2018 TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS

This year has been a bit of a mad one, what with moving to the other side of the world and all. As well as that, I somehow managed to fit in a bunch of other trips, so these are my highlights. 

Video: https://youtu.be/bfJJgxSydP4

 

New York

This was an absolute dream trip with my mum. I love travelling with her because she gets so excited about everything and is willing to give anywhere a try. Even though it was chilly, we saw so much of New York in only a few days. Not just tourist stuff either, I mean yes, we did go up the Empire State Building and 30 Rock, and see Brooklyn Bridge, but we also wandered round Chelsea Market, ate in local haunts and saw improv at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade (one of my favourite parts of the trip). It was a real spur of the moment choice to book the trip – Norwegian Air were having a sale and we just went for it. I could not be more glad that we did.    

 

Latvia/Estonia

Again, a pretty impulsive trip. Hamilton had some holiday to use up and I was willing to make time for going away in between contracts, so only a few weeks beforehand, we went for it and booked the trip. We very roughly mapped out the big cities around Latvia and Estonia (knowing absolutely nothing about them, by the way), then booked flights, a car and places to stay in each city, then about a week before actually thought about what we might do while we were there. I was absolutely blown away by what these countries hold and truly could not recommend visiting more. Even though I am sure the places we visited were well and truly known to a lot of people, it felt like we were constantly discovering hidden gems. I’m usually a big planner but not doing that made everything we saw so much more exciting. We were like big kids on Christmas for the whole trip.   

Amsterdam

This was my second time in Amsterdam – the first was for Christmas a few years ago. I stayed with my good friend Karolina at her place in Amersfoort and this time we got exceptionally lucky/Karolina is an extremely lovely person… She was moving out of her flat and in with her boyfriend around the time we were visiting, so she gave us the keys and let us stay there for free for a few days while she was transitioning. Both Fred and I had been to Amsterdam before, so we skipped the big touristy things and had a really nice weekend full of recommendations from Karolina, exploring cool neighbourhoods and drinking around the city. It was a short but sweet weekend, arriving on a Friday night and leaving very early on a Monday morning, but seeing as the flight is so short, it was the perfect place to do so. We are planning another short weekend trip like this to Brussels/Bruges in 2019, so if you have any recommendations, please do hit me up! 

Toronto

I won’t go into much detail with this because I did that in this post but basically, my very best friend Hamilton and I, both won the visa lottery and decided to move over to Canada. It was tough but now I am here, I am so glad I did it. Ok, yes, I’ll admit I am going to be returning to the UK early next year but that’s not because I haven’t enjoyed it here. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved it. I always wanted to try living in another country and I feel like I’ve got that out of my system. For now, I have a lot of other exciting life things to be getting on with and a lovely boyfriend/family/dog to be getting back to and I couldn’t be happier about that. While here, we’ve done a heck of a lot of stuff and thankfully, I thought to film at least a small part of it. 

 

Boston

Without realising it, I guess this year has been pretty impulsive because this was also very unplanned… Hamilton and I decided that we wanted to see the fall foliage in New England and figured, what the hell, let’s just do it. We booked the cheapest car we could find and in our second week in Toronto, drove out to Boston and around New England. We planned the route in a Tim Horton’s a couple of days before and booked hotels along the way, then just kind of went with the flow. 

 

Quebec City

Surprise, surprise, another random trip. Hamilton and I had already decided before coming out to Toronto that we wanted to make the most of being here and a big part of that, is of course travelling. Unfortunately, flights and trains out here are generally pretty damn expensive (in comparison to the UK/Europe), so we couldn’t actually do it as much as we wanted to. Instead, we kept an eye out for offers and ended up getting a good deal on flights to Quebec City for the weekend. It felt like a nice, festive trip to take before the holidays. If you haven’t been to Quebec City, then get yourself there. It’s an absolute delight. Yes, it is cold in winter but it’s stunning – beautiful European architecture, with so much history, great food and lovely people.  

 

There are a few things not included in this video, simply because I did not film them. I adore filming but I find some trips are better set up for it than others. 

For example, a trip to Corfu with my boyfriend – it was our first proper trip away just the two of us. It was absolutely perfect; everything I wanted from a hot holiday abroad with my beau and I think filming it might have ruined that slightly. We went to a bunch of beaches, ate good food, swam in the sea, played with kittens…  I of course wrote about the trip though, so if you’re thinking about a trip to Corfu, maybe have a little look here first for some inspo. 

In a similar vain, Fred and I also went on a wine trip in France with my parents, stopping off in Paris and then touring the Loire Valley for a few days. Again, I wrote about it here but it was a family trip and I didn’t think it was fair to stick a camera in everyone’s faces. Plus, we were drinking a lot of wine so the footage probably wouldn’t have been all that riveting anyway. 

Also not included was a work trip driving around Europe because well… I was a bit busy with work. I did write this post on the hotels we stayed in though and my goodness, were they lovely. The trip even included one of my new favourite hotels, which I can’t stop banging on about. 

Of course, all of the above are about foreign travel from Britain but actually I did manage a fair amount of travel within the UK too – Bristol, Devon, Edinburgh, Brighton and a lot of exploration within London. 

Within the UK, the experience I remember the most from this year was definitely visiting the Chihuahua Cafe in Edinburgh with Hamilton. I wrote about it here and it was everything we wanted it to be. 

Out of all the adventures we ended up having in London before leaving, I think this was my favourite day; my boyfriend and I happened to both have the same day off work and we decided to make a real thing of it. I probably sound like a broken record but it is insane how easy it is not to go to things in your own city. Since moving to Toronto, Hamilton and I have been to almost everything we wanted to. We just made the decision to do so and then got up off our bums, and went to things – markets, bars, art exhibitions, events; anything really. It’s been amazing (less so for my bank account but we won’t discuss that). (Post can be found here)

When I move back to London, I would like to continue trying to visit things as much as possible. It’s mad how easily life and work and tiredness gets in the way of not bothering to see things but at the end of the day, you’ll be so pleased with yourself for doing them, it’s worth it.

That’s what I loved so much about this day though – we wrote a list of all the things we hadn’t got around to seeing and actually did them. It’s pretty great because not only do you get to do it but you then get to tell people you know about it and they think you’re cultured/interesting/fun because it’s highly likely they haven’t bothered to do those things. Plus, you can post about it on social media – let’s not pretend it’s not a bonus to doing things. 

 

What have been your favourite moments of this year?  

 

In some years I’ve written posts about my worst travel moments of the year, like delayed flights and terrible hotel rooms. I mean, sure, those things definitely have happened this year but I’ve decided I’m not going to dwell on them. I’m not saying that social media should be all roses but I wrote about those things at the time and right now is about looking forward. So, here’s to 2019 and hopefully the best year yet. 

 

Abi

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@travelteatv 

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