So here’s a little fact about me – I have never been abroad with anyone other than my family or on school trips. Never been on a girls holiday (which part of me know is probably a good thing, considering how poor I am at handling my drink) or even just a weekend away. This needs to change!
One of my close friends recently came back from over 2 years travelling, and her stories are simply incredible. How casually she talks about the best things to do in Sydney, Vietnam, Asia – meanwhile I had only dreamt of visiting these places. I can also imagine that travelling with friends is an entirely different experience to travelling with family; don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but by the end of 2 weeks of living together I was definitely ready to get back to independent living!
The thought of taking time out to go travelling never really appealed to me this time last year, when I’d just finished my a-levels. I was hesitant about going to uni as it didn’t feel right, but I also didn’t feel like I was at the stage in my life to go off and travel the world. But more recently, and no doubt triggered by my recent amazing trip to Florida (you can read all about that here), I’ve really felt the urge to explore what the world has to offer. So, I’ve made it my mission to try and get as much travelling done as humanly possible, on a budget and using my holiday time from work. Wish me luck!
I’ve already made a start to this goal – I’ve booked Amsterdam for a few days over New Years Eve with my close friend (mentioned earlier in this post) and her 3 friends from New Zealand who she met travelling. The New Zealand girls have all come to Leeds to live for a year or so, which is great – but is it any wonder I’ve felt the urge to travel lately when my close friends are all travellers!? I’m super excited for this – it looks like such a wonderful city, everything from the food to the museums looks mesmerising. You can definitely expect a blog post on that!
In the meantime, here are the top 5 destinations on my travel wishlist that I want to visit and why:
New York, US
Surely you knew this one was coming?! New York is definitely number 1 on my dream destinations list. The buildings are beautiful and it looks like it always has such a buzz about it. I love all the billboards and branding constantly surrounding you – it seems so overwhelming but in all the right ways, the kind that just takes your breath away. I’m also the biggest Gossip Girl fan, and a few months ago I saw this Gossip Girl Locations List on Pinterest. It tells you all the key locations used in the series, so you can bet that I’m definitely visiting every single one when I eventually do get chance to go to New York. Just reading that article gets me so excited – I know I’d literally have the best time ever. I’m coming for ya, NYC.
It looks like this travel aspiration is the first one that’s being ticked off the list! I’m so excited to visit for New Years, it looks so stunning and full of culture. The food selection looks amazing too – I’m such a foodie, especially when it comes to sweet treats, so I already know I’m going to be in my element here! I’ve also heard that they have loads of vegetarian cafes, so I definitely won’t be short of food options. I really want to visit the Anne Frank museum whilst I’m there too – Anne Frank’s diary was one of the first books I remember reading and it made such a profound impact on me, especially being a girl of the same age at the time I read it. There seems like so much to do in Amsterdam, so I’m really looking forward to exploring it!
Pretty much my whole childhood was spent being obsessed with the TV programme Charmed, which was set in San Francisco. For a long period of time I genuinely thought I was a witch – ah, the good old days. I’m such a geek when it comes to Charmed – it really is an amazing series – and I especially loved watching the opening scenes where they panned around San Francisco. The Golden Gate bridge looks so magnificent, and I’d also love to visit Alcatraz whilst I was there too. Apparently, Alcatraz is the only federal prison that has hot-water showers – this is allegedly to prevent the prisoners from acclimating to the cold San Francisco Bay waters, in the event that they tried to escape. Interesting!
As a family, we’d visit France virtually every year for a couple weeks over the summer. We always visited smaller rural places though, which after quite a few years can get a little boring. Paris looks so beautiful and romantic; the people, the food and the views are all gorgeous. It’s definitely somewhere I’d love to visit for a weekend break, preferably around Christmas time as I feel places always feel more magical at that time of year. Coffee drinker? You’ll be delighted to know that there’s 181 places in Paris where you can get an espresso for €1 – there’s a map for that.
Monaco had never really been on my radar as a dream travel destination, but I saw some pictures come up on my Pinterest newsfeed and had never realised how beautiful it is! Everything about it oozes glitz and glamour, perfect for a long weekend break. I’m not a gambler, but I feel when in Monte Carlo you have to visit the Casino – it looks like it has such a vibrant atmosphere! Interesting fact: Citizens of Monaco are not allowed to gamble in the Casinos. Who would’ve thought?!
Which places are on your travel wish list? Also, if you have any suggestions of things to do or places to eat in Amsterdam, please do let me know!
Thanks for reading!