My year of travel goes from 23rd April to 22nd April each year in line with the travel challenge I set myself for my 40s of 40 countries in my 40s. As you can imagine, this year hasn’t helped at all towards the challenge and my total still stands at 36 with 4 more to go just as it was this time last year.
Below is my post from last year which makes me feel so much better knowing that there has been travel before and there can be again. There have been other years in the challenge where due to where I have been based, I haven’t been able to travel off to other places so easily and I know that other years have certainly made up for it.
It has been hard this year not to even make it further than where my feet could take me as I haven’t been on trains, buses or even out in a car for the past year. A bit different to how I have lived and travelled before however, also aware that I’ve had it better than others as I have made it to the local park and shops so have had it better than others too. The memories I have from travelling have completely sustained me this past year and I’m aware I never have retreat about the travel I’ve taken, just those I haven’t been able to do over the years.
Ok, so on to last year’s post!
Last year I updated my travel challenge in August although my year ends 22nd April just ahead of my birthday on the 23rd. That post stayed with me and as I approached my birthday this year, I almost believed I hadn’t been to any new countries during this year which of course isn’t true as the count was still high. I’ve included the 45-46 part below.
45 – 46: So, I started my birthday in Dubrovnik (Croatia) and was fortunate enough to continue my travels after the end of April. Firstly, to Kotor (Montenegro) then Podgorica (Montenegro), on to Tirana (Albania), Skopje (Macedonia), Pristina (Kosovo), Sofia (Bulgaria), Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Belgrade (Serbia), Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and back to Paris (France). Then the journey back to England where I visited 6 cities before heading for Scotland to see Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, John O’Groats, Orkney, Perth and Glasgow. Then I reminisced in the North East of England in Berwick Upon Tweed, Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham before returning to Chester which is where I am writing this post. Total so far = 12 (original = 9)
This means that Scotland became my 36th original country visited in my 40s so far.
When I wrote and posted the above update, I was certain that many more countries would soon be added to my list before my 46th birthday in April 2020. As it turned out for various reasons, this wasn’t the case and although I visited Wales in August and the start of September, Scotland was to remain my last original country visited during this travel year. Wales has featured many times in my 40s due to having a family caravan there which I often manage to get to when I can hire a car.
From September onwards, I have remained in England which is where I also celebrated my 46th birthday this past week. Despite staying in England and not adding to my total of 36, I have travelled around to many different areas some of which were new and others were places to revisit after many years. So if cities added to my 40 countries in my 40s challenge then I would definitely be there by now many times over.
So, I am going to list those cities and places as I don’t often do that for England although I do for other countries when I visit more than one place. As I’ve started with some English cities above then I may as well continue. Some places I have returned to many times for different reasons but I will only mention them once here.
Taunton, Penzance, Land’s End, Truro, Falmouth, St Austell, Plymouth, Exeter, Newquay, Padstow, Bude, Barnstaple, Windsor, Canterbury, London, Guildford, Oxford and then back to Chester.
There will be others I’ve also visited for a day or so on the bus like nipping to Port Issac from Bude via 2 buses and also from Canterbury being able to explore Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Whitstable and Herne Bay.
I imagine that my travel bug has been maintained by the fact that I’ve travelled round the UK and basically kept moving since returning to England after my European tours.
As I started my 46th birthday last week on the 23rd April, I did wonder what this new year would hold for me. I have 4 countries left to achieve my goal and also 4 more years to achieve this so I’m in no doubt that it will be reached. Where will I be when I reach that 40th country and when will I travel again as I’m writing this whilst staying safe at home during the global pandemic of Covid-19. The fact that I want to reach the target through travelling to original countries in my 40s makes it last longer as otherwise I would have reached it long before now.