My travel plans and a few goals for 2015

It may be only January, but I’m a planner and that means I’m already plotting my travels for the months ahead. 2015 is already turning out to be a very busy year in terms of travels and I couldn’t be any more excited. Here’s a little sneak peek at where I’ll be heading:

Las Vegas

This past weekend Sam and I travelled to Las Vegas (yes, cue Elvis’ Viva Las Vegas – I’ve been humming it for weeks). I recently started writing for Expedia Canada and this was a fun get-together to meet up with the rest of the team. I was only there for 3 days, but it was an action packed weekend that included flying out to the Grand Canyon by helicopter, test driving luxury cars, hiking through Red Rock Canyon, going in search of the best steak and sushi restaurants, and checking out the Las Vegas nightlife. There will be lots of Vegas content coming your way in the next few weeks!

Quebec City

Then next month, it’s off to Quebec City for some winter fun. Sam and I both visited Quebec this past summer and we loved the city so much that we knew we wanted to come again for another visit. What better reason that the Carnaval de Québec? There’s going to be tobogganing, dog sledding, and perhaps even a visit to the Ice Hotel. I’m going to have to bundle up for this one!

Peru

From there we’ll be hopping down to Peru for part of March and April. Because I’m doing a B.Ed. program with a focus on international education, I’ve been strongly encouraged to complete an overseas practicum, and well, I don’t need any more convincing than that! I chose a bilingual school in Lima and I’ll be working there for 3 weeks. The rest of my time will be spent visiting family, celebrating my Grandma’s birthday, and hanging out with my parents because they also agreed to come down for a visit! I’m so excited for this one!!! (Also, if you have any tips for short weekend trips from Lima, let me know about those in the comments section.)

 South Africa

And that brings us to May, which will be huge! Not only will I officially be done my degree, but as a little graduation gift, Sam and I will be heading off to South Africa for three weeks! AAAAAAHHHH! I don’t think I could be more excited. We found these insane deals on Christmas morning and we just booked them within minutes. (Etihad seriously messed up the fares but they’ve agreed to honour those rates. PTL!) My Lonely Planet guide arrived in the mail last week, and I’m already plotting up a storm. Again, if you’ve been to South Africa, I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below. We want to do this trip overland from Johannesburg to Cape Town, so tell me about anything and everything in between.

Europe by train

And our next stop will be Europe. We don’t really have a much of an itinerary at the moment, but we do know we want to travel by train. I have a feeling we’ll be starting out with Western Europe since Sam hasn’t travelled much in that area, and then we’ll slowly work our way east and and perhaps down to the Balkans. Once we get to Europe our travel plans are a bit of an open book.

A little more of this, a little less of that…

Ahh, new years resolutions. I’m not really one to set goals in January alone but here are a few of the things I want to keep work on:

Say ‘yes’ to all that cool stuff I don’t think I can do – I like being in my comfort zone, so this is probably going to be one of those life-long goals. Last year that meant holding a python around my neck, climbing an active volcano in the middle of a night with nothing but a flashlight, and pushing through my strong dislike of flying by taking 4 consecutive flights to get to Australia. It doesn’t sound huge, but it would have been easy to say “nah, I don’t want to do that”. I don’t want to be that girl.

More YouTube videos – Sam and I really enjoy making YouTube videos and it’s been fun sharing our travels with viewers who are still in the early planning stages of their trip. It’s so cool getting emails from people who found our Southeast Asia videos a year ago and are now embarking on their own backpacking trip, or hearing from people who tracked down our favourite restaurant because they saw us salivating over yet another meal. We’ve built a cool little community on YouTube and I want to keep creating on there because video is fun! (Pssst, if you’re on YouTube, you can find us here!)

Try to enjoy student life – The first semester of university was a tough one; part of it was the workload, but there was also the matter that we didn’t make a whole lot of time for fun! This semester I want to strike more of a balance between work and play. We’ve got a few weekend trips up our sleeve (as mentioned above), and Sam also got us tickets to a few hockey games and concerts. This should make winter and school more bearable! Plus, did I mention? Only 3 more months of this!

