A look back at the last twelve months.
We did a lot of travel again this year. Mostly bigger trips as opposed to city hops.
The first trip of the year took us to down to Miami for a few days, and then on to Cuba.
Timeworn but magnificent, dilapidated but dignified, fun yet maddeningly frustrating – Cuba is a country of indefinable magic.
No better description for Cuba. You really feel like you’ve gone back in time when you land. Stunning ruins filled with the warmest people. We stayed in Havana and day-tripped out to to Viñales. We drank rum, smoked cigars, listened to music, and wandered the streets.
Our second trip was safari in Kenya. Something special for my wife’s birthday.
Vast savannahs peppered with immense herds of wildlife. Snow-capped equatorial mountains. Traditional peoples who bring soul and colour to the earth.
We started out in Nairobi where we visited David Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage, before embarking on a Northern loop that brought us to Aberdares, Lake Nakuru, and the famous Masai Mara. We were very fortunate to catch The Big 5.
Trip number three brought us back to Isola Maddalena, an island off the north coast of Sardinia.
Just over the water from Palau, the pink-granite island of Maddalena lies at the heart of the archipelago.
Isola Maddalena was where we got engaged, and we always said we would return and spend more time exploring.
We flew into Sardinia via London, rented a car, and drove up to catch the ferry at Palau. We stayed in the exact same hotel we had stayed previously. Days were spent on the beach, and the evenings were spent grazing.
Trip number four sees us finish off the year in Las Vegas before heading south to New Orleans.
We fell in love with Vegas a few years ago and we’ve been back a number of times since.
An oasis of indulgence in the desert, Vegas’ seduction is hypnotic. The Strip shimmers with promise; like all mirages, though, reality doesn’t reflect the veneer.
People-watching in the casinos, or having a beer overlooking the Bellagio Fountains. Vegas really is Disneyland for adults. We revisit our old favourites, and spend a bit more time downtown on Fremont Street. We won, we lost, we had fun :)
After a busy few days we leave Vegas and head down to the one and only New Orleans, Louisiana.
The things that make life worth living – eating, drinking and the making of merriment – are the air that New Orleans breathes.
This sums up how we spend the trip. The food is amazing, the people are
incredibly friendly, and live music is everywhere.
Some highlights were cruising up the Mississippi River on the Steamboat Natchez Riverboat, eating ridiculous amounts of PoBoys, and catching some amazing bands on Frenchmen Street.
|Heathrow||Las Vegas||8416 Km|
|Las Vegas||New Orleans||2414 Km|
All in all, another great year of seeing the world and meeting new people.
I read a lot this year. Glancing over at the office desk I count 21.5 books :)
No common theme or domain, but some of the more enjoyable ones in the ‘general’ category were
- Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
- Man’s Search For Meaning : The Classic Tribute To Hope From The Holocaust by Viktor Frankl
- Addiction By Design - Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Dow Schull
- Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Facing Mount Kenya was an informative look at Kikuyun tribal life and covered work, death, marriage, sex, family and political structure. Interestingly, our safari guide for the first leg of the Kenyan trip was Kikuyu, so the having read the book made for some interesting discussions about his life and background. Moreover, when we visited a Masai Tribe, it was fun to be able to participate in discussions around the difference and similarities between the two groups.
I have another 18 books in my Book Depository wishlist to kick start 2020, but next up is Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio; a recent recommendation, and perhaps something South American, to inspire some travel ideas for 2020.