Post written back in April and never published until now!!!!
So this is very late and I intended on getting it out in January but it’s been a bit manic so it gradually got later and later until all of a sudden it was April!
It may seem a bit pointless to review something so long ago but it was such a fantastic year and the turning point in my life with regards to prioritising travel. Holidays and adventures had always been a part of our life but our trip to Uzbekistan changed it all (and encouraged me to start this blog!)
A doubly landlocked country in Central Asia that most people would struggle to locate on a map. I had previously had my reservations mainly due to lack of knowledge about the area but a bit of research and endless hours on the internet I began to see its charm. Now, there isn’t THAT much content on the web about Uzbekistan or Central Asia in general so it did take me a long time to come around to the idea.
We attend a talk at the Royal Geographical Society in London which helped reaffirm we were doing the right thing. And boy was it worth it!
A country with so much history and political turmoil over the years it was fascinating, add that to the insane amount of stunning architecture I am surprised it isn’t more on the tourist trail. I must say that since we have been I have noticed an influx in tour companies visiting the area and most if not all of them concentrate on the Silk Road side of it. Yes that is the reason it had so much wealth and is the mid-point on the trail but it’s worth making the trip just for Uzbekistan.
The people were welcoming and friendly, the food was wonderful and the desert was beautiful. Everything changed when I had 9 hours on a mini bus through the desert with nothing for miles. Sat there staring into the vast nothingness I realised just how small we are as individuals and just how amazing people are. I was in a totally different culture surrounded by people who had travelled to far more places than I and I thought that could be me. I firmly believe that if you want to be the most well rounded and grounded individual you have to experience as much of other cultures as you can.
Not only that but we have to be aware of the environment around us, the Aral Sea disaster reinforced this, and learn to live with it and not as if we own it and can do what we like. I guess it’s an opinion a lot of travellers have when they see the world outside of our Western-tinted spectacles.
One hot bus journey really did change it all!!
I would love to head back to Central Asia at some point and check out the other countries in that region, if not just to eat beetroot everyday!
The summer we spent a lot closer to home in the UK and one quick trip onto the continent to Budapest. I fell in love with Budapest (Stuart says I fall in love with every European city I visit) and especially the thermal baths. We will definitely be heading back to Hungary again in the near future.
We rounded off the year with an epic trip to China which had taken me a year to organise. In contrast to our guided tour in Uzbekistan, China was self guided. We did hire a few local guides to help us around the sites but it was totally organised by myself. To be honest I found the trip much more fruitful having done it myself. It took a lot of work and I would do things differently next time but it was worth the hours of researching.
I had previously visited China in 2010, a return had been on the cards ever since. Its overwhelming, noisy, large, FULL of people and immersive. You can’t help but we sucked in by the skyscrapers and thousands of faces. I don’t feel like I am totally finished with China and I hope to go back one day but for now the rest of the world is calling.
- 3 Countries Visited (excluding the UK)
- 2 brand new countries
- 4995 photo’s taken between us
- 4.5 books read (this sounds like a VERY small amount but hey I normally average 1 per year!)
- Over 30 hours spent flying in total
Favourites & Not so Favourites
Favourite Moment: That hot dusty drive through the desert to the city of Khiva where my perception on my own life changed. I guess the best best bit was having my wonderful there along for the ride!
Favourite Country: Uzbekistan. Without a doubt!
Not so Favourites:
Hard to put anything in this category as it was such a wonderful year.
Our slight misjudgement to skip lunch did lead for an eventful Junipalooza but a not so wonderful train ride home! *top tip – don’t drink 50 samples of Gin without lunch*
My terrible jet lag in Shanghai which caused me to fall asleep on an open top bus in one of the busiest cities in the world.
Nothing drastic by any stretch!
So, that’s my round up for 2015. Let’s see what 2016 throws at us!