New Year Travels [Replay] – Episode 168 of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

Happy New Year!

2020 is nearly here – it’s the kind of year that, in my childhood back in the 1980s, sounded like a science fiction. And yet, 2020 starts tomorrow. Crazy! During my 2020 I want to do so many things, but some important ones including launching my kids’ travel podcast and finally making good headway with my book idea on thoughtful travel. I don’t think it’ll be a year with endless travel, just a few important trips, although I’ve said that before and had it turn out differently, so who knows.

For New Year’s Eve, I’m celebrating locally with some dear friends. I wish more of my dear friends lived here in Perth, but I’m grateful for the ones who do, and also have a wish to be more proactive about catching up (even if it’s just virtually) with more of my dear interstate and overseas friends during 2020.

In any case: I wish you a marvellous, travel-ful and thoughtful 2020, and hope to have you as a podcast listener for another fun year!

Show notes: Episode 168 of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

New Year Travels [Replay]

Celebrating the turn of the year can be a lot of fun, and if you happen to be somewhere away from home for December 31, it can be even more fun and memorable. 

This week’s episode of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast is a replay of my first New Year’s Eve travel episode from three years ago, as I know many current listeners won’t have heard it. It features Kim-Ling’s story of New Year’s Eve on Ibiza – and it’s not what you think – and Di’s story of what makes up a wonderful New Year’s Eve in Tasmania. Of course, I also mention some of my memorable New Year’s Eve celebrations – I think one of my favourites was a year in Bratislava with local Slovak friends and my sister (on her honeymoon, no less!), featuring snow(wo)men and fire crackers. This year, I’ll be near the beach, always a good way to ring in a new year, I think!


Transcript of Episode 168

Amanda Kendle 0:24
Hello, and welcome to Episode 168 of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast. This one is New Year Travels revisited. So if you have ever traveled somewhere to enjoy New Year’s Eve, this is the episode for you. Now like Christmas last week, I’m actually replaying an episode from three years back, because I know that that’s in that part of my podcast archives where very few people actually come across it. Lots of people go back and listen to very early very, very early episodes. And of course lots of listeners have listened to more recent episodes, but back then kind of nearly a year in that’s a bit of a no man’s land. And so I really wanted to bring these episodes back. And of course for Christmas and New Year, it seemed a timely time to do it. So there’s some great stories about New Year’s Eve travel, including some of my own in this one, including the tale of my favorite probably a favourite overseas New Year in Bratislava. Some years back, it was a good one. It reminds me actually of a tale that a friend I made in Bratislava told me, now I’ve always got this slight suspicion that it’s a tall tale, but it’s a great tale nonetheless. And there’s a famous church in the middle of Bratislava, St. Martin’s, and he says that during communist era because they couldn’t really pay too much attention to the church, they’re not supposed to have any religion, but he knew a guy or a friend of his who took care of the church, even though you know they weren’t really supposed to do anything and taking care of the church, included winding up the clock each day, I think the clock that was running in the clock tower. And anyway, one new year time, this friend of his wasn’t going to be in Bratislava over the new year period. And so he gave this friend the responsibility of taking care of the clock. Now in Bratislava, at New Year’s Eve, it’s very common to be out in the main square near this church. And when the clock chimes midnight, that’s when everyone celebrates, and you know, happy new year and firecrackers and the works, but unfortunately, the story goes, this friend of mine wasn’t very good at dealing with the clock, and I can’t quite remember what he told me whether something broke or he made some error. I don’t know anymore. It’s a few years back. But the clock ended up chiming 15 minutes too early for midnight. So there was much confusion. There was sort of celebration, and then you know people checking their watches all sorts of confusion. I think a lot of people celebrated New Year’s Eve twice, which is not a bad thing. I often think of that story at New Year’s Eve that one person could have quite an influence over how the New Year’s Eve celebrations went for a whole city. Now, I still don’t know if it’s entirely true, but I always think of it as a great story. So there you go.

Amanda Kendle 3:21
Now, this New Year’s Eve as I record this, it’s the middle of December. It’s crazy hot, we’re in a heatwave in Perth. I have no idea what I’m going to do for New Year’s Eve because I’m just concentrating on getting through one day at a time, but typically it’ll be somewhere outside. possibly some fireworks although there’s fewer and fewer fireworks displays at New Year’s Eve. We tend to have more of them on Australia Day, much later in January around the 26th when Australia Day comes. So we’ll see I honestly don’t know but I do love New Years for their, you know the ability to to refresh yourself and start again and I love to set goals and have new plans for the year. And I have lots of them, I must say for this podcast, and for my new kids travel podcast, which will be launching in February. So yeah, I think 2020 is going to be a great year. Anyway, I’ll let you get on with this repeat episode, which is from three years ago, and it’s about New Year’s Eve travels with a couple of really cool guests. So enjoy and Happy New Year.

