Now that December is in full swing and the elves are hard at work, I can't help but find myself really jealous of all the travellers who are going home for Christmas. I know that for me it would be impossible - I don't want to spend a fortune on going home when I have been working and saving so hard for my next adventures, and I'm slap bang in the middle of completing my regional work for my second year visa. Short term pleasure vs long term gain, it's just not worth it when I know I will be seeing everyone at home in just six months. I'm not actually homesick, just gutted I'm missing out on all the festive fun - the advent calendars, the decorating the house and tree, finding amazing presents and wrapping them up, Michel Buble on the radio, cheeseboards every night because why not? And all of the mince pies. I love Christmas, I go all out decorating and making everything special for the people I love. Everyone is always so happy even when the weather is rubbish, there's Christmas drinks with friends, nights in front of the TV watching Christmas specials, days of baking and preparing the festive feast and so much more. So yeah, I'm pretty gutted I'm missing out on all of that. I am intrigued by what an outback Christmas will be like, but it doesn't outweigh missing a traditional English Christmas - it's just not a big enough deal here!
But keeping in the festive spirit, I thought I would write my letter to Santa, to let him know that the greatest gift I could have this Christmas would be to spend it at home getting drunk with my mum and eating all the cheese, watching Frozen with my sister and decorating the Christmas tree with my dad. I know that this year it just won't be possible, so if I can't have that, the only thing that would make me happy is the opportunity to travel. In this case, the Santa I am writing to is Travelex, a travel money exchange company who have asked me to participate in their festive bloggers competition to win your dream holiday. They asked me to write all about my dream holiday, which naturally got me all excited thinking about all the amazing destinations I have on my bucket list - so many stood out to me as ones that I never stop thinking or talking about. There was my daydreams about going to Sziget Festival in the centre of Budapest, Hungary, and after dancing my heart out to amazing acts, having the opportunity to explore a city that has been at the centre of my thoughts for a long time. The stunning buildings and amazing history, combined with great food is always a winner for me. But then, there was the trip to Morocco that edged it's way into my subconscious - I went years ago and hated my experience of the country but reading more about it over the years has made me eager to return and to try and change my feelings. The vibrancy and spice of the culture and the amazing shopping just seems to good to miss out on. Plus I would love to experience the desert after seeing what the Australian outback is like - why not take it one step further and check out the African desert?But there is one place that has really captured my imagination for several years now - since long before I became a blogger or decided to travel the world solo. I have always travelled a lot with my family, friends and partners, but I have never been on a cold weather holiday and it is something I have always wanted to try. I'll be honest and say I'm definitely a warm weather gal - I'm made for the heat, the humidity and the beach. Asia and Australia have been my heaven, but there is so much I have yet to experience in the opposite climate. The one cold weather destination that really gets me excited, and it seems to have a similar effect on other travellers as it has become something of the destination of the year, is Iceland. This stunning country offers everything I could want from a cold weather break and much, much more. Here I would have the incredible opportunity to see amazing landscapes with geysers, mountains, snow and ice; there's something so raw and exposed about such a harsh landscape and I love it. And don't even get me started on the Northern Lights - this absolute phenomenon is something I simply have to see with my own eyes after spending years looking at photos and videos that have captured their essence. Being down in the Southern Hemisphere, it really would be a dream of mine to see both the Northern and the Southern lights - which I didn't realise even existed until I read an article a few months ago!
I'm crazy about the night skies and it is amazing being out in the outback where there is a lot less artificial light to block out the starlight - I'm actually really lucky to have a great friend out here who has his own telescope and is taking me stargazing this week. So for someone who visits space centres wherever she can, and who is always outside waiting to see super moons or any other unusual fluctuations in our skies, imagine how amazing it would feel to have seen one of the most well known and incredible sights with my own eyes. I have friends who have been and say it was just magical, and they've also had time to squeeze on amazing trips to the Blue Lagoon, pony trekking in the mountains, skiing, whale watching and to the Golden Circle. There is just so much to do that it is overwhelming, I would have so much to squeeze into my trip! I feel like a trip like this would open me up to a whole new world of travelling, perhaps leaving behind some of the hot destinations for cooler climates instead - I know so many people who have been on one skiing holiday and have now given up beach holidays because they loved the experience so much. Now I know I would never go that far, but it would be fun to mix it up a bit and experience something different. Especially when you're living in the Australian outback where it is 40 degrees most days!
What would your dream holiday be? What have you got planned for Christmas? Do you prefer hot or cold weather holidays?