(Kingston, Ontario, Canada)
I decided to look back at what I was writing at this time last year, when I had just finished my year of (almost) constant travel. I must admit that I really enjoyed reading my post about the Top 5 “Wow” Moments of 2014 and I invite you to take a look at it.
Other than a very quick trip to France, most of my 2015 travel was in Canada. As a result, my passport is well-rested and looking forward to more of a workout in 2016. I previously mentioned that I would be skiing in the Via Lattea (“Milky Way”) region of Italy this winter; I have since added some other sightseeing nearby and am keeping my fingers crossed for good weather.
However, there will be a bigger trip during the summer of 2016: this time, it will incorporate at least two and maybe even three countries in the Southern Hemisphere that I’ve never visited before! We are really excited about this one…it includes a couple of bucket list items that have been kicking around for a very long time. After my tremendously enjoyable visit to Peru, I knew it was only a matter of time before I crossed the Equator again.
Of course, it is impossible to do everything that you want to do. Even in 2014, when I had a great deal of flexibility, there were some things that just didn’t happen despite my best efforts. Here’s a brief list of missed experiences from that year:
1. Memphis, U.S.A. I had great plans for this trip, including visits to Graceland, Sun Records, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Unfortunately, my flight out of Chicago was cancelled due to a rare southern ice storm and I ended up spending the time in Chicago instead. I really enjoyed Chicago but still want to get to Memphis someday.
2. Day trip to Albania. The hostel in Kotor, Montenegro, advertised day trips to the mysterious country of Albania. This was a very insular place during the Cold War years and I really hoped to take a look. However, there was not enough demand to offer the trip and I ended up visiting Durmitor National Park in northern Montenegro instead.
3. Climbing Croagh Patrick. This distinctive mountain just outside of Westport, Ireland, was clearly visible from my B&B. It was calling to me and I really wanted to climb it. Alas, the allotted day was plagued by a “fine Irish mist” and it would have been a miserable exercise. I had to move on to Northern Ireland the next day.
4. Wadlopen in the Netherlands. The ancient northern Netherlands sport of wadlopen (“mudwalking”) also was calling to me. I even went as far as renting the requisite boots. Alas, the walking conditions were nasty on the day of the hike. We still enjoyed a great day on the island of Schiermonnikoog and, after seeing some pictures of how messy wadlopen really is, I don’t really regret missing out on the mud.
5. Waterfall Rappelling in Costa Rica. This “adrenaline” experience looked like it would have been a lot of fun. Alas, my injured shoulder was at its worst when I visited Costa Rica and I didn’t want to undertake anything risky with one useless arm. As with wadlopen, however, I found a substitute activity that might even have been better!
As a tribute to Santa Claus and the North Pole, today’s pictures are all previously unposted photographs from the nearby northern nation of Norway. Stay tuned – the next post will be from the road!