Reflections on 2015: Travel, Hiking and Writing
This has certainly been an amazing year for me, from the planning of my Epic Solo Adventure to taking the leap into extended solo travel and hiking some trails that have been on my list for a while to diving deep into writing. And as so many of us do this time of year, when the calendar year draws to an end we start looking back on another year gone, I also dug deep and thought I’d share my reflections on 2015.
My UK & Europe Solo Adventure
It all started with an epic idea to travel solo through the UK and Europe for 3 months. My longest solo trip previously had been 2014’s US West Coast adventure that took me up the coast from San Diego to Seattle for a month. But like my motto goes, ‘Go Big or Go Home’, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and see what I was really made of. And so after a good 6 plus months of heavy planning on April 26th, 2015 I took off and was absolutely amazed by my Epic Solo Adventure, as I called it! In all I travelled to 10 countries, 6 of which were new ones, made new friends and memories, saw incredible sights I’ll never forget and fell in love over and over again with cities, not men – sorry ladies. Travelling solo for an extended period of time really changes you, opens your eyes and this solo adventure taught me so much, including that I can truly do anything I put my mind and heart to – which is a priceless lesson.
I even did my first podcast when Jackie interviewed me for The Budget-Minded Traveler Podcast on solo travel and just how much it changes you! What to hear it? Click here!
Some of my most memorable moments included;
*Exploring the Durrell Wildlife Park in Jersey, The Channel Islands*
The Durrell Wildlife Park was created by one of my idols growing up, Gerald Durrell – passionate about wildlife, conservation and helping save endangered species. My visit there was made that much more memorable by being hosted by the Park and staying on site at their hostel. Walking the trails, home to some of the most endangered species, meeting the dedicated and passionate staff and waking up to lemurs and gibbons howling outside my window was a dream come true.
If ever there was a place I could stay forever in it would be Italy’s Cinque Terre region. 5 little cliff side, colourful villages linked by a beautiful train route and breathtaking hiking trails, Cinque Terre is where dreams are made. I instantly fell in love with Riomaggiore, the last of the villages. Its picture perfect sunsets, narrow winding alley ways, delicious food and a charm that tugged at my heart strings. The hiking trails, the slower pace and the stunning vistas were a recipe for a place to call home.
I’m still in awe when I think of Meteora. I stood there with its grand panorama in front of me, I toured its historic monasteries and even saw it with the backdrop of a gorgeous Greek sunset. Meteora, created by nature and then utilized by man, is probably one of the most awe-inspiring sights I’ve ever come in contact with.
Other cites I fell in love with were England’s York, Paris and of course there was my Venetian Love Affair. These last two cities I’d visited before but it wasn’t until this trip, while exploring them solo that I truly fell in love, perhaps it was finding my place in these great cities or maybe something grander.
After 10 flights, dozens of bus rides and 10 trains I finally returned home, which was much harder than I anticipated, but happy and excited to write of all my travels, reliving my amazing adventures.
Hiking and Exploring Ontario’s Gems
I rode the travel high for almost 2 months after returning home, taking weekend getaways to explore Ontario’s Gems, local festivals and of course more hiking. I spent a fun and nature filled weekend in the Hamilton area hiking Webster & Tews Falls, exploring the Royal Botanical Gardens and hiking Hendrie Park Valley. I also finally finished hiking the local Trans Canada Trail (Thorton – Cookstown portion) and hit up a ton of Simcoe County’s fun festivals.
As for now with no upcoming travel plans yet, but stirrings of ideas (stay tuned), I’ll reminisce about my amazing year through my writing and photo editing. These reflections of 2015 have reiterated for me just how awesome a year I’ve had and must say 2015 is going to be a hard one to top, but I’ll try. 😉