Amanda Kendle 4:26
Hello, and welcome to Episode 38 of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast. And it’s all about New Year’s Eve travels, because it’s not very long until New Year’s Eve 2016. And before we know it, it’ll be next year already. I started this podcast back in March. So we’re coming up to its first year in the not too distant future, but we have to get through to New Year’s Eve before that. Now I have to admit that although I’ve been outside of Australia for quite a number of New Year’s Eves they were always in the Northern Hemisphere. So it was always cold, dark and in the middle of winter, and of course back here in Australia, New Year’s Eve falls in the middle of summer and it’s a for me a much easier time to get out and stay up late. I’m not very good at staying up late in the first place, I must confess. And so those overseas New Year’s Eves in cold dark weather have not been super successful. I do remember a really lovely one spent with some friends and even my sister in Bratislava in Slovakia a few years back, and we made a snowman on our friends balcony first. Actually, it was a snow woman but that’s another story. And and then we watched all the locals letting off their firecrackers for New Year’s Eve. Now here in Australia. Nobody can buy firecrackers it’s not something that’s that’s legal. And so to us, it seemed extraordinarily dangerous to have all these people, most of whom who’d had a few drinks as well letting off all these firecrackers so we’re a little bit freaked out we Aussies, but it was a fun night and one of the more memorable New Year’s Eve I’ve had on the road.

Amanda Kendle 6:07
But today we’re going to hear about several other New Year’s Eve. And that were probably in some ways, no definitely a lot more exciting than mine. So the first guest today is the lovely Kim-Ling Richardson of Travel-Ling. Now I met Ling very recently when we were the two bloggers sent on this trip to Japan that I have spoken about in past episodes and all over Facebook, etc. So we were thrown together for a week. And before I left I must admit that I was thinking okay, so I’ll be this one other blogger for a whole week and I don’t know anything about her, bit worried what if she’s awful? What if we don’t get along? But she was fabulous and so much like me in so many ways, and we totally hit it off so phew, I’m sure she was grateful too that I wasn’t like a complete weirdo. Or maybe we were both weirdos and we were weird together but it was all good. Anyway, so Kim Ling’s come on the podcast today to talk about an experience she had one New Year’s Eve going to the island of Ibiza.

Kim-Ling Richardson 7:10
When you hear the word Ibiza you I don’t know about everyone else but we always think you know, crazy parties, lots of dancing, you know massive crazy cool atmosphere. So when we were in Spain we’re like yes let’s do New Year’s in Ibiza, like that’s the coolest way to bring in the new year. Little did we know that the island shuts down over winter.

Amanda Kendle 7:34
Because it’s winter there – oh no!

Kim-Ling Richardson 7:38
we got there and we’re thinking wow, like accommodation is super cheap. Like this is great. We are so winning this New Year’s Eve celebration. And we got there a couple of days beforehand, did a little sort of walk around the island realize there are a lot of stores closed, not open until I think it was March, April. And I think Hey, that’s, you know, a little concerning. Oh, it’s all right, because New Year’s Eve is massive everywhere you go. They’ll be like heaps of cool clubs to bring in the new year. So we started walking and looking at all the nightclubs and they’ve got these crazy big billboards. And it says from April to October, the best parties you’ll ever go to, and I cannot. It is December. So what’s happening there? So it turns out every nightclub on Ibiza is closed during winter, except for one. So thankfully, there was one open. So that was Pacha. And so we bought tickets thinking Yes, that’s awesome. Like at least it doesn’t matter. We’re not big clubbers anyway, we just thought it’d be great for the experience. So we only need one club. The club actually doesn’t open until 1am. So okay, well alright,so how are we going to bring in the new year going clubbing when no clubs are open. So we went looking around and we managed to find a restaurant, and in, in Spain, people ate really, really late anyway, so most restaurants normally won’t open until about, the kitchen won’t open until about 9.30 at night. So it kind of it kind of worked out. We thought you know what we’ll book a really late dinner reservation and hopefully eating that late will keep us awake in time to bring in the new year and then go to a nightclub on Ibiza. So we had a dinner reservation for 11pm at night.

Amanda Kendle 9:30
Oh my goodness, I would be so starving.

