Collage of travel photos
Sunday Stills,  Travel in general,  Writers' Quotes Wednesday

My travel year in review, 2022

We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.

Carson McCullers

All of us who love to travel, and are fortunate enough to be able to do so, will I hope be looking back on a year filled with both familiar and foreign places. For most of us, 2022 was the year in which we began to feel comfortable travelling again. When, despite a few new forms to fill in and masks to be worn, perhaps reluctantly, on planes, the world opened up again and we could scratch that travel itch, relieve that homesickness ‘for the places we have never known’.

Marsha asks us to remember 2022 with quotes and photos. I hope she’ll allow me to include just a single quote? Meanwhile Terri asks what we did in 2022. Well, I did quite a lot, but this is primarily a travel photography blog and I did a fair bit of travelling, so that is what I’ll reflect on. And I’m grateful to the Hungry Travellers for inspiring me with a format for my review!

A travel year in numbers

In 2022 I had four trips within the UK (plus two overnight stays necessitated by funerals and one for a wedding), three in Europe and two long-haul. I spent a total of 68 nights away from home and slept in 23 different beds. I took 17 flights and made six journeys by train and 13 by road. Here’s where they took me:


FEBRUARY

Costa Rica

Our first long-haul destination post-Covid, chosen in part because the focus is so much on outdoor activities.

Pink clouds with the sea and a river reflecting them, and surrounding forest
Sunset from Lagarta Lodge, Costa Rica

Memorable people: Marcela, our passionate and knowledgeable guide in the cloud forest; Victor, who pulled our boat along the Rio Nosara when the propeller broke, ignoring the danger from crocodiles.

Memorable times: a boat trip on the Caño Negro; a walk in the cloud forests of Monteverde.

Memorable sights: seeing a humpback whale when we’d been told it was out of season; seeing sloths in the wild; spotting a Resplendent Quetzal; views of the Pacific from Lagarta Lodge.


APRIL

Faro, Portugal

I’d been some years ago for a Virtual Tourist meeting and felt that Chris would like this unassuming town and the lovely coastline. He did!

View between houses towards a lagoon and distant hills
Fishermen’s homes in Praia do Faro

Memorable people: for the wrong reason, Restless Jo, who was unable to meet up with us as planned due to Covid.

Memorable times: a lovely day out in Tavira (despite not seeing Jo); a walk by the sands and fishermen’s houses of Praia do Faro.

Memorable sights: the beautiful old monastery of Nossa Senhora da Assunção; a chameleon in the grounds of Faro’s cathedral; gorgeous blue (mainly) azulejos everywhere!


MAY

Newcastle

A week spent hosting the three-times postponed Virtual Tourist Euromeet (originally scheduled for May 2020). Thirty six members from fourteen different countries attended. That’s a little fewer than usual due to concerns about potential last-minute Covid issues scuppering plans, but nevertheless a wonderful turnout.

Group of people on a hillock
Virtual Tourist friends on St Cuthbert’s Isle, Lindisfarne

Memorable people: all those amazing VT members who came; Robert from Lundgren Tours who led us on a fabulous day out on the Northumberland coast, dressed in full Viking costume.

Memorable times: throughout the meet, having the support of the members to keep going with the plans despite Covid’s best efforts to scupper them.

Memorable sights: seeing how much everyone loved my favourite places such as Tynemouth, Bamburgh and Lindisfarne.


JUNE

Sofia

The trip that wasn’t, thanks to me testing positive for Covid two days before we were due to leave!

East Anglia

We spent a night in Norfolk to attend a party hosted by friends to celebrate their 60th birthdays. On the way home we stopped over near Cambridge to visit some of the nature reserves in the area.

Bee on delicate white flower heads
Bee at Welney Wetland Centre, Cambridgeshire

Memorable people: my friends Wendy and Steve dancing the night away in their lovely garden!

Memorable sights: the big skies of that area; lots of bees and butterflies in the reserves.


AUGUST

Yorkshire and Derbyshire

We spent a few days in lovely Ripon in Yorkshire, and stopped off in Derbyshire’s Peak District on the way home.

Group of four deer sitting on grass
Deer in the deer park at Studley Royal

Memorable people: Nolon Stacey, a talented artist with a gallery in Masham where we treated ourselves to a beautiful drawing of a heron

Memorable times: a visit to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal; lunch with long-time family friends in Grinton; visiting the plague village of Eyam.

Memorable sights: spotting deer at Studley Royal; the heather-strewn moors above Grinton; the Burning Man sculptures at Chatsworth House.


SEPTEMBER

Paris

What is becoming an annual treat, a city break in our favourite European city where we spent our honeymoon.

Two men talking outside a closed shop
A street corner in the Marais, Paris

Memorable times: a lovely walk in the Marais with a visit to the Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson; drinks at various pavement cafés watching the Parisian world go by.

