My Best Year of Travel (Yet)
So, funny thing: I wrote a year ago about how 2016 had been the year in which I had travelled more than any other, and how incredibly lucky that had made me feel. Little did I know at the time, 2017 was about to blow it out of the water.
Part of this was thanks to my new job this year as editorial assistant at a British women’s weekly magazine, for which I was lucky enough to attend a couple of press trips and try my hand at some travel writing (THE. DREAM.)
This time around, I am certain that the coming year will bring much less frequent travel than the one I have just been fortunate to have, and I’m totally OK with that... but it’s not going to stop me taking a little look back at the amazing year of trips I was lucky enough to have had these last 12 months. To save you all the boredom, I’ve chosen just one photo from each trip which captures the magic of the place the best. Sigh... goodbye 2017, and thank you for the adventures!
JANUARY: Stockholm, Sweden
The location in which I welcomed in the new year... it was freezing, but beautiful. On the very first day of 2017, we woke up to the best kind of winter day: snow from the night before frozen to ice, and clear, crisp blue skies (even though we only saw them for 3 hours before the sun went down again).
JANUARY: Edinburgh, Scotland
Not my first trip to Scotland, but my first to its capital, of which I had heard endless tales of magic and beauty and in which respect it most definitely didn’t disappoint! Despite the wealth of photos I took in the city, this was my very last, snapped in haste before descending the stairs into the train station to leave. It’s also the most popular photos I’ve ever posted to my Instagram account with 1,595 likes... does this make me #instafamous?!
FEBRUARY: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
A classic Dam shot, the likes of which there must be a million variations on different computer screens/bedroom walls/photo albums/Instagram accounts around the world, but the city is just so darn picturesque that I love this photo regardless.
FEBRUARY: Gran Canaria, Spain
The first of my press trips for work this year was to one of Spain’s beautiful Canary Islands, Gran Canaria, off the coast of Morocco. Beautifully warm while the west of Europe is cold, I can see why it’s a poplar holiday spot for thousands of Brits. The palm trees towering alongside European architecture was pretty special too...
MARCH: Durham, England
Durham is a city in the North of England where my boyfriend Jesse spent a lot of time for work, so I visited him there in March. A small town full of old buildings, tea houses galore, a pretty epic castle which is used as – get this – student accommodation for Durham University, and one of the country’s more well-known Cathedrals. The latter takes my vote for best snap whilst on holiday there.
MARCH: Monaco and Nice
This trip to Nice included a holiday-within-the-holiday to the city/state of Monaco. Beforehand, I would have though Monte Carlo would have been the most memorable thing, but the glitz and glamour of the world’s most famous casino couldn’t compete with the endless bright blue expanse of the sea in the Côte d'Azur, especially as someone who grew up near the sea and now lives in London! If you’re interested in hearing/seeing a little more from this trip, check out my post.
APRIL: Henley-on-Thames, England
For one week every July, this otherwise sleepy riverside English village in transformed into a giant summer party for the Henley Royal Regatta. Much as I’d love to see it in all its rowing splendour, it was a lovely place to visit in its typical quiet state, where walking down the river was about the calmest Sunday afternoon activity imaginable. I’d say this sweet little pink cottage complete with a garage to literally park the boat in sums it all up fairly aptly. (Always wanted a swim-in garage...)
APRIL: Bamburgh, England
A real competitor for the most breathtaking spot I’ve yet visited in the U.K., Bamburgh is home to one seriously cool castle which lies amongst huge sand dunes along an endless expanse of white sand beach. I loved it so much I dedicated a whole post to it back in April, but this photo has to be my favourite.
APRIL: Cornwall, England
It’s not easy to pick a favourite image from this trip, having laid eyes on so many breathtakingly beautiful places. The theme throughout though was rugged, untamed coastline. Instead of landscapes sloping down and eventually flattening into the sea, huge expanses of green pastures would come to an abrupt end, falling from great heights down steep rocky edges into the water. It captivated me in a way few landscapes have before.