Spend less time online – Or rather, be more efficient with my time online. No one likes to spend the whole day stuck behind the computer, not even bloggers. Social media is probably one of my biggest distractions, so I have to stop myself from opening new tabs when I’m writing.

More travels with family – Over the past 2 years Sam and I have gotten to travel with both of our parents and it’s a tradition I want to continue. In 2013, Sam’s mom visited us in Istanbul and then my parents joined us for a tour of Israel. In 2014, Sam’s parents joined us for 2 months of backpacking in Southeast Asia, and then my parents joined us in Cuba. And in 2015, I know my parents are coming down to Peru, and that we’ll also be meeting up with Sam’s family (and new cat!) in Fredericton. Travel is such an important part of my life and I love being able to share it with those closest to me. 🙂

And that’s a little sneak peek at early 2015!

What are you hoping to do this year?

Images from Flickr Creative Commons: William Beem, Igor, Alma Apatrida, Miquitos.

Join the Conversation

63 Comments

  1. says: Lauren

    You’ve got such an exciting year ahead, I’m very jealous! South Africa is at the top of my list so let us know how you get on 🙂

  2. says: Sam

    Wow, sounds like you’re going to be busy! South Africa sounds amazing (everyone I speak to seems to be raving about it lately!) and train is absolutely the best way to see Europe, especially if it’ll be Sam’s first time to some places. Have fun!

  3. says: Rachel

    LOVE LOVE LOVED South Africa! Unfortunately I only really saw Cape Town and surrounds but for the 5 days I was there I crammed in as much as I could! I then did an 8 week overland tour with Gadventures (fantastic company to go with!) from Cape Town to Nairobi through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Best trip of my life to date!! I must say Cape Town was really special though. Feel free to email (rachey_11@hotmail.com) me if you have any questions about what to see and do – Cape Town or about over landing 🙂 I’ll have to go back one day and see more of South Africa!

  4. says: Jorge Fernandez

    If you come to Peru, you should definitly visit Trujillo, lots of culture, great food, you can have some great memories from visiting this city. Good luck in your trips 🙂

  5. says: Megan A

    This is a great list! South Africa is a wonderful place and what a deal you scored! Nice job! I’m working on my travel plans for 2015 too, and I’ve set in motion a goal to take 12 trips in 12 months. None of mine (at least so far!) are as exciting as your destinations, but I look forward to following your journey. Keep inspiring others to travel! 🙂

  6. says: Caroline

    Eeek! That sounds so exciting! I’m a bit of a newbie to your blog but it has been so helpful in trying to plan our SE Asia trip this upcoming July. Love your 2015 plans!

  7. says: Ashley

    Such exciting plans! I mainly spent time in Cape Town, Gansbaai, and Kruger when I was in South Africa, but I’d love to return and road trip from Durban to Cape Town. I recently watched a vlog from someone who was in Transkei and it looked beautiful! I look forward to reading about your posts from SA!

  8. says: Steph

    I love SA and can’t wait to go back there and discover more. If you are starting off in Johannesburg, make sure you drive up to Pilanesberg. There is a safari park smaller then the Kruger National but well worth it!
    Train wise in Europe I would recommend the train journey between Bar (Montenegro) and Belgrade. The scenery is just stunning.
    Can’t wait to read more about Your time in Peru. I’m planning on a short visit to Mexico I a few days and hopefully will make it to Cuba in the end of April. I love starting of the new year by planning on where I could be heading next

  9. says: Jenna

    Wow, so many fun plans coming up. I love that you want to travel with your families more. Those are the best type of trips–they create so many special memories! Good luck on finishing your degree (sounds like an interesting one).

  10. Those sounds like fantastic travel plans!
    I heard about those Etihead fares but missed out on them. I just read yesterday about people who booked the mistake fares through Orbitz having issues with one party or the other changing the details of the flights, sometimes even moving departure dates. Yikes. Hope it doesn’t happen to you guys. I love a good travel deal story. 🙂

  11. says: Slagjana Kocikj

    If you are going to visit the Balkan, try Macedonia, I am sure you will enjoy it. There are a lot of natural beauty, archaeological discoveries and a lot of freedom. 🙂

  12. says: Ryan Biddulph

    Audrey you’re all over the place, love it! As for Lima I was there for a week. You can take the 2 hour flight – if I recall correctly to Machu Picchu (sp) for a few days. If you really want to see something spectacular. If you’re chilling in town head to the Miraflores district. Big thumbs up! It’s very chic chic, but not too over the top. We loved the pretty little park filled with cats, all well taken care of. Also, you have the movies and make sure to stop by Bircher and Benner if you want to eat at a first class vegetarian haunt.

