Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love spending time with those I love, cooking up dishes to contribute to the family feast and genuinely enjoying each other’s company. I love spending time with Dan, crazy I know when we already spend so much time together, and I love baking and cooking treats that I only make for Christmas.
All that is missing is the snow. Oh, wait I might have to add that to my list – Have a White Christmas somewhere in the world!
I am putting that on the future wish list because for now I love the way we spend Christmas, so I don’t want to change a thing. But I would be happy flying out late afternoon on Christmas Day… that might work.
I don’t usually ask for too much for Christmas. And this year I have pretty much everything I want. But you know there’s no harm in putting it out there! You never know who might see it.
So, this blog post is my light-hearted, tongue in cheek, semi-serious (or for those family members reading – very serious) Christmas List.
And of course, because I hate overspending at Christmas (we will forget all the years I had gone WAY overboard especially when my kids were little) and all the excess that goes into it (except for the food) this list is good for the whole of 2018 too.
Hint, hint kids – Mothers’ Day is in May and for the rest of you, my birthday is in June. Just saying.
This year we are trying something a little different with my kids and their other halves. We must all buy each other a gift, BUT it must be Op Shopped (because my daughter and I LOVE op shopping) or for the others that are not so creative (which would be my son Will) it has to be under $10.
No Will, you cannot just buy us a block of Chocolate!! No, imagination that son of mine.
And because I am a great believer that experiences are far more important than material things there are a lot of those included on my list too. No surprise that travel takes up most of those spots!
So, let’s get started (picture me rubbing my hands together in anticipation).
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My Christmas List
I love, love, love notebooks.
I am a stationery freak. Last year my Christmas Stocking was filled with Post It Notes!
Yes, I still have a Christmas Stocking. Dan and I bought ourselves new ones last year. Nothing wrong with a 48-year-old with a Christmas Stocking! I told you I love Christmas.
But back to notebooks.
There is always one in my handbag. I have notebooks next to the bed, in my office, hanging around the loungeroom.
I try and have one for each topic I want to write about – one for my travel dreams and plans, one for ideas that just randomly pop into my head (scary how my mind works sometimes), one in my handbag that is also for random thoughts, information and blogging ideas while I am out and about.
And when Dan makes me, measurements of stuff we are buying at the hardware store.
I had one that was solely dedicated to blogging, but like all of them after a while, they just become full of everything. Now and then I go through and take out the different information and consolidate them.
I don’t have a particular type of notebook that I prefer, but they do have to resonate with me. Whether it be the colour of the cover, a saying on the cover, an image or how it feels when I hold it.
I know I sound a little crazy and I promise I haven’t started on the bottle of red I have stashed away for Christmas.
Does anyone want to buy me a plane ticket? Anyone? … all I hear are crickets!
This year we moved. It took a lot more than anticipated like money, time and physical strength. When did my body decide it wasn’t very forgiving anymore?
But it has delivered so much more than either Dan, and I could have anticipated, so I am not complaining at all.
Now that we are so freaking happy living here we can admit to ourselves how bloody miserable we were in the old place. So, if moving to the mountains means I could never travel again, I would be OK with that.
OMG! Did I just say that? I take it back. Can I take it back? I do love it here, but I don’t’ think I could ever not travel again.
To be honest, I am becoming antsy and desperate to get on a plane.
The places on my travel list for 2018 are:
Paris and Avignon with my good friend and artist, Kathy Karas.
Kathy will be visiting Paris for the first time, and I will be enduring it. Hopefully, it will be better than the last time I was there, but you can read all about it in Going back to Paris. I am however hugely excited to revisit Monet’s Gardens.
Now here’s a hint for all of you who are lining up to buy me a present – any stationary that has a Monet theme would be a massive hit! Just making it easy for you. Dan, are you reading this?
Italy – Florence & Montepulciano
I am totally in love with Italy. Anywhere in Italy, I have been I love. I am sure there are places that are not so nice I just haven’t experienced them yet.
After our time in France, the plan is to jump on a train and head over to Italy so that we can explore Tuscany a little more. Kathy and I both loved our stay in Cortona last year, and this time we want to make Montepulciano our base and explore the countryside, towns and villages from there. Last time we got a taste of Montepulciano, Pienza and Montalcino so this time we want to take our time discovering what they have to offer. And I think Kathy would love Orvieto and I would like to go back to Arezzo when the Antique Markets are on and see what I can find.
We are also planning a few days in Florence, but it would be nice to keep our plans somewhat flexible and see where our days take us.
I love Slow Travel and as much as I like preplanning everything (it helps me feel less anxious) I do like to throw it all out the window and see what comes my way.
The beauty of travel!
