Monday, 16 January 2017

TRAVEL INSPIRATION: My Top Six Favourite Holidays Ever

January always seems to add to our bucket lists. The checklist of dreams, goals and hardened flaws we want to overcome gets longer and longer. And one of the main components of our visual wishes is the desire to travel. Along with our innate need to be thirsty in knowledge about an individual our age, living on the the other side of the world, is the the current day popularity of social media prowess - dedicated to the hard-to-achieve message of 'you can see it all too'. But what we need to remember is seeing the world is wholly personal - it's what you make of it, what it does for you, and what you take away from it.

I haven't travelled as much as I'd like to. And at the age of 27, I've only been on two small trips as part of a solo, 'for me' journey. Of-course, longer more fulfilling trips are on the horizon. I have some locations set in mind, from the far-flung and sun-kissed to the challenging and gruelling.

As of now, I have reached my capacity in where I'd like the wind to take me. I'd rather not drown myself in the pressures of cramming what I can into a time-frame I'm not fully aware of. So right now, I'd like to look back on the trips that were special and worth it. I mean, not every holiday is as smooth as a VCSO-filtered snap on Instagram. The lows can be lethal. But the highs when it comes to getting away, is what counts. 

1. America- Cross Country
America travel

Throw the USA's political debacle out of the window and you have a visually, spectacular country. The landscape from one city to the next is so diverse, unique and on many occasions - jaw-dropping.

I knew it would be like that and that's why I didn't hesitate in making it my first solo trip - away from the comfort of family and friends. I booked myself onto a Trek America tour group where I'd be surrounded by fellow travellers with a similar mindset as me.

The West Coast to East Coast journey was a marvel that, at times, I couldn't quite believe existed. Trust me, there's no place that romanticises the road more than America. From the star-gazing streets of Los Angeles, the fiery red sands of Death Valley, the sunset at the Grand Canyon, the small town Texan charm, the music in Tennessee to the history in Washington, D.C - no matter what your views of sensationalised present day America is, don't let it hinder your ability to look past it for the bigger picture.

Read more about my Trek America Trip here and here.

2. Iceland
Iceland travel

A true Winter Wonderland. Probably the country that was most unrealistic, most unattainable and needed more of a 'pinch-me' moment. Iceland is like a beautiful human-being that teases you and plays hard to get. You can look, yes have a cheeky touch, but you won't have her.

I was there for a three days - honestly, a perfect amount of time to whet your senses. I went there with my little brother - jetting in on Christmas Eve, only to be met by the world-renowned geothermal Blue Lagoon spa the next day. Yes, I was swimming in the snow on Christmas Day, Top that! Two days later, I rang in my 25th birthday staring up at the Northern Lights. I couldn't have been more colder in my life but the possibility of frost-bites where so worth it. Complete out of body experience.

Read about my Iceland trip here

3. LA
Los Angeles travel

You hear people who live in Los Angeles complain about it being lonely and hard to make friends - with everyone after their own hustle. And I do believe that is the case - But when you have a week to see the bustling city by yourself, you're met with a completely different experience.

I work as an entertainment journalist, so you can imagine LA was like my playground. From the old school Hollywood touches (the history of the city is like no other - and SO overlooked) to the exciting new age references, the town no doubt boasts a sunny disposition - albeit on the surface at least. It's a city built on opportunity, monumental success and tragic lows - and it's this steely, starry drive that keeps the sun-kissed neighbourhoods relevant and a complete haven for people across the world.

Read about my LA trip here, here and here

4. Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria travel

This was our family holiday of choice when I was younger. I have such vivid memories of Gran Canaria as my dad would go there for business and we'd easily make a family trip out of it. From the hotel shenanigans, making friends with other kids in the swimming pools to heading out on long strolls - going nowhere on the old cobble streets. I also remember, as clear as crystal, watching loved-up teen couples kissing and holding hands, spending - for them - another average weekday by the beach. It made me excited about the prospect about growing up and having a moment like that to myself too. 

5. Canada
Canada travel

We went in the sub-zero temperatures of Winter. The trees were frozen with ice, we were kitted out to the max - but we always returned to the homely warmth of my mum's friend. They grew up together in Pakistan and were inseparable at school as teenagers. Getting married off straight out of school, saw my mum head to the UK and her friend jet off to Canada. This trip, more than ten years ago, was their big reunion. And while I was seemingly unaware at the time of what the trip meant for my mum, it was just as pleasing for me. In a weird way, I enjoy the cold. It was interesting to come from a freezing place as England, to another, which just happened to look completely different. With its open spaces and lush landscape - it was a completely world than the densely populated streets of London I was so used to.

6. Dubai
Dubai travel

I actually lived in Dubai for two years. But for me, keeping up with the lavish lifestyle was a little unattainable - therefore, I always refer to my time there as a 'really long holiday'. And what a 'holiday' it was. There's something magical in going to a palm tree lined school, having everything catered towards the blistering heat and having your average school trips driving through the deserts of the far-flung corners of Dubai. And even though the majority of the city was littered in wealth, it was still an exciting and humbling way for me to experience a way of life miles away from London. I haven't been back since. I would like to go back and see how everything has changed, because if there's one thing you should know about Dubai, it's that it is always changing and evolving - like it's in a competition with its self.



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