The Ultimate Wanderlust List
Obviously, I love travel, so it makes sense that I have an ever expanding wishlist of places I want to visit. This list feels like it's always changing, based on articles that I read elsewhere or destinations that I manage to tick off along the way. I like to keep a mix of both far-flung and closer locations on the list, that way I know there's a few realistic options for European jaunts at the same time that I'm dreaming of trips to the other side of the world. One day, I'd love to make it to every single place listed below and more, but for now I'm happy to slowly tick them all off, one by one.
Mexico was never really on my radar until I discovered this series of posts by Lucy Williams detailing her trip to Holbox last year. I'm not really a tropical island kind of person - I love swimming in the sea and lazing in the sun but I couldn't do it for an entire week or I'd go out of my mind - but there's just something about the laid-back vibe of this Mexican island that really speaks to me. Lucy's photos of pastel-hued buildings and musings of wandering around barefoot and exploring this car-free paradise by bike pretty much convinced me that it needed including in my wanderlust list. There's plenty of intriguing wildlife to be discovered too, with whale sharks, flamingos and sea turtles visiting the island at certain times of the year. I love the whole desert island vibe, and would much prefer visiting somewhere like this than staying in a modern all-inclusive resort. I'm tempting myself even more while writing this - who wants to visit Holbox with me?
Another quite recent addition to my wanderlust list, a winter trip to Lapland has been on my mind ever since my short break to Norway last winter. I'd love to head further north to spend a few days frolicking in the snow and attempting to catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights. Right now, I think watching the Aurora Borealis is the number one thing I'd like to experience; surely nothing compares to watching those green lights dance overhead? Sledging downhill was a highlight of my Norway trip and I'd love to try similar winter activities such as snow shoeing, riding in a husky sleigh and meeting reindeer. I already own a pair of snow boots and I'm just itching to book flights for the beginning of 2018.
Another Mexican location, I know, but this one has a special theme. Baja is one of the best places in the entire world to watch both grey and blue whales, and I'd love nothing more than to spend a few days basking in the company of these magnificent creatures. This wild peninsula is visited by more species of whale and dolphin than anywhere else on the planet, and is where grey whales return to in winter to breed. Yep, that means that if you visit at the right time of year you have an excellent chance of coming face to face with the friendliest species of whale and their calves. These inquisitive creatures like to play with the boats and even float on their backs inviting visitors to scratch their bellies. Venturing further north from the grey whale breeding lagoons, the Sea of Cortez is scattered with islands that are home to a variety of unusual plants, sea lions and intriguing sea creatures - but it is the blue whales that return here every spring that are the real draw. Of all the places in the world (I've tried in both Iceland and the Azores), it is Baja where you have the best chance of spotting the largest creatures on the planet.
Lithuania has been on my radar for a while, but ever since reading the couple of posts that Along Dusty Roads shared this summer, it's crept even further up my list. Obviously, there's Vilnius, a city that has everything from amazing street art, beautiful old buildings and interesting nightlife to an independent republic filled with cats. Prior to visiting, it seems like a mixture of Berlin, Copenhagen and Budapest all rolled up into one. Outside of the city, there's enough beautiful countryside and coastline to tempt me into a future road trip. A treetop walking path, the infamously eerie hills of crosses, endless sand dunes, haunted forests and picturesque lakes all beckon.
Sweden is another country that I've been dreaming of for some time, and while I'd love to visit Stockholm and Gothenburg, it's a road trip through the Swedish countryside that makes it onto this list. Inspired by Danish blogger, Copenhagen Wilderness's recent adventures, I'd love to take our van over to Sweden by ferry and embark on an epic road trip, alternating between sleeping in the back of the van and spending the occasional night in beautifully rustic lake houses, cabins and tree houses. I'm getting shivers just thinking about staying at Kolarbyn Eco Lodge or the Tree Hotel (who am I kidding - have you seen the prices to spend the night in those incredible works of art?), and I can't think of anything better than waking up each morning by diving into peaceful lakes. When would I visit? Midsummer of course!
FOGO ISLAND, CANADA
I'm slightly obsessed with this incredible island off the east coast of Canada, thanks in part to its breath-taking scenery but mainly (if I'm honest) because of its architecture. The Fogo Island Inn would be the obvious place to stay, but I'd also like to tour the island, visiting the scattering of small buildings that house artists in residence. All of the structures are designed by the same Scandinavian architect and were planned to perfectly complement the surrounding landscape - think desks in front of huge windows that overlook dramatic cliffs. Of course, that's an awful long way to travel just for one small island, so I'd also work in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador into the adventure. Colourful fishing villages, epic fjords and beautiful scenery beckon.
THE NORTH COAST 500, SCOTLAND
Somewhere a little closer to home, I'd really love to explore more of Scotland. A couple of years ago, I drove to Skye, visiting several incredible places including Loch Lomund and Glen Nevis along the way, but I'd love to return and explore further north. The very tip of Scotland is currently being marketed as 'the North Coast 500', as an incentive to get more tourists to explore this remote part of the British Isles rather than jetting off on farther flung road trips to destinations such as Iceland or the West Coast of America. Again, two of my favourite bloggers, Along Dusty Roads are behind this particular wanderlust and you can find an incredible array of information for planning your own Scottish road trip on their website. During this adventure, I'd like to take to the seas for a chance of perhaps spotting an elusive orca, sleep in remote cabins in the wilderness, snuggle by open fires at night, climb hills, stand on top of towering cliffs and perhaps visit a couple of gin distilleries. I just need to time this trip outside of midge season!
Completely different to everywhere else on my list, there's just something about India that I can't stop thinking about. Two of my friends recently visited Kerala and looking through their photos definitely stirred a longing in me. It's a country that's so different to anywhere I've ever visited before - the sights, the smells, the tastes, the culture: everything would be a completely bombardment of the senses. I'd love to visit the south of the country, perhaps see elephants in the wild if I was very lucky, but the cities also tempt me, particularly the blue city of Jodhpur, the beautiful waterside city of Udaipur, and the pink city of Jaipur. Of all the destinations on this list, India is the one that would be most out of my comfort zone, but is still somewhere that I would love to one day visit.
LOFOTEN ISLANDS, NORWAY
And finally, the Lofoten Islands have been somewhere that I've been thinking of for some time now. These mystical islands just below the Arctic Circle could tick off several things I want to witness, including watching the Northern Lights, whale watching and spending the night in a tiny cabin right by the water's edge. The dramatic jagged mountains would make for excellent photo opportunities, even if I visited in winter when the sun would barely rise. This would surely be a relaxing holiday due to the peacefulness of the region, although I'd definitely want to explore as much as possible to make the most out of my time so far north.
Have you visited any of the places that I've mentioned above? Where would be on your own ultimate wanderlust list?