As I head back home from my last trip of 2017, i’m taking the time to reflect on the past year. Firstly, can we just take the time to acknowledge how fast this year has gone?! I feel like I have blinked and we’re already preparing for the arrival of 2018. From those that close to me outside of the blogosphere and those that have been following my journey through the blog and my social media all know it has been a bit of a rollercoaster of a year.
2017 started as the year that was supposed to be my year, as cliché as that sounds. However, it turned out to be the most testing and hardest years I have ever endured. Travel was my saving grace in many aspects and often people say travel is the cure for loss, heartbreak, stress, finding yourself and new adventures. My travels this year were for all of the above and more.
There is nothing more freeing that jumping on a plane, soaring through the clouds or ‘the elements of the unknown’ but finding yourself half way across the world or in a different city. You don’t have to worry about what was, what is to come, just what you’re doing in the present. When your choices are as simple as, “shall I have another glass of sangria?”. It’s throughly refreshing, almost like washing your soul of any burden and feeling revived.
I have been so fortunate with all the travel I have done this year and let’s be honest, its all down to the support of you fellow wanderlusters. So, I just wanted to take a moment for supporting me on my journey with Fresh And Fearless for (almost!) 5 years. That still feels so surreal to say. It’s because of all of you that I keep writing, snapping & travelling!
Shall we take a whistle stop tour of my travels from 2017? Come, take my hand. Let’s go!
January started off with major blues. We all know that post-Christmas and New Year feeling when you don’t really want to go back to work and you would rather just be lying on a beach basking in the sun rather than wrapped up in coats and scarves on your commute. I took it as the opportunity to escape London and visit Brighton, a town I hadn’t visited but had heard lots about. It was the closest I was going to get to a beach and sea without heading all the way south home to Bournemouth. I took my childhood friend Alicia along and we had the most glorious day out.
February brought around a luscious staycation at one of my favourite London hotel’s, The Langham. The hotel itself was named as my second home within my friendship group, because I was there so often. If there was any way to enjoy a wintery weekend in London, it was the Langham way.
March is my birthday month, but it left without any travels in sight as a trip with a few of my favourite travel bloggers, Angie, Binny and Emma to Copenhagen fell through. If you know my friends, you know they don’t let a birthday pass without a bang… they organised the most amazing surprise get away to Bovey Castle down in Devon at the beginning of April. There wasn’t any sounds apart from the birds chirping across the bottle green country estate that spanned out behind the hotel. A weekend away with my girls was just what the birthday boy ordered!
A matter of days after Bovey Castle, I set off on a week long adventure to Lisbon in the search for some needed warmth. Spending time with my one and only sister, we wandering the gorgeous Portuguese streets, chasing sunsets, long champagne lunches and staying at some of most luxurious hotels in Lisbon, including Four Seasons Lisbon. Perfection!
May was the month of marvellous experiences. Not only did I get to visit Castello Del Nero, Tuscan hotel I have been awe in for a while, I got to try pici pasta and learned to make gelato too. Tuscany had been on must visit list for the longest time but even more so after watching ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’, safe to say I felt like I was in the movie during my trip.
Following my trip to Tuscany, I embarked on my first trip with one of my closest friends Binny. We both love Paris so much and it has been a ritual now to visit the city of love once a year, so it was the perfect occasion to make new memories. We managed the most epic whistle-stop tour of Paris in just 48 hours, covering more than we ever expected to, including breakfast at Angelina and dinner at Le Meurice.
In June I finally made it to Switzerland, just 6 months later than I expected to be. I had planned on spending a weekend in Geneva in January but it didn’t work out, instead I got to tour the picturesque city of Lausanne and stay at the heavenly Royal Savoy Hotel, complete with delicious wine tastings and the creamiest cheese fondue. A must visit!
The last part of June was spent in London, at another London staycation at the Marriott County Hall, with rooms that overlooked SouthBank and directly behind the London Eye. Waking up to the sunrise emerging out from behind the eye as the capital slept. Surreal moments for sure.
July brought around a much needed trip home to Bournemouth. Through travelling so much, I had missed out on the various occasions my parents had popped up to London and my sister down to Bournemouth. Therefore, I went home twice that month to spend some quality time with my parents and friends. Nothing beats a family barbecue in your back garden and visiting the golden sand beach during the sunset.
The Scotts were calling our name in August, so I embarked on my first travels with Zoe and headed up to Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire, just an hour away from Glasgow. It was a long weekend filled with new experiences such as quad biking, archery and golf. A whole lot of fun, followed by relaxing massages and some fine dining.
To contrast the cold trip to Scotland in August, Zoe and I seeked some warmth in Madrid and stayed at the lovely Small Luxury Hotel, Principal Madrid. I think it was one of my favourite trips of the year. It was a time filled with lots of heartbreak so we filled the void with crazy nights out followed by sangria and tapas filled days in the blaring sun, just the way it should be. I did say travel can fix everything, didn’t I?
September was meant to bring about a trip to Finland, alas this little travel blogger got the dates mixed up and didn’t actually make it out to Finland. It was a real shame as it is somewhere I really want to visit, but there is always 2018 right?!
October allowed Binny and I go for a much needed relaxing spa weekend in Harrogate at Rudding Park Hotel. Sometimes you just need a weekend of spas, pampering and chilled out weekends. We even got to meet up with Jess and experience Bettys afternoon tea.
November was a month without travel, I actually needed to take a break and spend some time in London with my loved ones and attending WTM (World Travel Market). As London prepares for the festive season, it is a fun time to explore the city. It was also perfectly time in preparation for my 3 and a half week trip in December.
December, brings us to now. Where i’m returning back from what was an amazing trip visiting Mumbai, South India including Bangalore, Ooty, Mysore, Coonoor, Goa, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I ticked off so many things off my bucket list including riding a camel, going up the Burj Khalifa and visiting the Sheikh Zayeed Mosque. I can’t wait to share this trip with you on the blog soon!
Looking back the blog post wish list I made at the beginning of 2017 of all the places I wanted to travel this year I managed to tick off 5 destinations out of 12. Here is hoping I can complete my full list I create for 2018!
It has been an extremely surreal year in terms of travel. I’m so thankful and grateful for the lessons, experiences and unforgettable moments. I’m most definitely looking forward to what travel and adventures 2018 brings around.
What are your travel highlights for 2017?
Until next time…