Kim-Ling Richardson 9:32
So we had a nap. You know, get the hunger, the hunger pains away. And then we sort of headed out around 10 o’clock to the restaurant and got in quite you know what was seeming early for the Spaniards over there. And we had this great meal and to be honest, it was actually, even though our plans of having this cool, crazy not club experience didn’t work out. It was wonderful experience because for me is in Spain, they have this tradition that at the strike of 12, you eat 12 grapes on every strike, basically. And that’s to represent good luck. So we actually got to have this beautiful moment where we sort of felt like we were part of this cultural tradition, even though we were just, you know, on holidays, because there was a lot of local families eating in this restaurant. So when we got seated down for dinner, they handed us a bag with you know, cute little party blowers and little hats and streamers, and a bag of 12 grapes, which at that time, we weren’t really sure what that was for, but they’re like, you know, just leave it until 12 o’clock and just watch basically don’t do anything. Just watch what everybody else does and follow, follow their lead. And so come I think 12 o’clock the clock strikes and everyone stops what they’re doing. Everyone stops eating all the way to stop, they all come out. They all get their grapes and collectively, the whole restaurant just collectively ate their grapes, you know, as fast as they could, they were and the problem was they were massive grapes and they weren’t seedless. So without sounding like a fussy traveller …

Amanda Kendle 9:33
Oh no! But 12 is a lot then to stuff in …

Kim-Ling Richardson 11:14
12 grapes without like, with seeds in them was actually quite a challenge. So I almost choked but it was great. And and then at the strike of 12 once everyone finished their grapes, everyone turned to each other and just gave hugs and Feliz Ano Nuevo, so Happy New Year. So we had all these lovely strangers giving us hugs and saying Happy New Year in Spanish. So it was actually a beautiful moment, even though it was nothing that we had prepared or expected when you go to Ibiza.

Amanda Kendle 11:43
No, that’s nothing like what I expected you to tell me about.

Kim-Ling Richardson 11:49
It turned out to be a wonderful memory but just yeah, something that was like when you say you’re going to go to Ibiza for New Year’s you kind of expect a completely different story and so at about 1230 we get our taxi to go to Pacha. And we’re like, the first people in line. I think we were also the only people under 60 years old.

Amanda Kendle 12:11
Oh, no.

Kim-Ling Richardson 12:14
I think, yeah, we clearly just don’t have this stamina that the young Spaniards do! So we have lined up to get in at 1am. We were definitely the youngest people in line and first in line. So we had, we actually had a flight to leave Ibiza the next day. So we didn’t want a ridiculously late night. So we went into the nightclub, the nightclub was amazing. It was about three or four stories. With stages and different DJs and different setups. It was nothing like a nightclub in Australia, that’s for sure. Yeah, incredible. But again, I’m pretty sure we were the only young you know, sort of people under 60. There. We saw a lot of people that clearly went to Ibiza in the 70s and just never left. It was pretty so I thought I’d seen Richard Branson, but it wasn’t but I look you know, I look like a rich Branson look alike with his glitter jacket. Yeah, it was really, really cool. But we called it a night at about 3.30 am.

Amanda Kendle 13:20
Oh, the night was so young then!

Kim-Ling Richardson 13:22
and that was when all the young people started entering. Like where have you been the last four hours but clearly we are not cut out for Ibiza!

Amanda Kendle 13:33
I definitely would not be.

Kim-Ling Richardson 13:36
It was a very, very cool experience and definitely one I’ll never forget and thankfully, probably I mean, not that I would ever do any drugs or anything anyway, but considering the nightclub doesn’t open till 1am you don’t really get to start drinking or doing anything until then. So by 3.30 we were quite sober and quite happy to get home to bed!

Amanda Kendle 13:59
Ling tells a great story doesn’t she. And this was not what I expected her to tell me when she said, Oh, I’ve got a new year’s eve travel story. It’s about Ibiza. I’ll tell you. So it was completely not what I expected, then that is definitely half the fun of traveling is having these experiences which are not what you anticipated at all. But because of that, in some ways, this so much better. So um, I think that’s a great story. And I’m impressed she made it until 3:30am. Because I definitely would have been in bed long before then. I think I would have been in bed before the the single open club on Ibiza even opened at 1am. That’s really stretching the bounds for me even on New Year’s Eve. So you might not get to Ibiza or to some big party on New Year’s Eve. But I think it is really nice to make an effort to do something different somewhere different to make it a bit more memorable. I mean, not everyone agrees with me, but I think New Year’s Eve is a really special night. I think it’s a really important time of the year to think about what’s happened to you over the previous year and look forward to the new one. And I’m a big goal setter, and I love to make those kind of lists and use resolutions and stuff. So I think it’s good to make do do something different for it. So, one person, a friend of mine who has done something different recently was Di Bortoletto of Travelletto Oh, and she came on to chat to me about New Year’s Eve last year, which she spent over in Tasmania in Australia.

