Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Travel Plans: Where I’m Going in 2012!


2012 is going to be an amazing year for travel.  I’ve been working on some trips for awhile now, and I’m excited to share the preliminary plans with you!

While many of my upcoming trips are in the development stage at the moment and shouldn’t be unveiled just yet, I’m able to share several of them with you right now.  Here goes!

January: Paris

It’s been five years since I’ve been to Paris, and it’s definitely time to return.  I went to Paris on my first overseas trip in 2001, and no other city has been able to shake Paris from its position of my favorite city in the world.

This will just be a weekend trip from the UK, but as short as the trip is, it won’t be lacking in culture: I plan to spend lots of time on the Left Bank, visit quirky museums, and eat decadent French food in between raving, full-mouthed, about how good the food is.  My first trip of the year isn’t a solo one — I’m bringing Dave with me.

January: Up Helly Aa, Shetland Islands, with Haggis Adventures

The Up Helly Aa is a Viking festival up in the Shetland Islands (northeast of Scotland).  On the last Tuesday in January, they light a Viking boat on fire and dance and drink all night long.  My first thought: “I HAVE to go to this!”

As soon as I found out that this insane festival actually existed, I contacted Haggis Adventures.  Haggis Adventures is an renowned tour provider in Scotland that focuses on providing fun, affordable — and a bit wild and crazy — tours for backpackers and budget travelers in Scotland.  I will be attending their popular 5-Day Up Helly Aa tour.

I’m very excited to see Shetland and to work with Haggis Adventures, and I already know this is going to be a trip I never forget.  Stay tuned for much more information on this trip.

Mid-February to late March: India

Yes, I’m going to India!  I have never been to India and I am SO excited to visit this fascinating country.

I am happy to announce Adventurous Kate’s latest partnership is with Intrepid Travel — an excellent tour company that offers adventure trips for small groups of travelers of all levels, in a way that is responsible and sustainable for the local communities and the environment.

Awhile back, Intrepid Canada blogged about how the types of tours I encourage people to take are exactly the kinds of tours that they offer.  Between this and Intrepid’s philosophy, it’s clear we were a match made in heaven!

I will be traveling on Intrepid’s South India Unplugged trip, which will take me from Chennai to Goa via Kerala in two weeks — a very ambitious itinerary that covers a lot of ground but will allow me to see so much.

Afterward, I plan to spend around three weeks on my own, traveling from Goa to Mumbai to Rajasthan, ending in Delhi.  I will also be in India for Holi, the Hindu festival when people throw colored powder on each other!

Stay tuned for much, much more on this exciting trip in the coming weeks.

Late April: Umbria, Italy

TBU is taking place in Umbria this year!  I had such a great time at the last conference in Innsbruck, and it doesn’t take much to get me back to Italy.

I’ve been to Umbria a few times before, but this time, I’d like to fit in a visit to the city of Perugia.  Considering how much I loved Bologna, I’m eager to visit another mid-sized, less touristed Italian city.

April-May: Northeast USA

For many reasons, this is an ideal time for me to return home to the USA.  I have plans with family and friends in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

I won’t be staying as long as I did this winter — probably two to three weeks.

Late May to Mid-June: Balkans

This is the latest development — Dave and I will be spending three weeks in the Balkans this summer!  I’ve wanted to visit the Balkans for SO long and I’m thrilled that my travel companion is equally excited to visit this region.

With three weeks, you can do a LOT in the Balkans.  But neither of us wants to move at a breakneck pace, so we will probably stick to Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro.  Stay tuned for much more on this.

Summer: Stockholm

I won a trip to Stockholm from Visit Sweden at WTM this year!  The prize includes flights for two from London, three nights’ lodging, and city passes.  I’m definitely using it during the summer, when the days are long and warm and the parties last all night.

Thanksgiving: Home to Boston

There are two reasons why I will likely be heading home at this time: it will be my first Thanksgiving at home in three years, and I also have my ten-year high school reunion, which should be pretty hilarious.  Still, it can’t top the five-year reunion, where the open bar ran all night, 28 glasses were broken, and we were thrown out at 1 AM.

