Reflections Travel

Where Next? My 2018 Travel Plans

January 16, 2018

The answer is… not all that much!

(Aha, clickbait! Gotcha!)

Just kidding. Kinda.

The real answer is… not much, yet!

Man, how far we’ve come since I wrote this post over a year ago while sitting in Nepal watching Trump win the election. I was trying to figure out how to make money to keep traveling, hanging out with an Englishman named Marko, and internally debating if I would, in fact, enjoy a five-day hike in the Himalayas…

Okay, so maybe we haven’t come that far. Though I’m no longer in that “I don’t know where I’ll be a week from now and everything I own is sandy” stage, I’m still taking this freelance-and-travel thing about a month at a time. It’s too tough to plan more than that! And it certainly keeps things interesting…

Jungle Train Taman Negara Malaysia - Travel Plans 2018

ahh, the good ‘ol days of Thai beer tank tops in sweaty jungles with friends we met on the train.

Right Now

I’m back in England at the moment in Marko’s little village of Shotteswell. Our only plans are to maybe go to the pub, book the massage he got me for Christmas, meet up with some of his friends for beers, see a rugby match, and ummm, do some puzzles and play some games around the house?

I’m currently wearing my bathrobe for whole days while I work and before we head to the gym in the evenings. (Uh, why would I waste clothes if I’m not going anywhere?!)

But time is already flying and I’m off in 10 days!

Travel Plans for 2018 - Trailing Rachel

Okay, so really. I do have some stuff booked.

At the end of January, I’m flying to Madrid to stay with my friend Mary Clare who’s living there while teaching. The plan is to spend a week working during the day and hanging out when she’s free. Obviously, the real goal of this trip is to eat a ton of tapas and drink lots of €3 glasses of red wine. I’m pumped to go back to some of the same spots where I took my mom last summer. (They’re still marked on my Google Maps and I keep looking at food pics. Hello, all the ham.)

On February 1st, I fly to Budapest where Marko and I have a great Airbnb booked for the whole month!

Nope, I’ve never been to Budapest before, but I’m just betting that I’m gonna like it. Everyone I’ve spoken to loves it, and I’ve got a good feeling about it. A beautiful city with affordable food, thermal baths, ruin bars, and great architecture – why not?! Wish me luck on figuring out how to watch the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and college basketball!

Travel Plans for 2018 - Trailing Rachel

option #875: go back to the malaysian rainforest and commence life as carefree backpacker again. oh, but with what money?

But Like, Then What?

As of March 1st, I have no plans! The world is my oyster! Okay, not really the whole world. We’re thinking of sticking around the continent (ya know, as opposed to the British Isles) and maybe getting another longterm rental for a month.

Right now, we’re hoping to keep it cheap in Central or Eastern Europe and explore somewhere new, so maybe Prague, Krakow, Wroclaw, Belgrade, or well… who knows?! But for some reason, Poland is realllly calling my name. I hear they have vodka and pierogi tours. And once I get something stuck in my head, I tend to latch onto it real hard. In fact, you might say I become “obsessive.”

Spoiler: I really want to go to Krakow. Marko is probably gonna go skiing with his friends in Austria for a week in March, but as that’s not really my cup of tea (I’m a very average skier at best)… nor is an all-inclusive chalet in the Alps in my budget (because it’ll be just before paying taxes in April), so I think I’ll sit that one out and maybe just eat pierogies in the Jewish Quarter somewhere by myself… or ya know, do something analogous.

Either way, food will be involved in the desination planning.

But I’m open to suggestions for Europe in March, so PLEASE leave me a comment if you have any ideas!

We’d also like to go see some of his Dutch family in the Netherlands, with maybe a little weekend fun in Amsterdam thrown in. Just for a week or so…

Travel Plans for 2018 - Trailing Rachel

thanks to Tina, I finally have some pics of me in Portugal with me IN them!

Okay, I lied. I have one more plan.

Since my mom is a school nurse and she can’t seem to sit still either, she’s booked a flight to London for her spring break during the first week of April. (Plus, Raleigh has direct flights to London so that’s convenient!) I’ll be meeting up with her and my aunt for a week of pubs, food tours, and English stuff. We’ll attempt to find ways to explore the city on the cheap. I’ve loved London the past few times I’ve visited – though it’s mostly been hanging with Marko’s friends – so I’m excited to explore more.

After the first week of April, I TRULY have no plans! But remember, I’ve got to figure out how to ration my 90 days in the Schengen Area of Europe. That’s the visa restriction that keeps us Americans from just relocating to Europe permanently. I’d like to have enough days left to pop back over (to Italty perhaps?) for a few weeks of spring and summer too.

Luckily, the UK (and Ireland) aren’t included in that list of countries, so I could stay in England for a while… or head to other European countries like Croatia, Romania, or Bulgaria that are outside the Schengen. And I did really dig the Dalmatian Coast and Sofia.

Travel Plans for 2018 - Trailing Rachel

Brainstorming for the Future

The truth is I don’t really know where I’ll end up. I’m just going to throw some ideas out here. In terms of travel plans, here are some of my other potential options for the year. Or at least what’s swimming around in my brain right now:

– Krakow for a month. Stay in Kazimierz, the old Jewish Quarter. It’s filled with great restaurants, hip bars, pubs, and vodka and pickled herring joints, and it’s super cheap!

– Get myself to Bologna, Italy – preferably in the spring when the cafe culture really ramps up. Eat all the food from Master of None. This is high on the list. It is #1 for me.

