Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Where I’m Going This Spring and Summer

64

It’s been three and a half weeks since I returned to my home in Chester, England, after my month in Spain and Portugal. 

And those three and a half weeks have been far from relaxing — Dave and I just finished moving into a new house with our friend Collette.  A word to the wise: if there’s a gap in between your leases, pay more to stay longer.  Moving twice is not fun.

The house is just a block away from our old place in Chester, but it’s SO much nicer – it’s filled with beautiful decor and looks like a French country home, complete with a working fireplace, hardwood floors, a washer/dryer, and a dishwasher.

A DISHWASHER!!  I’ve never had a dishwasher in my adult life!

But I digress.  While this is a lovely place to spend my time, I have some exciting travel plans for this spring and summer.

April through July is going to be one of my busiest stretches ever as a travel blogger.  Am I overdoing it?  Indeed I am!  We’ll see how long it takes for me to burn out.

Here are the destinations of my upcoming travels:

Umbria, Italy

My travels begin this Thursday – I’m heading to Assisi in the region of Umbria, Italy, for the Travel Bloggers Unite conference!  TBU Innsbruck was such a blast, and I’m looking forward to seeing my travel blogger friends, meeting new ones, networking like crazy, and learning more about our ever-growing industry.

This will actually be my third time in Assisi, but my first time exploring Umbria in depth.  After the conference, I’ll be going on a food- and wine-centric blog trip through the Umbrian countryside.

New York, Philadelphia, and Boston

Back to America for the first time since January!  I’ll fly from Rome to New York City and will be spending a few days with my sister at her new uptown apartment.

Next up, I’ll grab the Megabus to Philadelphia.  I’ve never been a fan of this city, but I’m here for a big occasion: my college roommate Kelly Anne’s wedding!  I’m thrilled to see my dear friend tie the knot, as well as have fun with my Fairfield friends (particularly the one with a baby in her belly!).

The morning after, I’ll be taking the train up to Boston, where I will be spending a bit over two weeks with my family, and hopefully celebrating Cinco de Mayo in style with my best friend, Beth.  (I’m still convinced that there’s no good Mexican food outside North America, so I gorge when I’m home.)

I’ll also be driving up to tax-free New Hampshire (LIVE FREE OR DIE, BABY!) and swapping the super-slow Acer netbook I bought in Bali for a sleek MacBook Air.  For me, this is a necessity — I can’t do a lot of the work that I want to do because my current computer isn’t equipped to do much more than surf the web.

Iceland

I’m pleased to announce that I have partnered with Visit Iceland to explore this dramatic country — and show that Iceland is a fantastic destination for solo female travelers.

This will probably be the most adventurous five-day stretch I’ve ever had.  On the schedule: hiking a glacier and ice climbing; horseback riding; crawling through lava caves; and snorkeling Silfra, the rift between the European and American continental plates.

There’s also the Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik’s city sights, eating strange foods (puffin!), and I still have one day without any plans – so I’m looking for one more cool activity!  A scenic tour, perhaps?

England

Chester is still my base, and now that we’ve moved into a beautiful new house, it makes me want to curl up on the plush white couch, light a fire in the fireplace, and drink cups of tea for eternity – but during the next few months, I’ll only be in and out of Chester for a few days at a time.

Cross your fingers for successful UK border crossings.

Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro

After dreaming about this region for years, I’m finally making it to the Balkans – and I’m bringing Dave with me!  We’ll be traveling together for three weeks, and this is actually our first lengthy getaway since we met in Vietnam over a year ago.

Our first week will begin in Pula in Croatia’s Istria region.  Istria is very similar to Italy and home to beautiful beaches and hill towns.  We plan to explore this area by motorbike, just as we did in Vietnam!  Next, we head to the gorgeous Plitivice Lakes, and then we finish the week with a night in Split.

Our second week comes courtesy of my partnership with Busabout – we will be cruising from Split to Dubrovnik!  The cruise takes in several islands along the Dalmatian Coast, including Korcula, Mljet, and Hvar (where I will be on nonstop Blue Ivy watch – Beyonce and Jay-Z go there every year!).

I’m very happy to be working with Busabout again – I’m a huge fan of their trips and their company.  Sailing through the crystal-clear Adriatic with my handsome boyfriend and a ton of new friends, stopping off to jump into the water or hike through fields of lavender or party in a cave club — that sounds like my version of pure heaven.

