Our new wheels, Alma, the Nissan Almera

Back to the island, new wheels and travel plans

Hello from a very uncharacteristically warm UK! In fact, news channels have been declaring that we’re in the midst of a heat wave (or at least we were last week when I drafted this post). As always, it’s good to return to The Island for our annual summer visit, but future travels are never far from our minds. So, what are our plans for the rest of the year?

Back garden BBQ in the UK

Rare BBQ weather in Blighty

Back to the Island

After an epic trip to Nepal and two weeks of zipping around Sri Lanka, it felt good to arrive back in the UK, even though the mood here feels somewhat strange. Over the last few months the country has been battered by horrific events: four terrorist attacks and a devastating fire in London. To add to the apocalyptic feel, there was a ridiculously messy general election and now, Brexit talks have begun.

Us in the Himalayas, on the Everest Base Camp Trek

Trekking in Nepal

None of this stopped me from taking a quick trip to London to watch my favourite band on our first weekend back though. I was relieved to find the capital was as bustling as usual, full of people enjoying the sunshine in parks and beer gardens, albeit with a slightly more visible police presence. It’s good to see that people aren’t giving in to fear and we can’t wait to return to London in July and August to do some house and pet sitting.

View of the Thames and London Eye from Waterloo Bridge

London in the sunshine

In the meantime, we’re busy catching up with freelance work and family in Southampton and Wales. We’ve been taking advantage of the rare British sunshine to have BBQs and day trips with our nephew. It’s great to catch up with family after 10 months in Asia but we never sit still for long and have also been working on our travel plans for the rest of the year, which are shaping up nicely.

Us taking Alfie on a minature railway at Lakeside in Eastleigh

A trip on the Lakeside railway with our nephew Alfie

New wheels and travel plans

We bought a car! For a couple of minimalists like us, it was a big deal to fork out a huge chunk of cash for one possession. However long, torturous bus trips in Nepal reminded us just how much we love road tripping in a car and since we’re spending the rest of 2017 in Europe, what better way to get around? Luckily, my Dad is a mechanic and was able to find us a good deal on a reliable car so we’re all set to go, but where?

Our new wheels, Meera, the Nissan Almera

Our new wheels, Meera, the Nissan Almera

After a final London house sit in September we’re catching a ferry over to mainland Europe, where we’ll be heading to some countries we’ve yet to explore and returning to others we love. Having a vehicle means we can be flexible with our route, but we do need to maintain a good work-travel balance by renting apartments and perhaps house sitting along the way.

Walking Boo in Greenwich Park

Dog sitting in London back in 2014

Where to visit in Europe?

At the moment we’re drawn towards exploring Latvia and Lithuania, then renting an apartment in Tallinn, Estonia, which we’ve heard is an up-and-coming digital nomad destination. Other options include visiting the Netherlands, Poland and Germany, perhaps returning to Croatia or heading to Portugal, which seems to be the top European destination right now for nomads and expats.

View of Split from the top of the Bell Tower

Split, Croatia

The only thing we have set in stone is a month’s apartment rental in Prague this November/December. We fell in love with the city on our first visit last year and can’t wait to return. After a hot Asian Christmas last year I’m particularly looking forward to the festive winter atmosphere, lights, decorations and Christmas markets. We plan to spend the holiday itself back in the UK with family but celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh is also a possibility.

Towers and statues in Prague Old Town Square

We can’t wait to return to Prague!

The start of 2018 will mark a brand new phase in our journey, a long overdue trip to South America!

Back to the Island Pinterest

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What are your travel plans for the summer and rest of the year? Do you have any recommendations of places we should visit in Europe?

