(n.) an overwhelming urge to run away
Lately, I've been experiencing a strange feeling. Restless. Craving more. Dreaming big. I don't want to say that I've felt discontented, because it's not that. I just want more.
What's exciting, or scary, depending on how you look at it, is that this feeling isn't unfamiliar to me. It's exactly how I felt in the year before moving to London. I was desperately searching for something more. I wasn't feeling fulfilled by my job, and was seriously needing to broaden my horizons beyond Melbourne - the one city I'd inhabited in my whole life, not to mention, in the one house. It was time to go.
Now here I am again, 3 years later, feeling this urge again. This pull to just pack up my life into a suitcase, close my eyes and point to a map, and venture to wherever my finger lands. This urge to follow the one thing in my life that enthuses and impassions me the most, the desire to be completely spontaneous everyday, being freed from responsibility, and being dictated by no deadlines or boundaries. Which my rational side knows is somewhat irrational - at this stage, at least.
I was explaining how I'm feeling to a friend recently. Her comment surprised me.
"Wow, you must be such a free spirit, Anna".
I didn't quite no how to respond. The old Anna, the Anna who needed to know plans a week in advance, the Anna who would panic if plans were changed last minute, and the Anna who couldn't do anything on her own, certainly is the polar opposite of the Anna that exists today. But a free spirit?
Don't get me wrong, I love my life in London. There is an abundance of exciting things to do and see. The weather constantly keeps you on your toes. Every now and then, you even bump into a celeb. Europe is at your doorstep.
It's just that I still want more. More time. More travel. More freedom. More excitement. Not in a greedy sense in the least. I just want to be doing more of what inspires me, and less of what society "expects" of me.
It's that time of year again when we all set those ridiculous resolutions about exercise, healthy eating, and less drinking. All goes well for the first week or so, and then slowly things start to crumble. I know the routine, as I'm there myself right now...!
So this year, I'm starting with a change of attitude. Instead of setting myself goals I know I'll break, why not set myself a year long challenge that I have 100% confidence that I will not only achieve but top. So, my goal for the year is to travel to new destinations, and to see as many new places in Europe as my bank account will allow. To spend more weekends abroad for short trips, to explore more of the English countryside, and to take colourful photos of nature all around us. Pretty achievable, right?
So, get ready for it...here's my Wanderlust Bucket List for 2016!
Please leave a comment below if you've been to any of these countries! Any tips - best places to eat/drink at, where to stay, and what to eat!!
I keep seeing the most stunning photos of Austria which makes me want to jump on a plane straight away. Years ago, in 2007, I spent a night in Salzburg as part of a tour, but I haven't seen any of the country other than this. I'm thinking a week of train hopping to different cities. Top priorities are Vienna and Hallstatt, as well as indulging in as much traditional Austrian cakes, schnitzels and local beer as possible. See you in February, Austria!
2. The Netherlands
I've been to Amsterdam many (many...!) years ago in Winter 2007, but am really keen to check out more of Holland during Spring. Top priorities are The Hague, the Keukenhof Gardens, and Amsterdam. I'm thinking I'll head over for a long weekend in May.
Photo Source - epgordon
It's been on my list for the last 2 years, and I still haven't managed to make it to Cyprus. I'm committing to it - this will be the summer for me to taste the Cypriot sea! I'm really looking forward to seeing the historical sites, as well as exploring the many beaches on offer! Aiming for August.
4. The Balkans
Summer, 2016, I'm going to be doing a few of the Balkan countries - priorities are Montenegro, Bosnia, and Serbia. Aiming for August.
I spent some time in the Swiss Alps in Spring, 2015, and absolutely fell in love with the stunning scenery. The lakes, the mountains, the sunshine, the cheese, the wine, the chocolate. I want more! I'm hoping to spend a week or more train hopping around, probably in June.
I've heard nothing but amazing things about Budapest - the river, the two cities, the thermal baths, the cheap food and drink! Definitely spending a long weekend here this year, hopefully in October.
7. Czech Republic
Another one that's been on my list since I moved over! Prague is number one, and I've also heard amazing things about Čseky Krumlov - will definitely be visiting here too. Hoping to get here in October.
8. Greek Islands
I've been lucky enough to see a few Greek Islands already - Santorini, Paros, Mykonos, Naxos, and Ios. Each unique and beautiful in their own ways, I want to add this to my yearly 'wanderlust' list. Priorities this year are: Zakynothos (beach looks absolutely incredible!), and either Crete or Rhodes. A summer destination for sure, so definitely July for this one!
I was throwing up between visiting in Bulgaria in the winter for a cheap ski trip, but then I started looking through my 'Lonely Planet - The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country'. If you don't have this book, make sure you get your pretty little hands on it pronto. It details every country of the world with wonderful recommendations and beautiful images - check it out! The recommendation for when to go to Bulgaria was in May, September, or October. So perhaps I'll hold off on that ski trip after all!
Anyone who knows me, know that Paris holds a special place in my heart. Until really previous years, I was completely fluent in French. Not from having any French heritage whatsoever, but for the sheer fact that my local primary school had a French/English bilingual curriculum. I went on to study it all throughout my education, and funnily enough, have a degree in French... ! I'm ashamed to say that I haven't kept it up though in the past few years, and I know it's back there somewhere, but it's definitely a goal to take some conversation classes to get it sparked again.
So, since in November this year, I'm going to be celebrating a big birthday, I thought to myself - what better place to cheers the proper becoming of an adult that my favourite city in the whole world. So friends, get ready for it, we're going to Paris to stuff our faces full of macarons, eat cheese until we can't take no more, and toast the BIG 3-0 in style with at least a few bottles of proper French champagne.
Followed closely by...
France (Annecy and Corsica)
Happy Wandering for 2016 x