My 2020 Travel Wish List – The Sightseeing Coeliac

Inspired by glutenfreemrsd I thought I would write my own 2020 travel wish list!

During 2019 I spent more of my annual leave in the U.K. than I normally would to allow me to spend time with my two year old nephew (and the rest of the family of course!) and to have a calmer year after our big year of travel during 2018 when we took career breaks.

2019

UK – Cornwall

Hong Kong and Macau

KoŇ°ice and Eastern Slovakia

U.K. – Edinburgh

USA – New York, Connecticut and New England – 2 week working trip

USA – Texas road trip

Spain – Madrid

U.K. – Center Parcs and Lake District

Trips Planned for 2020

Cape Town, South Africa

In 2018 we travelled to Sri Lanka for Paul to fulfil his ambition of watching the England Cricket tour there. Paul and my brother love cricket so we always try to tie it into our travels if we can, particularly when it takes us to sunnier climes during our winter! This year we are heading to South Africa for the one day international tour, visiting Cape Town and Durban (just for the second game). This will be my first trip to Africa so I am really looking forward to visiting Cape Town, and seeing what gluten free options I can actually find that are coeliac safe! A challenge that I have now learnt to embrace!

Oslo, Bergen and Tromso, Norway

Norway holds a very special place in my heart and I am really looking forward to travelling there with Paul. We are beginning the trip on a long weekend with friends, before Paul and I head off to Bergen following the ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ route, and then onto Tromso for some winter activities and Northern lights hunts!

Norway is notoriously pricey so I’ve been working hard to try and keep the cost of this trip down, so I will let you know how I get on! (Admittedly though as a couple in our 30’s with no children, our budget is higher than a backpackers budget but as a country that so many people put off travelling to due to price I thought I’d document this trip more carefully to do a thorough blog post on my return).

Florida, USA

This year Paul turns 40, and his holiday of choice was Florida. Friends are joining us for the trip and he wanted to pick somewhere that everyone just has fun! I look forward to returning and eating aaaalll the gluten free options (beignets and churros I’m coming for you!) but I also absolutely LOVE theme parks so always thoroughly enjoy time spent in Orlando! We are flying home from Miami so I need to work out what to do for a few days at the end of the trip to travel there.

Wish list for 2020 and beyond

This is as far as I have got with confirmed travel plans. My current travel wish list is:

Cappadocia, Turkey

I desperately want to do this trip, as I love hot air balloons. I always try and go to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta too!

Amsterdam to Rotterdam, Holland

As much as I travel and fly, I am conscious of doing so and do try and use alternative travel when it is an option and really like overnight trains! I love making the travel part of the adventure, and it’s even better when that can be done overnight. Amsterdam can now be reached by Eurostar so I would love to head out there and spend some time cycling around Holland during tulip season.

Bucharest road trip, Romania

The exchange rate has not been in our favour, and the month that we spent in the U.K. last year for work, and subsequently our holiday in Texas felt really expensive. In contrast our trip to Slovakia was not, and I spent some time researching Eastern Europe. We have visited Bulgaria (skiing holiday), Slovenia, Prague, Budapest and Krakow all primarily as long weekend breaks, and often for weddings! During some research at the end of last year, I found a five day driving trip through Romania that really took my fancy but looked better in the summer so that is also on the list as an option for this year!

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Having travelled a lot through South East Asia, Cambodia is a country that we haven’t been to and I really want to visit! We were due to go at the end of 2019 to Thailand and I was hoping for a side trip to Angkor Wat, so maybe this will be the year we visit instead.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

12 years ago (wow) was our first trip to Thailand, and our first long haul trip together. Paul had never been to South East Asia before, and it was my first time without family. Landing in Bangkok was both a culture shock and exciting. We grew to love it, and we keep on saying that we really must return.

Our trip in 2008 took us to Bangkok, Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai, Krabi and Koh Lanta with an extended week in Bangkok as we couldn’t fly home due to protesters taking over the airport. It took over a week to get home, and even then we flew from a military airbase to Amsterdam as we said we would take any flight to Europe as we needed to get back to work, and paid for an EasyJet flight home from there (it was freezing landing in snow without our coats or warm clothes, after three weeks in sunny Thailand!) Careful what you wish for when you say you don’t want to go home at the end of a holiday, as occasionally it can come true – and it was highly stressful in the end with travel insurance not covering political unrest and daily visits to the airline office. We learnt a lot during that week about travelling, and ourselves!

I would love to visit again and see what has changed. I would definitely add Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand onto this trip!

India

India is also on Paul and I’s wish list, not for a relaxing holiday but for the experience! This is another destination that we will probably tie in with dates for an England Cricket Tour.

Inspiration

If you’re looking for some more inspiration, here are some of my favourite ever holidays and travel experiences:

Slovenia

Go – it’s so beautiful! We loved Ljubljana and then spent a week driving through the country stopping at Lake Bled and Bohinj en route. We even did white water rafting, which is a huge achievement for me as I hate being under water, or any risk of being under water so it shows how crystal clear the water was to give it a go! It was also the first place I ever travelled to gluten free, back in 2009!

Vietnam

We travelled from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city via Halong Bay and Hoi An. We absolutely loved travelling the country by doing an easy riders tour as part of the journey and overnight trains (definitely pack or buy a sleeping bag liner!) for a better nights sleep!

Santiago, Chile

I’m not sure how much was due to the city itself and how much was about it being the start of two months off work, or the fact we left the cold weather in the U.K. behind but I had an absolute blast during our four nights in Santiago! It was a great start to three weeks in the most amazing country for scenery. Visiting penguins from Punta Arenas was another standout highlight for me during our time in Chile!

Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Borneo

Visiting the city sights in Singapore and KL before heading onto Borneo to get off the beaten track to visit the orangutans made for an amazing trip!

New York in December

It’s just the best time of year to visit in my opinion for all the Christmas decorations and activities. If you visit New York – at any time of year – and have time to add on Niagara Falls and Toronto I would highly recommend it, especially if you can book into the Embassy Suites hotel. Pay for a falls view/suite with a huge window as it’s worth every penny to be able to sit at night with a drink, watching the falls light up.

Australia

My cousin lives on the Mornington Peninsula and we had an incredible time visiting Australia for New Year trip in 2013. One of the trips we took was driving the Great Ocean Road and spotting wild koalas in the trees. My heart goes out to Australia seeing what is happening with the bush fires this year, and all the deaths of the wildlife. Seeing koalas was an absolute highlight for me on that trip and photos in the media of burnt koalas is heartbreaking. It’s unimaginable what people living in towns that have been affected by bushfires are going through. I would love to return to the country again, but it will need to be when I am able to get more than two weeks off work, which isn’t likely to be any time soon.

Rome, Italy

The best place I have ever been to for gluten free food was Rome. If you are about to embark on your first trip since being diagnosed as coeliac, or you are nervous in anyway then a weekend in Rome is the place I would recommend! It’s just so easy there. I know, the land of pizza and pasta really shouldn’t be, but trust me it is! (In contrast, in case you’re interested, Japan was the hardest of my travels with a language barrier and widespread use of soy sauce. It really is a challenge there – especially when you’re also travelling with your vegetarian bestie!) I base my travels around our own bucket lists rather than food, I worry about the food later which has taken me off the beaten track on many occasions and I’ve eaten more emergency cereal bars than I care for but it’s all part of the experience! If you need any advice on travelling with coeliac disease, see my blog post here.

I think that’s my round up done for the year, so let’s see what 2020 brings. Where are you planning on travelling to?

Happy New Year,

The Sightseeing Coeliac x