On the one hand, 2018 might have qualified as the most adventure-packed year of my life. As my husband (then-fiancé!) and I finished up our last few months of long-distance love, I visited the United Kingdom twice in six months – a new record for me! We enjoyed a brief period of quiet time in our new home after that final visit resulted in the happily-ever-after of a granted visa: and then the rest of the summer concluded with a trip to my home, our wedding, and a mini-honeymoon.
I always enjoy looking back over my various voyagings in a given year, so I hope you will indulge me as I post my virtual travelogue nearly a week into 2019!
January 2018: Wales (and England)
I can hardly believe that as recently as exactly a year ago, I had never visited my husband’s home in Wales. I spent all of 2017 looking forward to this much-anticipated trip, and the landscapes I encountered not only met but transcended my expectations. I remember all of it with such perfect clarity: the temperature of the air on my face, the scent of the grass in each place we visited, the surprising frequency of roundabouts, the particular lip balm I used to combat the aftereffects of the dry airplane air…
During this first sojourn, we enjoyed a full tour of the local sights in Llangollen, embarked on a stunning road trip through Betws-y-Coed to enchanting seaside Llandudno, and even briefly popped over the border for high tea and architectural touring in Chester.
June 2018: Scotland and Wales (and England)
Great Britain certainly seemed a different island when I returned in the early summer! This time, however, I arrived with an ambitious research plan in mind: and prepared for my Master’s-thesis-equivalent by visiting a number of archives and galleries that held materials associated with a certain Victorian fairy painter.
I turned twenty-five (and my husband turned twenty-six, since we eerily share the same birthday!) on a train from Scotland to Wales – my first birthday spent outside of the country – and even amid the stressful bustle of multiple transfers I felt so utterly happy.
(There’s no equivalent picture or blog post, since its curators [rightfully] forbade photography, but I saw my favorite medieval cartographic document (the Hereford mappa mundi) for the first time: so I suppose we technically also did visit England on this trip!)
July 2018: Berkshires, MA
Of course, the most beautiful – and emotionally significant – new landmark I visited this year ended up being our wedding venue in the Berkshires!
We spent months trying to find a place that featured the perfect combination of fairy-tale architecture and dazzling natural beauty: and the lovely hobbit-like Santarella Estate offered all that and more. (Eventually I will share some more photos of our wedding and a full [and glowing] review of Santarella, in the hopes of assisting anyone else who stumbles on this blog in the midst of planning a quiet Berkshires wedding for fewer than twelve people…)
August 2018: Hawai’i & Salem, MA
Before we could be wed, though, I had to take my almost-husband to my childhood home on the Big Island for the first time – and we followed our wedding with our brief mini-honeymoon in Salem, about which I’ve just recently written!
I anticipate that 2019 might be a little slower on the traveling front, as I may (fingers crossed!) be trading the relatively freer graduate school academic schedule for full-time work soon…but now that I have an eternal traveling companion, I suspect we will enjoy getting to know the local attractions near our home much better.
Where did 2018 take you?