As soon as we dock in Dubrovnik, Dave and I are heading straight to Sarajevo.  After a few days, we’ll be visiting Mostar, Bosnia, and then Kotor, Montenegro.  Hopefully there will be a whitewater rafting trip in there somewhere, possibly in Montenegro’s Tara Canyon.  We fly back to Manchester from Dubrovnik.

Faroe Islands

If you’re a fan of my site on Facebook, you’ve already heard – I’m heading to the Faroe Islands this June!  Thanks to Faroe Islands Tourism, I will be visiting perhaps my most offbeat destination yet.

Ever since visiting Shetland this winter, I’ve wanted to head further north and visit these isolated islands – they lie in the North Sea between Iceland, Norway, and Scotland, and are technically part of Denmark.

Due to their isolation, the Faroese have maintained a unique culture that very few outsiders get to see.  I’m also looking forward to photographing the island – they seem to have the raw, cold, rugged beauty that I loved so much in Shetland, only sprinkled with technicolor houses!

Visiting isolated, rarely visited places makes me happy — and I can’t wait to see what these islands have in store for me.

Augsburg, Germany

If you’ve traveled with me at any given time, I’ve told you at least one story involving my fellow partier in crime, Josh.    Well, Josh is marrying a German this July and moving from Boston to Bavaria!

Augsburg is a canal-filled university city a short distance from Munich.  It’s also the beginning of Germany’s Romantic Road, a string of perfect storybook villages.  I can’t wait to help Josh celebrate his wedding in such a beautiful setting.

Stockholm, Sweden

A few months ago, I found out that I won a trip to Sweden from Visit Sweden at the World Travel Market conference this fall!  Dave and I will be taking this trip during the UK’s bank holiday weekend at the end of August.  We get three nights in Stockholm, which I hope will be enough time to explore this beautiful city.  And sample some smorgasbords.

Since the flights depart from London, we might build in a mini London getaway as well.  Both of us have a ton of friends there and it would be nice to get everyone together!

The Maybes

There are two possibilities that may or may not happen: San Fermines in Pamplona, Spain, and the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Sun Also Rises is my favorite book of all time, and since it takes place at San Fermines, I’ve been wanting to experience this festival (the Running of the Bulls!) for a decade now.  Plus, tons of my travel blogger friends will be there this year.

If I leave directly from Munich after Josh’s wedding, I’ll be in time for the middle of the festival.  And if I went to Pamplona, I’d also like to build in some beach time down the road in San Sebastian.  The Basque Country is a region very high on my list, for the beaches, the cuisine, and yes – the language, which is unrelated to any other living language in the world.

As for the second potential trip, believe it or not, my 28th birthday this August will be the first time I’ve celebrated my birthday abroad!  To commemorate this special occasion, I may head to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival, which starts the day after.

But if neither of these trips come to fruition, I’ll be fine with that.  I’ve been pushing myself very hard lately, and it might be a smart idea to back off from the travel and spent more time working.

Whatever happens, I’ll be publishing a LOT of great travel content for you here.  And now:

What would you like me to write about this summer?  Tell me what you’d like to read about on the site!

Images from top: Un ragazzo chiamato Bi, Kate McCulley, Stuck in Customs, Kate McCulley, photographerglenOrvarpilot_michaClaudia.Ar, oscarhm

Comments

64 Responses to “Where I’m Going This Spring and Summer”
  1. Amanda says:

    Wow Kate, you are gonna be one busy traveler this spring and summer!! That’s so exciting, though. I can’t wait to read all about it, especially some of your Europe adventures!

  2. Wow! Sounds like an exciting spring/ summer, Kate. Looking forward to reading about your Balkans posts – I’d love to visit Croatia one day. For now, living vicariously through you. ;)

  3. Betti says:

    that’s one hectic schedule! I think the only place on your list I’ve been to is the Plitvice waterfalls and Split. it’s a horribly steep and winding mountain road descending from there to the coast. we were hitch-hiking around there right after the war and still saw houses shot to pieces in the area. also were told not to stray off the paths near the lakes because there could be landmines. the entire coast was so deserted and struggling to get back on its feet, with only a trickle of visitors. must be so different now! too bad I don’t think I will never have the funds to travel in Europe again. too old for hitch-hiking and sleeping on the bare rocks on the beach!
    what should you write about? whatever feels good :-)

    • I bet it was unreal right after the war, Betti. I have actually heard that about land mines as well — they’re pretty much gone at Plitivice, but you need to be careful nonetheless. Can’t wait for the beaches either. :-)

  4. bex says:

    you are going to *LOVE* Iceland! Definitely hit up the Blue Lagoon, and plan to spend time there!

    we went to the geysirs and gullfoss waterfall, which are gorgeous and shouldn’t be missed.

    we also did a funky tour about gnomes, elves, trolls and ghosts…the Icelandic very much believe in all of those and have amazing folklore surrounding it.

