When I was a wee lad, growing up in Cornwall (amongst other places), my parents decided one year that a trip to the Canary Islands was something that we as a family needed to undertake. Presumably for vitamin D reasons.
This was the longest flight I can remember taking up to that point, and the wonders of that trip, including discovering burning rubbish dumps that we thought might be active volcano's, learning not to run on glass coated beaches in bare feet, and the joys of the package holiday experience, have stuck with me forever.
(It wasn’t that bad, although those things did take place. Away from the madding crowd, Lanzarote was host to some spectacular sights and wonderful deserted bits. I expect it still is.)
That trip will be forever cemented in my mind. Fast forward from the first destination I can remember that may be responsible for setting me down the path towards independent travel, and find me in 2012, planning my travels for the year ahead.
I’ve come up with some destinations for the year that I’d love to visit. In no particular order, these are:
Ever since I joined the addictive social sharing site Pinterest (feel free to follow me.. or ask for an invite to find out what the fuss is all about), more and more amazing photos from Iceland have cropped up in my photostream. Photos like this:
This is the land of northern lights, glaciers, steaming pools and quite incredible looking waterfalls. And foodstuffs so weird that I’m just bound to make myself sick trying them.
It’s not exactly on the cheap side, but the cost of travel to Iceland from Europe is certainly affordable. If I can work out how to get there on a reasonable budget, then it’s way up there on my to-do list for 2012.
I’ve already waxed lyrical about Paris. Recently watching the excellent Woody Allen film Midnight In Paris has awakened a desire to re-visit this city. This time I want to get a bit more off the beaten track and explore some of the parts that I’ve not had time to get acquainted with. I’d love to hear your tips on those in the comments at the end!
Now that I’m living in continental Europe, there is a lot around me to explore. Somehow, I’ve never quite made it to Barcelona, a failure I aim to rectify now it’s a short (well, less than a day!) drive or train journey away. Gotta love that European rail network thing!
Somewhere in the camper van
We went through a whole German adventure to get ourselves a vehicle that was suitable for conversion into a rolling hotel on wheels. With any luck, this year we’ll be able to realise the conversion dream and set off somewhere exciting in her for a while. I’m thinking of Spain and Portugal, or perhaps Italy, or maybe even Eastern Europe.
There are a lot of roads out there. And frankly, as long as wherever we go has giant mountains to climb up or beaches to meander along, I’m going to be happy.
Somewhere warmer for winter!
Maybe I shouldn’t be discounting those Canaries holidays after all, given that warm, cheap holidays are what I’m after this winter.
I have just suffered (bless) my way through two winters in a row as a result of some rather terrible hemisphere planning. This winter I'm determined not to let that happen again. Or at least, I’d like some sun to mix up the wintery days.
This will probably be the biggest trip of the year, and I’m hoping for something exciting to happen at the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013. I’m thinking Asia, or South America, but frankly, anywhere warm and not too exorbitantly priced will do. Maybe I’ll find someone who wants me to housesit for them in a glorious climate, and take it from there… (applications on a postcard please!).
What are your plans for 2012? Do any of the above options ring a bell with you, or have you already got some other exciting destination in mind? Share your thoughts, or your posts on the subject, in the comments below!
As I’ve not yet had the pleasure of visiting all the places in this post, some of the photos on this page aren’t mine. I hope to be able to change that soon! In the meantime though, photo credit goes to: Senior Airman Joshua Strang, for the northern lights shot, Stuck in Customs’ for the shot of Gulfloss waterfall in Iceland and MorBCN for the Barcelona shot.