It's no secret I love exploring new places. If I was given lots of money I would spend it on travelling. Although I don't consider myself well-traveled, I'm definitely working on it! This is a list of some of the places I have been in my lifetime....
1. France - first time was for a school trip aged 11. I remember almost nothing about it, other than being chased by a dog, having a baguette fight on the coach, and drinking those spray refresher bottles of Evian. My second visit was much more memorable - I spent a week in Paris with my sister. We did so much sightseeing, walked miles and miles, ate crepes every single day, and took hundreds of photographs. Although Paris is one of the most beautiful cities I've been to, it's also one of the most expensive!
2. Iceland - I studied A-Level Geography, and one of the benefits of this was being invited to go on a field trip to Iceland for a week. My Nanny, the absolute angel she was, offered to pay for me to go, and so I spent a week exploring glaciers, and waterfalls, and geysers, riding Icelandic ponies, and NOT seeing the Aurora Borealis (still a very sensitive subject, it was one of the things I was looking forward to the most about the trip, but hey ho!) Iceland is an incredible country, it's like being on another planet, it's so barren and empty. I'm a total geology nerd, so loved every second of the trip. The highlight was being in an outdoor swimming pool (heated by the thermal energy that's abundant in Iceland) and all I could see for miles on either side of me was mountains with snow capped peaks.
3. New York - there aren't enough words to describe how much I love New York City. I fell in love the first time I visited, it feels like my second home, and is the only place other than London I've ever felt sure I would enjoy living. I have only visited twice, but stayed for 2 weeks each time, before traveling to Washington DC to stay with friends for a further 2 weeks. It's such an amazing city -the second time I visited we arrived in the afternoon, went to bed for a few hours and woke up really disorientated, and I have weird jumbled memories of wandering up to Times Square at about one in the morning to get something to eat, and everything was open, and there were so many people milling about!
4. Thailand - this was in fact my last trip abroad (need to sort that out asap!) After breaking up with the boy I thought I would be with forever, having a complete breakdown, and somehow graduating university, I decided I needed a break. So when a uni friend told me he was going traveling and would be in Thailand later in the year I thought, what the hell, I'd like to lie in the sun for a bit! So I flew out to Koh Samui, an island off the coast of Thailand. We were supposed to spend three weeks there together, but sadly he had major visa issues and had to go home after two weeks. I decided that, rather than stay on Koh Samui alone I would head to Koh Tao and take a scuba diving course, something I have always wanted to do. I spent a week learning all about scuba diving, living in a little straw hut with other people from the diving school. The daytime was spent studying, diving, or messing about on a boat, and the evenings were spent watching bad TV, playing card games, and doing more studying. Although I had no idea at the time, it was during this holiday that I realised who I really was, and that I am a lot stronger than I thought.
5. Barcelona -again, I visited this city with my sister kind of on a whim. I've always wanted to go, mainly because I'm a big Gaudi fan, and it certainly didn't disappoint! We spent a week visiting as many Gaudi works as possible (although we missed Parc Guell due to having to catch an earlier flight!) and trying to fit in some beach time in between. It's so weird being in a city and going to the beach.... I'm not a huge fan of the beach but my sister is, and our arrangement was she would come with me to the art galleries and museums, and I would go with her to the beach and to Camp Nou (she's a big football fan.) Although I've to New York during summer, Barcelona in summer is completely different. The heat was unbearable for most of the day, hotter than NYC, and very few places are properly air conditioned. We took our cue from the locals and had siestas during the hottest part of the day whenever possible.
6. Morocco - this was basically a relax holiday for me. I went for two and a half weeks with my then boyfriend. It was after a really tough period of my life; I'd just had to move home from Northampton (where I had been studying Psychology) and had been looking for a job, and generally feeling really out of sorts. We spent the whole trip lounging by the pool or on the beach, wandering around little markets, and exploring the area.
7. Florida -when I was nine years old my parents surprised me and my sisters with a three week holiday to Florida. I say surprised because they didn't tell us until the morning that we were leaving! There is a video showing them telling us we are going to Disneyworld in Florida and it's the funniest thing EVER! My little sister goes and hides because she can't handle all the excitement! We spent two weeks staying in the Walt Disney resort, visiting the parks and everything, and then we had a week staying in a relative's beach house in Key West. It literally backed directly on to a private stretch of beach. As a nine year old it was the holiday of a lifetime, and it's one I will never forget.