Journal of Alice

waiting to board a china southern plane from

2 January ’17

Waiting to board a China Southern plane from Amsterdam to Beijing en-route to Hong Kong.

What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

19 December ’16

What was the single best thing that happened this past year? What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

I’m going to have to go with 2 hours in Lanzarote for the single best thing. It wasn’t the actual time in Lanzarote that was amazing, though it was a nice lounge, it was the complete ridiculousness of it - the fact that on a whim I could travel to Africa for a day trip. Related: last year’s 48 hours in Thailand. I realise how lucky and privileged I am to be able to do these things.

The most challenging parts of the year have been when I’ve been unable to take the ridiculous trips. Losing easy access to visit the USA was a major disappointment, particularly having to cancel a trip. Being unable to say yes to amazing opportunities. I need to get better at saying yes to the right things and no to the wrong things.

What worked in 2016

18 December ’16

It’s that time of year where we consider the past 12 months and post a series of retrospectives.  My travels don’t end until December 31st this year, so stats will be published in the new year.  Until then, let’s answer a few questions.

What really worked well in 2016? What did not work well in 2016?

These are kind of the same question and they have the same answer - it’s the people I travelled with (or didn’t travel with).

Type of travel is a continuum from no travel to only doing the most epic journeys you can imagine.  I’d place myself towards the epic side of that spectrum, which can be problematic in finding the right people to travel with.  The most fun people that I end up travelling with are doing their once-in-a-lifetime crazy adventure, and so they dive into everything with great excitement.  Unfortunately, because that style of travel is the norm for me I rarely get to see them again.

So I’ve discovered that travelling with groups only really works on the more extreme journeys.  For places like Iraq and Kosovo, having a good group of people is so important; for places well-visited by tourists it’s actually detrimental to be in a group since it doesn’t give you the time to explore alone.

What really worked well in 2016? Traveling solo to Lanzarote, Helsinki, Orlando and Paris. It’s so easy to meet other people in such places.

Travelling in a group around the Balkans mostly worked well, but would have benefited from more free time to explore.  Traveling solo to Tokyo was great fun, but probably would have benefited from at least half a day on a group tour.

What didn’t work well? Knowing the people I travelled with I’ll probably never see again. They’ve had their once-in-a-lifetime adventures, and are ready to go slow and visit the tourist spots again.

yesterday i flew 3700 miles just to tick off a new

11 December ’16

Yesterday I flew 3700 miles just to tick off a new country. 9 hours on a plane for a couple of hours of sun in Lanzarote. And it was totally worth it and I’d definitely do something this ridiculous again.

Would I be stopped by somebody for suspicous travels? Would I actually manage to leave the airport? Would I make the return flight in time? These were all questions that I and my bemused colleagues had before this trip. It turned out everything ran smoothly and nobody cared.

On my flight out I was sat next to a retired couple who were reading the Daily Mail when I arrived. They told me how nobody travels to Egypt or Tunisia any more so the Canary Islands are pretty busy these days, and a full plane in the middle of December supported this view. We ended up having a good chat about our various travels across Asia.

The original plan was to spend a couple of hours in a taxi on a crazy adventure around the island before returning home. But after four hours in the air I was more than happy to relax in the VIP lounge with a nice balcony that has views of volcanoes, planes, and the sea. Some cold drinks and a light meal, and I was ready for a nap on the return flight.

The only problem being the 90 minute delay on the return flight, meaning I missed the last comfortable bus and instead took a taxi. Which was actually a good thing, it turns out the taxi stand at Leeds Bradford airport is rather well organised these days - I’d have no problem booking flights that depend on a taxi now.

the departure boards at paris cdg always fascinate

14 November ’16

The departure boards at Paris CDG always fascinate me. They always have the most interesting destinations of any of the airports I regularly fly from.

There’s some serious wanderlust happening looking at this list of flights today.