    Enjoy your travels Audrey and thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  13. says: Naomi

    Considering you’re studying, those are some great travel plans! I’m considering a cheeky jaunt to Peru too whilst I’m in Colombia, there’s some fairly cheap airfares. I went a few years back but didn’t have enough time and there is so much more Peruvian dishes to taste!

  14. An exciting year ahead! I have spent about 10 weeks in total in South Africa over 3 trips so I have lots of tips. Personally, I wouldn’t spend any time in Jo’burg – head to Kruger National Park then down to the Drakensberg Mountains (and into Lesotho if you have time – amazing!), from Durban to the Wild Coast then the Garden Route to Cape Town. My biggest tip would be to spend as much time in Cape Town as possible. It is my favourite place in South Africa and there is so much to do there! A week would be ideal if not longer 🙂

  15. says: Trish

    Can’t wait to follow your travels. We’ve planned several trips with your and Sam’s tips in mind already and will do so again. South Africa is on our list! We will be in Scotland in May. Happy New Year!

    1. says: Audrey

      That’s nice to hear, Trish! I’m glad our tips have come in handy. I hope you have a wonderful time in Scotland this coming May. 🙂

  16. says: Justine

    I love that you were able to capitalize on the airline’s mistake for those South Africa tickets! And kudos for you guys for swooping one them. I would have done the same 😉 I haven’t had the chance to make it there yet but I can’t wait to read about your adventures!

    1. says: Audrey

      Oh, yes! Those deals were too good to pass up. We booked them without much of a travel plan, but there’s always time to figure that out later.

    1. says: Audrey

      Haha, yes, it’s been a bit of a juggling act and I’ve had to take a few “extended weekends”, but it’s good to be travelling again.

  17. I look forward to following your exciting travels, especially in Peru as I haven’t been to Central America. At all! 🙂 I’ve got a jam-packed year coming up. I went to Holland a fortnight ago, and on Friday, I’ll be going to the Czech Republic. In Spring, I’ll be going to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland, Spain for TBEX, Turkey and Bulgaria in the summer. I can’t wait and hope that my bank account will hold LOL!

  18. says: Ed Rex

    Wow, what a lot of destinations to visit!

    I’ll look forward to your railing around Europe trip. Are you thinking of going in any particular direction from a start point?

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks Rex! I don’t have a plan for Europe yet, but I’m really curious about the Balkans. We’ll see how it plays out. 🙂

  19. says: Lizzie

    Awesome travel plans! I love that part of South Africa and would recommend Port Elizabeth. The Free State near the border of Lesotho has some AMAZING scenery, too, if you’re headed that way!

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks for the suggestions, Lizzie! I’m working on plotting the route and I have my eye on Port Elizabeth as one of the stops. 😉

  20. says: Nina Travels

    This is some serious planning – I’m jealous for at least two countries, but definitely cannot go over Peru! On my wish list for ever! Can’t wait to read all about it. Happy traveling!

    1. says: Audrey

      Peru is pretty cool, so do make time for it! I did Cusco and Machu Picchu on my last trip, but I’m hoping to explore more of Lima and some of the surrounding cities this time around.

  21. says: Renuka

    Wow! I am particularly looking forward to your Quebec City and South Africa posts! 🙂 Your plans sound exciting as well as sensible. I mean managing your time online and traveling more with family are much needed. All the best, Audrey!

    Well, I am looking forward to set foot in quite a few states in my country this year! Heading to Gujarat next month. Super excited!