Memorable sights: the views from the Tour Montparnasse; the special light on the banks of the Seine.

Sofia

Fortunately we’d been able to reschedule the trip we’d cancelled in June, finally making it to Sofia in late September. As with Faro this is a place I’d visited for a VT meet and thought Chris would like, and as with Faro I was right!

Dark interior of a large cathedral with lots of gold, wall paintings and no furniture
Inside St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

Memorable people: we were able to meet up with a local VT friend, Lilyana, and her husband.

Memorable times: the Socialist Art Museum; a visit to the Socialist-era Red Flat.

Memorable sights: street art around the ul. Iskar; people-watching in the City Garden.


OCTOBER / NOVEMBER

Nepal

Our second long-haul trip of the year and a wonderful one. We loved this vibrant and varied country!

Mountains touched with pink light and shadowy houses
Early morning view of the Himalayas from the Old Inn, Bandipur

Memorable people: Ayush, from the local travel company, who came to the rescue when I forgot to hand in our room key when checking out of our last hotel and found it in my pocket on arrival at the airport; the worshippers at the Buddhist Golden Temple in Patan, who made us feel like welcome guests rather than camera-wielding tourists.

Memorable times: Durbar Square in Kathmandu; exploring Bhaktapur and Dhulikhel; spending time in the hill-top town of Bandipur.

Memorable sights: the stunning Newari architecture in all the cities; seeing rhinos in Chitwan NP; watching the sun rise over the Annapurna Range near Pokhara; flying over Everest.


DECEMBER

Newcastle

Back to Newcastle at the end of the month to see in the New Year. It’s something we used to do annually pre-Covid but haven’t been able to for a few years.

Cityscape with modern building and several bridges over a river
The Sage and Tyne bridges from Baltic art gallery

Memorable people: catching up with friends and family, too numerous to mention here.

Memorable times: some great meals in favourite restaurants; walks by the sea (Druridge Bay and Tynemouth) and by the Tyne.

Memorable sights: interesting art in the Baltic gallery; a rainbow over Druridge Bay (technically in 2023 as it was on New Year’s Day, but as the trip started in 2022 I’m including it in this round-up!)


And what about 2023, you ask!

We have a trip to Colombia booked for February. I have plans to visit Norway in May and Chicago in September, both for Virtual Tourist meets. Our anniversary weekend is booked for Paris in September too. And that Chicago trip may well be extended into a longer road trip. I have no illusions these days that a planned trip means a definite trip, but it’s great nevertheless to have plans. And no doubt there will be more travels, as yet unplanned or even dreamt of!

70 Comments

  • bluebrightly

    You inspire me. 🙂 Maybe that’s all I need to say. I hope your travels go smoothly in 2023 but I have no doubt that you will handle whatever comes your way with intelligence and grace.

  • SoyBend

    Thanks, for the whirlwind tour, Sarah. I liked the picture of the street corner in France and the one above it of the deer – city and country portraits.

  • Teresa

    You are so lucky to be able to do this while you can and have the means to do this. So many memorable experiences and people you’ve met along the way. Cheers to more travels in 2023.

  • Alison

    You had some wonderful trips Sarah especially Nepal. I’m the same even though we have some plans nothing will be booked until last minute.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks Alison 🙂 Well, Colombia is fully booked and Norway partially so although I don’t yet have flights! I don’t tend to leave it to the last minute tbh, although it depends on the trip. Some are booked months in advance, some last minute, and most in-between 😀

  • sheetalbravon

    Sarah, what a year it has been for you! Love your travel tales and this recap was just perfect. To think you were in Nepal, almost next door since we share the Himalayas. As for the quote, it hit home hard. To reading many more of your experiences in the new year, Sarah. Cheers!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you – yes, almost next door for a few days at least 😀 I was taken by that quote too when I found it. Hope to be sharing some interesting experiences this year too as well as continuing to reflect on past ones from time to time.

  • ThingsHelenLoves

    A fabulous year with some exciting trips to come. I’ve enjoyed tagging along virtually and look forward to reading about the travels you have planed. Happy New Year, Sarah!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks Tanja 🙂 I’ll be flying to Trondheim to join up with a few of my friends and do the Hurtigruten cruise up to Tromso where the main Virtual Tourist meet will take place 🙂

  • Margaret

    Loved reading your post Sarah – what a great year for your travels.
    I may well ask you for suggestions when we book our Newcastle trip – thank you.
    I loved Chicago when we visited 20 years ago. Make sure you take the architectural canal trip through the city.
    Wishing you an adventurous and enjoyable 2023 😊

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Margaret, and ask away! Our host is planning an outing on the river in Chicago but he will guide it himself I think. He knows the city inside out so that should be great 🙂

  • Easymalc

    Although my travel experiences have been seriously restricted, at least I’ve been able to follow your posts and see some of the wonderful places you’ve been to this last year. It’s always a pleasure to see those fabulous photos too..

