As a new year begins, it’s a great time to put the kettle on, relax, and spend a little time reflecting on all the things we did in the last twelve months.
Granted, we don’t want to remember everything we did (fortunately, as I get older all the cringe-worthy stuff gets less and less each year I’m pleased to say), but I think a bit of light-hearted rumination allows us to focus on the things we learnt and how we can positively move forward with it in 2015.
From a travel point of view I had a fab year. I left my stomping ground at least once a month (bar December) and had a nice fix of Scandinavia, with a quick visit to Finland, a couple of visits to Sweden and a few trips to Arctic Norway at the beginning of the year.
But I would say 2014 was slightly less about Scandinavia, and more about visiting the places that have been crowding my wish-list for far too long – Russia, Lisbon and Madrid to name a few.
I thought about doing a ‘best of’ kind of review, but I realised that wouldn’t be a true reflection of my year, so instead, I give you my most memorable moments!
1. Worst night’s sleep
No welcome sign, no windows, no nothing – it’s hard to believe from the outside that this hostel in Moscow could be anything else than a brothel (at least to non-Russian speakers).
2. And best night’s sleep
It may not have provided me with the longest night’s sleep, but hands-down a night at the Igloo Hotel in Northern Norway was, by far, the most memorable.
3. Most awe-struck moment
This one is tough but I think Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon takes the prize. Seeing ice cube-like floes on a black beach just blew me away!
4. Poshest thing I did
You can’t go to Russia without seeing the Ballet darhling!
5. Best kiss
I would never usually kiss and tell but I can’t resist sharing my hot totty from earlier this year in March. Gorgeous, isn’t he?
6. Most stomach-churning thing I ate
Hakarl, also known as rotten shark.
7. Tastiest thing I ate
I spent the whole time drooling in Finland. The whole time.
8. Biggest disappointment
London. I didn’t make the most of my time in this mega city, but there’s no point beating myself up about it. Besides, I’m not over with London yet, I have a feeling I’ll be back for a second attempt…
9. Most exciting thing I did
With whitewater rafting also comes a screaming competition. I won.
10. Most peed-off moment
I caught a man trying to pickpocket me in Paris. Completely enraged by the immorality of it all, I shouted and swore at him – not my usual style but it did the trick as I watched him weasel his way back into the crowd. Doing a Joan Crawford is definitely the way to go in a situation like that.
11. Best new experience
Getting taped and zipped up in a flotation suit so I could venture down a Finnish stream like a human buoy was a strangely therapeutic sensation, bobbing along to the rhythm of the water.
12. What I definitely won’t miss
13. Favourite city of 2014
The people, buildings, food, museums; everything about Lisbon exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait to see more of Portugal now.