Ireland is possibly my favorite country in the world (although I do hesitate to put such big labels on things!) it is the country I have visited the most and I will continue to keep going back to it. I did a school exchange there for nine months when I was 16 and I fell in love.
I have been all over the country in buses, trains, cars and even a few ferry and biking trips but on my next adventure I would love to experience it from a different perspective, walking.
Scotland is of course just a jump across the channel from Ireland and yet it strikes me as somewhere totally different. It feels older, colder and more regale.
I have something to confess, I have been teased in good humor for years by friends about my fascination with people with red hair. I will dye my hair red, comment on beautiful burnished locks as I walk down the street and form crushes on boys with the desired carrot tops. Scotland has the highest count of citizens with red hair in the world (13% of their population) and so that is already an initial (and strong) reason for me to go!
I have visions of my time in Scotland as being the equivalent of stepping back in time, surrounded by craggy mountains with castles perched atop their ledges, the cold wind whipping my hair and scarf into the air as I hurry into a warm fire lit place. I envision the people as though they are from a different time where everyone wore tartan, pagan rituals were carried out and maidens picked herbs in forests and on moors.
Faroe Island (Denmark) –
This is an interesting one, once upon a time I was working in a resort in Fiji. Three women came to the resort one day, a blond, brunette and redhead; they were tall and impossibly beautiful in an almost otherworldly way which meant that the word ‘Amazon’ sprung to my mind immediately.
Not long after they arrived there was a cyclone and the whole resort took shelter together in the strongest building on the island. During that day of waiting out the storm I got to talk to everyone, including these Amazons. It turned out they came from a tiny tiny island above Scotland that belongs to Denmark. The Faroe Islands. They said it was very boring and not a place that tourists ever came, that it was mainly just fishing villages with old men bringing in their catch every evening, but in my mind all the people of that Island must be as beautiful as these women and I wanted to see them for myself.
I am also attracted to the thought that it is so distant from everywhere and that it sounds like such a harsh and unforgiving landscape surrounded by cold and wild sea. I love an element of survival in my travels, whether it be being faced with harsh weather or an unfamiliar situation where I actually have to think about where I will be eating next, or sleeping. It keeps me on edge and alive!
When I first wrote this list several years ago, I had been to Italy for a short time on a class trip and had so many of my own ideas of what I wanted to do when I next went there. Since then I have been back and some parts of the original list have been fulfilled. For instance I spent more time in Rome and now feel content with what I have seen of it.
I had also specified on the original list that I wanted to find out more of the history of all things Italian and on my most recent trip A LOT of history was experienced, from the Forum in Rome to the ruins of Pompeii and the Medici tombs and Galileo museum in Florence, but there is always more history to discover and I am always interested!
I feel like I have done enough of the big cities for now and for my next trip I imagine myself skipping from small country village to small country village, or winding my way up the western coastline, making my way onto the islands.
I want to visit Venice for Carnivale as well. In particular, this is an item on my bucket list and I want to do it right. I imagine attending one of the balls in full costume and spending my nights in a lavish hotel, so I will be saving my money for a bit longer before this is achieved!
One of my very current plans though is to get a visa, learn Italian and gather up my nerves for long enough to get over there and get a job! Maybe when they have gotten over their financial crisis a bit…
The Greek Islands –
Again, I have ticked a few things off the original list already (Yay!) but there are still a few things I want to do.
I went to Greece first on a class trip and we went out to the island of Santorini for a few days. I was ridiculously sick and spent the whole time in bed sucking on grapes and trying to keep them down. The rest of my class loved it and thought it was the best bit of the trip! I was jealous. So last year when it was realised that we would be in Europe for my 21st , and my friend I was traveling with asked where I would like to be for the day, the first place that came to mind was Santorini.
We spent a whole 2 weeks on the Island and rode donkeys and quad bikes, scuba dived, stayed in a beautiful Bed and Breakfast, drank cocktails, went snorkeling, watched the sunset every night and took a tour on a big yacht. Santorini did not disappoint.
The reason it is still on my list is because I want to do it all again! The only thing I would add to it would be to rent a house with a few girlfriends so we can really control the party. I read a great book once about a group of girls who rented a house in Greece out for the summer and the thought of your own private whitewashed courtyard covered in bougainvillea and the smell of the BBQ in it has captured my imagination ever since.
I find the German language intriguing, for a long time it was the only language I wanted to learn, and for a little while there I actually got good at it (I thought!)but without practice that has all since withered away, so my visit to Germany would be all about hearing and speaking the language.
I also find it an elusive country, despite having to Europe three times on extensive trips I have never found myself within Germany’s boarders. I guess that’s why I keep going back to Europe, because there is SO much to see.
Canada – (Finally, we are outside of Europe!)
For a long time I had no interests in countries outside of Europe at all but Canada was the beginning of a breaking in tradition.
I have visited once, to Toronto and Niagara for a very short 10 days. It was January and the snow was as high as my knee and even wearing three pairs of socks, thermals under all my clothes and two scarves I was still cold. I loved it despite the fact (well, probably because of the fact) that every day out in that kind of weather felt like a struggle to survive!
My dreams for my next trip are a whirl of autumn colours, northern lights, kombi vans and long roads. I want to experience the French fusion in the east and the fusion of everything in the west (Vancouver is the most multicultural city in the world). I think that it would be a very nature filled trip, full of hiking, swimming, animal spotting and just being outdoors.
USA , The South –
This is a very exciting one because my next trip (actual real trip that is all booked and paid for!) is exactly fulfilling this dream. When I wrote this one down my interest came purely from The Killer’s songs and from watching True Blood. Since then I have made friends with people from all over America whilst on a University exchange program in England. It has been a year since we left the UK and a friend and I are heading off in a month to drive across the country from west to east in a convertible. Yes, that is excitement that you feel.
My original dream was labelled “The Killers experience” and involved glitter, feathers and the desert. Other things I was interested in were the accents of the south, cowboys and southern belles (The Notebook anyone?). For the most part my dreams have remained the same but now also include wood cabins filled with stuffed animals by a lake, frat parties, driving and friends.
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