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks Malcolm – I know you’d like to be able to still travel a bit more than you do, so I’m pleased you’re enjoying some virtual travels through me at least 😀

  • Rose

    What a thrilling year end summary of travel. Your year in travel numbers is amazing, hopefully I can report some numbers at the end of 2023? I am ridiculously excited to get back out into the lovely world again!! We’re in the pre-planning stages of trying to figure out when and where.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I’m so glad you’re going to be heading out there again too Rose 😍 That pre-planning phase is one of the most exciting! I’m looking forward to seeing where you go …

  • restlessjo

    Oh, dear! I get 2 mentions here, for all the wrong reasons, but I’m still smiling at all these great memories, Sarah. My travel plans so far this year centre on family but I do have a yearning for a few places as yet unexplored. We’ve not done long distance for a lot of years but Chicago does appeal. You never know! Happy New Year to you and Chris.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      It couldn’t be helped Jo – we’re certainly not the only ones to have had plans scuppered by Covid and won’t be the last. Hopefully it will happen one day. As I said to Marsha, VT members are always happy to welcome new like-minded people along to our meets so please feel free to invite yourself to Chicago if it appeals 😀

  • Suzanne

    Sarah, you have certainly captured stunning photographic moments from your travels. Portugal will always be a place we would return too. Pity about not meeting up with Jo, now that would be fun. We are enjoying being involved within our community after years of being nomads though who knows what will happen in years to come. Enjoy all those travel plans, Sarah.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you so much Suzanne 🙂 Yes, Portugal is lovely and Lisbon one of my favourite European cities. We were really sorry to miss seeing Jo but hope the opportunity to do so will come along again one day!

  • Heyjude

    I enjoyed reading about all your travels, I seem to have lost my travel mojo, but still happy to travel virtually. Nice way to record the trips too.

  • Marie

    What a year you’ve had – and great plans to look forward to….. Best wishes for the year ahead, Sarah…. and Happy Travels of course!

  • Monkey's Tale

    You had a great year! I see your Colombia trip coming up. If you don’t already, you should check out Latitude Adjustment. They now live in Medellin and travel extensively through Colombia. It may give you ideas for places you’d ever considered. Maggie

  • Nemorino

    Great that you were able to go on most of your trips as planned, and even reschedule your cancelled Sofia trip. I hope your plans work out for you in 2023.

  • lisaonthebeach

    Wow, what a year, Sarah! And you have lovely photo reminders! I do have one road trip planned in a few weeks, and I’m excited. I do not know if we will do another major trip this year. But I hope 😊 …and this quote, so true! “we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Yes, that quote really resonated with me too Lisa, I’m glad you liked it 🙂 And I’m excited for you about the forthcoming road trip and can’t wait to read about it!

  • Marsha

    It looks like Covid didn’t slow you down too much! Wow, you really had a year of traveling. I love the format you used to share, and by the way, only one quote is all you need. Thanks so much for sharing. I wish Chicago was closer, but September is the time of year you want to visit. It’s lovely then. I always look forward to hearing about your travels.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks Marsha – and no, Covid had little impact on the amount we travelled, it just added a few extra hassles such as forms to fill in before departure. Worth it to be able to get away!

      The Chicago trip is built around the plans our Virtual Tourist host has for the meet and as he’s local I’m confident he’s chosen a good time of year but it’s nice to have that confirmed 🙂 A shame you don’t live nearer as you’d be very welcome to join the fun – VT isn’t a closed club, we’re always open to new members!

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    I might have missed a few of these, Sarah, so it was good you shared more pics of your trips. Covid is indeed still messing with travel plans but 2022 was much better than the previous 2 years. I love your opening collage (canva? or WP gallery?). I think my favorite two are the reindeer and the shot of the Himalayas–that one is beyond spectacular! One quote for WQW seems to be fine, at least I’ve gotten away with it ;). Great to read that plans are underway in 2023. I’ve a few up my sleeve as well! Happy New Year!

  • Suzanne@PictureRetirement

    Hi Sarah, nice recap and accompanying photos of your travel year. I recognized the format right away as I had just read the Hungry Traveler’s post a few days ago. Hang onto it for next year’s recap. Cheers to 100 days of travel and beyond!

  • Annie Berger

    Great recap of your travels last year. Now I just have to read all of your fall
    posts that are still in my inbox, Sarah, before you blog about your Columbia trip next month!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Annie 😀 Don’t feel under pressure to read ALL my posts, I know there are a lot of them – just pick out a couple that appeal 🙂 Then you’ll be all set to read about Colombia! How are you feeling these days, are things looking up?

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you in return for the concept 😀 Yes, I enjoyed looking back and surprised myself by finding quite how much we’d packed in, albeit not as much as you guys!

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