I really intended to write this post closer to the beginning of January. But my partner surprised me by booking a trip to Iceland(!) at Christmas, so the start of this month turned out to be planned for me- and I’m not complaining.
We had the most incredible time. Visiting Iceland has been a travel goal of mine for nearly 10 years, so I’m so very grateful that I finally got there. I fully expected to be at least a little disappointed; places that you’ve built up in your imagination for nigh on a decade inevitably fall short of your expectations. Iceland did not. (More on that in the coming weeks).
After perhaps the best start I could have asked for to 2019, what’s yet to come?
More of my very own Microadventures
My last post sang the praises of the humble microadventure. Allistair Humphrey, fellow Brit, adventurer extraordinaire and inventor of the microadventure, offers a beautiful but somewhat precise definition of the term, “a realistic escape to wilderness, simplicity and the great outdoors, without the need to ski to the South Pole or go live in a cabin in Patagonia.”
I love to spend my microadventures exploring the beautiful (if soggy) English countryside but since I already live in the countryside, I also like to have urban microadventures. So January-February should be a healthy mix of urban and rural.
A day trip and possibly an overnight camp is also on the cards next month in the Peak District and/or Snowdonia National Park. But February will mainly be spent working, avoiding being rained on, writing and getting my hygge on with a good book and a hot cup of tea.
I’ll be starting off March with a family wedding in Dublin and a whirlwind trip to the West Coast to finally see the Ring of Kerry, Galway and even more family members.
I’m planning to spend a few days reacquainting myself with Dublin and then travelling over to Cork, Killarney and Dingle, before heading up to Galway for a couple of days and then finally to see my family in Mayo. It’s a pretty ambitious itinerary for the the amount of time I’ve got. I’m not entirely convinced I’ll manage it all but, damn it, I’m gonna try.
Here’s where this year gets really exciting: I’m moving to Italy for a few months in mid-March. I’ve chosen to stay in Bologna, where it’s still big enough to be exciting but not so big and famous that it’s utterly overrun by tourists. I’ll be taking intensive Italian classes by day and sipping montepulciano by night. (at least, that’s my idealised fantasy of what I’ll be doing. In reality, I’m sure it will be closer to eating gelato alone, by the gallon, and crying over my inability to understand irregular verbs).
I want to get to some other cities in the north of Italy while I’m there, Ravenna, Siena and quite probably Venice, Florence and Milan (you kind of have to, don’t you?). I’d also like to see some of the more rural spots in Emilia-Romagna and Umbria, and perhaps tour a vineyard, or five.
Having mastered la dolce vita, I will move onto la vie en rose for summer in Lyon, France. Again, I’ll be taking an intensive language course but I’ll be happily filling up on bread and cheese in my spare time.
I am aiming to get a good taste of both rural and urban southern France with some trips to Provence and Bordeaux. If time and funds permit (which they most likely will not) I would also love to do some hiking in the Alps and explore the north of France. We shall soon see.
After France, I honestly have no solid plans so it gets slightly unclear after the end of summer. There could be a jaunt to the Turkish Riviera, or a trip with my partner (who is Sicilian) to Puglia and Sicily. I may come back to England and have a series of microadventures, or a big camping trip around the UK National Parks. I’m not quite sure yet, but it’s all part of the fun.
Wherever the rest of 2019 takes us, I hope it’s a year full of adventures, laughs and lessons. Sickeningly sweet sign off: complete.
What are your goals for this year? Do you have any suggestions for me? As always, please feel welcome to comment and thanks for reading!
*Thanks again to the artists at Unsplash for their beautiful photography