Other Travel Priorities for 2012

While I don’t have plans yet for these destinations, I hope to work them into the year somehow:


I’ve flown through Iceland enough times while crossing the Atlantic.  This time, I want to make time for a visit to see all the natural wonders!


I fell in love with Edinburgh pretty much instantly and was crushed that I had arrived at the end of Scotland’s tourist season — and would have to wait months to see the highlands and the islands in their full glory.


It’s close, it’s warm, it’s cheap for Western Europe — and just look at it.  I want to go!

Time to Plan

I swear, planning travel is almost as fun as actually traveling.  I just have to get through the nitty-gritty things like buying new drybags, booking travel insurance like InsureandGo holiday insurance, finding some destination-themed novels for my Kindle (Midnight’s Children, anyone?), and I’m good to go!

What do you think of my 2012 plans?  Know any places I should consider?  Sound off in the comments!

Images from top: DarkB4Dawn, Vincenzo_1949, ruffin_ready, Un ragazzo chiamato Bi, Werner Kunz, photographerglen, Claudia.Ar, kisses are a better fate than wisdomStuck in Customs, Allan Gourlay, Fr Antunes.


92 Responses to “Travel Plans: Where I’m Going in 2012!”
  1. George says:

    WOW! Simply amazing it just shows me what I’m missing by still being at uni! Can’t wait to graduate and let this good life begin. Balkans are such an understated area that I’ve always wanted to go to too. You really are an inspiration xx

  2. Muerl says:

    Hey Kate,

    Two of those goals are actually both VERY doable from Boston (to or from Europe). Iceland and the Azores are stop overs for the cheapest flights to Europe from BOS. We went to the Azores, which are part of Portugal and but also volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic. We went the second week of June and it was shoulder season. Recommend getting out of the “City” on St Micheal, we stayed in a small village called Povoação right on the water. SATA Flies there from Boston. I am also sure you know that Iceland Air flies via Boston as well.

    Anyway, did you Meetup get planned and we missed it or is it still to come?

    • Excellent point. I have wanted to go to the Azores FOREVER. And Iceland is best done that way, too.

      I actually didn’t have the time to pull one together this round…this spring, I hope!

  3. JEANETTE says:

    your plans sound amazing kate, just found your blog and its so inspiring , ive got itchy feet to travel again! just be careful of the hindu festival throwing the colourful powder , i ve heard lot stories about the dangers that the toxins in theses beautiful colours dont exactly pass health and safety standards! alot illness long term side effects after a lung full of powder!

  4. I love Scotland but haggis……….ugh! It is, as they say, “an acquired taste.” I’ll be interested in seeing how you feel about it. And I envy you so much for going to the Shetlands!

  5. Katie says:

    Looks like another fun year to follow your adventures! From friends’ adventures, the Balkans look incredible. I’m hoping to go to parts of France, Italy, and Scotland this year so yet again, I’ll be consulting your blog. If you do a meet-up in Boston sometime while you’re here, I’d love to come out (long time reader and occasional commenter).

  6. jamie says:

    What a great year you’ve got planned! I really want to go to iceland soon; it is definitely on my list.
    I got to spend a couple of days in Perugia about ten years ago, and it is a great city – i remember fantastic views, cobblestone streets and lots of that Baci chocolate. If you have time and haven’t already been, I cannot recommend Orvieto enough – it is also in Umbria and was the highlight of my trip to Italy. More than Florence, more than Rome, more than Venice, I found a missing piece of my soul in Orvieto and still daydream about living in the “Manhattan of Italy” someday. More than ten years have passed, and I still count the goose I ate at a restaurant in Orvieto as the best meal I have ever had in my life.

  7. Nasstaja says:

    Sounds like you’ll have an amazing year. Can’t wait to read your posts!

  8. Adam says:

    Midnight’s Children is one of my favorite books! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on India.

  9. Looks like we’ll be in India the same time! We arrive in Delhi just in time for Holi and then mainly Rajasthan area. Hope our paths cross. All the best in 2012! Looks amazing.