Di Bortoletto 15:27
I don’t really like New Year’s Eve. It’s one of those events in our heads nights where there’s a huge build up and expectation. Often the night is a bit of a fizzer but last year, we went to Tasmania, Australia after Christmas 6am on Boxing Day we’re on a ferry Yeah, from the Spirit of Tasmania from Port Melbourne across with my mum and dad and my husband Andrew. You know to Tasmania it’s a nine hour crossing, not very good when you’re a bit dusty from Christmas Day. We got to Tassie, I did a bit of a driving holiday, but New Year’s Eve we bought tickets to theTaste Tasmania Festival, which is just the most awesome food festival in Hobart, runs over I think it’s about a week. But on New Year’s Eve they have a special night and you have to generally, it’s free to go to this festival, but on New Year’s Eve you have to buy tickets and there’s various levels of tickets. So we bought the top level, which is where we got a dedicated seat at a table for the entire night on the harbour side. So we have Yeah, so it was really good, so there’s pop up stalls all throughout. It’s right there on the harbour so on one side of the harbour, you’ve got the Sydney to Hobart yachts that have come in and the slower yachts that are still coming in from that race. So there’s lots of international people around in international yachting gear, so there’s a real buzz about Hobart at that time to be and then on the other side of the harbour is this Taste Festival where there’s this huge warehouse, it might be called something different but it’s massive and there’s all stalls all the way through and and all different Tasmanian produce and wine and different dishes and some of it typically from Tasmania and others that, you know, noodle places and Indian places and whatnot. And you just paid cash to get whatever you want. And they had like specials with Riesling and oysters. So pretty much ate my body weight in oysters and it was just fantastic music in all different pockets of this huge space, a rock band at one end, where all the kind of young people, people like that sort of music were just going off, and a jazz quartet down the other side that was a bit more kind of refined and sophisticated, I suppose. And then, you know, a DJ and it was just like kids, old people, people our age, young people, 20 somethings, it was just such a really good mix and then at nine o’clock your fireworks went off and then again at midnight, so it’s just the best news of having ages actually. Years!

Amanda Kendle 18:10
That does sound excellent. I like it sounds like it’s something for everyone kind of affair.

Di Bortoletto 18:15
Yeah, it was but it was like busy enough that it was just buzzing but relaxed enough but not so packed that it was uncomfortable, you know, and it was so good because we had this dedicated table that was ours for the night. It meant that we could you know, my dad would go I’m going to go for a walk and he’d come back with another dozen oysters and bottle of Riesling. I’d go for a walk and come back with some dessert or or whatever and it was just really, you know, it was just really kind of relaxed and chilled out and a really nice way to spend New Year’s Eve and spend it with my mom and dad who was 68 at the time last year. Yeah. Wonderful and front row seat to the fireworks. So just over the water, it was just beautiful.

Amanda Kendle 19:01
That sounds perfect. Now I wouldn’t have thought that Tassie, Tasmania was like the big New Year’s Eve destination of Australia but that does sound very tempting and probably a lot easier to deal with then like the fireworks in Sydney Harbour

Di Bortoletto 19:13
Totally like, you know, for starters as you know, not as not as crowded, not as many people and because we were staying in a hotel that was just a short walk from there there was no transport issues or driving hassle and you know, Perth trying to get a taxi on New Year’s Eve, good luck! It’s just, it just ticks so many boxes and I was expecting it to be a good night with lots of great food because I’ve heard about the Taste Tasmania festival, but it just really surpassed all my expectations. All of us had a really, really great night and the table we were on. It was a long table that seated 10 people so we had four seats. There were four of us on this table, they were ours and the people next to us is a couple that were kind of in between my mum and dad’s age and our age who were touring around, you know, they were lovely so we made friends with them and shared some food with them. And then yeah, it was just a really nice night.

