Merry (belated) Christmas! I hope you’ve had a lovely time celebrating the festive season. I don’t normally post around this time of year because I’m too busy eating my body weight in cheese and Quality Street, but as early January is going to be rather busy, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on some travel escapades from the last 12 months.
Travel is important to me and M, and we’ve been lucky enough to take a fair few trips over the last couple of years (check out adventures from 2017, and 2016). This year was no different, but I was a bit rubbish at writing about them at the time, so this round-up will have to suffice.
We were back in the UK for the holidays, ringing in the New Year in Wales before I went to visit friends in Dublin for a couple of days. While I was there my grandmother passed away so although I had a lovely time checking out castles, colleges and cobbled streets, it was undoubtedly marred by sadness and figuring out getting back to be with my family. Conversely, the end of the month saw LA sunshine and saccharine surroundings, as I spent a few days in Southern California, including a solo day at Disneyland. It was my first time at a Disney park and, well, you can read the post for more details, but it didn’t have quite the same level of magic I had grown up expecting.
February and March were pretty low-key as I was training for my first triathlon, which I celebrated completing with a trip to Palm Springs with friend and fellow triathlete, C. We chilled by the pool, ate a delicious dinner at Holiday House, and took bikes out to brunch and Moorten Botanical Garden. It was bliss. Not content with one adventure this month, I also flew up to Seattle to see Hayley, of Bonjour Blogger fame. I particularly loved visiting the Museum of Pop Culture there, not to mention eating all the ice cream.
San Diego has been a destination on our travel bucket list since we moved to California, so in early May we took the Mustang on a SoCal road trip. After a long drive down to the Point Loma area of the city and a few days spent unwinding by our hotel pool, we set off on a mission to tick three more National Parks off our list; Death Valley, Sequoia, and King’s Canyon. Given our trusty steed is over 50 years old with no air conditioning, we made the decision to visit Death Valley first thing in the morning, and I’m so pleased we did as by 10 o’clock in the morning it was already roasting. Not unlike visits to National Parks in Utah, Death Valley felt like walking on another planet, with salt flats stretching for miles, and piled gradations of pink and turmeric earth.
I took part in my second triathlon in June, in the beautiful town of Monte Rio. We made a weekend of it by staying in a cabin in nearby Guerneville with friends, relaxing in a hot tub under the stars, enjoying a BBQ and generally trying to avoid panicking about the many ways I might drown on race day. Guerneville is less than two hours away from San Francisco, and is surrounded by forests and redwood trees. There’s hardly any cell signal, just an excellent pie joint and a lazy river, making it the perfect weekend getaway.
August threw a curveball into the works, with a very last-minute trip to Sydney. M has to travel there for work a couple of times a year, and this time the stars aligned so that I was able to tag along. The last time I was in Sydney was on my pre-university gap year a LONG time ago, so it was weird to go back to a semi-familiar place as a grown-up – not staying in a hostel dorm and subsisting on Pot Noodles. I loved doing the Coogee to Bondi coastal walk, swimming at Bondi Icebergs and taking the ferry out to Manly, not to mention some very indulgent breakfasts. It was a long way to go for a week, but I’m so glad I got to revisit such a special city.
Just like April, October presented two adventures in one month, the first being a weekend in Texas (San Antonio + Austin), followed by the Halloween weekend in the Catskills, New York, with M’s family. Austin was impossibly hip (and very humid) and our visit happened to coincide with a large music festival that kind of dominates the city for a weekend. I think I’d like to go back at different time of year as it was wall-to-wall with hipsters when we were there. Our cabin in the Catskills couldn’t have been more removed – remote, surrounded by trails and very autumnal. We were there with M’s brother, his wife and their puppy, Effie. We picked pumpkins, made friends with farm animals and all in all had a very cozy weekend. More on my Instagram Stories here.
December started with 36 hours in Las Vegas, visiting British friends who were out there for a conference. The Strip itself was not my cup of tea – so big, so full of smoke – but I loved exploring the Arts District and the Neon Museum. Oh, and we won $180 on the one and only bet we placed, which isn’t half bad! And now 2018 is ending where it started, in the UK. We’re currently in Bournemouth with my family but will be celebrating the start of 2019 in Bristol and Portugal, which I’m very much looking forward to.
I hope you’ve had a lovely festive season and a year full of adventures. Needless to say I’m already thinking about where 2019 will take us…