I can’t actually believe it is 2018 already – time flew by last year, like always.
2017 was a corker of a year for me, and even better than I could have imagined. I traveled through nine countries and eight states, bought a van, house sat a lot, visited friends around the world and got engaged.
And I managed to tick off most of my 2017 Travel Goals, including returning to Canada (Canadian Rockies, Vancouver and Salt Spring Island), going somewhere new in New Zealand (Routeburn Track, Tiritiri Matangi Island, Cape Palliser, Greytown, Martinborough, Tongariro Northern Circuit), going to a new to me State (Nebraska), back country hiking in Colorado (three days in Maroon Bells), started earning enough money freelancing to sustain myself (as of September), made it back to Europe (Malta and UK), spent Christmas at home in New Zealand, and I gave New York another chance (I revisited for a week and really enjoyed it).
In fact, there were only two things on my list that I didn’t achieve: I only went to one new country instead of four (Malta), and I didn’t end up making it to my Utah National Park oversights (this year!).
Not bad though aye – eight out of ten!
You can never completely foresee how the year is going to shape up – especially if you are spontaneous and live a flexible lifestyle like Toby and I do.
But in saying that, I do have a number of items on my Travel Bucket List for 2018 – there are a few that are about as concrete as any plans can be, and the rest are maybes, possiblys and who knows.
Here is my 2018 Travel Bucket List!
Road Trip Around the North Island of New Zealand
Road tripping around the North Island of New Zealand with Toby is one of my concrete plans for 2018 – in fact by the time you are reading this we will already be on this trip! Our goal is to spend 3.5 weeks driving around the top half of the North Island, with the first leg of the trip being around Northland and the Coromandel Peninsula with my Dad’s Camper van.
The second part of the trip we will swap my Dad’s camper for his car (he is taking the camper for his own South Island trip) and a tent. We will be starting at my Mum’s in Papamoa then the plan is to hit up Hobbiton and Rotorua, before driving around the rugged and under the radar East Cape to Gisborne and Napier, heading inland to Taupo and Tongariro National Park, then finishing the trip with some caving with the glow worms in Waitomo, and checking out the surfers at Raglan. Fingers crossed we get good weather!
Visit Indonesia for the First Time
I have been wanting to visit Indonesia for years – the fact that I haven’t been to Bali feels like a major traveler oversight. I have already booked my flight to Bali for early February where I am planning to spend a week to ten days before meeting up with Toby to explore some other spots in Indonesia for another two weeks. We’re not sure exactly where we will be heading yet but Lombok, the Gili Islands, Nusa Pernida, Flores and Sumbawa are all on the cards – we will likely choose a couple of places and spend a week in each. Any suggestions – let me know.
Explore More of Northern Thailand
I only spent a week in Northern Thailand on my first visit a couple of years ago but I loved the laid back vibe, beautiful scenery, and the cheap and delicious food so I am so excited we will be returning there after Indonesia. We will have about ten days before Toby has to fly back to the US and as well as returning to Chiang Mai and Pai – which we have both visited before – we also want to visit Chiang Rai for the White Temples, Elephant Nature Park and maybe Ayutthaya on the way up.
Discover a New Thai Island
After Toby leaves, I am hoping to spend a week on a new to me Thai island, I’m not sure which yet although I have heard good things about the Koh Chang, the Koh Yao islands and Koh Kradan. I want somewhere that isn’t overrun with the wrong type of tourism, but that isn’t completely off the grid (girls gotta work). Any suggestions?
Hike Mount Taranaki in New Zealand
Along with the nine Great Walks in New Zealand – of which I have done two and a half – there are numerous day hikes that I want to complete. At the top of my list is the hike to the summit of Mount Taranaki. It is meant to be tough but incredible, and I’m pretty sure that when I get back to New Zealand from Asia, I can convince Kurt to do it with me.
