Where Will My Wanderlust Take Me This Year?
From the minute the clock chimes midnight on the dawn of a new year, one of the first things on my mind is travel. My next holiday can’t come quickly enough as the post-Christmas, January blues kick in. The trees are down and the baubles are all packed away for another year and the house feels so bare and empty – a bit like my mood once the sparkle of the festive period has faded. There’s only one thing that will jolt me from this slump… holidays! Bet you’ve been looking too, right?
Sometimes I have all my travel plans in place very early on and sometimes (like last year) I am late to the party with my holiday bookings. Last year I ended up in places that I didn’t expect to visit but due to a combination of availability and cost, I found myself on a happy but unexpected trip to Boston and Cape Cod.
Much as I loved my time there and I do want to go back, we didn’t have the best of weather on the second leg of that holiday and I felt a bit cheated, having packed all my best summery dresses and ended up in jeans and a rain jacket for a few days.
Granted, the rain and cloud were not typical for that time of year and I guess, we were just unlucky. Hey, who hasn’t donned a plastic poncho at some point during the summer
So, I was mindful of what I wanted and needed from my adventures this year and regardless of where else I end up – you know I love my city breaks as well as my lakes and mountains – I want and need sunshine and I want and need my fix of Bella Italia. There’s something about Italy that just makes me feel content and serene. Maybe it’s the culture, maybe it’s the beauty of the countryside or the dramatic cities, who knows but Italy has always been a good fit for me and I plan to wear her again this summer.
I’m hoping to return to Tuscany – remember my story from two summers ago? You can read it again if you need a reminder…
We did a fair bit of sight-seeing and gallivanting on that holiday and I imagine my return trip will be more of the same but I am also planning to do more of that relaxation thing; you know the lying on a sun lounger, basking in the sunshine thing? Yes, that.
I’m such a restless bod on holiday, always on the go, visiting churches, museums, new towns and cities and whatever else is nearby that I sometimes forget to ‘holiday’. I’m a travel nut and I love to see and do as much as I can on any break but as I get older, work harder etc., I’d love to actually take a few days at least to simply soak up the sun and let my worries just melt away in the afternoon heat.
The great thing about Italy is that you can really mix and match your pleasures to get the best of both worlds. So many dazzling historical sights and cities are within a short drive or train journey of even the remotest of hotels and resorts so it ticks all the boxes for me. In the height of summer, you can generally expect beautiful weather… sometimes it can be super hot too.
I’ll definitely get to wear those dreamy summer frocks that haven’t seen the light of day since my last Italian adventure (if they still fit!) That’s another thing I love about being in Italy. I wear a certain style of clothes and accessories on Italian holidays that I probably wouldn’t consider on any other trip. It feels right to up the ante in the glamour stakes and let’s face it; when you’re rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s most stylish people, you want to look like you belong there.
From my Tuscan retreat in Barga last year, I managed to visit Pisa, Lucca and Montecatini Terme – all within easy reach and the rail services in Italy were great – punctual, reasonably priced and pretty fast too.
This year, we might hire a car and do some of the sight-seeing by road but I have to say, the windy, hairpin bends on some of the routes scare me. Besides, taking the train feels more of an adventure and it also means we can enjoy some lovely wine with our lunch, under the Tuscan sun.
This year on my hit list is Viareggio, Florence and Pistoia. I will be dipping back into Lucca again too. It’s a beautiful walled city, not far from Pisa but poles apart. There’s always some wonderful live music on here in the summer months. I did much of the touristy stuff on my last visit so this time I’m looking forward to a deeper look around and also browsing more of the cracking little shops and boutiques.
So that’s summer sorted and I’m sure I’ll report back to you. It’s sometimes a bit of a gamble going back to a place you’ve been before, especially when it was such a hit the first time. What if it’s not as good the second time around? I doubt that will be the case. We didn’t even scratch the surface of the Tuscan region and even if you went back year after year, you’d still find new places to visit and new things to experience. I don’t believe you can exhaust anywhere on a two-week holiday but least of all anywhere in Italy!
Now, work commitments and bank balance permitting, I like to try and squeeze in a couple of short breaks to punctuate the year. Sometimes I am happy to stay in the UK but with such great prices on city breaks and budget airline flights these days, it’s almost too tempting to jet off abroad for the price of a weekly shop or in some cases much less. Last year I was lucky enough to visit a bucket list destination on a short break. I travelled to the alpine beauty of Annecy in France during October half term.
I really want to go back there too but maybe I’ll skip a year and try somewhere different. Jersey has been on my radar for a while and I think 2018 is the year to scratch that itch. The Channel island of Jersey is located around 100 miles (160km) south of mainland Britain and just 14 miles (22 km) from the coast of France. A compact island of stunning coastline, golden, sandy beaches and rich landscapes is just waiting to be discovered. With British and French influences, a cosmopolitan city buzz happily co-exists with the chilled, coastal vibe. Sounds like the perfect spot for some R&R, doesn’t it? With direct flights to Jersey from EasyJet, it can probably be done without breaking the bank too.
The entire island sounds simply beautiful but St Helier probably appeals to me the most – it’s Jersey’s capital and the hub of the island with a great selection of accommodation, cafes, bars and shops. It’s also a good base for exploring the rest of the island. I’ll be sure to tell you all about it once I’ve been!
Again, if time and budget allow, I’ll probably indulge myself with a hotel break in Scotland at some point too.
There’s so many stunning places to go and if you get lucky with the weather, Scotland is a great place to recharge the batteries.
By contrast, I also enjoy a wee trip to the bright lights of London and I’m definitely going soon as I’m keen to see some of the new shows in London’s West End and you know how I like my fix of music and culture too.
Who knows what else the year will bring for us all, but one thing is certain, there’s nothing like broadening your horizons and seeing a little bit more of this great big world of ours. We all need something to look forward to and for me, there’s nothing like planning and packing for trips with my nearest and dearest.
Do you have your holiday plans set? Where will you go?
I love travel. I’ve been fascinated by other countries and cultures since my first foreign trip in 1985 and I’ve had serious wanderlust ever since.I also love to write about where I’ve been and tripsology lets me indulge that passion. I’m thrilled to be a regular contributor and editor. When I’m not writing I also run my own PR and publicity company.