Updates, Travels Plans and What I’m Doing

This year has rolled in uneventfully and with it colder days.  I felt post holiday blues but to be honest Christmas wasn’t business as usual.  D’s parents were very ill so we cut our time in Kent short and came back to London.  They have now recovered and we are on to planning a trip with them in May.  The sun is making an appearance regularly and now it is getting lighter and lighter after work.

Greenwich - London, England

Within the last two weeks things have changed rapidly.  I found out that the wedding I thought I was going to Canada for in autumn is not happening until next year.  This is good because I’ve committed myself to a few trips already.  However, it also means that I might not make it home at all this year which is not ideal.  I may go around Christmas but for now I am leaving it open.  Here is what I’ve been up to or planning.

January – Catching up with friends

I’ve spent a lot of time in East London so far.  I met up with Mandy who blogs at Emm in London for an opening at the Lollipop Gallery.  The show is called Fem Graff and they are solely showcasing female graffiti artists.  While not a show about girl power they have chosen the artists because they are female and because of the quality of their work. It was pleasure to see only women represented as I find that they are underrepresented in street art in general.  The show runs until 22 February so if you’re in London you still have a little bit of time to make it there yourself.   The gallery also runs street art tours everyday at 1pm and 5pm.

The next day I met up with the lovely Kat from Lady Loves Cake.  Sadly she will be leaving London soon (tear) but currently resides in the east end.  It was lovely and warm on the day so we went to Greenwich so that her toddler could run around on the giant map while her newest addition slept through it all.  We had a proper catch up and fingers crossed I should be seeing her in NZ in the near future.

February – Reunited

One of my closest friends from Canada, Jen, is coming to visit me at the end of the month for the 3rd, yes 3rd time since I’ve been living here!  She’s a star and as usual we will be heading out of the country for a new adventure.  So far we’ve gone to Berlin and Prague.  Before that we’ll be oot and aboot in London.  She’s never been to Brick Lane and surrounding areas so I I’m going to take her to London’s hipster haven and street art mecca.

March – From Warm to Cold: Malta and Iceland

Jen and I have booked flights to Malta!  This is the norm for us to plan trips very last-minute.  I booked flights last week and she’s booked our accommodation Sunday and we go the first weekend in March.  The pictures I’ve seen of Malta have me incredibly excited to visit.  It seems like it is such an underrated place and I can’t wait to explore.

I’ve spoken before of a cancelled trip to Iceland because of having to renew my visa in 2012.  Well the time has come and I’m going to Iceland only 2 weeks after returning from Malta.  I am going with Guernsey Jen and we will be chasing the northern lights.

May – Spain: Malaga, Seville, and Granada

Barcelona - Spain

D and I were supposed to go to Granada last year but had to postpone the trip when he had some health issues surface.  We moved our flights to May and even though his parents already went in October they are joining us on this trip.  I’m excited to go to Spain again and explore an entirely different area.  We will visit the Alhambra but besides that we’ll make it up as we go.

June, July – Keeping it Fairly Local

In June D and I have tickets to go to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.  If you don’t know about it you should check it out here.   If you are thinking of going check it out now as tickets are going fast and last I checked they were booked up until August.  We may also be going to the Trooping of the Colour in celebration of the Queen’s birthday.

I actually was able to get tickets last year which I declined because I went to Canada.  I’m now just waiting to hear if I will be chosen (again) from the Canadian High Commission so watch this space, there may be some coverage of a royal event.  Some readers may remember that I had tea with the Queen a few years ago, well I round it up to that anyways.

Near the docks - Liverpool, England

In July I’m going to Liverpool for the 2nd time.  The first was a few years ago for my birthday and I fell in love with the city.  This time I’m going for a friend’s hen do as she’s getting married at the beginning of 2016.

August  – Birthday Road Trip to Scotland

It has become a tradition for me to travel on my birthday.  I don’t celebrate the regular way (whatever that is), I think dinner or drinks.  I like to celebrate by exploring somewhere new.  D doesn’t drive however so I will be doing all of the driving.  I really want to visit Isle of Skye so at the moment I’m in the early planning stages so things could change.  But as I’ve not yet been to Scotland I don’t want to put it off any longer.

September – Autumn in Germany

Wait wait, before you ask Berlin again?  No, this time I might be going to Munich for a joint hen and stag do.  I say might because I have a lot on already.  Also I hesitate as I am not one for joint trips of this nature.  I prefer traveling with one other person or on my own.  To travel with upwards of 10 people I can imagine the frustration that potentially lies ahead if I go on this trip.  I will decide closer to the time.

