As 2018 drew to a close, I thought a lot about the year that had just gone passed. More than anything, I felt incredibly grateful to get the opportunity to travel as much as I did. I know that travel is a luxury that not everyone can afford, even if the travel you are doing itself isn’t luxurious. I don’t have many things in life holding me back (apart from only having twenty pesky annual leave days to take!) which I am also incredibly grateful for, as you really never know when your circumstances may change.
2018 was also a surprising year for me in terms of travel. At the beginning of January I wondered where the year would take me – and I honestly didn’t expect for the answer to that to be ten different countries! I had trips to Washington DC, Copenhagen, Malmo, Liverpool, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, South Africa and Latvia – as well as travelling extensively throughout Ireland during a glorious heatwave that lasted all Summer. With all this in mind, I decided to curate my top three destinations from 2018. (You can find my top three destinations from 2017 here)
- The Garden Route, South Africa
This one is probably a given, but South Africa was everything I thought it would be and more when I visited in late October/early November. I had not done much research because I love to leave a bit of surprise to everywhere I visit and every single landscape I came across took my breathe away. It is definitely a commitment to get here from Europe but it is one of those once in a lifetime holidays that you will never forget, or ever regret! I think when you think of South Africa you might also automatically think that it has to involve a Safari but in reality the country is so vast and just has so much more to offer than its animals (Although it’s animals are AMAZING!)
2. Lucerne, Switzerland
I hadn’t had any real plans to go on a ‘summer’ holiday with South Africa in the pipeline, but when my boyfriend suggested a road trip through Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein I wasn’t going to say no! All of those countries were beautiful in their own right but Switzerland was just something to behold! Going up the glorious Mount Pilatus during a heatwave was such an amazing experience. I’ve never been somewhere with that much scenery. Every time you passed a cluster of mountains, there were ten more behind them in the distance! It’s expensive when you are there, don’t get me wrong! But if you are a nature enthusiast and can manage to go even for a long weekend then I would highly recommend it.
3. Inis Mor, The Aran Islands
Funnily enough I only visited Inis Mór for the day but I loved every second of it. We made our base in Doolin, Clare and were lucky enough to visit during incredibly good weather which made the trip that little bit better. Getting the boat to the island was a rough ride (two of the girls got sick, and we were told this was one of the most calm days they had seen yet that year!). We got there, rented bikes and just wandered around the entire island at our leisure in the blistering heat. Despite the fact there are several places you can stay overnight and the regular boat journeys over per day, the island just felt so quiet. There were times when we were the only people on the road – and there aren’t many other roads that you can take! If you live in Ireland, or are visiting, do yourself a favour and make sure you get to at least one of the Aran Islands because the air of magic they have about them is just overwhelming.
As always, I had another amazing year of travel that took me to places I couldn’t have even dreamed of at this time last year. I only have one trip booked currently for the year ahead to Chicago so I’m excited to see where life takes me this year. Be it further afield or across Ireland, more countries than last year or less, the one thing that will still remain is my happiness in getting the chance to spend this time seeing all of these amazing places, and always with amazing friends by my side!
Where were your top destinations of 2018? Did you visit anywhere on my list feel the same way as me, or did you not like them? Let me know!