Every New Year I sum up the year that was in travel. In 2017 I recapped my favourite memories and all the places I’d been to. This year I’d like to do something different… and tell you about my travel lessons from 2018. The beautiful journey from parts of Europe to the far corners of South East Asia and everything it taught me. So here goes:
Explore your own city
While still getting used to the cold British winters, I decided to stay close to the comforts of home and explore the city I live in. There’s always something new to discover just around the corner of almost every street in London. In January I took a self-guided tour of the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral where I absorbed the architecture in all
Walk in the shoes of great men
My role models have always been explorers, adventurers and other travellers. My love for travel started at age 7 when I watched Ian Wright and his TV series Globe Trekker. This was reinforced a few years later at age
The natural world has infinite beautiful species.
In April I took a trip to Wales and scaled Mt Snowdon in Snowdonia National Park. I also visited the town with the longest name in the world: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. But the experience that stood out the most was the sailing trip to Puffin Island where we spotted these beautiful birds. A lot smaller than I imagined them to be, yet so colourful and magnificent. I even spotted a few arctic seals basking in the sun. A massive treat for the wildlife enthusiast in me!
Always see things from a new perspective.
The main reason for getting a drone and learning to fly it in May was to see things from a new perspective. I set out searching for dinosaur footprints since several locations on the Isle of Wight reveal huge casts of prints in the stone if the depth and angles are right. These can be discovered during low-tide between Compton’s Chine and Shepherd’s Chine. What I thought was just a bunch of rocks in the sand were actually full-blown footprints after I zipped up high and flew above them. I managed to capture this with the help of my new DJI Spark drone. Over 25 different species of dinosaurs are currently recognised to have lived on the Isle of Wight when it was still connected to mainland Europe. A sight we’d have missed without the aerial view. Click here for more unique experience from the Isle of Wight.
Get out of your comfort zone.
This one seems relevant travel lesson every time, from trying new foods to solo sea kayaking, I love how travel pushes me out of my comfort zone. So in June, I signed up to become Zoo Keeper for the day at the Zoological Society of London. Nervous at first, I thoroughly enjoyed being behind the scenes, in the enclosures. up close and personal with giraffes, penguins, coatis, Galapagos turtles, spider monkeys etc. We learned how to care, feed and groom them.
Make new traditions.
There is nowhere better than Rutland Waters to enjoy time cycling in the great outdoors. This has gladly become our annual tradition, and we spent our Wedding Anniversary in July cycling. 37km through villages, woodland and some spectacular views, before checking ourselves into a spa for some pampering.
Learn something new.
Berlin is like a large canvas, where every nook and cranny has some jaw-dropping graffiti. It may just be the world’s most colourful city and since I absolutely love graffiti, and found myself there in August, I took a class to learn this art from the best in the city. I can’t imagine a better city to do this! Look up Alternative Berlin Tours if you ever find yourself there.
It’s ok to switch off and do the unordinary.
September was a whirlwind of emotions as I journeyed on a long haul trip through South East Asia. Vietnam taught us to embrace the chaos and move fearlessly through traffic to cross streets. Everything has its own chi and will move around you. Cambodia brought out the tears with its dark genocide history and from meeting survivors from the Khmer Rouge regime. It was okay to feel and to cry. With Thailand as our second last stop, I realised it was ok to switch off and have a digital detox. There was no writing, tweeting or checking emails which is contrary to my everyday ordinary.
Work hard + Play hard.
I’ve never had the perfect work and life balance as a freelancer in the past, but in 2018 I’ve learned how to do this right! In October my entire work team arrived in Singapore for our annual divisional catch-up. Whilst most of my days were filled with meetings, every evening after work I explored all that Singapore had to offer. From getting lost in Chinatown to night safaris, and learning to cook local cuisines to pub hopping, I managed to pull it off!
Celebrate the seasons.
Summer and winter vacations seem like a long gone dream after school has ended. You’d be surprised at how differently you can experience places just by visiting them during different seasons. November brought with it my
Indulge in fairytales
I’m not one for sappy fairytales, but when your favourite movie is shot In Bruges… you want to be “In Bruges”. For our final travel for the year, in December we found ourselves on the Eurostar to Belgium to spend time in Bruges. It really was like a “Fucking Fairytale”. Have you visited places where your favourite movies were shot?
While I had Damian by my side for most of these travels, I have to be honest when I say I miss my solo travel sometimes. If you’re thinking about getting out solo and learning from everything travel can teach you, Here are some tips for f