“It was sunrise, there was nobody around. It was a beautiful moment as I lay on my back & watched the swallows diving & soaring above. No better way to end a life-altering trip!”
Where: Costa Rica, Cuba, Grand Cayman, St.Martin, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Antigua, Panama, Jamaica, Estonia, Finland
In 2016 I felt I needed some direction & focus for my future so I created my Life List. It contains a combination of 117 very different tasks, challenges & places to visit. Some have been very straightforward & easy to tick off, others will take a lot longer. Over the next few weeks, I will be revamping my List. As time has progressed, I realise that some of the items no longer hold a great desire for me & others have come into my consciousness. Watch this space over the next few weeks if you’re interested to see how the list has evolved 3 years on & to see what I have achieved, see my Video Diary “3 years in Under 3 Minutes”
So, 2018 was another big year & I can’t quite believe we’re close to the end so soon! This is what I achieved this time…
In April I spent a week of self-discovery on a Yoga Retreat in Cuba. On the final day in Havana, I met with a Santeria Priestess. She read my palm & tarot cards and gave me a number of predictions:
- Romantically there was someone coming for me & he would be here soon (very exciting!).
- I need a spiritual cleanse (still need to get on to this)…and
- I work too hard!
“I learnt that life is good for me but has not been without sacrifice. With this she was spot on – no kidding!”
If you would like to learn more – see About Me.
I learnt so much over my time at the retreat. Did you know you can really improve your balance by living on a yacht? Personally, I also learnt that it’s good to be vulnerable sometimes & how much I owe to my husband for the life I’m living now. Last but not at all least, I learnt again how much I LOVE Cuba!
On the last morning of my 5-month Caribbean Odyssey, I was in the Dominican Republic. I was staying in a beautiful villa with a private dock & beach, courtesy of a gorgeous family I met in Antigua. It was sunrise, there was nobody around. It was a beautiful moment as I lay on my back & watched the swallows diving & soaring above. No better way to end a life-altering trip!
Visit Costa Rica
In March I spent a month in Costa Rica & fell in love with this gorgeous country & it’s amazing wildlife. In my time I took a week each getting to know the difference between the Pacific & Caribbean Coasts & in between took a Tour. Costa Rica brought gorgeous sunsets, zip lining, white water rafting, canyoning, sloths, monkeys, dolphins & kayaking with caiman & turtles. You can see it all in my Video Diaries.
Take part in a Yacht Race
In the US Virgin Islands, I took part in my first regatta, STIR (St Thomas International Regatta). It was an epic achievement where I found myself living on a yacht for 3 weeks ahead of the race. I spent my time clearing everything out of the boat in preparation for the arrival of the rest of the team. My time in St Thomas was precious & I met some wonderful people who helped me in so many ways.
“I was also re-educated in the joy of being part of a community which I miss immensely in this new life. We came last in the regatta, but I loved the racing experience way more than I was expecting to.”
Visit 60 Countries by my 60thBirthday
I adjusted this at the end of last year to aim to get 60 by my 50th birthday. The year started by me clocking up my 53rd country in the Dominican Republic (DR). One year out the count currently stands at 63, so I think you can say this has been well & truly trounced!
From January to June I spent my time exploring the Caribbean & in so doing added Costa Rica, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Panama, Antigua, St. Martin, Jamaica & the Cayman Islands to my tally.
“The big lesson I learnt was how much more exciting & fulfilling this kind of travelling can be if you trust your guts & don’t over plan.”
I met some amazing people & had some fantastic experiences. I return to Antigua in January to finish what I started!
November bought my final tally to 63 after a week spent in Estonia & Finland. Tallinn is like nowhere I have visited before, literally feeling like you turn a corner & arrive in the 16thCentury. With a visit to the Christmas Markets, it really helped me to get into the festive spirit, even if it was VERY COLD! Helsinki is a 2-hour ferry ride from Tallinn so seemed a waste not to visit for 36 hours. This helped develop further #100 – Explore Scandinavia & certainly made me keen to see more!
Tour the Cayman Islands
While in Antigua I was mulling over my next move. The choice was to either keep going east to the other islands or head back west & tick off the Caymans. Over lunch with a friend it transpired that she had a potential housesitting opportunity in Grand Cayman & the dates fitted perfectly. We made a plan & the next thing I knew (via 5 flights & 5 other islands in 2 days!), I was in the Cayman Islands.
“Housesitting opened up a whole other world in travel to me – looking after pets, in return for free accommodation.“
Grand Cayman was beautiful & again I plan to return. Now my friend has been living there for 9 months & next time she has promised there will be less rain!
On the way to Cayman, we stopped for 1 night in Kingston. It is not always easy to negotiate flying around the Caribbean islands without lots of stops. As my 5 months wound to a close I decided to take small hops to get back to my final destination, the Dominican Republic. I had a lot of warnings about Jamaica not being so safe for a woman travelling on her own. As a result, I splashed out on my first ever All-Inclusive Resort. I loved it! It won’t be my choice of accommodation often in the future but I can definitely see the appeal, especially when going solo.
Sponsor a Child
On my 49thbirthday I wanted to do something that was significant. As usual, I went back to my Life List for inspiration. There I found number 84. I searched on World Vision for a child with the same birthday as me. I had taken my first big world trip to Africa & it holds a very special place in my heart.
Again, fate took a hand & introduced little Mike into my life. He was born in Uganda on my birthday, 5 years ago.
How could anyone resist this adorable face? I am very excited & can’t wait to share the journey with Mike & see how he grows up over the coming years.
As well as revamping my Life List, in 2019 I am heading for my 50th birthday. This is a milestone I am keen not to allow to go by without a bang (see #82. Monumentally Celebrate my 50thBirthday!). So, I decided that this is the year to tick off some of the more iconic events on my List. In April I head to the Galapagos Islands (# 90) & I am currently planning to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro (#10) in October. The Northern Lights (#4) in Iceland (#3) will also be ticked off by the end of next year (all being well & nature being agreeable!).
Stay tuned for the changes I make to the List. Please leave your thoughts below on what you feel I need to add to the list & share your experiences. I’d love to hear from you!
What do you think?
Which items are still on your Life List that you have plans to tick off soon?
What should be on my revamped Life List that you think is missing?
How have you made sure a milestone birthday is memorable for many years to come?
To see more of my photos from My Life List please visit my Gallery page!