On rounding up 2019, I am reminded what a privilege it is to be able to travel. Not everybody gets the chance to see the world. Travel is an incredible education that I don’t take for granted. For this reason, I am starting the round-up by sharing details of FLYTE, The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education. This is a nonprofit organization that empowers students living in underserved communities through transformative travel experiences. It was founded by one of my favourite travel bloggers, Nomadic Matt and you can make a donation to FLYTE here.
My 2019 travel bucket list included the north of New Zealand, Borubudur, Luang Prang, Lombok and Hawaii. I managed to tick three off the list and they all more than lived up to expectation.
We rang in the New Year in Phuket, where we struggled to stay up to midnight, following a lazy day in the sun and a Thai feast. We returned to Singapore loaded down with goodies we’d found in a local Aladdin’s cave.
Our feet were kept on the ground for the first four months of 2019. It wasn’t till April that we jetted away to beautiful Lombok, an Indonesian island. We stayed at the Hotel Tugu Lombok, a boutique resort which houses the owner’s extensive antique collection. Snorkelling the Gili islands, we saw vibrant coral and colourful fish plus some big turtles to ogle.
In May, I managed to sneak away for a trip to Mallorca with a gaggle of school friends to celebrate 40. We stayed in a beautiful farmhouse and spent a few precious days guzzling rose, exploring local beaches and catching up.
For our annual summer roadtrip, we chose Hawaii. We spent two weeks, splitting our time between Oahu and Maui. I loved Hawaii – the delicious food, people and fun activities for kids. It’s strange to think this tropical paradise in the middle of the Pacific is part of the USA. Hawaii is enormous and I had no idea we’d cover such a small part of it. I’m looking forward to returning one day to Kauai and the Big Island.
We spent the second half of the summer catching up with family and friends in London. Highlights included introducing the kids to Camden market and my mum’s 70th birthday tea at Cliveden.
In October we took Jetlag & Mayhem to Sydney for the first time to visit friends. We then headed up north on a mini roadtrip, visiting Newcastle and Port Macquarie. Our highlight was visiting the Koala Hospital, a charity dedicated to saving and conserving these gorgeous marsupials. Several weeks after our visit, New South Wales was affected by severe bush fires. The Rural Fire Service estimates the bush fires have destroyed 2.9 million hectares more than 2,000 koalas have already died along the east coast. These fires continue to rage on throughout Australia. If you are interested in supporting the volunteer firefighters through donation, the Guardian has a helpful roundup.
In November, Mr Jetlag & I escaped for a kid free minibreak to explore the temple of Borobudur. Well I say explore the temple, but the real reason was to stay at the famed Amanjiwo. Borobudur is located on Indonesia’s Java, a two hour flight from Singapore. I highly recommend this minibreak for those seeking culture with a spot of luxury.
I write to you, finishing up the year in Sri Lanka on our annual family get together. This has been a traumatic year for Sri Lanka, following the multiple bombings at Easter. Locals say that tourists are still in low supply and business has been a struggle. We had made our Sri Lanka booking before the bombs and felt it was important to visit, spend our tourist dollars and support the local economy. I’d like to end this round-up by pointing you in the direction of the Anita, Alex & Annabel Nicholson Memorial Fund. They tragically lost their life in the Sri Lanka bombings. Alex and Annabel were students at my daughters’ school in Singapore. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and I urge you to continue in your support of tourism here.