With only 4 days of 2016 remaining I thought I would write a letter about what 2017 will hold for me. It will also give you an idea of what letters to expect throughout the new year.
But first, I hope you all had a magical Christmas with friends, family or acquaintances and I wish you the very best for 2017. Please let me know if you have anything special planned, or any goals or hopes for 2017!
I feel extremely lucky to live in the capital of Scotland, and in a few days I will return ready to bring in 2017 with a bang! I will be one of the thousands of people to grace Princes’ Street come midnight to watch the fireworks over our castle and sing Auld Lang Syne with my good friends. I think it’s the perfect way to close the book on 2016 and welcome in the new year.
We booked return flights to Iceland back in April and now our week in this unique country is almost upon us! During this week we will stay in Reykjavik and take trips out to explore some of the landscape. We plan to spend an afternoon in the Blue Lagoon because, well, you can’t not, right? We will then definitely take a day trip out to see some of the waterfalls and natural phenomenons in Iceland, either on the Golden Triangle or a Southern trip. We need to do more research on these. Any advice will be greatly received!! Lastly, we’ll go in search of the Northern Lights. We’ll either take a bus trip out of town to try to catch the light show, or even go on a boat trip. We’re not sure yet. Again, advice?! For the rest of the time we will explore the small city of Reykjavik, go walking and relax with our books. We both need this break and I’m beyond excited about the trip!
As I’ve written about before, I am going to Italy in February because of my course. We are flying into Rome, staying for a few days and then heading up north to Milan, where we fly out of 10 days later. We are unsure whether we are going to go straight to Milan, or stay somewhere in between. I am dying to visit Verona but it’s expensive to stay here so we may just do day trips out from Milan. I would also be keen to visit the lakes, which is possible from Milan. Again, I want this trip to be relaxing, but I also want to experience some great architecture which may influence my work. I can’t wait to be back on Italian soil!
As I don’t live at home with my mum anymore and we rarely spend time together, we are taking a holiday just the two of us this summer. We have decided on a week in Porto, Portugal, which will combine a new city and beaches for a relaxing stay. I’ve wanted to go to Porto for some time and it’s also a great opportunity for me to explore more of a country I visited twice when I was very young. I am planning to spend a week with my mum, but fly out earlier and visit Lisbon and potentially the Gerês National Park, which is quite near Porto. I came across this park earlier this year on someone else’s blog and since then it’s been at the forefront of my mind. It looks like a stunning place and I would love to spend some time there. So I’m hoping to have 2-3 weeks in June in Portugal.
SLOVENIA, CROATIA AND MONTENEGRO
These 3 destinations in Central Europe have captured my eye over the past few months and are where I would like to explore this summer. I think I will have most of July to travel around these countries, but the more I read into them, the longer I want to spend there! If I finish my course early May rather than late May, I may be able to split this trip up and use May as well. It all depends on my course, so we will wait and see. I would like to write a letter dedicated to my research on these countries, which will come soon! For me, there is far more to a country than the capital city and I would like to travel around these, staying in the countryside, the cities and on the coast. I am considering trying out schemes where I could work in exchange for board. I am looking into different companies that offer these, like workaway and helpx. If I manage to use either or these I would really like to offer a letter about my experiences and advice.
I have already mentioned (many times – sorry) my love of Greece and desire to return. Well, this year I will be taking a holiday with my boyfriend that I really hope will be to Greece. I have been to a number of islands and also to the capital and other areas of the mainland. I love it all. Koroni, in the Peloponnese region has a huge place in my heart because I spent 6 weeks living there. In all truth, I want to go back. But I also love to visit new places and have thought about the islands of Thassos, Santorini, Ios and Porus among many others. I would also like to explore the cities, beaches and mountains of the mainland. Hopefully, we’ll be spending a week in my favourite country this summer!
EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL
Unfortunately, through all of my travel aspirations of the summer, I also have to pay a hefty sum of rent for my beautiful Edinburgh flat. This will total about £1600 for the whole summer so I feel I should not only spend some time in it, but I should also work. I am planning to get a job in the fringe so that I can live in my flat and earn about £1000 in the festival to cover some of the rent.
HIGHLANDS AND CORNWALL
Not two places that typically come together, right? Well, my boyfriend lives in the highlands and I live in Somerset, a couple hours away from Cornwall. At some point this year we will try to visit each others homes and do some mini trips out to explore both areas. Hopefully these can happen either in April, May or September. I really hope there is time (and money) to fit all of this in! Believe it or not, it’s not cheap to fly to opposite ends of the British Isles.
I think this year could be a really amazing year of travel. It’s going to be a hell of a busy year as well. As for how I’m affording all of this? Well, it’s personal so I won’t go into loads of detail but a lot of it comes from how I live my life at university. I get loans, grants and bursaries to cover my living costs. Most of this goes into my rent, course costs and food but I put £200 a month aside to go towards my travel. So everything I do in the summer will come from my £2,400 budget (saved over the whole year). I’m going to try to do everything relatively cheaply this summer and I hope to be writing about what I’ve spend for everyone to see in about 9 months.
See you in the next letter!