As the clock strikes midnight through a haze of balloons, champagne and glitter tonight we welcome the year of 2015. A new year that brings with it new dreams, new hopes, lists, plans and resolutions. Whether it be to start a new diet, find a new job, or this be the year you take the ultimate holiday you have been dreaming of for too long. Shiny and brand new, this is the year that holds endless possibilities for us all. It also gives us time to reflect on the year that has just passed. For me, it has been a year I never could have envisaged – had you told me what was going to happen 12 months ago, I would never have believed you.
At the beginning of the year I took the most amazing trip to China and ticked off one of my ultimate ‘to-do’ items on my bucket list – hike the Great Wall of China. Not only was it breathtaking to see the great monument of the wall, walk on bricks first laid hundreds of years ago and marvel at its sheer size and engineering; but visiting China was an adventure in itself; a country full of unexpected beauty and wander. Whilst it does take a day or two to adjust to the smog and sheer number of people; the culture, food and the cities were absolutely fantastic and not surprisingly, I loved every moment I was there. From the sheer wonderment of the art of the Terracotta Warriors to the natural beauty of the Li River in Guilin- the country is so large that it would a lifetime to explore every corner and statue. Two weeks was just not enough. I will one day have to return, I am definitely not finished with China.
This year also meant big changes for myself and my husband as we packed up our bags and moved to the other side of the world – San Francisco. Living here has meant exploring Northern California and all it has to offer – and we haven’t even wandered to the south of the state yet. Starting off in the city here, we cycled the Golden Gate Bridge, explored the Bay Harbour by yach. Then wandering into the wilderness and natural beauty this state has to offer – driving down the beautiful coastline of Big Sur to hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Yosemite Valley. We even had our first White Christmas in Lake Tahoe complete with warm egg nog and snow angels.
And yet, I still have itchy feet, with much more exploring and adventures to be had. The thing about travel is the more you see, the more you realise you haven’t seen anything! So as the year ends in another few hours (back home they are already enjoying the sparkling new 2015) and I think back on all the amazing places I have seen, it makes me think of the next adventures to put on my list. This list is quite exhaustive, but here are some sights that have given me a serious case of wanderlust as we head into the new year – I can see a new bucket list being written as we speak for 2015.
This is not a new addition to my bucket list, I have wanted to travel here for some years now. The idea of a country with great steak and BBQ, some of South America’s finest wine, the Tango and home to some of the greatest natural wonders in the world is completely enthralling. Patagonia itself reminds me of an untouched wilderness on the underside of the world, where snow and ice meet and form the perfect place to capture some stunning nature photography. I would love to travel like the Gauchos and explore the blue glaciers, wild rivers and mountains of Patagonia in Argentina (though I may have some trouble convincing my husband to get back on a horse after a certain riding expedition in Costa Rica). We may have to stick to trekking, but on foot may be the perfect way to explore this corner of the world.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
This past year I have been following my passion of travel photography a lot more (part of the reason I started this blog), trying to learn much more about the camera, lighting and how to shoot images. Of course, nature does its part in my photography and there are hundreds of place I would love to shoot and practice my craft. Several places, such as Horseshoe Band and Antelope Canyon in the Grand Canyon are on my visit list this year. Not only because they will make for truly great photographs, but also the Grand Canyon is one of those places I would love to see whilst living here in the US (this list is very extensive and I may have to spend a year traveling around the US just to complete it).
Not a bucket list destination, but a place where some of my favourite things can be found all in one place – beaches, burritos and tequila. And now, since living in San Francisco I find myself looking at flights occasionally at different destinations and see that they are so much less expensive on this side of the globe. Mexico, is one such destination. As much as I love hiking and exploring sometimes, there is nothing greater then sitting on a beach, book in hand and watching the waves lap the shore. The idea of this in Mexico is exactly what I am dreaming of. Of course, Mexico is not just luxurious resorts and white sandy beaches ready for me to enjoy, there is also the archelogical sites Palenque or Chichen Itza, the largest of the Mayan cities; beautiful cities such as the colonial city of Guanajuato or the underwater world of Cozumel ready to be explored. Sounds like the perfect destination to me.
Happy New Year everyone. I hope the new year will be full of love, laughter and many new adventures, some planned, others not.
See you in 2015.
Images from Pinterest, Buzzfeed and my own.