Amanda Kendle 20:11
Di’s New Year’s Eve in Tasmania sounded really lovely and it’s got me wondering what am I gonna do this New Year’s Eve, I will be in Perth, my hometown, but perhaps I need to look a little bit more closely for something interesting and different to do. In the meantime, I asked in the Thoughtful Travelers Facebook group for some ideas of what everybody else’s New Year’s resolutions were – I love New Year’s resolutions, and what theor travel goals for 2017 were. And I got some interesting responses and thought I’d feature a few from some of the listeners that I know have been listening from the beginning. And thank you to you lovely listeners for doing so. So first of all, it was Janie and Janie said she plans to try and slow down her travel this year. She must have been listening to our episodes on slow travel She said not taking less trips, but actually taking more time to enjoy the areas she visits without feeling the need to cram everything in. And for that reason, they’re planning to do some house sitting in 2017. And she sees housesitting is a great chance to stay in one place and enjoy the surrounding area like a local. I couldn’t agree more. And I think I replied to a comment that I follow quite a few housesitting profiles and accounts on Twitter. And they’re always tweeting out these housesitting assignments in these exotic places around the world for sometimes two weeks, sometimes two months. And it’s really lovely to sit and dream and wonder what I could do if I was staying in, in such and such a place for a couple of months. So I’m sure Janie will enjoy her slow travel. And in fact, early next year, I have another episode coming out on slow travel. So listen out for that one. Janie. Jeff Ryan, who you remember is the author of that great book about the Appalachian Trail. He’s actually also good at slow travel. Well, he was a bit of a tease because he said he is planning a giant trip, but he can’t share yet what it is. So I’m very intrigued Jeff, to find out hopefully in early 2017 what this giant trip is all about. You do things do you do do things quite gigantically. So I’m very intrigued, or maybe a giant trip could be coming out to Australia, maybe he’s gonna come visit me that would be even better. Next, I had Julie who is a local Perth person, a lovely friend of mine, in fact, and a very lovely listener. And she’s luckily kicking off 2017 with a trip to Bali for 15 days. So she’s moving around a bit but it’s mostly focused on relaxing so not a not a travel heavy trip but a relaxing heavy trip and I think that at this time of year, there’s a lot to be said for that. So she highlighted there’ll be lots of pool time, no dishes or cooking a few Bintangs and all about relaxing but she also says she had big travel goal is to get back to Japan. I know Julie lived in Japan and taught there in a similar way to what I did, and her goal is to one day live there for a little while again. And I think that’s a fabulous plan. So it’s a good goal to work towards. Now Lesley is another Perth lady who really does some amazing travels and always plans have an interesting way. So she said, how she described it as for next to her normal routine, dream plan, talk about travel, read about travel and travel, and that’s pretty much correct. So she said next year, she’s got a bucket list trip coming up to India. I’m really intrigued to see what she has to say about her first time in India, a weekend in Singapore, work trips to Christmas and Caicos Islands also very interesting destinations that the average person doesn’t get to go to, and a drive across the Nullarbor Plain for the first time to spend a week in Tasmania. So for those of you who aren’t in Australia, the Nullarbor Plain is that massively empty part in the middle of Australia. I’ve driven across and back once. Well, I’ve been driven across and back once I went in a camper van with my parents when I was 12, 11 or 12. It’s a really long way. It’s kind of at least three days of really nothing. But I think it’s something that everyone should do at least once especially so you can realize how enormous and empty Australia is. There’s something quite unique about that. And I’m sure that Leslie will have a great time and I look forward to to hearing how she goes. And the last of the listeners are going to feature is Robin, and she has all kinds of great plans for 2017 she says it will include mountains chemos, temples, sushi, we can see where where one of her destinations is. castles, fast trains, Tasmanian devils, whiskey, wine, more food, lots of laughs with friends, celebrations, and all of these are her trips to Japan and Tasmania. Tasmania keeps cropping up today. We even had Di talking about it earlier. And of course she’ll be planning for 2018 travels as well. And a few other traveling kind of things like camping, four wheel driving, sitting around the campfire, more wine sunsets. They sound like fabulous new year’s travel goals for me to me Robin, so I’m sure you will enjoy them fabulously. So do let me know what your travel plans or travel goals are for 2017 … So thank you, everybody, for listening to The Thoughtful Travel Podcast during 2016. It has been such a pleasure to do it. One of the most fun things I’ve done in years, and to look back on 2016 and see that I launched this podcast and I’m still doing it and still enjoying it and getting more and more listeners each week. It’s really a really wonderful feeling. So thank you very much for everyone who’s been listening and, and messaging me and contributing.

Amanda Kendle 26:55
So that was me back in 2016. Being very grateful for all my listeners and guests and everyone involved with The Thoughtful Travel Podcast. I just want to reiterate that I am still extraordinarily grateful. I have met some wonderful people through putting together this podcast. I have so much fun doing it. And I hope to be continuing it for many years to come. So once again, wishing you all a happy new year, safe and exciting and thoughtful travels for the year 2020 ahead, and lots of fun friendship and laughter I supposed to. So I’m really very grateful for everything that I get out of this podcast. So I hope I hope you will enjoy it and thank you really very, very much for listening.

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