I have taken the old adage that you can never be too rich or too thin and moulded it to fit my lifestyle; you can never work too little or travel too much. So of course, this year I have my eye on several lands afar ripe for exploration.
My 2017 planned destinations are not off the beaten path by any means though personally I have never been to any of them. I’ve spent significant time reading and researching various blogs and sites, and have my own reasons for prioritising these countries this year.
This was a wild card destination and not on my travel radar for 2017, or at all actually. I had intended to go to Sri Lanka until a good friend invited me to a yoga retreat in Kerala. Rightly or wrongly I have never felt quite comfortable with the idea of going it alone in India, so unaware of when I would get another opportunity to see India with a companion, I changed my plans.
Upon researching Kerala it appears to be the perfect way to kick off a virgin trip to India. The region has a 100% literacy rate, they are long used to tourists but not in the same vein as Goa (party central), it is far less hectic than cities such as Delhi, there are beautiful beaches and lush backwaters to explore. Of course I am still expecting a culture shock, but perhaps a softer blow.
This was made possible by my British Airways American Express card and my excessive usage of it (thanks me!). The BA return flights came in at £230 each, not bad considering they are direct. For once it was a country both myself and my husband wanted to visit, I didn’t have to persuade him of Japan’s virtues and we can finally afford it.
With only 10 days it is going to be a jam-packed trip! Genuinely though I cannot wait to eat all the noodles in Osaka, overload my eyes with the neon sights of Tokyo, feed greedy dears in Nara, become temple weary in Kyoto. Perhaps even be lucky enough to capture the last moments of cherry blossom season in May.
A childhood predilection morphed in to a full-blown adolescent obsession, my fascination with Russia has barely wavered since. Who could fail to be enamoured with the country that produced Rasputin? I jest. The history is fascinating though, from the downfall of Tsar Nicholas II, to the Stalin regime, through to the Cold War and beyond. Nobody could accuse it of being boring.
Deciding to ease myself in to this one, St Petersburg is apparently the most culturally European of Russian cities, and prime for an Autumn sojourn when my calendar is more clear. I am particularly looking forward to trying some authentic blinis!
I’ve barely heard a bad word said about Canada. Justin Trudeau (resident PM and part-time yogi) asserted that Canada could be the “first post-national state”, adding “there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada.” This to me, in the era of Trump and Brexit, sounds like the perfect antidote to inwardly gazing hostile thinking.
Frankly, I need a holiday away from Little England and what better place – vast plains and rocky mountains, Niagara Falls, unmitigated politeness, big open cities (literally and metaphorically), delicious poutine. Of course everyone could be wrong about this utopia, but there is only one way to find out.
No, not Cancun, or Tijuana or even Playa del Carmen. Nowhere I would be surrounded by red party cups (filled with watered down booze that wouldn’t even get a Brit drunk anyway), half naked Spring-breakers and awful blaring house music. Not remotely my cup of tea. You’ll find me on the opposite coast in Oaxaca the “kitchen of Mexico” sampling authentic cuisine, or beach hopping around the beautiful Puerto Escondido and beyond.
Mexico is being saved for the tail end of 2017, when the inevitable English summer (or lack thereof) disappointment sets in and in desperation for some warmth I find myself on Skyscannner again. It may seem a little bonkers to plan my globetrotting adventures so far in advance, but it gets me through the day during a relentlessly gloomy January!
Well that’s it for now. Where are you looking forward to going this year?