As I sit here feeling rather full from one post-Christmas chocolate too many, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to reflect on my 2013, or more specifically, my travels this year. And what a year it has been!
This year I have been privileged enough to be able to tick four things off of my ultimate ‘travel experience’ bucket list – to say hi to NYC, explore the ancient temples of Angkor, relax on a Thai beach and stand inside the Colosseum.
April 2013 saw my New York dream come true with my best friend by my side. It kicked off in style with a first class flight to the city that never sleeps, something I never dreamed I could experience. With each day jammed pack full of sights, activities and of course shopping, it felt like Sex and the City had come to life! At the end of a busy week, full of sight-seeing, baseball, burgers and a cocktail or two, I can safely say it lived up to my expectations.
In June, I had the joy of returning to my favourite part of the world: South-east Asia. As well as getting to spend some more time in the amazing shock to the system that is Bangkok, I was able to head east to Cambodia. Not knowing what to expect, Cambodia won me over largely to the friendliness of its people. Not only this, but I was finally able to explore the temples of Angkor. I’ve always drooled over pictures, but to see it for myself was incredible. I definitely had a few pinch myself moments where I did feel like Lara Croft! The quad bike ride we went on in Siem Reap allowed us to get off the beaten track and see some of the country’s more rural villages, a true glimpse at Cambodian life which was a real privilege and will stay with me.
We then flew straight down to Railay, off the coast of Krabi in Thailand. This slice of paradise was quiet at this time of the year, enabling us to kick back and relax on its almost empty golden beaches. Only reachable by boat, Railay has a laid-back way of life which is in such contrast to my usual day-to-day existence.
I’ve never been particularly good at doing nothing on holiday, so we threw in a bit of island hopping, scuba diving and rock climbing and it was bliss.
Thinking that I had exhausted not only my funds but my holiday allowance, I was over the moon when in November I unexpectedly won a holiday to Rome with the great people at Bench Clothing. My partner and I were whisked off for five days to explore the capital of Italy and its rich treasures. We explore what is left of ancient Rome, listened to the Pope deliver mass in Vatican City and stuffed ourselves silly on cheese, being asked to report back on what we discovered for the Bench website. This was a dream come true for an aspiring travel blogger! You can read more about what I discovered to do in Rome in the morning, afternoon and at night.
Between these trips, I have had the pleasure of returning on three occasions to Pembrokeshire in Wales, a place that is jam-packed with childhood memories for me. Come rain or shine, it never fails to stun me with its beauty, rugged nature, tiny coastal villages and dramatic views.
2013 has been a year full of surprises, laughs, experiences and adventures. I have been lucky enough to meet new people, try new things, explore new places and create memories that will be with me for the rest of my life. Thanks 2013, and here is to doing the same in 2014!
Lastly, I would like to say thank you to all of you that take the time to read, like and comment on my blog. It brings a smile to my face to see your reactions, and only hope that you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it. Happy New Year everyone, wherever you may be!