    Sounds like a busy but exciting spring and summer — can’t wait to read all about it!

    • I remember how much you loved it! Thanks for the gnome tour — I actually started Googling it after I read your comment. I don’t think I’ll be doing one myself (I’m now leaning toward a south coast tour for my free day), but my sister is going to Iceland a week before me and I’m having her cover some different activities as a correspondent for the blog. Between both of us, there could be a month of unique Iceland content!

  5. Rachael says:

    Sounds amazing! I’m so looking forward to your Iceland and Croatia posts. I’m off to Croatia in July and seriously cannot wait. I think you need to throw in another experience into your plan…the last Wednesday of August every year is a crazy food fight called Tomatina in Bunol, Spain. Absolutely one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. I’m sure you’ve heard about it before. So so so so so recommended! Shame on me for now posting about it yet!! Maybe I still wanna keep it secret hehehe

    • Hahaha, I have heard of La Tomatina, Rachael! It’s always been on my list, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do it this year — it will likely clash with our Sweden trip. A bunch of travel bloggers went last year or the year before.

  6. Katie says:

    Hello Kate!

    I found your website through our mutual friend Julianne, and it’s excellent.

    I highly recommend the train ride between Sarajevo and Mostar– it’s stunningly beautiful, through mountains and emerald valleys and turquoise lakes… really just divine.

    And Plitvice is unreal.

    Enjoy Boston summertime– that’s my city. If you want any fun suggestions (especially for the Cambridge-Somerville area) let me know!

    • Thanks so much, Katie!

      Thanks for the train recommendation — we’re taking so many long bus trips that it will be nice to take a train for a bit. I love scenic train rides. :-)

      I used to live in Davis Square — it’s only been a few years, but it’s changed SO much since…it’s the new Harvard Square now!

  7. Caty says:

    I have been following your blog for quite some time now but I´m only now delurking. =) I can´t wait to read about all those places. Really happy for you that you get to see them. But I would vote for Edinburgh. I have been there 3 years ago during the Fringe festival and not only is the city incredibly beautiful its amazing with all the artists and shows happening in the streets and don´t miss the Military Tattoo. If you don´t know what it is please google it. I have traveled a lot but I never experienced anything more amazing. But I am sure you will have a fantastic time wherever you decide to go.

    • Welcome, dear lurker! I’ve heard of the military tattoo — it looks really cool. And I love Edinburgh so much and would love to see it when it’s at its best. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll make Dave take me as a birthday present. ;-)

  8. Can’t wait to hear about your Croatia trip. Clearly I’m obsessed with the place and can’t say enough good things about that trip. Are you doing one way sail or round trip? I did round trip and liked it. I recommend Silver Gate Hostel in Split and the Split Pub Crawl! There are so many good cheap bars there, not to mention gelato, wine and LOTS of meat and potatoes. Enjoy!

  9. Very very exciting, Kate! Looks like we’re going to some of the same places this summer- I’ll also be in Stockholm and am going to San Fermin to run with the bulls! See you there, hopefully.. ;-)

    I’ve been to a few of the places on your list: I did a long layover in Iceland a couple of years ago and loved it. I also went sailing in Croatia two summers ago- you surely will love it. Make sure you load up on all the great food; cevapcici and mixed grill are so tasty!

    I’ll also be partnering up with Busabout this summer and doing their Scandi Baltic tour- I know you’ve had great experiences with them so I am super excited about working with them and checking out that region as well! Looking forward to your posts about the Balkans, I haven’t made it to that corner of Europe as yet.

    Enjoy! And if you make it to London sometime this summer, let me know! I live here and would love to me you!

    • That would be cool if we ran into each other in Pamplona!

      You’re the first person to mention Croatian food. I’ve heard it’s mostly meh Italianish food, so it’s good to hear there’s some good stuff.

      I know the tour you’re talking about — it looks like a good one! So many countries. And I’ve heard those overnight ferries are insane party boats.

      Will keep you updated on London. :-)

  10. Lauren says:

    Looking forward to your posts about Iceland! I’m going there in July and can’t wait – everyone I’ve spoken to who’s been says it’s absolutely amazing there.

  11. The Faroe Islands look amazing! I had never even heard of it until then.

    Also, friends of mine drove through the Balkans last summer and loved it!

