Travel Year in Review 2019 – Episode 166 of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

To start winding up 2019, I decided it was time to do a 2019 travel year in review podcast episode, to reflect a little on travels this year, on how the podcast has been going – because it’s growing and growing, and I’ve loved being part of that! – and to answer some listener questions, too, because interacting with my community of listeners is definitely the most fun part of running The Thoughtful Travel Podcast.

Sunrise on Fitzroy Island in Queensland was a favourite 2019 travel moment

Do you have some interesting travel plans for 2020? I hope so – and I hope you’ll continue to listen along to the podcast while you’re planning and travelling!

Show notes: Episode 166 of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

Travel Year in Review 2019

2019 is coming to an end – and it’s been another big year for The Thoughtful Travel Podcast. You can hear about some of our travels in Episodes 150 (Thoughtful Travel in Denmark) and 160 (Cairns and Queensland), and in this episode I’ll tell you some of the statistics from this year (including in how many countries The Thoughtful Travel Podcast has been downloaded in … it’s quite a lot!).

Visiting the Lego House in Billund, Denmark was another favourite 2019 travel moment

I also answer some great listener questions which include topics like what I think the next hot destinations will be, how I will get out of my comfort zone in 2020, how to balance thoughtful travel with kids and a great question about how to answer “what is your favourite country?” when, as is the case with most of us, we definitely can’t narrow that down to one (and it kind of defeats the purpose of travelling to do so, too!).

Thanks to all my fabulous guests and listeners over 2019 – I literally couldn’t make this show with you and your excellent input!


Transcript of Episode 166

Amanda Kendle 0:00
Hello, and welcome to Episode 166 of the thoughtful travel podcast. It is my 2019 travel Year in Review. I did one of these last year for 2018. And I enjoyed it so much that I am back again to tell you a little bit about the year that was both in terms of travel and in terms of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast. So I hope you enjoy this episode. It’s the last brand new episode for 2019 but in the two weeks following this around Christmas and around New Year, I’m actually going to rerelease a couple of episodes that are from Christmas and New Year a couple of years back. So I think a lot of listeners won’t have heard them from the early days, but I had a listen and they’re still well worth listening to. I’m going to add a little intro on the front of them. So to just to bring anything up to date that needs to be updated. But that’s coming up in the next couple of weeks before regular programming of new episodes begins again in January 2020. Gosh, 2020 sounds, I don’t know, science fiction far distant future and yet it’s mere weeks away. So first of all my travel year in review. This year, I have actually been quite good at documenting the travel I’ve done on the podcasts. So I’m mostly going to direct you back to some episodes about it. So our big trip this year, with Mr. Nine was to Thailand and Denmark. And you might remember if you’re a regular listener that that was a weird combination, but for a good reason. So you can go back to Episode 150 and you’ll hear all about my post Denmark thoughtful travel debrief. And more recently, I’ve spent time in Cairns and Queensland and then in Episode 160, I have my Cairns and Queensland podcast diary. So you can hear a lot about my travels there, but they were, as usual, fabulous. I wish I could do more much, much more of it. But I still have to run the rest of my business and my son has to sometimes go to school!

Amanda Kendle 2:34
Now, onto the podcast. In last year’s year in review I mentioned that the Thoughtful Travellers Facebook group had members from 25 countries well I just checked on the survey I keep on the beginning of the group and we are now up to members from 43 different countries, or at least who live in 43 different countries. In terms of nationalities, it’s probably much more than that. So that’s pretty exciting. And my statistics from my podcast host can tell me now that The Thoughtful Travel Podcast has been listened to in 174 different countries, which I think is super cool. Although, of course, I’m a bit disappointed. My podcast is so much more well traveled than me. But it’s still a pretty cool thing. I’ve actually set my son a school holiday homework task, because you can’t tell exactly. The list doesn’t show which countries haven’t been listened to in yet. So he’s going to do a bit of a cross referencing and figure out where I need to chase people down so that I can fill in the whole map.

