The year in review 2014

I just re-read last year’s ‘year in review‘, and noted the final paragraph I wrote this time last December:

‘It’s strangely unsettling to begin the year with a good deal of work uncertainty, but if all goes to plan, there will be lengthy stints in Iceland and Denmark for guidebook research – and if there is a god, somehow I will be in Denmark for Eurovision in early May. There is also the dream to finally reach Greenland, and to maybe hang out in Tokyo for a wee while. I’m hoping for big things, 2014. Please do all you can to deliver.’

And I’m so thrilled to report that 2014 delivered on the travel front, in a big and joyful way. I spent 20 weeks travelling this year – most of it for work, all of it for pleasure. It began with 2.5 weeks of dedicated holiday time with an old friend in Sri Lanka, a gorgeous, sultry and unexpectedly delicious destination.

Two sizeable spells were spent in northern Europe: 7.5 weeks in Denmark in April-May, and six weeks in my beloved Iceland in July-August. I was indeed in Denmark for Eurovision, with a much-prized press pass that was put to good use (proof that god exists, and that he – or she – loves glitter and key changes and wind machines as much as I do?).

That epic double-dose of travel joy was followed by a whole lot of writing and very little life outside my four walls and endless deadlines. But I eventually emerged, dazed and confused, to reclaim my sanity.

And then, finally, 3.5 weeks in December were spent on a mega-roadtrip (6500km covered!) through outback and regional New South Wales, for Lonely Planet’s guide to Australia. What a treat. Big blue skies; hot, dusty outback towns; historic gold-rush villages; fantastic food and wine regions; seriously quirky places and people. It was a glorious end to a great year. The travel gods have smiled on me in 2014, and I’m very very grateful – and if it’s not too greedy, I’m hopeful for more of the same in 2015…

Some pics from the NSW roadtrip:

Big skies at Mungo National Park

Big skies at Mungo National Park

 

Kangaroos in the dunes at Mungo National Park

Kangaroos in the dunes at Mungo National Park

 

The Murray River at dusk

Late afternoon by the Murray River

 

Roadside emu (one of many)

Roadside emu (one of many)

 

Silverton's pub-going donkeys

Silverton’s pub-going donkeys

 

Milk bar (still operating!), Broken Hill

Milk bar (still operating!), Broken Hill

 

Tempting accommodation, White Cliffs

Tempting accommodation, White Cliffs

 

The superb artesian bore bath at Lightning Rdge

The superb artesian bore bath at Lightning Rdge

 

Sunset soak at Lightning Ridge

Sunset soak at Lightning Ridge

 

Lightning Ridge

Lightning Ridge

 

Tamworth

Tamworth

 

One very patriotic pool in Tamworth

One very patriotic pool in Tamworth

 

The Golden Guitar, Tamworth

The Big Golden Guitar, Tamworth

 

Festive Ned Kelly letterbox on the roadside

Festive Ned Kelly letterbox

 

Sweet main street of Gulgong

Sweet main street of Gulgong

 

Elvis rocks Parkes

Elvis rocks Parkes

 

 

 

 

 

 

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