  12. It all sounds amazing! I actually just wrote about my trip to Croatia back in 2006 and how it was the first place I really fell in love with – hopefully you’ll like it too. I didn’t know that Beyonce and Jay-Z were Hvar fans, but considering what a great place it is, I can believe it.

    Happy travels, can’t wait to read all about it, especially the Faroe Islands!

  13. Definitely an action packed summer Kate…Look forward to tagging along here as always!

  14. Annie says:

    come to Brooklyn when you are in New York!

  15. Hectic schmectic! These plans sound fantastic!

    Mostar is amazingly beautiful. Make sure you visit the big church (Cathedral of Saint Domnius) in Split.

  16. I lived 3 months in Montenegro so I think you’ll love it!! If you have a chance to spend a lazy afternoon in the town of Perast (just outside of Kotor) I highly recommend you do! Wonderful! Happy travels! : )

  17. Ish says:

    Iceland! Crotia! FRINGE FESTIVAL! I’m so envious :)

  18. Exciting plans, but I am getting a bit dizzy just reading about all the things you’re packing in ;-) Hope you won’t be burned out after the summer – but it seems you have a great base now to relax after all your trips – having a fireplace in the fall in England: AWESOME! :) Looking forward to reading about all your adventures – the Faroe Islands must be gorgeous, we’d love to go there one day as well.

    • It’s pretty much going to be nonstop until mid-July, and then I’ll be able to relax for a few weeks! And I didn’t think about having a fireplace in the fall — that will be so nice. :-)

  19. Exciting summer! I was in Split and Hvar a couple of weeks ago, unfortunately only for a long weekend, but they were both beautiful. I look forward to reading about your experiences there and in the rest of Croatia. Also, Iceland has been on my bucket list for a while! Friends have been and said it’s like nothing else. Enjoy!

  20. Jess says:

    Iceland is awesome! We were there in January. All the touristy things are worth it: Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon, glacier hiking. Just don’t eat the whale. Ick.

  21. Kia says:

    Iceland is our first stop on our ATW trip starting in June. Hope we see you there!

  22. The Faroe Islands sound like such a fun adventure! What a spot – set apart and spunky.

    Looking forward to meeting you at TBU – looks like we’ll be sharing the shuttle ride tomorrow : )

  23. Ayngelina says:

    Saying that you are busy is a massive understatement, you are everywhere!

  24. Sounds like a full itinerary. Can’t wait to read your dispatches from the road, especially the Faroe Islands.

  25. Rob says:

    Very cool, have fun!

  26. What a busy schedule. I’m dying to check out Iceland. And I’m amazed you’ve been working on a Netbook!

  27. monique says:

    What a great itinerary? But when will you have time to unpack your new digs?

  28. me says:

    Go to the Azores!

  29. Ava Apollo says:

    I’m so curious about Iceland. It’s crazy how even a few years ago it wasn’t really a big travel destination, and now it’s on everyone’s radar! It seems completely different. Can’t wait to see pics.

  30. Waegook Tom says:

    Ahh lots of babies and birthdays and weddings! Sounds lovely! I wish my friends would start getting married and knocked-up!

    Your plans sound amazing, Kate – I’m looking forward to seeing what you make of the Balkans and the Faroe Islands especially. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever read a single blog post about the Faroe Islands, so yours may well be the first I read, unless another pesky blogger gets their first haha ;)

    As for Iceland – try some hákarl, the fermented shark dish. From what I’ve read, it sounds like the durian of the meat world. My stomach’s getting queasy just typing this.

  31. I am jealous of all your locations. I have a huge love affair with Europe and even though I’ve been to 15 countries, there are so many more that I want to see. I am a big fan of Eastern Europe and the UK – those are my top destinations. So I would love to see Montenegro, Bosnia, England, and Scotland.

    Hope you have a great time on your trips! Just remember to take a little time for yourself and relax a little bit as well while traveling! :)

  32. Nicole says:

    Wow, some big travel plans going on – can’t wait to read about all of them. Can you not claim a MacBook Air duty free in the UK though? Collect the tax when you leave on a trip? (Sure you’ve thought about it but hey! it’s another possible options.)

    I would love if you ran with the bulls with us in Pamplona and I may be heading up to Edinburgh for the Fringe festivals. Hopefully we will run into each other on the road again. :)

  33. Shannon says:

    I seriously can’t wait to read about all these places, Kate! What a fantastic summer it’s going to be for you!

    I loved seeing you this weekend and getting to catch up a bit. Safe travels!

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