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks Renuka. I’m off to Quebec City this coming weekend, so there will be lots of winter-themed articles coming out over the next few weeks. Wishing you happy travels as you travel to Gujarat! 🙂

  22. If you go to the Balkans — make sure to check out Albania. I *think* they might even have trains there. We had an amazing time, such a beautiful and unexplored country. Also Georgia. You can definitely do Georgia by train 🙂

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks for the suggestions, Jenia! You’re the third person to mention Albania to me this week, so I think you guys are onto something. 😉

  23. says: Sarah

    Sounds like some amazing things to look forward to! South Africa in particular! I’ve only been to Jo’burg, but I’ve recently taken up an interest to see the rest of the country. Enjoy!

    1. says: Audrey

      Nice! How did you enjoy Jo’burg? That’s where I’m flying into, so I’m hoping to spend a few days exploring the city before starting my road trip.

  24. says: Luciie B

    I’ve spent the last year planning a travel photography project and now FINALLY have the dates all planned etc and just need to book but;

    I’M going to be in S.A. and Namibia in may too! Using Baz bus in S.A and also going on their 4 day Kruger package. I still have no idea what we’re doing in the other 7 days we’re there because there’s SO MUCH to do! . Heading off to Namibia for 9 days as well which is best to travel self-drive but as I’ve only passed my driving test a few months ago I won’t be able to rent a car so not sure what I’m doing there.

    I used to live in Windhoek though and most of my school ‘chums’ have stuck around or moved to S.A. so may be able to get some help out there with what to do etc 🙂

    1. says: Audrey

      That’s exciting Luciie! It sounds like we’re going to be there around the same time. Perhaps our paths will cross. I’ve also been looking into the Baz Bus and hostels. Seems like a great way to see the country and meet people along the way.

  25. says: Tessa Clare

    Ahhhh South Africa yay!!! I live in Cape Town!!! I would def do some safari in gauteng (neAr Jhb) and then drive the garden route down to capetown (can fit in sugar came coast/ Transkei beaches in KZN) and lots of stopping along the way. Knysna plett wilderness. Bungee jump at storms river. Hermanus. Wine tasting in stellenbosch / franschhoek. Cape Town a good 3 days. Lots of hiking, beaches, views views views everywhere. May is just before winter so still decent weather too. Shout if you want anymore info!
    I actually found your blog a few years ago after uni when a bunch of my friends went to teach English in Korea!

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks for all the suggestions, Tessa! They are much appreciated. I’m going to try to see and do as much as possible over my 3 weeks in South Africa. I have to admit, the more I read about the country, the more I realize 3 weeks may not be enough time! I’m not even there yet and I’m already thinking I may need to come back for a second visit… 😉

  26. Bahahaha I am also a planner so I totally get you! What a great year of travels planned. Very exciting. I am off to your neck of the woods this year with a Toronto mother-daughter trip lined up. Can’t wait. Any suggestions are totally welcome.

    South Africa – you will love, love, love it. The scenery (and ahem, the wine) is to die for. It can be quite tough at times with the turbulent history, but it makes for a balanced trip of adventure, relaxation, culture and education.

    Europe – Prague! I know it’s not Western Europe, but you have to do Prague. Sir Toby’s hostel was a dream and there is so much to do there. If you’re hitting up Spain, the Alhambra was a favourite for us.

    Enjoy!!!

    1. says: Audrey

      That’s cool that you’ll be checking out Toronto. You’ll have to bundle up if you’re coming by in the winter. As for suggestions, I like the Distillery District, Kensington Market, and the Queen Street West area. 🙂

  27. says: Jean

    Your trips with parents will be memorable. They will be lifetime memories in good time.

    I haven’t been to Quebec City in winter. Always in spring and summer. Quebec also has great cycling paths. See Velo Quebec. The organization also organizes (paid) trips.

  28. says: budget jan

    I love that you enjoy traveling with the parents. Leaving loved ones behind isn’t fun so meeting up on the road is the perfect solution. You have a fantastic year planned and only 3 months left…

  29. says: Shelley

    Wow Audrey, amazing year you’ve got planned, and all while going to school. Peru was our favourite food country in South America – the ceviche is to die for in Lima. I’d recommend visiting or staying in the Barranco area if you can. I think Miraflores is kind of a backpackers area, but I found it incredibly boring and suburban feeling. Starbucks, Pizza Hut – you get the idea. Barranco was indie cafes, and cool street art – and we stayed in a great Air BnB there called Casa Nuestra.

