I seriously cannot believe it’s already June. That means we’re already nearly halfway through 2014! This year, I had some very ambitious travel plans, and although they haven’t exactly worked out as I’d planned, I’ve definitely be very, very busy traveling around.
Here’s a roundup of how things have changed…and the exciting new things I’ve added to my plans! Reviewing it, I’m actually surprised at how many of them have gone right as planned, even though at the time I didn’t have plane tickets or anything sorted out.
What has already worked out as planned
Back in February, I spent a lovely weekend in fairytale Prague, which is just as stunning as everyone says. From watching the artists on the Charles Bridge to seeing the views from high up above to exploring the tiny cobblestoned streets, it seemed like every square inch of Prague was stuffed with beautiful sights. I know that I’m not the first person to be impressed by Prague!
In March, it was off to Oslo with one of my best friends since we were about 10. Oslo is infamous for being super pricey, but we found a way to make it work on a fairly limited budget with a few sneaky tricks. One of those tricks let us into a lot of museums at a low price, and that was absolutely my favorite part of the city. You can really to get into the explorer vibe in Oslo, with museums dedicated to the Kon-Tiki expedition, the Vikings, and Arctic explorers. If you’re in the Norwegian capital, I highly recommend going to Museum Island for a day of letting your inner adventurer out.
About three weeks ago, I spent a lovely weekend in England visiting my family. My dad even made a quick pit stop over from California! If you were visiting England to see something of the city, it would probably have been quite a boring trip. But it was lovely and relaxing to see my family and enjoy some delicious tea and pub lunches. I also had the rather enlightening experience of watching the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in my life. It’s kind of like if you described the trashiest European pop culture to aliens, and this is the interpretation they came up with. Conchita Wurst 4EVER!!!
Places I will be traveling to as planned (yay!):
Edinburgh and England
For my second trip to the U.K. this year, I’ll be going to see the same friend I went to Oslo with…but in her stomping grounds in Edinburgh! For this trip, flight comparison site Momondo invited me to try out their new Friends Compass app. I said yes, as Momondo is a website I almost always use when I’m booking my flights; actually, I used it to book this very same trip. So what did I think of the app?
It’s really fun! It gives you an interactive wheel of places you can fly to, plus easy access to flight prices to those places. You can connect it to Facebook if you like, so I checked prices for a flight to visit the lovely Amy in Edinburgh. (Of course, because I’m going in two weeks the prices are a little higher than usual).
You can also see who’s nearby your destination, which is great for planning side trips. It even sums up who’s the closest friend to visit (and the furthest away) and the cheapest and most expensive. In other words, this is only going to fuel more of my travel daydreaming and wanderlust! (Note: you can still use the app without connecting it to Facebook – a big plus in my book).
So far, my U.K. itinerary includes seeing my friend in Edinburgh, then driving down south to England with my family. We’ll definitely be stopping in York, plus a few smaller places in England where my family live. It all kicks off in two weeks! We still have to choose between a famously haunted city or a town with a castle where some of Harry Potter was filmed. How do you pick just one?
Thank you again to Momondo for inviting me to try their new app!
I’m excited to be going home to visit family and friends this summer in California! I’m lucky to have a job that lets me work remotely so I’m able to get in a good dose of California sunshine once or twice a year. The Golden State always lives up to its name!
I may be trying to squeeze in a weekend trip while I’m in California though. Fingers crossed at least one of my schemes works out!
I will definitely still be going to Bilbao, because I’ve got tickets to go to the music festival BBK! Some of my favorite bands are playing this year, like Franz Ferdinand and the Black Keys, and I’m going with a fun group of girlfriends. If I have my way, I may be cramming in an extra stop on the way up to Bilbao in somewhere like Pamplona (I STILL haven’t been to the Running of the Bulls!) or San Sebastián. My little fingers are going to be getting a serious workout with all the crossing they’ll be doing this summer in hope of more travel.
Madrid and somewhere new in Spain
Both of these are still looking highly likely. I don’t have anything nailed down yet, but I will keep you updated as my plans fall into place! I’m feeling optimistic about both of these.
What did NOT work out
I want to emphasize that I am very lucky to have been able to travel a LOT this year, so I’m not complaining in any way, shape, or form that any of these didn’t work out!
I wanted to go to: Las Fallas in Valencia
I didn’t end up making it to Las Fallas this year, which is a shame because it’s really a fabulous festival. It’s a celebration of springtime and cleansing fire,and the whole city of Valencia turns into a riot of color and fireworks for a whole week. This year I would have loved to have gone, but oh well.
I meant to go to: Amsterdam, Italy, and London
I was originally working on a project that would have involved traveling all around Europe. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for as long as we were hoping for, but I still got to see some amazing places!
I’m not too disappointed about not going to Amsterdam or London, as I’ve already visited both, but I AM a bit miffed that another one of my plots to get to Italy has fallen through. I feel like I’ve been trying to get there for ages, and it just hasn’t lined up yet. It’s especially frustrating as it’s so close. Oh well, it will happen sooner or later. 😀
I wanted to go to: Croatia and/or Greece
Will I make it? I really wish I could say yes, but unfortunately it looks like this summer it may not work out. Since I made my list of dream destinations, Croatia is even higher on my list. Why? I have finally discovered Game of Thrones, which is partly filmed there. (note to the Game of Thrones people: stop killing off all the hot characters!). Still, I have my fingers crossed – you never know what kind of opportunities might pop up.
Total surprise trips
OK, so I may not have gotten to go to all the destinations I wanted to go to, but a few extra trips popped up that have were a complete surprise.
Recently, I joined the Barcelona Travel Bloggers group expecting to go to a few meetings every now and then, and not much more. It turns out the group is full of super interesting people who love to travel. They also organize some really cool activities. One of those activities was a trip to Berlin, where 6 lucky bloggers got to go for a weekend of fun…and I was one of the lucky 6! I’d been to Berlin before, but this time I saw a completely new side of the city.
I meant to go to: Stockholm
I’ll actually be going to: Stockholm AND Helsinki!
My original plan was to go to Stockholm to visit some family members when they’re there. That will still probably happen, but I may be in Stockholm on a separate occasion too. I’m extremely excited to go get to know two new cities!
I meant to go to: New York
I’ll actually be going to: Lots of places in Spain! .
You don’t want to count your chickens before they hatch and all…but I’m fairly confident that the project will yield some nice feathered friends popping up in the form of trips. Watch this space!
This year, the travel stars really have been aligning for me. I’ve managed to take a weekend jaunt to an exciting country almost once a month so far this year, and I’m hoping that the relentless pace will continue for the rest of 2014. So far, I have fixed travel plans through September, so it’s shaping up to be a very, very fun year.
Although… I do have to say that on my last trip to a new place (Oslo), I ended up feeling a huge pull to travel to somewhere completely new and different in the near future. I love jaunting around Europe, but I think that sometime soon I may have to venture a little further out of my comfort zone. 2014 is looking pretty booked up, which I love, but if the travel gods or whatever continue to be nice, maybe 2015 will be an even more adventurous year.
Where have you traveled so far in 2014? Do you have any plans to travel for the rest of the year?