Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Travel Wishlist

I am currently referring to the year that will follow my graduation as the 'Gap Year of Dreams' in an attempt to motivate me through the next year, and also ensure that I do make 'a year of dreams'. I have total, unashamed wanderlust right now and the list of places I want to visit is becoming longer and longer. I've gone from simply making a list of places I want to visit in 2016/17 to a list of everywhere I could possibly want to visit in my life! I'm trying to plan in a mixture of trips, big ones and small ones, so I can, for the first time, leave Europe and also make the most of the limited funds I have. It's exciting, really exciting, and I love going on holiday, and I love organising. It's also a bit scary, because there'll be new experiences and I want to make sure I plan the best trips I can possibly have! 

So, as hard as it is to narrow it down, here are the top 5 places I am desperate to visit in 'The Gap Year of Dreams': 

ROUTE 66, Chicago - LA


Ok, so this one's a bit of a cheat. I am dreaming of an American road trip, preferably in Cadillac but I'd take something smaller and more fuel efficient. Route 66 takes you from Chicago through Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and finishes in LA. I've always fancied Chicago, and am desperate to go to the Grand Canyon, and maybe even spend a couple of days in Vegas...if you're in the area, how can you not?! Ideally, I'd like to pop up to San Francisco at the end; ever since watching The Princess Diaries, I have been aching to go! 

I've never been to the States before, so I want to experience that in all its excess. I'm also intrigued about the whole road trip experience: I want to drive (or at least be a passenger) on big open roads, and stay in motels (which I'm sure are much more glamorous in my mind) and stop in diners. Not to mention, see all the sights along the way! So this is my no. 1 - my desired 'big trip'. 

NEW ZEALAND, Auckland - Queenstown

http://weheartit.com/entry/group/19359256
I am all about the road trip. The second 'big trip' I'd love to do, would be to go to New Zealand, and drivr from the Auckland in the North Island to Queenstown in the South. From what I understand, the North island is slightly more cosmopolitan and incredible for scuba diving (which I've always wanted to learn how to do!). The South is more mountainous, and known for it's beautiful walks and wildlife. And look at those lakes! I do love a good lake. It sounds like the perfect 'multi-centre' trip, and would be lovely to escape the English winter in favour of the New Zealand summer. Whilst travelling to New Zealand wouldn't force me quite so far out of my comfort zone than perhaps visiting parts of Africa or Asia, I feel like that could, in some ways, make it more relaxing and more enjoyable - especially for a first trip. 

In my mind New Zealand is a lot bigger than it actually is, and my proposed journey is actually just under 1000 miles - so trying to complete it, and make plenty of stops on the way, in 3 weeks shouldn't be a problem. The only downside is the flight, well, the cost of the flight which is making this trip seem like a progressively more distant dream! 

PARIS, FRANCE
I have never been to Paris. I've been to Disneyland Paris, but apparently that doesn't count. One of my aims for my Gap Year of Dreams is to spend a period of time in France and improve (remember) my French - and what better place to be than Paris? I want to do all the touristy things first: go the Louvre, up the Eiffel Tower, and see the Arc de Triomphe. Then I'd like to see Paris for what it really is, and maybe travel a little bit around France. I've always quite fancied the look of Provence. I feel like Paris is one of those places that everyone should visit at least once, and I think 2016/17 is going to be my first! Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in a quick trip to Disneyland too... 

LAKE BLED, SLOVENIA 
Buzzfeed, that trusty travel source, describes Lake Bled as a place that's 'even awesomer during the winter' - and I think it's probably right. As I said, I love a good lake and I'd love to do a bit of exploring of Eastern Europe since it's somewhere I've never been. Lake Bled is just outside the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, and has a small island in the middle of it, the island of Bled! Bled itself is home to a Gothic church, whilst the Medieval castle lies just to the Northwest of the Lake. I love Gothic and Medieval architecture, and think that Lake Bled in winter time would provide the most perfect, magical but eerie backdrop to these sights. A definite must see, I think! 

BARCELONA, SPAIN 

Because you've got to have an old favourite! Simon has agreed that next year, after I've finished my finals, we can go back to Barcelona - and I cannot wait! We went in June 2014 and had the most wonderful, super busy but also really relaxing 5 days; but there was so much that we still didn't see. I'd love to go back, revisit the places we fell in love with, eat ALL the tapas, go to the beach, and see all the places we didn't have a chance to before. Barcelona will probably be my first trip of the Gap Year of Dreams, and I feel like it will be the trusty one: a lovely city, hopefully lovely weather, and lovely company. What more could I want? 

So it looks like it's going to be a pretty sweet year, right? I'm excited, overexcited, so excited that I keep forgetting that there are 90 hours of lectures, a dissertation and 4 exams between me and the Gap Year of Dreams...but I'm sure it'll come round soon enough, and I'm certain it'll be worth the wait. 

I'd love to hear about your experiences if you've been to any of these places, or if you've got any recommendations then please get in touch! 

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