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Just under a year ago, I realised I hadn’t left the country for nearly a year.
My little passport went twelve whole months without being touched and it scared me a little. A lot, actually; I’m a language graduate who’s always lived to travel and have ventured off to live abroad 3 times – yet here I was, wondering how I’d gone nearly a whole year without even thinking about boarding a plane.
That same weekend I resolved to travel as much as I could for the rest of the year, started a travel blog to make sure I kept that promise to myself and booked a solo trip to Cologne. Just like any sane person would. Because I was never, ever, ever letting that happen again.
This year, I’m going in prepared and have actually thought about where I’d like to go (as opposed to booking loads of random holidays and last-minute trips to Germany!). I’ve left enough wiggle room for spontaneity but here’s a rough list of how I’d like my travel plans to look in 2017.
1. The country I’ve always wanted to visit: Ireland
Everybody has a place they’ve wanted to go since forever but never got round to visiting, and for me that place is Dublin. It’s not quite the same as the dreamy Maldives or super Instagrammable Santorini, I know, but it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit.
I also know it’s one of the closest and easiest countries to get to, but part of the reason I’ve never been is because years and years ago I agreed I would only go there with my best friend from uni. We’ve not been able to find a good time to go until now – despite managing to jet off to Thailand and Vietnam for 2 weeks a couple of years ago! – so have decided that this will be the year.
2. The wildcard
Every year I like to take a trip to somewhere I haven’t considered before. In 2015, it was Bangkok, last year it was Copenhagen and this year it’s looking likely to be Malta. It’s not been something I’ve done intentionally before, but I went to both Denmark and Thailand having done zero research before I got to the airport (yep, I went all the way to Thailand for a couple of weeks without looking anything up but flights!).
This year my holiday with no research will be very much intentional and I can’t wait to see what surprises will lie in store.
3. More Europe
Over the last few years I’ve been trying to see more of the continent I call home. When I graduated in 2014, my Arabic degree meant I’d explored a lot of North Africa and the Middle East (the parts I could go to safely, at least!) but had left my home continent mostly untouched.
I’ve been trying to make up for lost time by visiting Europe whenever possible and this year I want to continue to add a few European countries to the list. So far I’ve done England, Wales, Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Monaco and Turkey, so there’s still lots left to explore. Any recommendations? Throw them my way please!
4. The Netherlands
I realise this is one of the only countries I’m singling out in this list, but I mostly want to leave myself open to be flexible. The Netherlands, however, was one of the best places I’ve ever been. If there was an award for most surprising experience in 2016, my trip to Eindhoven would definitely take the trophy.
I’ve never wanted to go back to a country more than I do the Netherlands, so I really hope I can see at least a couple more Dutch cities in 2017.
5. A Winter sun break
Until 2016, I’d never been on a winter holiday before, but now I’m definitely going to be saving the long-haul trips for rainy November. Escaping to Cuba’s 30-degree sun while the nights were getting darker and gloomier back in London definitely helped make winter more bearable.
I’m not sure where I’d like to go yet, but I’m 100% keen to get away for a vitamin D hit next November!
6. UK City Breaks
Just like Europe, I’d always kind of overlooked the UK until last year. But I’ve now come to my senses after a weekend in Manchester and a little trip to Wales turned out to be some of favourite memories from 2016. And now I’m sold on the idea, there are loads of cities I want to explore – Bristol, Liverpool and Edinburgh, to name a few.
7. Ibiza sunsets
I’ve been to Ibiza twice before, but never over the age of 15. I’ve already booked this one and, although I’m mostly going for a chilled, beachy kind of holiday, I’m sure I’ll be able to tick a night at Amnesia off my bucket list. Ibiza has an amazing fashion scene and I also want to browse some of the lovely boutique brands they have and bring back a few new pieces for my summer wardrobe.
And that’s probably enough to keep me busy for now! Where are you hoping or planning to travel this year?