It’s not very often that I write these kind of ‘update’ posts but now that 2018 has finally come around I thought I’d make an exception. Before we get into my ramblings, I will point out (as some of you eagle-eyed readers will have already noticed), that the timing of this post isn’t great. Ideally, this should’ve been published on January 1st but as it is still January, its fine, right?
So, I guess now that I’ve drawn your attention to the fact that this article has been a long time coming, I should probably give you some explanation as to why that is. For anyone that knows me, you will know that I detest spending New Year’s Eve in my hometown. Hate, hate, hate. Since being lucky enough to spend the new year in Vietnam a few years ago, I have never looked back and always aim to spend the most anticipated night of the year abroad. This year, the destination of choice was Kiev, Ukraine.
Despite the freezing temperatures outside, Tim and I decided to brave the cold and make our way to St. Sophia’s Square for the new year celebrations. Kiev put on a wonderful show, with a concert featuring a live orchestra as well as a number of festive food and drink stands to line the square. The only downside was the fireworks, which looked like a rather feeble attempt at a makeshift bonfire night rather than international new year celebrations. Despite the somewhat disappointing pyrotechnics, spending the new year in Kiev sparked my excitement for the year ahead.
New year, new horizons
After what feels like a lifetime of saving (in reality it will be just over two years), Tim and I finally have a date for our next big adventure. During the time we have spent at home, there have been numerous guesses as to when we will next be able to travel. In that two year period, we have had 5 jobs between us, skipped countless social activities and sold half of the stuff we own – all in the name of our long-term travel plans. How grown up are we?! (Maybe)
We spent Christmas at home, although Tim was working for the vast majority of the holiday. We had agreed not to do presents and instead put money into our upcoming Ukraine trip, but after seeing the perfect sweater, I decided a little present wouldn’t hurt. More fool me because once Tim found out about said gift, I ended up with something under the tree too. The clue on the parcel kept me guessing for ages before my suspicions were confirmed on Christmas Day.
I unwrapped the present to find a hollowed-out book containing a myriad of different Camino themed gifts, including blister plasters and earplugs. The biggest surprise came in the form of a diary, bookmarked to a date in June, with flight details to Paris. This flight would signify the start of the big journey to follow. Needless to say, whilst I was hugely excited about both Paris and finally getting a date for the long-anticipated trip, I felt pretty embarrassed handing over the jumper…
The plan as it stands
With tickets to Paris booked, this will be the first stop on our next big adventure. The plan is to spend a few days in the city before taking the train south. Whilst I have visited Paris before, it was as part of a school trip so I am excited to see the city through my older (and hopefully wiser) adult eyes. So far, our only plans for the city involve the catacombs because I’m a bit morbid like that, and to stuff ourselves full of all the cheese we can muster. (Suggestions on alternative activities are welcome.)
After a few days in Paris, we will travel down to St Jean Pied de Port where we plan to start the Camino de Santiago. Traditionally, this is a famous religious pilgrimage but more recently has attracted the interest of aspiring hikers. We plan to do the whole of the French route, which totals nearly 500 miles. During this time, I expect to be exhausted, hangry and very sore, so bear with me. I will be updating the blog with a plethora of Camino based articles including how to walk 500 miles with your other half and avoid killing them. (All things being well of course.)
During our hike towards westerly Spain, we will also be joined by Tim’s sister, Molly, who will be completing our journey with us. After this point, there is a gap in the plan because, in all honesty, we’re not sure what happens next. There will definitely be some time for rest, namely giving our feet some much needed TLC but other than that we’ll be winging it. Pretty much we’ll be hanging about Europe in the sunshine before phase 2 of the trip.
After completing the European side of our adventure, we will be flying out to South America to begin our journey there. Again, this part of the plan is very tenuous as it hasn’t actually been drafted into existence yet. What we do know is that we plan to start in Brazil and see how it goes from there. In order to elongate the trip as much as possible, both myself and Tim are now TEFL certified, so we will be looking for teaching opportunities as we travel, as well as other work/accommodation arrangements.
Owing to the scale of our rather large South American dream, we realise that it may take more than one trip to visit all of the countries that we aim to see. We are especially mindful of commitments that will be happening at home and are looking to make the most of our time abroad whilst we can.
Naturally, now that we have a timeline for this journey, I feel absolutely terrified. Whilst there are a few months before we jet off, I am trying to stay calm and keep my overthinking in check. In the time before the trip, you will be able to find me religiously researching how to make friends with llamas, as well as scheduling in the relevant vaccinations to heighten my chances of survival.
Have you visited any of the places on our to-do list? What are your recommendations?
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