Visit my Utah National Parks Oversights
Even though Utah is only one state over from Colorado, I somehow still haven’t made it to the National Parks and Monuments that are located in the South East of the State: Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Staircase Escalante and Capitol Reef. We were meant to go during our two month West US road trip last year but ended up having to head back into Colorado earlier than planned for a housesit. This year I am going to make this trip happen! I am excited to finally get to Moab too.
See a Performance at Red Rocks
Despite basing ourselves in Denver – well kinda – I still haven’t been to a gig at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre. 2018 is going to be my year, I don’t even care who I see (although if Arcade Fire were playing there I may die from excitement). With friends and family coming to Colorado to see me get married in September, that would be the perfect time.
Get Married in the Colorado Mountains
I may still be waiting to hear back about my fiance visa for the US (six months and counting…) but that didn’t stop us booking our wedding venue when we found the perfect place for us. We booked the incredible Chief Hosa Lodge in Genesee Park, nestled in the mountains only a twenty minute drive from Denver, and are getting married in September. As well as looking forward to the actual day, I am also looking forward to showing my Kiwi and Aussie friends and family around Colorado. Camping, hiking, craft brewery hopping, dispensary visits…. It’s going to be a great time!
At Least Two Back Country Camping Trips
After doing our three day Maroon Bells back country camping and hiking trip over West and East Maroon Passes, I am more than keen to do some more back country hiking in the US this year. I definitely want to do the two day out and back to Conundrum Hot Springs when the Kiwi contingent are in town for the wedding, and I would love to do some others too. Maybe a multi day hike or paddle in the Grand Canyon, the two day out and back to the Keet Seel ruins in Navajo National Monument, a Rocky Mountain National Park adventure, or even something in the Smoky Mountains – we will see.
Hike a 14’er
A Colorado must do and something I haven’t done yet – hiking up one of the numerous Colorado peaks that are over 14,000 feet tall. There are some that are classed as ‘easy’ (relatively speaking) so maybe that is where I will start. Not sure if I will be able to convince Toby to do one with me – he says his 14’er days are over – but I’m sure someone will be keen. It’s gotta happen if I ever want to call myself a Coloradoan!
Hit up my Colorado Oversights
I have traveled extensively in Colorado now but there are still a few places that I haven’t made it to – and I would like to correct that this year. Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument, Fort Collins and Great Sand Dunes National Park – I am coming for you in 2018!
A Big Southern US Road Trip
A massive US oversight for me, I have been dying to visit the South for a long time – Cajun and Creole are two of my favorite cuisines after all. After we get married and soak up the fall colors in Colorado for a couple more weeks, I am really hoping we can embark on a two month Honeymoon road trip to the South, driving down through New Mexico where I will finally get to visit White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns and Roswell, before swinging east through Texas to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Northern Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. Obviously this is a massive area and I’m not sure if we will even have time to make it to all these states, let alone do them all justice, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
Now that I am based in the US for much of the year, I have made it my mission to make an annual trip to Canada. This year, despite being tempted to revisit my favorites again – Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies – I’m thinking of maybe trying somewhere different. I would like to either revisit Montreal, Quebec City and one of the small towns around there for a couple of weeks, or – if I can afford it – fly to either Newfoundland or Haida Gwaii. There are so many options in Canada though so maybe it will end up being to somewhere entirely different.
Introducing Toby to one of my Favorite Places: Hawaii!
This one probably isn’t going to happen but a girl can dream. If any amazing flight deals of housesits come up in Hawaii, you better believe we are going to jump on that. I may have been four times before but Hawaii never gets old, and Toby has never been. I would love to return to Maui or the Big Island, and maybe Molokai, a new island to me. I really, really hope this trip is in the cards for us – we will see.
Finally Getting to Patagonia
I am going to make this one happen if at all possible – it will all depend on what our money situation is like at the end of the year, after getting married and roadtripping the South. I would ideally like to spend at least six weeks in Patagonia and the lake region of Argentina and Chile, hiking, camping and adventuring. Fingers crossed!
So those are my hopefully not unreachable travel goals for 2018! What are some of yours?