A Summer of Travel – at long last!
At long last, after a whole winter and spring of very few travels and zero holidays, I’m finally about to get my travel fix!
I started my new job 8 months ago in October 2017 and I didn’t immediately feel the travel itch, as I’d spent the whole summer hopping around Europe and I had a few work trips to Rome, Brussels and Madrid to keep me happy. Then in spring I did quite a few fleeting back-and-forth trips to the Netherlands, but still nothing holiday-esque. At Easter I went walking along the Cornish coast with my father (which I loved! read about that here) and in May I spent a fantastic long weekend in Hamburg, Germany, with my mother (review of that coming very soon). But that is it! The longest I’ve spent away from work in the last 8 months is 4 days. I know.
When I look back over my 20s I tend to categorise my life not by age or job role, but by which big travels I did in each year. Each year since I turned 18, I’ve managed to spend a significant chunk of time abroad each year, whether in university summers, for my third year abroad, on international assignment with work, on sabbatical, for my Master’s or just extended travels, I quantify my life by the adventures I’ve had each year, so 2018’s lack of adventures so far was getting me down.
Understandably then, I’ve had travel on the brain and have recently been on a veritable spree of flight booking! In the next 4 months I’ll be visiting a total of 4 new countries and also heading back to France. Here’s the full itinerary:
The Atlantic coast in south-west France
5 days in a little bungalow my mother has on the Atlantic coast west of Bordeaux, to celebrate my sister’s birthday with long days on the beach, braving the waves and exploring local vineyards. I used to spend summers here as a little girl but I haven’t been back in at least 10 years, so it should be interesting to see! It’s currently forecast to be 28°C and sunny for the whole trip so I have hopes for the beach-tan and sun-kissed locks I’ll be bringing home.
I’m happiest when on holiday so in recent years have tried to spend my own birthday on holiday, and this year for my 29th birthday, my sister and I will be exploring Tallinn for 2 nights. I studied Estonia during my Master’s, in a class on the Baltic Sea region, and became fascinated with the country (read my article about Estonia’s geopolitical identity). So I’m hugely excited to see Estonia for myself.
Finland is just a short 90-minute ferry away to the north of Tallinn, so we’ll hop over to Helsinki for another 2 nights. I’ve heard a lot about sauna boats so definitely want to try them, and see how Finland differs from Sweden, where I lived last year.
Provence, south France
One of my best friends from school is getting married just south of Avignon, near a town called Eygalières, so a big group of us have booked out a big old French villa for the 3-day festivities!
Another of my best friends from school, who’s featured quite a bit on my blog from our trips to Hong Kong, Bali and Stockholm together, is back from Australia for a few weeks! So we’ll head from Provence to Slovenia for 5 days – visiting the capital Ljubljana and either Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj for some mountain air. I’ve heard a lot about Slovenia recently so am keen to visit before the crowds cotton on!
This is the big trip I’ve been dreaming of. 3 whole weeks of island-hopping in the Philippines with my sister! There is so much I want to visit and do that I’ve no idea how we’ll fit it all in – I feel like we’d need 3 months to see the country properly, not just 3 weeks! I’ve heard that it’s nowhere near as crowded as places like Thailand, but still absolutely idyllic.
Autumn and Winter 2018
Beyond the Philippines I’ve got plenty of ideas but nothing yet booked. My annual leave refreshes at the beginning of October so I’ll have a whole new year’s worth of holidays to plan! I’m currently thinking of somewhere in the Middle East like Jordan or Oman (and I’ve recently heard great things about Iran), and there will no doubt be a few European city breaks too. I’m toying with the idea of travelling further afield over Christmas and New Year, and will hopefully have some Swiss skiing in January too as we’re planning on returning to Mürren for the Inferno race I did in 2017.