  10. Rachael says:

    Hi Kate! What an awesome year you have ahead of you!! I would love to visit some of those places as well and will myself be visiting Lisbon and the Balkans this summer. A few summers ago I spent 3 weeks driving around the Scottish highlands, visiting Eileen Donan castle, camping on the Isle of Skye and trekking up and down those super steep and green highlands…was soooo cool…warning though: I went in August and it POURED rain for many of the days!! Also if you’re back in Edinburgh in August, make sure it’s during the Fringe Festival :). Last tip and a very unknown one to travelers!! When I was an exchange student in Finland a few years ago, I took a 17-hour overnight party boat from Helsinki to Stockholm and back (stayed in Stockholm a couple of nights inbetween) and it was one of the best parties ever!! Think drunken Finns, karaoke, duty free everything (goes into international waters), discos onboard, gambling, long summer nights and cruising through the Swedish archipalego….so if you have a few extra days to spare in Stockholm, cruising can also be done from Stockholm to Helsinki and back or Stockholm to Tallinn, Estonia and back. Seriously awesome!! (serious hangover too though) http://www.vikingline.fi/index.asp?lang=en…check it out! Have fun! Excited to read more about all these places 🙂 P.S. If you’re looking for another cheap weekend from London, hop on a budget flight to Pisa, take a train for 45 min to La Spezia, switch to a regional train to Riomaggiore and explore Cinque Terre…absolutely breathtaking! I went twice in one summer once..just couldn’t help myself 😉

  11. Jenna says:

    Wow, what a year you have coming up! Portugal is a country I hope to visit very soon. I loved Perugia! It is unique. I look forward to following your adventures this year!

  12. Sandra says:

    Looks like a wonderful line-up with a lot of my favorites thrown in. Iceland was amazing. And Perugia is great too. I will probably be at TBU also. And if you need Stockholm tips or want drinks with a local, let me know! The summer light is fabulous…I recommend end of June, beginning of July for the particularly long days and fun parties!

  13. Michael Figueiredo says:

    Wow! It sounds like you have an amazing year ahead of you! I’m envious 🙂 Have a great time!

  14. Tom says:

    Sweet – great plans way more than me! You’re so organised! I was in Portugal last year but I’m thinking of going back just for the sardine pate!!

    Otherwise I’ve got Scotland, Devon, Thailand and Majorca already sorted 🙂 happy planning

  15. Tamsin says:

    Even though I am currently travelling…reading this fills me with excitement!

    I also travelled the Balkans for 3 weeks last year – oh, no, not last year, 2010! I also stuck to three countries, but Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. I would definitely recommend Belgrade (easy to get to on an overnight bus from Sarajevo), and Mostar was something else!

  16. Kelly says:

    Sounds like it’s going to be an awesome year!

  17. I’ve been to several of those places and you’ll love em all. I miss Dubrovnik a lot too. Have fun, i look forwards to reading your stories…

  18. Jeremy B says:

    Wow! I’m really looking forward to your posts on India!

  19. Christine says:

    Holy moly what a year! You’ll be hitting up so many places I want to go. In Paris, you can’t go wrong with L’As du Falafel and Pozzetto: those are my two can’t misses whenever I go now!

  20. Incredible itinerary!!

  21. It’s an inspiration knowing that all your hard work pays off! Looks like another amazing year for you and, as always, I will be stalking you all along the way 😉

  22. So happy to see Portugal on your list – hope you get to go there this year! We didn’t know much about Portugal when we ended up there last year completely unexpected, and fell head over heels in love with the country!

    P.S. We’ll travel to Southern India in April/May, so we’re looking forward to your posts about it & will use them as a reference for sure 🙂

  23. Alyssa says:

    Absolutely amazing, Kate!
    When I saw on your facebook page that you were going to India, I screamed with excitement! 🙂

    I still have a year and a half left in Korea but I have a rough plan of travelling through India after my contract is up for 2 months. I am going to SE Asia in one week and your blog has helped me immensely while travel planning. I know without a doubt that I will use your blog while planning for India. Thank you! Cheers to 2012 and new adventures!

  24. Amanda says:

    Awesome, Kate! Your year seems like it’s shaping up to be pretty amazing!

    I’ll miss you in the Balkans (I won’t be in that area until July), but hopefully I can catch you in the UK in August! If not, I’m planning to add in a stopover in Iceland before heading over to Europe (probably early July)… maybe you should join me!! 😉

  25. Annie says:

    Seriously Kate, what an amazing year you have ahead! I can’t wait to read all about your adventures! I’m excited to see what you find in Portugal, it was one of my favorite countries and also one of the places that I felt I got to see on my own because I hadn’t heard much about other people that had traveled there.

    Enjoy it all, you deserve it after all your hard work!

  26. Lauren says:

    Sounds like you have another amazing year ahead of you!

    I’m starting to plan a trip to Iceland in June or July this year, and am hoping to go to Stockholm on my way up there. I went to Stockholm last year as part of a Russia-Scandi trip – we had two and a half days there, but there was so much to do in Stockholm that I missed out on seeing Drottningholm Palace! I love castles, so that’s definitely on my itinerary if all my planning turns out well!

  27. Sophie says:

    Have fun with it all. Shetland looks to be a very cool experience!

  28. “With three weeks, you can do a LOT in the Balkans…”.
    Not true.
    First time I went, I spent 3 weeks, second time I’ve spent 3 more, last time I’ve spent 2 weeks and this May I’m heading back because I still haven’t been in Macedonia…

  29. How exciting! You’re going to LOVE India. Let me know if I can offer any suggestions for you.

  30. E. says:

    LOVE THIS! Such a great year ahead. I will be sharing your tips on travelling alone on my blog today — i think you nailed them on the head! check it out at http://www.voyage-on.blogspot.com!

  31. jessie says:

    India is a beautiful country, you will love it! I spent 8 weeks in the New Delhi area a few summers ago, if you get a chance go up into the mountains in the northeast, stunning area and people! I have been reading your blog for 6ish months, and I love reading about your adventures! Also don’t discount The Taj, it is stunning and totally worth any hassles, it’s breath taking at sunset.

  32. Leslie says:

    I would love to experience Holi in India also! I just hope my budget will let me. 🙂
    But if not, I have plan to have my 2nd travel in Sri Lanka.
    I just started traveling and had my first in United Arab Emirates. Dubai is nice too!
    And also my country Philippines! There are more in the Philippines. You just need to explore it!
    Have a great year ahead.

    Happy trip to both of us!

  33. LivingIF says:

    Sounds like a very busy year, you will love the Shetland Islands. I (locavorista) lived in Scotland my junior year of college and loved heading north from Edinburgh whenever I had a long weekend. We will also be in India for Holi (we’ll be in New Delhi) before we head to Nepal. Yes, that India visa is a pain to get, we had to FedEx our passports home to get ours. It will be fun to read your adventures, cheers to 2012!

  34. Tom says:

    Wow, great plans Kate! I just did a similar post – I’m off to Prague, Poland (Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk) and Lithuania (Vilnius) in a couple of weeks. Hope to get some tropical beach time in once I start working back in Korea, too!

    I’ve never heard of the festival up in the Shetland Islands, sounds fun! The Balkans agh I’m SO jealous – I’d love to go, but right now it’s way too cold so that’ll have to wait! 2012 sounds like it’ll be a great year – can’t wait to follow your adventures!

  35. Mandy D. says:

    Hi Kate! I love reading about your adventures; your blog is so inspiring. I was thinking since you’re going to be in Philly this year, you should rent a car and take a road trip to my hometown, Pittsburgh. It’s a beautiful city with an interesting history, lovely museums and a thriving night life. Here’s to your 2012!

  36. Anthony says:

    MATE, my toes were curling with excitement for you, reading this. VERY exciting plans, especially India. I hope to meet you somewhere, some time this year but my travel plans are pretty flaky and random. Looking forward to reading about these bad-boys! 🙂

    • I hope so, too! Think you’ll make it back to Europe for TBU?

      • Anthony says:

        I honestly don’t know – I’m being pulled in all sorts of directions around that time, with regards to Asia; India and Nepal. My Thai visa last until May.

