What a year 2018 was for me! I started my year in Canada on a ski hill in British Columbia, and I will be concluding it in my favourite city that I now call home: Edinburgh, Scotland. I achieved more than I ever thought possible: I moved to a new country, hiked the length of Scotland, and got paid to travel.
After completing my 864 kilometre solo thru-hike of the Scottish National Trail, people often ask me “So, what’s your next big adventure?”
To be honest, I don’t think I can really top that hike, but my 2019 isn’t going to be any less adventurous! In fact, I have lots of mini-adventures and projects planned including adding three new countries to my passport.
I hope you’ll join me on my adventures- and without further ado, here they are…
>> Read my past travel summaries here
1. Taking my family on a tour of Scotland
I’ll kick off my first week of 2019 by taking my mother and cousin on a tour of the Scottish Highlands. I haven’t seen them in over 2 years- so I am super excited to spend time with them in my favourite country. The itinerary will be a secret (for now) but I’ll be writing an article on my itinerary- so watch this space. If you’d like to follow along in real time, I’ll be updating my Instagram story on the reg!
I took my mum and cousin on a 10 day tour of Scotland. In winter. Yes it can be done- you just have to be organised!
2. A Winter Weekend in Poland
During October, I asked you all where I should book a random flight to in Europe. I then chose a destination from the comments- and I chose Gdansk in Poland! Choosing Poland is an unusual destination for a winter weekend, but in my opinion there’s no such thing as bad weather, only poor clothing choice. Plus I survived two Canadian winter’s, so I’m sure I’ll be fine!
My plan so far is to eat and drink my way around the city. You can follow my journey on Instagram.
I had the most amazing three day solo trip to Gdansk! I ate ALL the traditional Polish food in Gdansk, visited the World War II museum, and wandered the colourful streets. I even wrote an itinerary for how to spend the perfect day in Gdansk with all my trip highlights squished into 24 hours.
3. Driving the North Coast 500
In spring I’ll be heading back to one of my favourite places in Scotland, the north-west coast, but this time I won’t be on foot, but behind the wheel. The North Coast 500 (NC500 for short) is Scotland’s answer to Route 66. I already experienced some of the fantastic landscape during my hike of the Scottish National Trail, and I am excited to head back for that and a whole lot more.
I recently bought myself a car (world- meet Nessie, my Nissan Micra) and what better way to break in summer than going on a 500 mile roadtrip?! Better yet, my adventure partner-in-crime, Kathi from Watch Me See will be joining me!
Castles, coasts, and crags; sea stacks and sandy-white beaches- this is going to be one epic week!
The North Coast 500 is THE most beautiful drive in the world. Hands down. You can read about my North Coast 500 highlights on the blog.
4. Spending St. Patricks Day in Ireland
It has always been my goal to spend one of the booziest days of the year in my father’s homeland: Ireland. I’ll be flying to Cork with Aer Lingus to spend six days driving a camper around the south-west of Ireland, discovering my father’s family history, drinking Irish whisky and, of course, celebrating St. Paddy’s Day.
I had the best time exploring County Kerry in Ireland. I hired a car and drove through the Gap of Dunloe, marvelled Torc Waterfall, and hung out with my pals on St Patricks Day in Killarney. I just wish I could remember exactly how that day went….
5. Hiking + Wellness Retreats for Women in Edinburgh
I am so excited to finally bring a long-time dream of mine to life: in 2019, I will be running women’s hiking retreats! During my hike of the Scottish National Trail, I met some fantastic women who share the same dream as me: running retreats that empower other women. These retreats will cater to ALL levels- from beginner to advanced, and make use of my backyard in Edinburgh: the Pentland Hills Regional Park. The retreats will focus on three areas:
- Talk: The story behind my hike of the Scottish National Trail + what the trail taught me
- Learn: Navigation and hiking skills
- Practical: Applying the above and heading out into the hills!
The groups will be intimate (up to 12 women), include accommodation and meals. We’ll be staying at an incredible bed and breakfast on the edge of Edinburgh city, right next to the Pentland Hills. There will be plenty of other things included on the retreats, including meditation classes, confidence classes, inspirational guest speakers and arts and crafts.
If you want to sign up for one of my retreats or would like more information, get in touch!
6. Glamping in Comrie
I’ve wild-camped and stayed in bothies in some of the most stunning areas of Scotland, but I have never, ever glamped. In June I will be heading to Comrie Croft to spend two nights in a Nordic Kata- basically, it’s a teepee style tent with lots of pillows thrown inside.
7. Hiking in Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries and Galloway is one area of Scotland I haven’t discovered yet. I fell in love with the Scottish Borders in 2018 when I hiked through them, so I am very excited to get back into my hiking boots and explore the south-west of Scotland!
8. Speaking Italian in Italy
In September I will be spending a week in Italy, with my Italian flatmate. A goal of mine has always been to speak a foreign language in a foreign country- and now I have 9 months to learn Italian!
9. Turning 30
This isn’t anything to do with travel, but I thought I’d throw it in here. I am turning 30 in April. Wow. I can’t believe I just typed those words. Does this mean I’m an adult now?
I’m unsure how I’ll celebrate this milestone, but I know there will be a LOT of whisky. Perhaps I’ll just have a funeral for my twenties in Ibiza?!
This one was kind of a given, however I knew could have imagined I would spend my 30th birthday in Glencoe, the heart of the Scottish highlands, with my new Scottish boyfriend. We had an amazing time hiking, eating, and soaking in the glorious views. Here are the 30 things I learned before turning 30.
10. Writing a Book
One of the biggest challenges for me is to sit still- but I have an epic story to share with the world, so the long winter nights will be spent in front of my laptop. My book will be about my solo thru-hike of the Scottish National Trail. Sign up to my mailing list to receive an email notification when my book is released!
And those are my planned adventures for 2019! What do you think?
I’d also love to know what adventures you have planned, and why 2019 is going to be a kick ass year for you- drop me a comment below!
Friday 21st of December 2018
I love your energy. Have an awesome 2019. Keep sake??????????????
Wednesday 19th of December 2018
All sounds pretty cool Yvette - you must check out that forest in Poland that's huge for wildlife. DM me if you might find the use of a cute old motor home of use for a week or two. All mod cons. Lilly loved it.