The Year in Review – My Travels in 2014

Last January I had my year of travel mostly planned.  I stuck to some plans but ended up doing much more than anticipated.  While I have a few trips booked already I have to be much more flexible this year.  With having to renew my visa later in the year it means that I can’t plan too much yet, but if last year taught me anything it was that the spontaneous trips can be some of the best.  Below is where I managed to explore in 2014.

February – Marrakesh, Morocco

Ben Youssef - Marrakesh, Morocco

I had a much needed sunny break early in the year when I took a solo trip to the chaotic and exotic red city. The weather was a perfect 28-30 C and I fell in love with the food, architecture and souks.  I was warned of the attention I would garner as a solo female but I didn’t let it deter me from going.  The highlight of the trip was spending valentine’s day exploring the High Atlas mountains.

Chinese New Year

Chinatown - London, England

Ringing in Chinese New Year has eluded me for years.  It’s either been too chilly and rainy but I was determined to attend last year rain or shine.  Luckily the day was dry but the downside was that half of London decided to join in the festivities as well.  It was lovely seeing China town all decked out with lanterns and dragons but it and Trafalgar Square were so packed with revellers that I didn’t really enjoy myself.

March – Stonehenge & Bath, England

Bath, England

Spontaneity reigned in March when a friend from Canada took a last minute trip to London.  I love hosting and taking friends and family around the city.  While Berlin has my heart, London is the best city for tourists.  I also always try to make sure that my guests get a taste of what it’s like outside of London so we ventured west out of the city to Stonehenge and Bath.  Since it was last minute decision it was made more economic sense to take a coach tour, which I recommend with caution.

 April – Normandy, France

Cheese! - Normandy, France

So have I told you how much I love cheese?  Even though I am lactose intolerant I can’t stay away.  My trip to Normandy was a lot of things but many of those things involved eating cheese.  I’ve yet to blog about it but it was fantastic and I was happy trade in flying to a new destination for road tripping.

May – Hastings, England

Hastings Aquarium

I’ve been to countless seaside towns in England and I’m happy to count Hastings as one of the better ones.  I definitely recommend it for a short break as you won’t need more than two days to explore all it has to offer.  We explored castle ruins, rode a mini train and even found street art.  The surprise highlight for me was our visit to the Aquarium.

June – Toronto, Canada

Kariya Park - Mississauga, Canada

I returned to Canada for the first time in two years.  This visit was one of quality rather than quantity as I had nearly three weeks there.  I finally met my adorable niece and caught up with friends and family.  Since leaving my brother and sister in law had another baby and now I have a nephew to meet when next go back!

We explored a little less on this trip and returned to some old favourites.  This is the entrance to Kariya park in my home city Mississauga.  Mississauga is sister city with Kariya, Japan and the park was opened in 1992 to commemorate this relationship.

July – The Cotswolds, England

Cotswold Cheese Co - Chipping Norton, England

The Cotswolds embodies the idealized England some pictured before moving here.  Cute quaint villages where life is slow and people are friendly.  It was reunion time in July as my friend Seij returned to London for the first time since he left in 2009.  I had considered going to Iceland with him but it wasn’t meant to be.  So instead we explored a new area for us both and had a fantastic time making our way through many of the north villages in the Cotswolds.  It was incredibly easy to do and you can see where we made it to here.

August – County Claire, Ireland

Horses in The Burren - County Claire, Ireland

Ireland wasn’t on my list until a wedding invite came in February.  The wedding was going to take place on my birthday though so to ensure I had some celebration time D and I went to Ireland a few days earlier to explore.  It was easy to see why people fall in love with Ireland and it happened to us almost immediately.

September – Devon, England

Pcikwell Manor - Croyde, Devon

It was apparently the year of the weddings as this month we attended another only a few weeks later.  As you can see the surroundings were stunning.  The only down side to this trip was that we didn’t actually see much of the town where we stayed.  We chose a cute little B&B on a farm for our short stay and with sheep as our closest neighbors we had the most restful sleep ever.

October – Guernsey, Channel Islands

St Martin, Guernsey, Channel Island

I took a last minute trip to Guernsey to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving.  It was partly a reunion as well as the 4 of us went to Normandy on the road trip I mentioned earlier.  We didn’t venture too far from the converted barn where my friend lives though opting to relax rather than explore.  I first visited Guernsey in 2013 with D and wrote about it here, here and here.

Road Trip – Kent

Botany Bay - Kent, England

Recently there has been another round of expat exodus.  I was happy when a friend I knew from Uni moved to London with his girlfriend two years ago.  Then not so happy when they told me they were leaving to go back to NZ last year.  Over coffee we mused about possibly doing a road trip and then decided to stop musing and plan one.  We chose Kent because it was close and even though I had previously been to a few of the destinations it was fun to revisit.  I’m always a sucker for chalk cliffs so easily my highlight was finding Botany Bay.

So there we have it.  A decent list I’m happy with, and this doesn’t even include the new places I’ve explored around London or tours taken.  With the potential of being grounded in the UK again due to the visa renewal it’s a good thing that I’ve got material banked and will have many most posts to come.  Did you stick to your travel plans last year?

11 Comments Add yours

  1. inher30s says:

    You have had a busy year! Looks like a great round of travels, here’s to so many more in 2015!

    1. Melissa says:

      Indeed it was. Thanks and I hope the same for you!

  2. Spinster says:

    Didn’t have any last year. This year will be different. See you on the other side.

    1. Melissa says:

      Hit we up when you are here and we can go for tea 🙂

      1. Spinster says:


  3. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) says:

    What a year Melissa! I’ve gained lots of inspiration from reading this as apart from the Cotswolds and a few places around Kent, I’ve not seen any of these places! How lovely that you had a proper chance to catch up with friends and family after so long! Ps I really enjoyed your Cotswolds posts & am heading back there next month so definitely going to catch up on the places I missed last time!

    1. Melissa says:

      I’m so glad you’ve gotten inspiration from one of my posts 🙂 I’ve bookmarked wanderings around England that you’ve blogged about and can’t wait to try a few day/short trips out this year. Have fun next month!

  4. More than a decent list. (oh, the pix of Marrakesh brought back some memories)
    Travel is the one luxury that isn’t a luxury. (You and Spinster take lots of pictures and share!)

    1. Melissa says:

      This list does make me feel grateful that I can travel regularly. ‘Travel is one luxury that isn’t a luxury’ – completely agree. We will take pics and share!

  5. Looks like you had a fantastic year! I too love to eat cheese (despite having lactose intolerance myself) – I just cannot get enough of the stuff!

    1. Melissa says:

      I have a friend who doesn’t like cheese, its crazy! I told him my body rejects me eating but I do it anyways.

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