Scotland – Road Trip
After my adventures with Kathy, I would like to meet up with Dan in Edinburgh and head off on a 10 – 14 day Road Trip around Scotland.
I have it all planned out – days of adventure that include lots of sampling of the local cuisine is a must, particularly when travelling with Dan. And of course, exploring castles as much as we can is on the agenda.
Again I would like to follow the itinerary but keep our days reasonably flexible to see what happens.
The Faroe Islands – because why not?
And, sorry Dan, but I thought this would be great to throw in after Scotland. We can get a quick flight from Edinburgh and enjoy another 14 days discovering the Faroe Islands.
I am currently obsessed with them and have this trip planned out too. What a surprise?
The reason all these trips are clumped together is that it is a struggle to endure the flight from Australia to Europe. When you have to travel over 24 hours, it makes more sense to me to try and do as much as possible in one go.
The biggest problem is leaving home for that length of time, since all of us, Kathy, Dan and myself, run our own businesses and having time away is not always easy.
But pressing on with the list!
In 2019 I want to walk the Camino from St Jean Pied a Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
A massive walk of 790 km which should take me around 35 to 40 days. And I plan to carry all my stuff myself. Therefore, I need a good, comfortable backpack. Everything I bring should weigh no more than 7 kg. Talk about the bare minimum!
I don’t have a particular brand in mind, but I do know I want it to be around 32lt.
I am open to suggestions from people, and yes, for those that keep trying to talk me out of it, I want to carry it myself and not use the porter service.
Call me stubborn, but I have chosen this journey (or instead it chose me) for a reason, and a physical challenge is one of those reasons. Plus, I want the flexibility to stop where I need to each day and not where my bag has been taken.
The journey on the Camino will break me down and strip me bare I am sure (not literally that would be frightening for everyone involved!)
I know what I want to do, but I also am aware that I have to be prepared for what the Camino decides for me.
Walking the Camino will be my 50th birthday gift to me.
Yep, no beautiful jewellery for me to mark my 50th, just a crazy arse walk across Spain! Nothing like treating myself. How I have changed over the last ten years!
I don’t typically do much walking. Or exercise at all really. We go on some early morning walks but not generally very far, a few kilometres perhaps.
I would have hoped to have done more walking by now so in 2018 there will be more focus on walking and hiking here in the beautiful Blue Mountains and preparing for the Camino in 2019.
My daughter has expressed a desire to join me. I would love her to come. I couldn’t think of a more significant bonding experience than the Camino, but either way, I am going. As terrified as I am about the whole trip, and the possibility of solo travel on top of that, I am going.
And to use as Carry On Luggage
The other reason I want a good backpack is so that I only have Carry On luggage.
I want to simplify things, and I hate waiting for my luggage at the end of a long flight and hauling around a suitcase.
I want to experience the freedom that a backpack will give me. So the backpack will get a lot of use.
I really need a good one.
Anyone have recommendations?
To go with the backpack, I need a couple of pairs of hiking pants. At the moment when I go out walking, I just wear stretchy exercise pants.
I don’t need tops. I already have a couple of merino short and long sleeved tops and a good merino fleece.
I also have hiking shoes, at this point looking brand new, that I will steadily wear in.
You can pretend I look like this. Maybe I will after I have walked 790 km!
Time with Friends
Because I am so introverted I could very easily turn into a hermit and only leave the house on the rare occasion. But I do miss interacting with people who get me. My friends.
I want to spend more time with my friends. I want to host a weekend here in the mountains for my friends where we can relax over good food and a few drinks. Go for walks and enjoy nature. And to laugh, and talk and just be. Sort of like a grown-up slumber party.
I want to hear about what they have been up to, their views on the world and their different perspectives.
I want to enjoy the company of women I click with. I miss them.
A Strange List
It’s a bit of a strange list. Not the typical Christmas list.
But hey! As I keep travelling on this journey of life, I find more and more I want to shed the old life I knew and embrace new, more simplistic things.
I want to spend less, live more and fully experience the beauty that is all around me.
I have already had the greatest gift of all this year by moving to the Blue Mountains.
I never imagined the joy it would bring to us, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the new year has in store.
Now as long as I get everything on my list, everything will be fine!
A Christmas Wish
I wish you all a meaningful and joy-filled Christmas.
If you are spending time on your own, I wish you peace and contentment. It’s not always easy to be alone at this time of the year, but treat yourself kindly, indulging in those things that you love.
On those Christmases that I found myself alone, I always made sure I had food that I relished (usually that I cooked), read a book or watched a movie that I loved sipping a glass of my favourite wine (or 3!). And don’t forget the box of chocolates all to myself!
Take care everyone, and I hope you will join Travel Charm and me on our journey in 2018.
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