        With regards to Europe: the allure of: TBU in April, the European football championships in Poland/Ukraine in June, and a summer in Spain, as I’m sick of highlighting the British stereotype of not knowing another language than my mother tongue.

  37. Nicole says:

    If youre looking for India books – I’m sure everyone has told you to read Shantaram, and they’re right, its so good. Also if you liked Chiang Mai in Thailand you’ll love McLeod Ganj in India. I did.

  38. Yikes! You’re going to be one hard gal to keep up with! Very jealous of your India plans…

  39. Sounds like a great first half of the year ahead! I’ve been trying to make it to the Balkans FOREVER–was slated to do my thesis there in 2005/2006 when I was studying in Denmark, then got my first guidebook contract for Frommer’s and went to Spain instead. Ever since, I’ve been dying to go to Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, etc. And one of my students on Semester at Sea was from Serbia, so now I have even more a reason to make it that way and visit her!

  40. Alan Simpson says:

    This is wonderful stuff.
    I have long been getting inspiration from your travels and finally embarked with 3 young children (8, 6 & 2!) on a round the world tour for a year. We are currently trekking from Burma, through Thailand to Cambodia and then for a month up through Vietnam before heading to India – co-incidentally exactly the same time as you. We arrive in Mumbai in early March and head up to Rajastan before moving back the Europe at the end of March.
    Any travel tips, or if you are free to meet up, it would be great – you could do an article proving that travelling as a parent is just as much fun as when you are young free and single (and EVERYONE talks to you!)
    Feel free to check our blog http://www.fivetourists.com
    Thanks again for the inspiration.

  41. So jealous that you have all your plans pretty much in place. We have a lot of ideas and tentative discussions of where to go and what to do, but nothing set in stone yet. Your India trip looks particularly amazing (can’t wait to read about it, as it’s on our 2012 wish list as well), and that Viking festival sounds truly insane.

  42. monique says:

    What an exciting year of travel. I can’t believe you haven’t been to Paris in 5 years!! Truly one of my favorite places in the world.

  43. daniel says:

    Hey Kate, just kind of “stumbled” upon your blog and really have enjoyed my last hour or so reading your SE Asia posts BUT, the Cherry on top the cake is knowing you will be coming to Portugal. Mind You, i’m biased as I’m Portuguese…but I bet you will love it here. 2 tips: DO NOT come in July/August…it’s VERY hot and very crowded as it’s when 95% of Portuguese take they’re anual acation. Prices go up, beches are too crowded, trains, buses are more likely to be full. DO COME in either May/June or September – weather will be fabulous and it will be much easier to travel around. If you loved the crabs in Kep…U won’t believe how tasty our fish and seafood are. You will be amazed by how much there is to see, do and EAT, in such a small place and how different it is, from seaside to the interior, from North to South. And YES, don’t mis the Azores, it’s a must! Happy travelings!

  44. I’m guessing that every single one of these comments says something along the lines how jealous they all are, and I’m no different. Sooo jealous :p

    If you need any contacts for Iceland (because you have to go!), let me know. I was there in August and had an amazing time 😀

  45. Rachel says:

    I agree with you on the love for Paris, it is definitely my favourite city too, and I just can’t get enough of it! I look forward to reading your adventures this year – sounds like there will be a lot of them.

  46. Kristin M says:

    Your plans sound incredible! I can’t wait to read about your adventures!

  47. flipnomad says:

    wow sounds like a lot of destinations this year 🙂 ive been to Paris only once and I love it 🙂

  48. Ryan Brown says:

    You are heading to so many places this year! So gnarly. I know I have only been traveling for two months now, but a the end of the year I’m sure I’ll be hooked and my list will be quite long too. I’ll be here in New Zealand for a year, but after October I plan on hitting Australia and South East Asia for starters. Can’t wait to see some posts from these amazing destinations =)

  49. Erica says:

    That is a pretty awesome list you have there lady!

    Maybe see you in Iceland? We’re hopefully going to be in Munich for Oktoberfest for my 30th. 😛

  50. Jhon Adam says:

    India is also one of beautiful places in world visit India once and spend a nice time……..

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