my favourite country and I thank my lucky stars I have visited every year for the past four. However, this trip was extra special as DJ came with me for the first time and thankfully he loved it just as much as me, which means I know a lot more of our future will be spent there. During this trip, I also got to visit Cape Town for the first time and was so glad it lived up to the hype.
In May I took DJ away for this birthday, he has always wanted to visit Chernobyl, so it was off to Kyiv we went. It was an interesting trip, I didn’t take to the city of Kyiv instantly and if I am being honest I loved the amount of Georgian food on offer more (which subsequently has made me want to visit Georgia). But, Chernobyl was an eye-opening, incredible experience, I haven’t written about it on here, perhaps one day I will, but it was an experience I am glad I had and it is definitely one that will stay with me.
July saw me back volunteering with wildlife, this time I returned to Vietnam, this time with one of my best friends to work with endangered Pangolins. I learnt so much over the hot, humid two weeks and it really instilled my love of working with wildlife in a Veterinary setting. We were based in the area of Ninh Binh and was very fortunate to have a lot of free time to explore the area, I adored getting to see more Vietnam and loved getting spend some time back in Hanoi towards the end of the trip.
Less than two weeks after I got home from Vietnam I was back on a plane again, this time back to The Netherlands, to work on an amazing campaign with KLM and Visit Holland, to help celebrate KLM’s 100th birthday. I think to be able to work with KLM on this campaign is one of my proudest achievements to date with this blog.
Plus I got to return to Rotterdam and visit Eindhoven for the first time. Along with South Africa, The Netherlands is a favourite country of mine, I fall in love more every time I return and I cannot wait to spend a lot more of 2020 there.
In September, DJ and I were in great need of a few days rest, so we booked a long weekend to Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy. We stayed in a beautiful villa overlooking the lakes and hired a car to explore the area along with a day trip to Switzerland. I really recommend this area of Italy for anyone looking for a peaceful break.
We plan on buying and converting a van one day, therefore driving around the Italian mountain and lake region really gave us a taster for what it will be like! I am extremely excited for this to happen one day.
Which takes us to now, where I have one trip left of the year and it takes place in two weeks time. I will be going to JAPAN! Japan has been the top of my bucket list since forever and it is finally happening. We will be spending 12 days travelling between Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hakone, I cannot contain my excitement for everything we have planned but I am also scared for how much everything is going to cost. If anyone has any money-saving tips, please send them this way!
So, what is in store for 2020?
Well, so far I have one plan in place. I will be spending all of January in South East Asia. Yes, you read that right, goodbye January blues.
My first two weeks will be spent volunteering with a wildlife hospital in the Cha-am District of Thailand, the hospital works with all wildlife from langurs to Elephants, the majority of which have been rescued from the tourist industry.
Following this, I will go to Bangkok for a few days to meet DJ before we fly on to Cambodia for two weeks. I have never been to Cambodia before and the only plan in place so far is Angkor Wat and visiting one of the Islands. If you have been to Cambodia, please send ideas!
After that, who knows! Our original plan was to go to Peru and Bolivia later in the year, but we missed out on passes to hike the Inca trail, so we will be postponing that one.
Other ideas which have been put into the mix include Canada for tours on the Canadian Rockies train (my parents are travelling from Toronto to Vancouver in May and I am so envious) or Central America, particularly Costa Rica and Guatemala. After spending a lot of time in the east, I definitely think I will want to head west.
As for city breaks, I want to spend a lot of 2020 exploring more of The Netherlands, I want to go back to The Hague as well as visit Delft and Gouda. I have really fallen for the Dutch way of life and want to really get to know the country well, as well as show you guys that there is so much more to this beautiful country than Amsterdam.
I would also like to visit Slovenia and Ireland next year, but we will see what happens.
So yeah, that is my travel life at present, of course, this blog will keep on running alongside it (4 years and counting now). I love writing about travel and the fact that I can now pay for a number of my trips through due to that makes me incredibly grateful. I cannot wait to see where it takes me its fifth year!
2020, let’s do this!