Iâ€™m bunkered down in deep winter hibernation in Berlin, with no upcoming travel plans untilâ€¦well, actually I donâ€™t know. Iâ€™ve got some tentative things in the works. For one, I really need to see more of Germany.
Last year, while travelling solo around the Balkans, I took tiny video clips everyday of my trip. Even the ordinary things, like picking oranges for fresh squeezed juice. I put together aÂ video, and thus started a new annual tradition.
This yearâ€™s travel involved hours of footage whittled down to four minutes.
I love this practiceâ€”I always end up feeling so humbled by how far Iâ€™ve come/gone.
This year, though, I was amazed to realize how many new people have come into my life thanks to travel.
Itâ€™s YOU guys who make experiences so special to me, much of the time. I mean I do love a good retreat-into-my-room-alone-for-three-days session too. I like being a lazy slob.
I started out in Hawaii on another solo journey, and met some of the most amazing people in the process. Some of my happiest times were on Maui, meeting other travellers at the Banana Bungalow, loading up a car full of snacks and beers, and heading to the beach (any beach) to watch the sunset. I have never seen such dramatic hues like those in Hawaii.
Then I headed to Jasper in Alberta for the Jasper Gay Pride festivities (yes, extreme opposite of Hawaii). It was good to get back into the mountains, and to see some old friends in Calgary and Edmonton.
On a whim, I booked a trip to Guatemala and El Salvador with my friend Shaun. My friend Leif from Runaway Guides and Kate from Adventurous Kate were running tours there. My little travel group quickly became ultra tight-knit. We travelled around volcanoes and bargained for textiles in Antigua and gorged on pupusas in El Tunco.
Not long after Central America, I was a guest on a Trek America trip around Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. Honestly, I hadnâ€™t known what to expect with Utah. I fell in love with this corner of the United States somewhere between the natural arches and the La Sal Mountains.
Then I spent a week in Vegas with my friends Trish and Renee. And, um, it was incredible. In theory, Vegas is everything I hateâ€”greed, gambling, chaos, and commercialism. What Vegas actually is, is a damned good time. Honestly, it was one of the most fun trips of my life. The city has fine-tuned its customer service to an art.
I moved to Berlin in August. Yup! As if you didnâ€™t know. Itâ€™s my first time being an expat. Iâ€™m loving my little community.
I revisited my one true love, Sligo, for the Fleadh Cheoil festival. Nothing changed; itâ€™s still my favourite part of Ireland. Possibly the world.
I booked The Yacht Week in Croatia on a whim with some strangers from the USA, Canada, and Sweden. We had a baller catamaran and partied like we were rock stars. I came home and hid from society for a week.
I went to Oktoberfest with Cailin. We hung out in Prague for ten days, which mostly consisted of eating and roaming around the castle. We found poutine.
Then I flew to Mallorca to meet my pals there. First time in Spain!
So whatâ€™s coming up in 2016? Iâ€™ll tell ya.
Iâ€™m hoping to do some Germany travels over the next few months. Hamburg, Dresden, Nuremberg, and the area around the Saxony-Swiss border are at the top of my list.
Iâ€™m heading to Poland in March to do some volunteer English work at a hotel. Iâ€™ll be spending some time in Warsaw and Krakow.Â
Then thereâ€™s walking Camino de Santiago, in France and Spain. This is by far my most ambitious endeavor to date, and Iâ€™m nervous/thrilled/excited/omgwhat about the whole thing.
May: Enjoying the hell out of Berlin spring/summer. That means parties on manmade beaches, hanging out on the canals, trips to the lakes to hang out with naked Germans. Everything.
June: A month-long Mediterranean trip starting onÂ Greeceâ€™s Corfu and Paxos islands before heading across to ITALY!Â Iâ€™ll be in Italy forever, making my way north to the Dolomites for another 10-day hiking trip.
I figure itâ€™s a good thing Iâ€™ll be doing Italy after walking Spain for 30 days. Because Iâ€™m bound to gain all that weight back.
Iâ€™m headed back to St. Johnâ€™s in mid-July for a wedding. Not mine, duh. After that, Iâ€™m at a loss. Iâ€™ve imagined that the answer will come to me over the next few months. Australia for awhile? Backpacking Â around Asia? Settling down and having triplets?
Do you have recommendations for Italy? Please share.
I already have a good idea of my rough itinerary, but I’d love tips and suggestions in between.
Here’s to more sunsets, more beers, and new (and old) friends. Thank you for being part of the ride.