Amanda Kendle 3:45
Now, you might remember a few episodes back I said that my big goal for this year for 2019 was to finish the year having had a quarter of a million downloads. So at the time of recording I’m about I think it’s about 238,000 so far. So we’re getting really close to that quarter of a million downloads, just in case, maybe share it with some friends, or, you know, just tell the world about it or leave a review on iTunes or Apple podcasts, something like that to help me get to that quarter of a million. Thank you. And Now interestingly, I because I look back on last year, year in review, and in that one, I reflected on how grateful I was that my son’s school teacher last year had been so supportive of us traveling, and I pondered what this year would bring us because you never know. Maybe we’ll have a teacher who says, No, you can’t take him out of school or you know, just be unhappy about it. But it hasn’t happened. It was absolutely fine! This year brought us a teacher who I think has probably traveled even more than we have this year or at least a similar amount squeezing these amazing trips into her school holidays. And not only that she listens to the podcast too. So obviously you can imagine I am A-okay with this one. So hello lovely Brichelle, and thanks for an awesome year.

Amanda Kendle 5:02
Now onto some questions for from the group to round out the year. I always like to grab a few questions from listeners, and they’ve come out of the Thoughtful Travelers Facebook group. And that’s been really cool. I could talk like for several hours about these questions, I’m going to try and keep it to my usual time there. So first up, I had a question from Rachael. She said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the next upcoming countries that will burst open over the coming few years. So that’s a really good question. My first big tip is Georgia, Georgia, the country not Georgia, the state. It’s the reason I say that is because it seems to be all over my feed at the moment more and more people wanting to go there. And I’ve been thinking of planning a trip there for the end of next year. In fact, if you have been to Georgia during January or December, let me know because I’m trying to find out more about how you know do things close down a lot over winter, you know, will we still be able to get out and about enough. It doesn’t seem like it’ll be too cold. But anyway, something to think about.

Amanda Kendle 6:09
I also think that South Korea is going to take off. Now I’ve thought this for years when I lived in Japan and I visited South Korea, I thought, wow, this is an awesome country. More people should come here. But I saw it advertised recently as the new Japan. And there’s some new flights going there from Australia, some extra flights. And I think they’re spot on because it’s the only country that is sort of similar to Japan in in some ways it’s obviously got you know a really different culture as well, but there’s quite a lot of similarities. and Japan is becoming you know, kind of much more well known and a more popular destination these days. So, you know, maybe South Korea’s the next one. I also think that a lot of lesser known cities in China are going to take off so I mean, for example, a friend of mine recently was in Guangzhou and after seeing all his posts I really want to go to Guangzhou now, you know, we’ve all heard plenty about, you know, Beijing or Shanghai. But, you know, there are vast numbers of vast cities in China with all sorts of different attractions and different interests. So that’s my tip. And I think similar could happen for countries like Japan and Vietnam, where there’s some key centers that people are visited, but there’s still a lot that people don’t know much about.

Amanda Kendle 7:27
I also think in the next few years, Eastern Europe needs to will somehow become as visited as it deserves to be countries like the Baltics like Latvia and Lithuania, they’re fabulous places. And they’re still not really well visited. I mean, more than they used to be, but there’s still you know, plenty of space for more. And the other country that gets on a lot of those lists at the moment, you know, those emerging destination lists is Bhutan. And you’ll remember I’ve spoken on the podcast about Bhutan In the past, and I really want to go so that’s maybe why it’s on my list. So that’s my summary, Rachael.

Amanda Kendle 8:07
Now, Lynn asked from New Zealand about some information on on excuse me air points and finding cheaper flights. Just a quick answer for you, Lynn. I checked that New Zealand also has, I know the pilot, that’s my favorite place for finding cheap flights, I get their daily email, I get tempted daily, it’s horrible. But if you go to, they will help you out. Lynn also asked about points and I’m no like travel hacker. I find it I just don’t know enough about it. But what I do do is use things like I’m a Velocity member, so through Virgin and they have an online shopping system where whenever I want to buy something online, nearly every shop that I ever need is is on there. I can actually log in through their system and then the points I spend get bonus points so little things like that and converting any supermarket points into flying points. That’s the kind of thing that I do. So it’s not just you know, it’s not just where you when you fly, it’s all the time whenever you’re spending money.

