I am incredibly late to this party (Note: I was already late to the party when I wrote this article but I got so busy I lost it and now it is April!!) but I still wanted to do it because 2015 was my biggest year in terms of travel. I visited 8 different countries and about 20 different cities. For a girl who traveled abroad for her first time in Dec 2012, not too bad.
My dream has always been to see the world, explore every bit of it. I don’t necessarily have intentions to be the next travel blog to tell you the next best 10 beaches. I just want to document my experiences which are very personal. Travel is very personal and subjective. There is no objective list of locations to see or things to do. The more you see the more you change and adapt and your tastes change. 5 years ago I probably would have done different things in the places I visit, then I do now, and 5 years from now, probably something else.
That is why this blog will never pander to the typical travel posts and click bait titles. It is what it is. A narrative of my experiences while crossing into new spaces. This blog will grow as I do, it will shift and take various forms. I won’t apologize for that.
I studied anthropology, it was a field that choose me really. The moment I knew what it was, I knew I was home. My love for learning about the human experience. The act of cross borders and spaces, occupying spaces, dissecting cultures, tasting the food, seeing the old and the new… all of it. The way it attacks my senses and I feel alive.
This made the list because I never thought of going to Slovenia but a friend invited me out so I took the chance. Ljubljana is a fairly underrated place, although it has been gaining traction in travel blogs lately. I went to the Postojna Caves, Lake Bled, and saw Predjama Castle. I wasn’t here long so I didn’t get to fully experience what I would like, but the plus side is that I am going back in June! So keep an eye out for more Slovenia.
On the list because my family has Irish ancestors, many generations ago, along with English and Scottish, but they are most proud of the Irish bit. It has always been on my bucket list to see Ireland. While I wouldn’t say Dublin was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been it was certainly an interesting one and keeps me coming back. All of the live music at the pubs, the food, the history, it is an interesting place to spend a weekend.
First solo trip in Spain
This was my first solo trip to a country I have never been to and that speaks a language that while I have some basic knowledge I am not fluent. I am an advocate for the “happiness [is] only real when shared” (thanks to Into the Wild). I love traveling with someone, but sometimes I wondered what it would be like to travel alone. To do as I please, eat anywhere I want, see anything I want, not see anything, it was refreshing and interesting. It helped me step even further out of my shell. I feel like once you reach a certain age there is no point in being shy anymore. I just go for it.
There is no place like Venice. Really. None. It is an experience that will stay with me forever, and one I recommend to anyone going to Europe. I wrote about my trip at length here. I cannot think of anywhere more beautiful than Venice, so it is no surprise why it made it on my list.
Three countries in 11 days in Eastern/Central Europe. A feast for my senses; architecture to die for, food to keep you warm, all of it. Vienna was a dream come true, I wrote about it more extensively here to get an idea of how wonderful it was of an experience to be there. Budapest was so different than anything I have ever experienced, written here. And finally, Prague, an absolutely stunning city with so much character that I can’t wait to visit again. This was a really fun adventure flying into Budapest, taking a train to Vienna, another train to Prague, and flying back from Prague. I love traveling by train and being able to experience three completely different cultures, languages, and countries in less than two weeks is so incredible.
Roadtrip to Southwest England
There is something so familiar about road trips. Maybe because I have gone on my fair share of them back home in American, it’s the relaxing in the car, road snacks, just being in charge of your adventure. In 2015, I took a trip to Bristol, Bath, Stonehenge (wonder of the world anyone?), Glastonbury Tor, and the Cotswolds (you can read more about this trip HERE!). Yes, it was a jam-packed trip and really changed the way I view England. I ate amazing food, I saw incredible sights, it was a turning point for me so it deserves to be here.
Starting a Blog
Lame yes, but it is notable. This is something I have always wanted to do, but making a blog feels so intimate and sharing my writing has been difficult for me. The more I push myself to write, the easier it gets. This blog has undergone a range of renovations in developing my style, and I am thankful for everyone who is still reading. So there will be more changes, new essays, and projects to come from this corner of self-expression.
What were your most memorable travel or adventure experiences in 2015? What are you looking forward to most in 2016?
Owner of wanderinghelene.com. Anthropologist, content creator, castle explorer, coffee drinker, and lover of markets and very old places!