My flights are booked, my accommodation has been sorted, it’s time to announce my upcoming travel plans!
You guys know that Taiwan is my favourite country, so I’m thrilled to be spending all of November in Taipei.
Honestly, I don’t have any real travel planned for Taiwan. I’ll be spending the whole month in Taipei and it’ll be all about slowly getting into a routine while retaining the rest-play balance I’ve spent the past few months working towards. I’ll be hiking in the mountains every few days, visiting as many night markets as possible, and walking my way around my Da’an neighbourhood.
Dave and I alternate Christmases around our families, opting to spend it in Europe one year and Oceania the next. We spent last Christmas in London, so this year we’ll be celebrating with a month in Melbourne!
Melbourne and I have never really had a chance to connect, despite me spending a full month there a couple of years ago. The suburbs sprawl way out of this city, and we were housesitting an hour out of the centre, so I barely got to see any of the parts people love.
Dave lived in Melbourne for three years before he started travelling full-time, and I know it’s one of his favourite cities in the world. Up until now, I haven’t been able to understand why.
During this visit, hopefully it’ll become much clearer, as we’ll be spending far more time in inner Melbourne. On my list is brunching my way around the city, catching up with friends, visiting the beach, hanging out in cool coffee shops and bars, and snapping photos of street art.
January: New Zealand
After Christmas, we’ll be packing up our backpacks and hopping over to New Zealand.
First on the agenda is hiking the Kepler Track, a 40-mile hiking track that’s one of the New Zealand Great Walks. When I first visited New Zealand a couple of years ago, I transformed from a person who hated exercise to one who couldn’t get enough of hiking. I’ll be returning in far better shape than my previous visit, so hopefully I can tackle the walk without too many issues. And let’s not talk about how Dave keeps dropping into conversation that I’ll be carrying a sleeping bag and stove during the walk. If I don’t acknowledge it, I won’t have to do it, right?
Dave’s parents own a holiday home in Hanmer Springs, so that’ll be next on our agenda, along with all of Dave’s family! We have a full three weeks carved out in the South Island, using Hanmer as our base, and will be heading out around the island by car every so often to explore some places I’ve yet to see!
On a fun note, we’ll also be hitting up Auckland on our way out of the country, to see if we can get Dave tried out for a pair of Enchroma glasses. He’s colourblind and after watching the incredible videos of people seeing colours for the first time, I hope they’ll work for him!
February – March: Southeast Asia or the South Pacific
Here’s when things get a bit hazy: We have a couple of months to play with at the start of the year and haven’t yet decided what to do with them. We’ve narrowed it down to two options.
One: Back to Southeast Asia! I know, big surprise, hey? But after a year in Europe and only a quick visit recently, I’m missing hanging out in some of my favourite places. Basing ourselves in Chiang Mai and Saigon would do wonderful things for our health and bank balances — there’s a reason why we always return. If we did return, we’d likely try to spend some time in Japan on our way out. It’s one of my biggest travel oversights!
Two: The second option would involve spending some more time in New Zealand, and then making our way north via the South Pacific islands. Kiribati is high on my list, as I know it won’t be around for long, as is Fiji and the Cook Islands. And Samoa. And Vanuatu. And can you say Bora Bora on a budget? If we went for this, Hawaii would likely be on the cards towards the end. I loved my visit there back in 2008 and am craving returning with a traveller’s mindset.
The option we go with likely depends on our finances at the time. And I have a feeling if I decided on a South Pacific island jaunt, I’d probably end up doing it solo, as Dave seems less than excited by the idea right now!
March: Eating in The United States
By this point, it will have been approximately far too long since I’ve been in the Pacific Northwest, so it’ll be time to head back for an eating feast. My visit won’t just be a Portland/Seattle Lovefest, either.
2016 will bring around my dad’s 60th birthday, and with music being one of his all-time passions, my family has planned out an epic music-themed trip across the U.S. that will take him to New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, and New York City. I’ll be joining them in New Orleans — somewhere I’ve always wanted to go — and potentially tagging along to their other stops, too!
April – July: Mexico
It’s funny: I often can’t quite figure out how I really feel about a place until I leave.
When I left Mexico last year, I was ambivalent. I’d had a good time, sure, but there wasn’t any particular place I fell madly in love with. A few months after leaving, I was craving heading back. I missed the food — oh god, the food — and the warm, friendly people. I missed the beaches and the mountains. I missed everything and I couldn’t stop talking about returning. The food!
We haven’t yet decided where we’ll be visiting in Mexico, but Oaxaca is high on our list. And so is Merida. And maybe Playa del Carmen. There’s going to be a ridiculous amount of travel bloggers hitting up Mexico during the first half of next year, so we’ll likely plan our travels around where our friends are going to be.
I really hope I’ll be able to squeeze in some Central America time while I’m there, too. Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras… they’re all so high on my list!
July: Back to Europe!
I want to make it to five years of full-time travel, so once I do so in July, it’ll be back to Europe to find a base.
And then the question becomes: where?
Honestly, as funny as it is to admit, London is seriously looking like the ideal place for us to base ourselves. Our main reason for moving to Madrid was to be around friends, and now we’ve learned they’ll probably no longer be there when we arrive, it’s less appealing.
London is perfect because it’s probably the only city where Dave and I have more than a dozen friends — and they’re friends who live there and won’t move on to another place within a few months. My family are there. There’s a ton of international flights. We won’t feel like outsiders. Good food and coffee shops. We both have British passports.
The only problem is money.
We can’t afford to have the quality of life we want in London on our current income. But we’re not too far away.
So maybe the plan becomes basing ourselves somewhere cheap like Portugal for a year, working on our sites, and seeing if London is a viable option? Or maybe it’s exploring somewhere else in Europe entirely.
The search continues!