MAY: Marrakesh and Sahara, Morocco
Of all the trips I’ve ever done, this one to Morocco was probably my favourite, and I have more photos I want to frame than I can count. Of all of them though, this one is my favourite – walking into the endless dunes of the Sahara just after we had watched the sunrise. Probably the most magical moment of my life so far!
MAY: Utah and Yellowstone
I was lucky enough to do a 10-day trip to Yellowstone National Park with my work, and the tour took us through four different states and I saw so many incredible sights and landscapes. The most memorable moment was this one, during which I was lucky enough to get a perfectly-timed photo. We pulled the van over when driving through the Grand Tetons, and out ran a bear from the shrubs to the river. People had been waiting to sight this bear that was reported in the area for hours, and the moment we arrived, out she came. Seeing an animal like this in its element was Mother Nature at its finest. For more photos from this trip, check out this post.
MAY: Disley, England
Disley is a beautiful small town in England's Peaks District where my cousin lives. I’d been there twice before this trip, but it never gets old. A girlfriend came to stay with me, and my cousin’s house happens to be right over the road from historic Lyme Park, the filming location of Mr Darcy’s Pemberley for the BBC miniseries of Pride & Prejudice was filmed. No matter how many photos I get with this building, I'll never tire of the sight!
JUNE: Taormina, Sicily
My favourite place outside of New Zealand, my Italian hometown is Taormina, where I lived for a year as a high school exchange student. From my host family’s house I looked down on picturesque Isola Bella, and looking down on it ten years on feels like going home.
JULY: Stanage Edge, Peaks District
A weekend walk in the Peaks District took us to another beautiful filming location from Pride & Prejudice, but it was hard going. Unlike the more dynamic walks I’m used to in New Zealand, this more typical English walk involved a lot of flat-ish, exposed landscape, with a rocky ridge to walk long. This shot capture the lay of the land pretty well!
JULY: Aix-en-Provence, France
Seeing the lavender fields of Southern France had always been a bucket-list trip for me, and this year I made it become a reality. I got all the photos I'd always imagined taking, this quintessential one amongst them. Truly a dream come true!
AUGUST: Helsinki, Finland
I went to Helsinki more for the people than the place, but that meant I was lucky to have some amazing tour guides while there, so saw all the best bits! The coast of Finland is dotted with thousands of tiny islands, and the typical little Scandinavian red wooden huts on them were adorable, and the boat sails oh-so-Finnish. Idyllic, and awesome to visit the country on it's 100th birthday!
OCTOBER: Kent, England
The English countryside is probably never more charming and picture-perfect that in autumn, so for the golden season this year we headed to Kent to soak it all up. Between the beautiful cottages, public gardens and castle visits, picking a favourite snap is tricky, but this one of evening sunlight lighting the road bend ahead of me has to take the top spot. This was light the likes of which I have truly never seen, I quite genuinely gasped when when rounded the corner and saw it up ahead... it took my breath away.
NOVEMBER: Lewes, Sussex
I wrote a blog all about this ecstatic experience in Lewes for Bonfire Night, so I won’t bore you by talking about it all over again. I love all the pictures, because I loved every moment, but thought one of traditional British costumes was fitting!
NOVEMBER: Wanaka, New Zealand
Again, I’m going to cheat and suggest you check out a bigger range of photos from this trip in the blog post I did especially, but this serene moment perfectly encapsulates the chilled vibe and beautiful scenery of New Zealand which makes it such a special place.
DECEMBER: Stuttgart, Germany
Heading to Germany for the authentic Christmas Market experience, I really couldn’t have hoped a scene more perfect than the one I got. This photo sums up the beauty of the markets and surrounding town in the middle of heavy snowfall... we even got snowed in and had to stay an extra day... so tough.
DECEMBER: York, England
Heading up to Edinburgh for Hogmanay (the Scottish New Year's celebration) we made a road trip of our drive up, spending one night in charming Cambridge and one in my favourite UK town, York. We were lucky to be greeted by gorgeous fluffy snow in each place. In the beautiful old streets of York alongside the towering Minster, it was all kinds of magical!