Immigrant Tales

There is also the business of staying in the country legally.  My visa expires in September so I will have to pay the government a lot of money to let me stay on for another 2.5 years.  This is my last visa folks!  It’s been a long road but in 2017 I am eligible for indefinite leave, that’s as long as they don’t change the rules again last-minute.  To be able to get my visa back right away I’d have to pay almost double for them to decide on the day.  I’m not sure I want to do this yet so I might skip Munich and put in my application and wait.

That’s what I’ve been up to in January and February so far.  Plotting the rest of the year inadvertently.  I’ve got plenty of time to be spontaneous and doubt I will plan anything more for the year.  But we shall see.

Do you travel spontaneously or do you like to plan in advance?

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh my birthday is in August too! Looks like you have a busy travel year ahead. Sounds like fun. Any articles or tips on scoring lower airline fares from New York to London (r/t)?

    1. Melissa says:

      Fun fellow August baby, are you a Leo or Virgo?! Very busy and I can’t wait. Well there are decent deals between NY and London going regularly. Do you know about Skyscanner? You can put in travel alerts too and it will let you know when the price drops or goes up. But I’ll look into it and see if I can come up with a post!

      1. I’m a leo (19th). I hadn’t heard of Skyscanner. I’m going to check it out today. I set up a fare alert with Kayak.com yesterday. Today I’ll do Skyscanner. I’m thinking of coming late June. Based on date comparisons so far, fares go up first week of July (holiday season). A post would be great; I’ll look out for it! Thx for info.

        1. Melissa says:

          Let me know how you get on and if I can help in any way don’t hesitate to ask. You can just email me on the one from my contact page. I’ll do a bit of research anyways and let you know.

          1. Thank you. So kind of you! You do strike me as a “travel expert!” 🙂 I’ll keep you posted.

            1. Melissa says:

              You’re welcome. I wouldn’t say expert but I’ve got a few tips to share 🙂

  2. Spinster says:

    Planning in advance is best for me.

    Been wanting to go to Malta for a while now. Enjoy.

    1. Melissa says:

      It is a bit stressful doing it last minute! My preference is advance so I have something to look forward to.

  3. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) says:

    What an exciting year you have coming up! I’ve recently become very interested in seeing Malta too – seems very different to what I had always imagined so quite eager to read about what you make of it! I went to Iceland in the summer and so I didn’t see the lights but found it so breathtaking that on the journey home, I started writing the blog – on a scrap of paper and here we are!

    1. Melissa says:

      I’m so excited for Malta, my neighbors growing up in Canada were Maltese, I never knew how beautiful it was. Also if you are a game of thrones fan they filmed in Gozo which is right by Malta. Iceland will be a travel goal fulfilled so I can’t even wait for that.

  4. Malta sounds wonderful, and of course Spain….(any place where it’s not grey like here – what a dreary winter.) Not a big fan of large group travels -less ease to be flexible when need or desire arises…but sometime group discounts win.
    Your Visa comments are interesting bits to consider.
    Always enjoy traveling along with you

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks! Yes group travel is not my thing, I’ve broken the news to my friend that I might not go but I will leave that until closer to the time to decide. I can’t wait for some sun and warmer temperatures.

  5. This was a good read. I like to plan my trips, so I get a good price. I’m currently planning a trip to Rome, Venice and Milan in July and the price is good right now. I see you have been to Liverpool. I also fell in love with it. I went last year. Are you saying the Graffiti scene is located near Brick Lane? I also love graffiti. Can you recommend some places to check out?

    1. Melissa says:

      I LOVE Italy, I want to return and go to Florence, Venice, CInque Terre, Sicily and that is just to start. You will have an amazing time. I’ve been to Rome and Milan. Liverpool was fantastic and I’m glad I’ve been because when I go this time it will be super short and I won’t be seeing the city really. Well its all over east London but there is heavy concentration around Brick Lane. I’d recommend doing the Alternative London Tour. Its a pay what you can afford tour and they bring you all around and you learn the artists and the variety of street art out there.

  6. Thank you for the info – brick lane etc. I’ll look into it. I want to spend most of my time in Rome. Is it possible to just take day trips to Venice/Milan?

    1. Melissa says:

      Sorry I missed this! Rome is a bit south and Venice and Milan are in the north so I think it would be difficult to do a day trip unless you headed up there after some time in Rome.

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