Amanda Kendle 9:08
Now, Sandra asked a really cool question. This could easily be a whole episode or more. But she said, what trends do you see emerging in travel in the 2020s? Gosh, sounds so amazing to think of it as a whole decade, like greener airlines, the rise and rise of flight shaming and overtourism. So my quick summary because I could talk forever, I think definitely, there’ll be a much bigger focus on sustainability, like even to the point of, I mean, it’s I’ve seen it already, hotels that have proper sustainability practices, people will talk about them, they’ll be the ones that get the people and you know, same with, you know, every other aspect of travel. I think definitely, as part of the flight shaming thing, slower travel will become more widely known, spending a longer time in one destination rather than racing round to tick off 10 so called bucket list items. And sort of similarly, moving to things like off the beaten path travel or second city travel, this is kind of part of that over tourism piece, I suppose. So I keep saying that often the second city travel is a bit like what I was talking about earlier with lesser known cities in China. So you know, instead of going to Paris, there’s all these other places in France that you might go to. A rise in off peak and shoulder season travel, because of over tourism, I think. And one of my favorite things that I think is really going to keep growing is that yearning for like learning and experiential travel, people who are traveling and like intentionally looking for, like a transformation or inspiration, you know, they’re not just going it’s not just a holiday, it’s a trip with you know, with more purpose. I think also there might be some kickback against the whole flight shaming thing. I find it tricky because you know, when you live in Western Australia, you can’t travel if you don’t fly. Flying is important. But it’s about at the same time, we need to, you know, climate change demands that we, you know, look at this. But for example, I recently read an article on the importance of tourism in terms of if people will stop flying to Africa and tourists numbers fell dramatically that would increase poverty and decrease conservation of animals. Both of those things are bad. So, you know, I think that it’s not as simple as, let’s not fly. That’s what I’m trying to say.

Amanda Kendle 11:30
Ivan asked me what is my dream destination for 2020 and he got in two questions, one activity I’d like to do to get out of my comfort zone. So dream destination, Georgia, Tbilisi all around Georgia. In fact, not definitely not just Tbilisi. I’ve been reading all around, lots of stuff about Georgia and there’s lots of cool things to do there. So that is definitely my dream destination because I like to go somewhere that’s not so well known yet. And I want to go there before it gets rolling. I feel like Georgia is the, for the 2020s. Georgia is like Iceland was 10 years ago. And now you know, every second person I know has been to Iceland, it’s still an awesome place, but it’s just it’s well known now.

Amanda Kendle 12:16
And the out of my comfort zone question. I had to think about this because I am constantly trying to stretch my comfort zone. And things like you know, languages and talking to locals and things that I really try hard to do. But one thing I really want to do is to do some more walking like longer hiking kind of trips. I think my son is now definitely old enough to do that kind of thing with me. And I think it’s Yeah, it is something that I have maybe have used the excuse that my son’s too young. And now I need to stop using that excuse and look into being more serious about that because I love the idea of it haven’t really done much so longer hikes. You know a proper hiking trip. That’s my that’s my idea.

Amanda Kendle 13:03
Now Kim asked there, Kim, you might remember I’ve chatted to before, and Kim and her husband Way, are traveling the world constantly. They’re fitting in, although they travel slowly, you know, often a month or more in a place, but they’re aiming for 50 countries before Kim turns 50 in a few years. And so I think this question reflects that. She said, How do you answer the difficult question: What is your favorite country? And she says, I’m not necessarily looking for a country unless you have one. I’m more thinking about how to educate people that there’s something special about every country. So I think this is so this is a great question, because a lot of people it’s a really lazy question to ask a traveler, isn’t it? What’s your favorite country? Because I personally think, you know, how can you have a favorite country? It’s like having a favorite child. Well, actually, I only have one child. So I guess I do have a favorite child, but you know what I mean? So I definitely tend to highlight some of my favorite experiences I always say I don’t have a favorite country. Although I suppose Japan is one of my favorite countries easily because I have so many wonderful experiences there. But I tend to highlight some favorite experiences like the Trans Siberian across Russia or backpacking through Tunisia, spending Christmas in Finnish Lapland, those are like the, several of the kind of experiences that I really, really cherish and you know, feel were really impactful and it will just, you know, special and amazing. So, yeah, experiences rather than countries and if they’re still listening, I hope that they ask questions after that. So I just, yeah, just tell him it’s like, deciding on your favorite child. And you can’t do that.

