Sunday, 1 January 2017

Round-up: 2016.

Well, 2016 has been a rollercoaster of emotions hasn't it?! Asides from the catastrophic global political situation (don't get me started on this), on a personal level, much has changed in my life. In one year I went from graduating Warwick University to being accepted at my dream institution - Oxford University - and with this, I picked up my life and moved from Leamington Spa to the grand ol' city of Oxford and had to remember how to ride a bike/ how to avoid dying of frostbite while cycling around late at night. At the same time, it often felt like it was just one bad piece of news after the other - from my nan's constant battle with cancer to my mum's Parkinson's diagnosis, it has often been hard to stay optimistic but I try. 

In terms of travel, 2016 has been a crazy year too. 

To start off the year I spent a week visiting Milan, Florence and Rome for my friends 21st birthday. While I didn't rate Milan much, I absolutely loved Florence and well Rome? That's my favourite city in the 'west', I'd been before and was desperate to take Matt as it's filled with endless beauty.

Top posts: Budget for 6 nights in Italy and Florence!

Next, after waiting in line freezing my butt off, I bagged a £49 return flight to Thailand and couldn't pass up an opportunity to finally learn to dive! I had tried both previous times I had been in Thailand - the first time I didn't have the money, and the second time I even pushed my flight back 2 weeks to make space for it but fell ill and was told I couldn't go into water again for up to 3 weeks. So, after much debate, while crying about my bank balance I took the plunge and dove in (excuse the pun!)

One week after I returned from Thailand, I flew to Toronto and spent a week and a half chilling in Ontario with my sister before I set off on a Couchsurfing adventure across the USA for two months. I visited Washington D.C., Burlington (VT), Conway (NH), Boston (MA), Portland (ME), Acadia NP (ME), New York City (NY), Stamford (CT), New Haven (CT), Princeton (NJ), Newark (DE), Philadelphia (PA), Baltimore (MD),  Chicago (IL), Las Vegas (NV) & Death Valley NP, Yosemite NP, San Francisco and Los Angeles (CA). After I then stopped via Calgary in Canada on my way home for a week to meet up with a guy I met in Thailand and we road-tripped round Banff National Park together.

Overall, this was my favourite summer trip to date. It was the most spontaneous - I could go where I liked, when I liked so long as I could bag a lift using facebook or megabus, and could find a place to rest my weary eyes on Couchsurfing. I also felt the most sense of adventure as I never knew who would be hosting me next or the places we would go. Would they take me with them? Would they leave me to do my own thing? Would we cook together? Would they kill me? See, endless excitement! Haha. I joke, it was an amazing time and everyone I met was incredible. 

Just a few of the places I slept while Couchsurfing!

A few trip highlights from the USA!

Highlights from Canada!

I also ventured to more of the UK. I went to Exeter, watched Cheese-Rolling in Gloucester, witnessed the chaotic Bonfire Night in Lewes, Sussex, saw friends in Bath with a stop-off at the Stonehenge on-route and visited places around the Oxford area such as Blenheim Palace.  

Finally, and just 2 weeks ago now, I finally got round to visiting Poland for a week. As a belated birthday gift, Harley and I went to Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow & Wroclaw to visit Christmas markets and check out the sub-zero temperature. Needless to say, I prefer a little warmth on my vacation! But it was beyond what I had imagined, beautiful cities, attractive people and great food - I feared Harley would turn into a pierogi, to be honest. Blog posts are vacant here I'm afraid, being lazy lately!

Anyway, I have had some wild trips this year and I cannot wait to see what 2017 brings. Right now after my Oxford graduation my future is pretty uncertain. It could see me working towards a law degree, or I may just pack up all my things and go on a round-the-world trip, or go and teach English in Nepal... who knows! But that's where the fun lies.

Hope you all have a cracking New Year and 2017 brings you happiness.
Thinking of your adventures always,
Scarlett xx