Though there’s been a serious lack of posts on the site during the latter half of this year, it’s still safe to say that 2017 has been a pretty good one for me with regards to travelling. I’ve managed to visit eight new countries in just 12 months (one of which I made it to twice), and ticked several items off my bucket list. But unfortunately, like many travel bloggers I know, work has been the biggest hurdle when it comes to actually sharing my travel tales. That, and the small matter of purchasing a house.
I’ll be honest: the first half of the year didn’t go as expected. Though I managed to cross drinking Guinness in Dublin off my bucket list in February, subsequent trips booked to Berlin and Malta with my (now ex) boyfriend were cancelled when our relationship ended abruptly in April. Because of the split I quit my job up in Yorkshire and returned to my hometown of Reading. I then took some time out of work and embarked on a mini travelling mission, visiting five new countries in just three months, helping to smash my self-set challenge of 30 countries before my 30th birthday in July.
Then in July I started a new job in London, so had to sedate my sense of wanderlust while I concentrated on impressing my new bosses and passing my probation. Mid-July I also had an offer accepted on a new house. This meant having to put all my money-saving travel tips into practice when it came to planning trips. But I surpassed even my own expectations when I found a super cheap holiday to the Dominican Republic for mum and I in October. At less than £500 each for nine nights in the Caribbean, how could I refuse? Plus I wanted to treat mum, to say thanks for everything she’d done for me since April.
Going on that trip definitely reignited a burning desire to travel. But because I knew I’d need every penny to put towards the deposit, as well as all the extra costs of purchasing a house like legal fees and stamp duty (which was a ridiculous figure, as this is my second property), I managed to resist the temptation to book flights to anywhere else. And when I went to Iceland earlier this month I had a strict budget that I stuck to for the full six days I was there. I even spent a couple of nights in a hostel to keep costs down – something I’d never done before (and don’t really want to do ever again).
I finally picked up the keys to the new house on Friday 15 December, though the previous owners had left it in such a state that I’ve still not moved in. Mum and I have been working hard to get into a position where it’s at least liveable – after working full time in our offices during the day, we’ve been at the house in the evenings ’til late scrubbing everything, laying lino, pulling up carpets and ripping out the kitchen. It’s getting there though, and I’ll be sleeping there for the first time this weekend. Just in time for Christmas!
All of this combined has sadly meant less money to travel, and much less time to post about the few trips I have been on during the latter half of 2017. That doesn’t mean I’m not making plans and daydreaming about my next adventure though…
What does 2018 hold in-store?
Well, they’ll definitely be a fair bit more DIY and decorating in the house, that’s for sure. But with regards to travelling, so far the only thing I’ve got booked is a weekend in Budapest in January. I fell in love with the city when I visited at the end of June this year. Budapest will always have a special place in my heart, as Hungary was the country that completed my “30 before 30” travel challenge, so I’m looking forward to that. I’ve also spoken about going back to Iceland, as there’s still so much there that I’d love to see and do.
Where else would I like to go? I mean, how long’s a piece of string? Since I began blogging in January 2016, I’ve been given so many travel recommendations and am constantly inspired by places I see on Instagram, that my bucket list just keeps getting longer and longer. So, having ticked four items off my original 2016 bucket list, I’ve complied another, with other places I’d love to visit:
1. Walk under the umbrellas in Dubai Mall.
2. Spiral around the staircases of Quinta da Regaleira in Portugal.
3. Snorkel around Pablo Escobar’s abandoned plane in the Bahamas.
4. Take a bath with a view in Bangkok.
5. Go bananas at the Museum of Ice Cream in LA.
6. Photograph the pink church in Ho Chi Minh City.
7. Check out the Headington Shark in Oxford.
8. Swim at sunset in North Shore, Hawaii.
9. Stroll around Saint Catalina Monastery in Arequipa, Peru.
10. Scream from the rooftops in Basel, Switzerland.
11. Watch the hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey at sunrise.
12. Scale the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco.
13. Hike through the Rainbow Mountains of Peru.
14. Explore the blue city of Chefchouan, Morocco.
15. Eat Indian food at Panna Il Garden, New York.
16. Ride the metro in Stockholm, Sweden.
17. Stroll along the Diamond Beach, Iceland.
18. Hang out in the Hanging Gardens of Bali, Indonesia.
19. Marvel at the colourful houses of Manarola, Italy.
20. Leave my mark at the Garðskagaviti lighthouse, Iceland.
What have you got on your bucket list? Have you been to any of these places? If so, let me know your recommendations for the best time of year to go. And if not, do you have any other places you think I should add to my bucket list?