Amanda Kendle 14:48
Sam, Sam I know has included in her family two kids who are I think still under two if I’m right, anyway, really little so this question makes sense coming from Sam. She says, I’d love to hear more about how you balance thoughtful travel with kids, especially when they’re young. And I think this is an awesome question. And I think it’s a common assumption that you can’t necessarily travel thoughtfully when you have kids, especially young kids. However, I have to say that when my son was young, he was the one who taught me about thoughtful travel, because I had to completely change the way I traveled because I had a young kid traveling with me. And if you’ve got a couple, then more, even more. So I think, Sam. So the most important part of that, I think, is slow travel. Because if you don’t have you know, rest days with kids, where you just kind of hang around and do not match or if you try and see three things in one day, you’re going to go absolutely bonkers. So slow travel is something that kids really make you do and being selective like you don’t just go and see everything in a place you’d be more thoughtful about what you’re going to see and why you want to see it. Also engaging with locals, which I always think is a really important part of thoughtful travel, having kids with you, especially little kids, especially cute little kids, that really helps you helps break down barriers with local people. People always want to talk to people who have little kids with them, or you’re at the local playground somewhere, you know, near where you’re staying when you travel. And the kids just naturally start playing with other kids doesn’t matter if they don’t speak the language, they will figure that out. And that kind of thing is a great way to get to know local people. Yeah, so you know, and I guess just by the very nature of having kids with you, your experiences may vary a lot like the kind of the things you choose to do will be different to just sort of standard sightseeing. So I think that yeah, I think traveling with kids can be a really easy way to actually slip into being a more thoughtful traveler. And I think the other thing that parents tend to do even without thinking about it, but if you can be even more intentional about it then even better is to talk to your kids about the experiences both before, well in fact all of these, before the trip, during the trip and and then continuing to talk about them after the trip. And talking about those things helps kind of embed that thoughtfulness about them. I think so yeah, in fact, I never really thought about it before, but I wonder if my son hadn’t come along, how I think it would have taken me much longer to think about being a thoughtful traveler, so they’re actually an advantage, I think.

Amanda Kendle 17:30
So. That pretty much sums up the what I wanted to tell you to finish off the the new episodes for The Thoughtful Travel Podcast in 2019. Over the summer holidays, we are finally going to start recording our kids podcast. So look for that in your podcast player in February, but I will tell you all about it, of course, here as well because I know many of you will have kids or grandkids that you’d like to share my kids travel podcast with. In the show notes, I will include some photos of our favorite travel moments from this year and some links to the episodes I mentioned early on. And of course the link to the thoughtful travelers Facebook group. And the Show Notes for this episode will be at for Episode 166. So thank you very much again, for a fabulous year of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast. I am so so grateful to my wonderful guests who really make the show something really special. And to my fabulous listeners who talk with me in the Facebook group and elsewhere but especially there and you know, share all of their, you know, experiences and opinions and it’s so wonderful to be able to meet even if it’s only virtually but it’s good enough for me so many like minded and interesting people. So I’m really grateful for being able to bring this podcast to you and grateful for everything that you as listeners and guests do to help you with it. So thank you very much. And as I said, there’ll be a Christmas and a new year episode coming up in your podcast player over the next two weeks, so you won’t miss out. There’s no real break this year, because I’m loving it too much. So there’s no time for rest. I’ve got too many interesting episodes lined up for 2020. So for for now, thank you very much for listening.

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