Long before I started working in the travel industry, I’d had a passion for exploring the world. From a young age I used to drag my parents to travel agents just, so I could pick out handfuls of brochures which my poor father then had to lug home. I’d read them, gaze at the images, make collages and dream about the places I would visit ‘one day’ – when I was older, when I had the time, when I had money.
‘I haven’t been everywhere yet – but it’s on my list’
Now, working full time and relying on a holiday allowance is a balance as I’m sure you’ll agree. Yet my passion for brochures still exists and so does my desire to visit the places that grace the glossy pages. My career has only fuelled this further, writing about destinations on a daily basis it’s no surprise that my wish-list just keeps getting longer and longer. I’ve been carrying it around on my phone for so long I thought it would be great to keep it in one place and why not share it with you and to see if you’ve been to any of the places yourself…
Taking a walk on the wild side
Often people ask are you a cat or a dog person… truth is I’m an animal lover. Back in 2008 I went to Kruger National Park – famed as one of the most outstanding safari regions in the world, for an unforgettable adventure with my family and we spot the Big Five! I’d love to go again one day but there are also plenty of other animals I’d love to spot:
Elephants, giant gentle mannered creatures who have in the past suffered at the hands of tourists. The good news is cruelty towards them is slowly being abolished, with many tour operators now shunning the once famous elephant rides. With places like Elephant Hills, Kho Sak working tirelessly to ensure animal welfare is highly respected, it’s my dream place to visit to get the chance to wash, feed and admire Asian Elephants as they play in their natural habitat. And I can’t wait to get stuck in and paddle my way along the lakeside camp. Whilst I’m in Thailand – the bustling Bangkok with its floating markets and ancient temples and the stunning Phi Phi islands beckon me to visit, so It would be rude to just skip it.
With its futuristic landmarks, the iconic Gardens by the Bay and the dazzling Sentosa Island, I’d combine a short stopover in Singapore with the stunning tropical forests of Borneo. Admiring the spectacular views of Mount Kinabalu and visiting orphanages where flame-haired orangutans swing through the trees.
Every time I visited the zoo when I was little, the Giraffes would be my first point of call. I always found their enclosures painfully sad and dreamt of seeing them in the wild one day. Masai Masa, Kenya with its open savannahs and rolling landscapes, doesn’t a hot air balloon gliding over the bush sound magical?
Turtles & Clown Fish…. Is there any place better to spot cute Crush and Nemo lookalikes than the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, Australia? As the world’s largest coral reef over 1,500 vibrant marine species can be spotted, I’m used to snorkelling in shallow waters, but I’d like to conquer a fear of mine and swim out in the open waters for a truly unforgettable and up-close encounter with my favourite marine species. And who could blame me for wanting to spot turtle hatchlings scurrying along the beach for their first ocean adventure? I’ve heard Denis Island, Seychelles is incredible for this and with no signal or in room Wi-Fi it sounds like the technology detox I’ve been craving.
Squirrel Monkeys are adorable and one of the best places to spot them in the wild is in the misty cloud forests of Costa Rica, also home to brightly coloured tree frogs and the perfect place for an adrenaline pumping zip-line adventure (I’m an outdoorsy adrenaline junkie at heart).
Meeting Dolphins has been a lifelong ambition of mine, on my first visit to the Cove, Atlantis in the Bahamas I met and kissed one (pictured below). But seeing and even swimming with one in the wild would be truly unforgettable. I’m hoping that my summer visit to Madeira will provide this memorable experience for me to enjoy.
Unique Hotel Stays
During my time working at Hayes & Jarvis my eyes were opened to the wonders of unique and quirky hotels around the world. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve stayed at some breath-takingly beautiful hotels a mix of 5*, 4* and boutique stays around the world (and I plan on sharing a post on my favourite ones with you) but these hotels are simply on another scale…
Bubble Lodge, Mauritius – gives sleeping under the stars a whole new meaning. Surrounded by picturesque tea plantations and rainforest-clad mountains, I think I could happily drift off to sleep listening to song birds.
I had my own treehouse when I was little, it made me feel grown up and was the base of many treasured childhood memories with my brother. Ripping heads off my ‘ugly’ barbies not so much. Ever since I researched Kingston Treehouse, South Africa for an email campaign I fell in love – there’s something magical about pulling up your own drawbridge, having your own little haven and being totally at one with nature. How idyllic does a lantern lit dinner overlooking the African bush sound?
Sleeping with the fishes has a Godfather connotation am I right? Yet my desire to get up close to marine life and relax in isolation (with someone else for company of course) means Manta Resort, Pemba Island is ideal. I’d spend my days basking in the glorious sunshine on the sundeck before heading into the underwater sleeping area to watch fish and octopus’s dancing in the sparkling oceans.
More adventures await…
Hitting the open road, feeling the wind sweep through my hair as stunning scenery rolls by the window. Now I know Route 66 is one of the most famous trips in the world and don’t get me wrong I’d love to experience it and I hope I get to do a USA road trip one day but the places left aside from that I want to explore are Nashville, the country music capital, San Francisco and Vermont with its ever so romantic Twin Farms (hot tub in front of a roaring fire – where do I sign?).
There’s so much breath-taking beauty in Australia and New Zealand that only a road trip to each of them could ever do it justice. And Canada – oh Canada don’t get me started it really is number one on my travel wish-list what with its laid back culture, incredible wildlife and stunning turquoise lakes and mountain landscapes (I’m just going off what I’ve read of course but even the photos take my breath away).
I pride myself on the fact that as far as domestic tourism goes I’m doing pretty well having been to Scotland, Wales and Cornwall many times with my family over the years. And me and my boyfriend are working our way through some stunning air bnb’s across the UK and some with a bit more character shall we say 😉. But the one place that seems to keep escaping me is Ireland, I went to Dublin for my 18th and fell for the Irish charm so much so that I’d like to go back again. I have been planning a epic road trip to Ireland which starts in Dublin, then across to Galway before exploring the tiny coves and picturesque fishing villages. Id end the trip with a stopover at the marvellous Giant Causeway before soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of Belfast.
I feel like I’ve gone on and gone but, yet I still have more places to discuss!! So, here’s a shortened list of the rest:
Japan – high up my list to savour tasty sushi, encounter innovative technology, authentic architecture and the snow monkeys bathing in hot springs. And how could I forget the cherry blossoms in spring – a must see.
Mauritius – I’d love to test my balance with paddle boarding on the crystal-clear lagoons with the spectacular Le Morne mountain as my backdrop. (DONE JUNE 2018)
Finland & Iceland – I’ve heard some amazing things, the chance to see the One of the most spectacular natural sights, the Northern Lights. Scandinavians have one of the highest happiness index ratings in the world so there must be reason right? Plus, the thought of snow mobile race through the forests and relaxing in the Blue lagoon- idyllic.
Norway & Sweden – Yes I know I returned recently, but I’d like to visit Bergen and see the Norweigan Fjords plus I’m not quite finished with Sweden yet – I think I left my heart there! I want to see Stockholm apparently it’s stunning and also drive down the Eastern Coastline.
Croatia – is captivating, I want to go again. Omis was wonderful, Dubrovnik stunning but the one place I have been dreaming about? – Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Maldives- falling asleep listening to the gentle azure oceans lapping my luxury overwater villa. Underwater restaurants and my own personal butler?!! Where do I sign up
Finally,… the place everyone is taking about in 2018 – the Seychelles and as each island offers its own unique personality – I don’t think I could settle for visiting just one paradise isle. Praslin with its natural wonders, Denis Island with its castaway chic and the beautiful granite rocks of Anse source d’Argent are my idea of paradise.