Happy New Year everybody!
As I’ve previously blogged, 2016 was undoubtedly a turbulent year, with many events occurring throughout it that might, quite understandably, have deterred many people from travelling. But for those of us who are fortunate and privileged enough to be in a position to travel, it’s important not to allow fear-mongers of all persuasions stop us from doing something we love.
For that reason, I fully intend to keep travelling, with 2017 shaping up to be my best travel year yet; and believe me, I’ve had a few good ones. This past year was a prime example: a wonderful trip to Hong Kong and the Philippines saw me reunite with an old school friend in Hong Kong, and also make many new ones in the Philippines. A truly great experience that was only bettered by the small matter of the culmination of a project to build a library in Tanzania.
February – Iceland
I’ve been to Iceland before, aged 10, but that was in the summertime. This time I’ll be going aged, er, a bit more, and in the winter, so I’ll get to experience this magical, ethereal, near-mystical land in all its snow-covered glory. It’s also at a time of year that will make for prime Northern Lights spotting opportunities; all we need is one clear night! The ‘we’ refers to the teachers and pupils who will be my travel companions – yes it’s a School trip. Whilst I will have loads of teenage girls for company, it is something I’ve done before (in Tanzania and Belgium), it does mean the trip is paid for and free!
April – Peru
One of the benefits of going on a free trip is that it creates extra funds for other trips in the year. Bound as I am by the School calendar (loads of annual leave, but you must take said leave during the busy/expensive School holiday periods), the next trip will be happening in Easter. At long last, on a two week trip, I’ll be visiting South America…and what a place to visit on my first trip! Machu Picchu is the obvious one, and yes I’m properly stoked for it, but I’m also keen on Arequepia, the Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and Cusco. Time to brush up on my Spanish!
July – Mongolia
This one’s TBC, but it’s looking 99% certain to be going ahead. Mongolia is a place that, to me, seems like nowhere else in the world. I fell in love with the idea of visiting here after seeing the brilliant movie Mongol, about the young Genghis Khan’s life, where its breathtakingly beautiful scenery made me want to visit it in a way that no other movie has quite been able to (not even Lord of the Rings…sorry New Zealand!). It’s the traditional way of life that happens in its vast rural areas that appeals especially, and the fact I’ll be around for the Naadam Festival won’t hurt either!
October – Malaysia/Australia
Even more TBC than the above, the idea to visit here literally popped in to my head a few days ago when I was sat talking to my parents in a pub in Wales (my home). My mother hails from Malaysia, and I have lots of family out there, but it’s been nearly ten years since I visited here. Ditto Australia, where I also have family. I’ve been to both, but much has changed since I last visited them, not least many new additions to the family in Kuala Lumpur…it’s time and money dependent, but hopefully I’ll make it work. If not, I’ll look in to going somewhere in Europe instead!
Oh and one more thing – we’re returning to continue our work in Tanzania in 2018. Preparations for this are already underway, so 2017 will certainly see further involvement with that. Looks set to be a busy year!
What are your travel plans for 2017? Have you been to any of the countries above, and if so, what are your highlights, lowlights, tips and advice for them?