Your travel favourites for the year – with a printable for you and your family

Travel Favourites Printable from Not A BallerinaI find that the end of a year a really exciting time, so full of reflection and possibility. I think that because it also marks the end of the school year here in Australia, then we really embrace it as a time of finishings and beginnings. That’s my excuse for my obsession with end-of-year stuff, anyway! And when I think about my travels, they are no exception.

When I lived abroad, my boyfriend and I would usually sit down at the end of December and reminisce about the places we’d been that year. Since I love list-making, I used to write up a list of “best food” and “biggest travel disaster” and we’d think back about all our travel experiences to fill them out. This is a lot of fun, and I haven’t done it for a few years – so I thought I would do it again this year, but also give you a beautiful list to print out and fill in with your travelling companions, too!

My favourite travel moments of 2015

It’s still a week or so before the end of 2015 as I write this, and I haven’t told my son or husband I’m doing this yet, but I’m really intrigued to see if they pick the same experiences as me or not. This will be a record of my favourite travel moments of the year, at least – and I will compare it to theirs soon!

Favourite day of 2015

This is probably not what I would have expected at the start of the year, but my favourite day of all in 2015 was the first day we spent in Legoland Deutschland. My five-year-old is an absolute Lego fanatic (and my husband and I are both rather partial to a Lego building session ourselves) and the absolute joy he experienced by being in Legoland was totally infectious.

Travel favourites - Legoland Germany

Big, big grins on our first day at Legoland Deutschland

Highest place we stood in 2015

We were lucky to get in a few mountain days while we were in Europe this year, both in Austria and Switzerland. My brother-in-law organised a fantastic day out involving a trip up Mount Pilatus near Lucerne – using a series of trips on trains, boats, cogwheel trains, cable cars and more – and it was just incredible. The top of Mount Pilatus was the highest spot we reached in 2015, and I’m glad we did.

Travel favourites - Mount Pilatus in Switzerland

Looking down from the cable car descending Mount Pilatus in Switzerland

Coldest experience of 2015

Going to Iceland during the summertime seemed so smart. It couldn’t be cold then, could it? Oh yes, it could. It was almost an afterthought that I included thermal underwear in our luggage for this trip, but yes, there we were in the middle of the Icelandic summer, and several days were far, far colder than the coldest winter days here in Perth ever. Not that I’m complaining, but as much as I want to visit Iceland again, I know I couldn’t live there! Our coldest day was spent at Jökulsárlón visiting the Glacier Lagoon. My son and I regularly had to escape inside the car or buildings to warm up again.

Travel favourites - cold in Iceland

A very, very cold day at Jökulsárlón’s Glacier Lagoon in Iceland

Hottest experience of 2015

And I’m talking hot weather, people! As I type this, we are having a pretty warm summer day here in Perth, around the century (or 37C for us modern types!) – yesterday was 39C. So, I’m used to hot (though I don’t exactly love it), but I don’t deal well with humidity, because we don’t get much of that here. So for me, the hottest day I experienced in 2015 was early in the year in Bali, when it was both hot and humid, and I was exceedingly grateful we had a swimming pool to cool down in.

Travel favourites - hot in Bali

A hot day at the rice paddies in Bali

Weirdest thing we ate in 2015

Hmm. I included this topic because when I lived abroad, there was always a long list of weird things I’d eaten – but this year there were definitely fewer weird things. The yummiest was skyr in Iceland. I do have a weird drink though – butterfly pea juice in Bangkok! My friends and I thought it was “butterfly pee” when we first heard it, because nobody mentioned to us it’s from a butterfly pea flower!

Funniest thing that happened to us in 2015

I have a couple of moments on my list and I wonder what my family will come up with. One was the moment we drove to one of our Airbnb accommodations in Iceland, a grass-roofed cottage between Hvolsvöllur and Hella in the south. The host’s instructions were quite clear that we should turn off the side road onto a driveway when we saw a white rock, but then we really felt like we were fording a path for the first time, especially when our car drove through a half-full creek. Eventually, we figured out we were in the right spot, but I still find that moment hilarious in retrospect!

Travel favourites - weird Airbnb in BerlinAirbnb seems to be my common theme here, because our apartment in Berlin was funny too. It was a small flat to start with, but it was made even smaller by the collection of really unusual ornaments crammed onto every available space. The very spooky ceramic tigers were the worst offenders, but there was also far too much weird plastic fruit and a Kermit the frog telephone as well!

Place we most want to go back to from 2015

This is easy for me – I absolutely, definitely want to return to Iceland. Mount Kirkjufell in the west of Iceland is high on my list, but I really just want to spend a longer amount of time there sometime in the future.

I’m guessing my son will say Legoland, though.

Place we want to go in 2016

Nothing’s certain for next year’s travels yet beyond heading to Tasmania and Melbourne in January; and I guess it won’t be as rich in travel as this year was, because this was a particularly lucky year! So, being realistic, a place I would love to go in 2016 is the Philippines. This is the venue for the next TBEX Asia conference (I went to the Bangkok TBEX this year and loved it) so it’s a realistic possibility, and of course since this destination was announced, I’ve been reading plenty about the Philippines and am feeling very enticed by it all!

I have a suspicion my son might say Malaysian Legoland here, because he knows his cousin went this year and it’s obviously much more practical to get to from here than the German one is. But then again, just yesterday he was drawing pictures of Uluru, so that might spring to mind for him instead.

Big dream of somewhere you’d go next year if you won the lottery

Lately, I keep coming across bloggers’ accounts of visiting Greenland. It seems to me like because I loved Iceland so much, I would find Greenland even more fascinating. But it would take a lottery win to get me there in 2016. I also have a fantasy of getting to Antarctica soon. I did some sponsor work this year which  introduced me to the Chimu company and they’re hosting an Antarctic trip with two great Aussies, Andrew Denton and Jennifer Byrne, in early 2017, and this is a trip I would join in a heartbeat if someone gave me a bucketful of cash.

Your turn!

For my family to fill out together sometime between Christmas and New Year, I created this worksheet to get them interested. I’d love to offer you a copy too, to print off, sit down with your partner or family and think about some of your favourite travelling moments of 2015 (just click here to grab your copy). (Remember that local backyard adventures count, too!) And I’d also love it if you’d share some of these favourites either here in the comments or on the Facebook page (photos welcome there too!).

 

Comments

  1. Iceland and to see the northern lights is my dream.

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