1) 2013 Year in Review for Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel
2013 was my seventh consecutive year of traveling around the world. It was also a difficult year for me, health-wise. I struggled with a bad left knee and hip and a horrible bout of food poisoning that left me exhausted for weeks afterward. Through it all I continued to travel, visiting 12 countries between April and December. It became apparent that, for me, the optimum length of time to travel is three months, rather than perpetually moving from place to place. The other thing that became abundantly clear is that I really detest crowds, which means I dislike traveling during high season. Because of this, I’ve decided to change the way I travel. My goal is to travel in the spring, stay in one place during the two busiest summer tourist months, travel again in the fall, and settle in a warm place during the three winter months. I began that plan this year; from mid-October to mid-December I rented an apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand. However, I haven’t yet decided on my summer destination. I’m searching for a place that has decent infrastructure, good cultural amenities, access to organic and vegetarian food, a low cost of living, and weather that’s not too hot. I spent most of the summer and fall of 2013 traveling around Eastern Europe in search of that perfect place. Though I totally enjoyed Hungary, Romania, and Poland, it was Bulgaria that really captured my interest. The capital, Sofia, is an intriguingly cosmopolitan city and the country is more Mediterranean in nature than Eastern European. I’ve only seen about half of Eastern Europe, so the search continues, but Bulgaria is certainly on the top of my list, especially since it’s extremely affordable. At the moment I’m back in the States, spending a bit of time with my elderly father during the worst of the winter months. It’s brutally cold, but worth braving for the opportunity to be with my family.
2) What to Expect from Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel in 2014
2014 promises to be a very exciting year! Slowing down at the end of last year helped me to recover my stamina, so I feel completely ready to hit the road again in February. First, the beginning of March is my seven-year anniversary of traveling and blogging, and I’ll soon be launching a brand new, updated design for my blog. About the same time, I’ll be announcing a promotion for my readers that will provide an opportunity for them to support a deserving charity, while also having an opportunity to win a $3,300 travel prize package. And I’ll be publishing my very first ebook, “Nepal for Non-Trekkers,” during the first quarter of the year. On the travel end of things, I’ll be doing some things that have long been at the top of my travel wish list, including taking an Arctic cruise around the northern tip of Norway, where I hope to fulfill my lifelong dream of seeing the Northern Lights. Additionally, I’ll be attending Winter Carnival in Dusseldorf, Germany; visiting the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy; eating my way through Sicily; island-hopping in Greece; watching the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain; driving around Ireland; exploring several more countries in Eastern Europe; and visiting the ancient temples of mystical Myanmar, among other things. I’m looking forward to a great year and to bringing my readers more first-person stories about the places I visit and the fascinating people I meet.
Click on this link to check out Barbara’s travel blog Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel