2016 went off to a rough start; I was recovering from meningitis which I caught the previous summer in Croatia. The illness completely drained me and made my first year of teaching more challenging than I could have ever imagined. I didn’t want to let the fear of falling ill abroad again stop me and I wanted to make the most of the school holidays. I went on to travel on 6 separate occasions to 20 cities and 10 countries overall in 2016.
With a difficult start, 2016 held a lot of promise; it could only get better.
In January my boyfriend (Mike), his family and I went skiing for a night (I know, what was I thinking going for one night?!). We had a wonderful 2 days of skiing in Les Gets, but it did completely exhaust me and, surprise surprise, I ended up catching laryngitis soon after I was back. I’d definitely go for longer next time.
Whilst my boyfriend and his cousin are amazing skiers, sticking to the black slopes, I am still very much a beginner. I had one-to-one lessons and skied with my boyfriend’s mum who was happy to take it slow with me.
In April I went away with my mum to the Azores, beautiful volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. After a week of hiking, relaxing and exploring I felt better than I had all year and I left with some incredible memories of some of the most stunning places I have ever set my eyes on.
Next, I considered booking something I’ve always wanted to do: volunteering abroad. I found the perfect opportunity volunteering at a Game Reserve but couldn’t bring myself to book it at first. What if I got ill again? What if I couldn’t get to a hospital quickly enough? Eventually, after months of pondering, I decided I couldn’t live in fear and went for it. I had the experience of my life.
My next trip was a cruise around the Mediterranean with an incredible itinerary. I went with Mike for 2 weeks and we had a wonderful time. I ended up catching pharyngitis (the ‘itis’ seem obsessed with me!) but I didn’t let this stop me enjoying the cruise of a lifetime. I got off and every stop, didn’t drink (which was annoying as we had free drinks with our drinking package!) and managed to get better after a trip to the on-board medical centre and plenty of tablets! We stopped at:
Florence and Pisa
Naples and Pompeii
After the summer holidays, even though I fell ill on the cruise, I felt much better than I had all year. I had more energy and I finally felt back to my normal self.
My next trip abroad was to Geneva, Switzerland with my Mum, Auntie and cousin. We had a lovely few days involving hiking, exploring and eating non-stop cheese fondue!
My final trip of the year was a surprise trip to Bruges for my boyfriend’s birthday. He had no idea until the morning we left. Watching his face light up when he realised I was taking him away was wonderful. We had a fantastic time exploring the Christmas markets and seeing Bruges in all its festivity for Christmas.