    We’ve been to Albania a few times (my hubby is Albanian-Canadian), and the beaches in the south are gorgeous. If you get there, check out a beach called Jale. I recommend Taiwan for high-quality, affordable food in the middle of Tirana. Also, if you’re there in the right season, please try some baby goat. It’s absolutely amazing there! 🙂

  30. says: John

    Busy year, enjoy it.
    If I may, Cape Town is without doubt the jewel in SA’s tourism crown, but don’t ignore Jozi entirely With a little digging you can have a great time there, it is a wonderful, gritty, beautiful city in its own right. Also, the Garden Route etc on the way down to Cape Town is mind blowingingly =, try head inland to the Karoo or surrounds for a day or two – completely different and also a wonderful part of the country. Three weeks aren’t going to be enough.
    I hope you enjoy your trip to SA!

  31. says: Ryan

    Look like an exciting 2015 so far! I honestly hate Vegas, but I did make the mistake of living there so I’m a tad bit biased. But Peru looks phenomenal and I really want to go sometime, so I’ll be excited to read about your experiences. Here’s to an exciting year of travel!!!

  32. says: Annchen

    Just came across your blog, and think it’s really great! I am actually from Cape Town, South Africa (currently in Istanbul) and can say that it is a fantastic place to be! Beaches, mountains, wineries and more all so close to each other. I have written about some of the more off-the-beaten-path museums in Cape Town on my blog…check it out if you like! http://www.anotherwayoflooking.co … Have fun in my home town!

  33. says: Audrey

    Hi there! My name is Audrey too! I am so pleased to find a fellow traveler with the same name! 😉
    I found you and Sam on your Roku channel one day when I was searching for inspiration. Fast forward several months and I am in the midst of leaving my corporate job for a life of travel (again)! I haven’t left the States since 2008 so I am well overdue! You guys are adorable and I get lots of giggles watching you eat and experience various places and cultures. I look forward to Asia travels in a few months (ESL teaching included) as well as wherever the wind takes me. 2015 is a great year. I will definitely be following your journey with smiles. 🙂

  34. I’m so excited to see you are going to South Africa. We just returned from a month there and had an awesome time. I blogged about each day if you want to get more details, but briefly my recommendations include: take the Panorama highway from Johannesburg to Kruger NP. The game drives are awesome there. Stop over for a river cruise at St Lucia Estuary for some great hippo sightings. In Cape Town, take a drive down to Cape Hope, visit the Penguins at Boukder Bay, and take the tram up to the top of Table Mountain. Also fun wine tasting available close by. Take a cultural immersion tour into Langa for an eye opening view into the long lasting effects of segregation and apartheid. Our TOP experience however was in Zimbabwe at Antelope Park where we got to walk with the lions (sorry that post not completed and won’t be live for a couple more days). If you have the time to get up there it was memorable, we also went on a night hunt with the lions to witness two kills (we also lost two lions and stayed up all night looking for them which is a story itself). I can’t wait to read all about your experiences. I have no doubt they will be epic! Hugs and safe travels, Joanne

  35. says: Fiona

    Oh South Africa. I loved Cape Town. Make sure to go to the food market on a Saturday. Go to Stellenbosch for wine tasting. Spend some time in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Hire a car and drive to Cape of Good Hope, make sure to drive through Hout Bay and the cliff road- amazing views. Go paragliding in Wilderness and stay at Fairy Knoll Backpackers- a little off the beaten track but beautiful hikes in the area.

  36. says: Carole

    What an exciting year! Thank you for sharing your plans with us, Audrey. I definitely agree with saying ‘yes’ to all the cool stuff, I try to put myself out of my comfort zone as much as possible too and that meant climbing Mount Kinabalu in Borneo a year ago or hiking through the Himalayas – did I mention I have a fear of heights? 🙂 Looking forward to read you and your new adventures, especially from Peru!

    If you’re interested in quality photos, videos and storytelling on top of traditional travel tips: http://ooaworld.com

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