Saturday, 19 November 2011

A cunning plan

I've been back from my great Italian train and boat sized adventure for just about a month now, and I confess I'm getting itchy feet again. It doesn't help that an online friend is away in exotic climes at the moment and posting tantalising photographs of unfamiliar sights. If that's not enough to raise the wunderlust, I don't know what is.

I've always enjoyed travelling. For my early years, travelling was restricted to the UK only. Restricted makes it sound like it was something 'less than', which certainly wasn't the case. There are some truly beautiful places in this dear Kingdom of ours and I would strongly recommend some in UK exploring if you haven't already done it. My childhood was spent in various parts of the Highlands, Argyll, Yorkshire, Devon & the Lake District, and I loved it.

I had my first overseas adventure on a school trip to Northern Germany, in the days before the country was reunified and you could still stare across the border line at the East German soldiers. After that my best friend's family took me with them for a 3 week holiday in France (the Loire Valley and Brittany), and I think that's when my love of European travel started.

And then I started venturing further afield. First, a holiday in California and then for my 30th birthday present to myself, I booked a holiday to Goa. Since then I've also visited Tunisia and, possibly most exotically (so far) Madagascar. Since my big sister moved to Canada, Vancouver has been a fairly regular destination for me.

I've travelled solo, as a couple, with friends, as part of a group and even as part of someone else's family. I've flown, sailed, travelled by train, driven - on planned itineraries and in freeform modes. I love travelling. I love discovering new places. I love pushing my boundaries - adventuring, exploring new cultures, learning new languages, trying new foods, testing the local experiences.

So, what next? Well, that's where the cunning plan comes in. For a while now, I've had a silly challenge for myself - to visit every continent of the world, and to fill up as much of a country A-Z as I can. I'm not doing too badly so far with Europe, North America, Asia and Africa all ticked off, and a fair smattering of countries across the alphabet under my belt. But I'm hungry for more.

My solo adventures have definitely reawakened the challenge for me and now, as the darker winter evenings draw in, I find myself dreaming about where to visit next. Will it be Argentina (to tango in Buenos Aires)? Or Japan (to see the cherry blossom)? Or New Zealand (to visit friends)? Or will it be another European adventure - to a country I haven't visited yet? Or one I know well but want to see differently? Or will it be a new type of holiday - walking perhaps, or learning a new skill, or maybe trying a cruise?

So many options, it's hard to choose. But, it's going to be fun deciding...!

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