It might actually be my travel bucket list for beyond 2018 as I can’t see us squeezing many of these into the next eleven months, but a girl can dream, right?
The past month has been, to put it mildly, a tad stressful. First of all my youngest ended up in hospital. Twice. Once driven to A&E by me on the advice of 111 and then three days later (with an emergency appendix removal in between) in an ambulance. Then it was the turn of Mr B senior who had a stroke last weekend and remains in a hospital in the north west. So yes it has been “one of those months”. And somewhere in amongst it all tentative plans we had for travel have been put on hold until things a bit more stable, but at the same time I have spent a lot of time dreaming big about travel for this year.
Well what else can you do whilst sitting in an uncomfortable hospital chair beside your daughter who is having an “all the drugs via an IV for a week” induced sleep, but dream?
Which got me thinking that I should probably commit some of them to paper, well the blog, as that will make me think we are one step closer to actually making them happen some time in the future.
As the great Walt Disney once said:
If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse
This is our first item on the bucket list this year. For several reasons. First of all my gorgeous friend Rosie Woodhouse who is a phenomenal photographer lives there and posts gorgeous photographs of the island as backdrops to some of the weddings she shoots, and it makes me really want to visit. Do check out her stunning website: Portrait Skye Photography. Secondly, my parents know Hugh Macleod, 30th Clan Chief of the Macleods who lives at Dunvegan Castle on Skye and from following them on Twitter I am desperate to visit and have a mooch about their grounds. Thirdly, if we flew to Inverness we would visit Loch Ness en route and pass Eileen Donan castle, which I have always wanted to visit. I remember seeing a box of chocolates with a picture of the castle on the lid of a box of chocolates at my grandma and grandad’s house when I was little, thinking the castle was where my granny had grown up because it was a family home (clearly it wasn’t but I was only about six). So to finally visit 40 odd years later would be fun. And lastly, by no means least, there could be a chance to see the Northern Lights which Mr B and I are really keen to see and photograph.
Which leads me to our next destination
This has been on our radar for awhile, not just for the Northern Lights, but also for the waterfalls, abandoned aircraft, that little white church with the red roof that everyone photographs. We had been looking into going, and almost booked it, when we then spotted that it is possible hire a car and drive a circuit of the island in ten days, a route that takes in all the sights. This article in the Guardian a few years ago made me throw out the trip we had in our heads and want to start planning all over again: The Magic Circle. The timing didn’t really work for us this year as we should really be there now (best time for Northern Lights is January to mid March) so this will be top priority for next year.
Talking of ice. I worked with a guy once who talked about “the inside passage” in Alaska and a cruise you could do that got you up close and personal with the glaciers. It has always been in the back of my mind that one day I would love to go there and do the trip because it sounded so incredible. Then last year we chatted to some friends who had just come back from a holiday in Canada where they had then gone on and done this trip too and I don’t think I have ever been more envious. We have never done a cruise so this would be a pretty spectacular way to break the ice (did you see what I did there?).
This has been on my travel list for years. I adore the middle east but increasingly it is not so easy to travel there, well it is but all too often once popular tourist destinations are mentioned on the news for all the wrong reasons and that makes me nervous about travelling to them. Morocco has all the bits of the middle east that I adored, but not so many of the restrictions that were imposed. It is warm, friendly and only three and a half hours away. It also means we could both show off our language skills, Bruce with his degree level French and me with my now legendary twelve words of Arabic. I say legendary because those twelve words caused many a giggle in the mini bus in Jordan on a trip a few years ago and still make me smile when I get to practice them with the lovely translator, Elias that I have kept in touch with. As has Rosie, as mentioned in my bit above on Skye, that trip was where I met her too. Time for Mr B to see my Arabic in action and to stand back in awe I tell you, awe, as I converse freely with a dozen words.
We were thrilled to be chosen by James Villas Holidays to be one of their ambassador families this year and as soon as they said “where do you fancy going for a week” this came out on top. They go to so many fabulous countries so it might have been hard to choose, but not when we spotted Menorca. Mr B has never been, and I went once when I was fifteen and remember it being a really fun place to be. Though the lure of sailors might not be quite so high on my list of priorities this time. It will be replaced by touring the gin distilleries. There will be more on our Ambassador role in an upcoming blog post but I had to include this trip on here as it is the only that is firmly in the diary already!
Camp in every county in England
Earlier this month, in amongst all the chaos we took delivery of our new camper van, Betty. More about her in a blog post coming soon but in the meantime I am putting this wish on my travel bucket list. We managed to squeeze in a two night stay in Wiltshire last weekend and it opened my eyes to just how easy it is to book up somewhere, rock up and stay for a day or two. I managed to find a campsite that was walking distance of a pub, the Kennet and Avon canal and a bus stop. So we parked up on Friday night, had dinner in the pub, slept like proverbial logs and had a shower in the morning and then hopped on the local bus to explore. It was brilliant. And it made me think that setting a challenge of doing every county would be a fun way to explore the country and document our travels. Doing all 48 counties might take longer than a year though, I can’t see us doing one a week, can you?
Whilst the others are places we have never been to before so are keen to explore, I am also keen to go back to the familiar. To the known. To a place I view as a bit of a second home: Barbados. We didn’t get there last year and I had only realised recently that I really missed it. I missed just sitting on the beach above as the sun sets, away from the crowds, watching the sea lap onto the sand. We know Barbados like the back of our hands but we still find new things to visit every time we go. A new restaurant opens, or a new beach bar, whilst at the same time we sink into the familiar like a day on Marvin’s boat. I was asked recently by a friend if I would recommend Barbados for a family holiday and it got me thinking about our trips there and how I would love to again this year. My eldest gets married this year and her fiance has never been, but has heard us bang on about it so much that I would love for him to see it finally. Whilst my parents own a house out there we we have never been out at the same time as them so I would love to make that happen somehow. A big old family trip, filled with rum cocktails and fish cakes on the beach feels like a heavenly way to spend a week or two to me. Though I do run the risk of not getting on the flight home.
Have you written a travel bucket list this year? Or have you got somewhere that is a must see destination before the end of the year? I asked bloggers to send me their lists if they had one and you can read them by clicking on the links below
Amanda at We Blog Travel has written hers here: My Bucket List
The Ice Hotel in Sweden is another place I fancy and Jennifer has written about here: My Winter Travel Wish List
Sam at Memories and Mayhem has written hers list here: My 2018 Travel Bucket List
Last year Nickie at I Am Typecast went to Corfu and wrote all about it: 7 things to do in Roda, Corfu
Kara has written a similar Bucket List for this year (another person mentioning Iceland!): Are we nearly there yet.
and Lizzie has written about her trip to Paris that is now making me want to add that to my list too. Maybe we could go in the camper van?
All photos, except Barbados, are courtesy of Unsplash