– Go to Portugal… again. God, I loved it that much. But when it’s warm.

– Hang out in London when it’s actually sunny. Have lots of outside beers.

– Make it back to the US for at least part of the summer. Man, my temperament really revolves around the temperature outside, doesn’t it? Spend lots of time in Beaufort. Being home for the 4th of July would be nice…

– Plan a big, ridiculous 30th birthday party – or at least a birthday vacay event of some sort – in May with my best friends – and anybody else who wants to join – in an as yet unknown location. Italy? Hvar? Colombia? Mexico? Will fly far for this. I’m open to changing hemispheres.

– Go to South America? It is a quick flight from North Carolina to Cartagena after all.

– Central America has also been on my radar for a while now. I’d like to get a little shack in Utila, Honduras and do nothing but work, beach it, and scuba dive. I’d actually like to be there right now…

– Oh, and just because I’m constantly thinking about it – Southeast Asia is always in the cards for me. Will someone just please take me back to the Philippines already?! Or Vietnam. I’m really open to that whole area.

– The Balkans were super intriguing and I’d head back there in a heartbeat. Bulgaria. Montenegro. Kosovo. Croatia. Albania. I dunno.

Travel Plans for 2018 - Trailing Rachel

travel resolution: eat more meals this good… and go easier on the booze at dinner so you can enjoy it to the fullest

I’m sure I’ll laugh at this later when I reread it like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, do less, you crazy. You’re going to make it to literally two or three of these places, max… or something that’s not even on the list! Remember that time you went to Macedonia? Yeah. Totally unplanned. So stop googling pictures of food in other countries and get back to work.”

So that’s it. Basically, 2018 is very unclear. I’m open to suggestions.

If you have any ideas on where I should go in Europe for the month of March or if you’ve ever been to Poland, please help me out!



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  • Reply Tempesst January 16, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    You’re going to loveee Krakow so definitely make it there. It’s exactly as you describe it: hip, with delicious and cheap food and drinks. Vodka that is both cheap (literally $1 shots) AND tasty is a dangerously awesome combination. I recommend getting pierogis at Przypiecek, you can get a plate of 10 for about $3-4 USD if I remember correctly.

    ALSO, I begin my post grad trip the last week of August and I have no idea where I’m going yet but we must meet up at some point!!! So many ideas running through my head: South America, Central Asia, back to the Balkans, Southeast Asia (always).
    Tempesst recently posted…Life in Maine: Highs and LowsMy Profile

    • Reply Rachel January 17, 2018 at 5:28 am

      AWESOME. Okay, you have pretty much confirmed my expectations about Krakow. I’ve already started looking at apartments and saving restaurants to my map. Is it bad that I love cheap places this much? $1 shots, oh man…

      Definitely keep in touch about your trip! I should still be floating around out here somewhere! Hope school is going great, gonna check out your latest post now!
      Rachel recently posted…Where Next? My 2018 Travel PlansMy Profile

  • Reply Carly January 17, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Budapest is amazing! I only had four days there this summer, I am so jealous you’re getting to spend a month there! We had a lot of fun hanging out in the ruin pubs every night, not sure what those will be like in February. And one of the highlights for us was the Labirintus (Budapest Labyrinth) on Castle Hill. It is hilarious and also totally terrifying. It is a little on the spendy side too, but we had so much fun getting lost in “Dracula’s dungeon” that it was well worth the price. One thing we didn’t do because it was way too hot, was hit up a proper thermal bath. A cheaper one that I was going to visit is Kiraly Medicinal Bath, my friends raved about it when they visited. Can’t wait to see your photos on the gram!

  • Reply Whitney Shankland January 18, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Southeast Asia is in my short-term travel goals. Would LOVE to plan to meet you there!!

  • Reply Barb January 19, 2018 at 9:07 am


  • Reply Sue T. January 19, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Hey Rachel, the Dalmatian Coast has been on my bucket list for years. Dubrovnik tops it. Plz go so I can vicariously live through you.

    • Reply Rachel January 31, 2018 at 9:33 am

      Hey Sue T! I’ve actually been to Dubrovnik! (And Hvar and Split in Croatia.) I LOVED the Croatian coast, but man, Dubrovnik was just PACKED when I went and it was a bit of a letdown. That could be because I’m not a huge Game of Thrones Fan though… It is absolutely beautiful.

  • Reply Katie January 21, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Travel-wise, it’s win-win-win (win-win), right? Nothing but amazing choices here!

    As for the Super Bowl, look for nflstreams on reddit. First year I’ve followed a whole NFL season after years of being abroad, a luxury!

  • Reply Luminita February 1, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Hello Rachel. Your idea off traveling to countries outside the Schengen area such as Romania and Bulgaria is something worth considering. The spring/summer season is the best time to visit, since you can opt for going to the beach or hiking, or visiting castles and fortresses, or just enjoying city life. There are plenty of options.

  • Reply Bali Wellness Retreat & Bali Yoga Travel February 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Let me know if you go back to Bali!

  • Reply Justine February 24, 2018 at 5:13 am

    Ahaha, I feel like this blog post is what goes on in my brain whenever I start thinking about travel. Also, I vote for Vietnam because I’m still not sick of the food and I’ve been here two months!! Also, Colombia because arepas… and it’s amazing.
    Justine recently posted…7 Stunning Islands to Add to Your Southeast Asia Bucket ListMy Profile

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