  • Tracy & Della
    Posted at 10:24h, 30 June Reply

    Hi guys,
    We have been following your posts with interest not least because like you, we loved Sri Lanka.
    We are also planning a trip for later this year but remain undecided between Nepal and Vietnam – we are not serious trekkers so we won’t be hiking to EBC like you did but we do enjoy day hikes and think both countries can offer us some decent walking opportunities.
    Your European plans sound exciting and we know you spent time in Spain last year but, if it is of any interest we have recently purchased a little townhouse in the classic and moorish village of Canillas de Albaida in the foothills of the mountains but only 25mins to the coast – we are renting it out at very decent rates over the WInter months so do give us shout if you or anyone you know would like more details.
    Good luck with the travel planning – I often think it is as good, if not better sometimes(!) than the trips themselves ?

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:54h, 02 July Reply

      Hi Guys, thanks so much for letting us know about your rental, it sounds great. We’re currently still weighing up options but if we decide to head back to Spain we’ll let you know. It’s so hard to choose between Nepal and Vietnam! However, for trekking and scenery, nothing beats the Himalayas and there are plenty of day hikes you can do, particularly from Pokhara. Happy travel planning to you too 🙂

  • Tanya Korteling
    Posted at 14:41h, 30 June Reply

    Exciting plans! You’re going to love SA…I spent a year there ages ago! Any questions just shout! Andy and I are also heading that direction in January but to Central America, although we may also pop over to a few of my fav SA places I want to show Andy! May see you there ?

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:55h, 02 July Reply

      Hi Tanya, we are really excited about South America next year, a brand new region for us. It would be great if our paths cross there! 🙂

  • Patti
    Posted at 15:46h, 01 July Reply

    Wow! The purchase of a car is a big step, but I can see your reasoning. I don’t like driving in other countries because I can’t read most of the road signs and because I always worry if the rules of the road are the same as they are in the US, i.e. can you turn right on a red light?! 🙂

    We are in Lagos, Portugal for about 10 days and you’re right, there is a sizeable expat community in Portugal. As you know we’re working on securing our residency, not to live in Portugal full time, but rather as a second base for ourselves. Always good to have options, right?!

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:06h, 02 July Reply

      Hi Patti, it’s exciting to hear that you’re finally in Portugal, it sounds like a great base to explore Europe from. Hope to see you while we’re in mainland Europe 🙂

  • Nikki T
    Posted at 08:40h, 03 July Reply

    Hi Amy! Congrats on the new wheels. As fellow nomads, we too decided to purchase a car to take a break from planes, trains, buses. But, we have to wait another 5 months to buy it due to too many trips that require ocean crossings (Croatia to London to Morocco to Canary Islands to Florida). After that, we are so looking forward to 6 months road tripping around Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the USA. No more weighing of carry-on luggage, delayed flights, missed connecting flights, slow trains, long airport layovers or carrying groceries kilometers uphill in the rain or heat…YAY! A car just adds so many possibilities that aren’t available with only public transportation (remote hiking, beating the crowds to sights, buying watermelons).

    Have you considered visiting Romania? We are in Brasov, Transylvania for 2 months and it is amazing. Hiking the Carpathian Mountains alone is worth the trip. The city is an old medieval walled city with pedestrian-only cobblestone streets, just beautiful. Abundant green spaces, jogging paths and parks. Clean. Friendly. Dinner for two with salads and a few beers for under €15. Plenty of nearly towns like SIbiu for day trips. UNESCO World Heritage sites all over Transylvania. (Prince Charles owns a guesthouse in the countryside). High-speed, reliable internet. Inexpensive Airbnbs. Short summers though, so I don’t know if the timing would work for you.

    Keep up the good work blogging!

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:31h, 07 July Reply

      Hi Nikki, ha, I love the buying watermelons reason, I hadn’t thought of that 🙂 Romania does sound really lovely and cheap too. We’ll have to check out the weather and Airbnb prices – thanks for the tips. Sounds like you have some amazing road trip plans too, we would love to drive around the USA more. Enjoy!

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 20:11h, 04 July Reply

    Nice new car, excellent idea for getting you on some nice road trips, do let me know if you are coming over to Dorset? Great new plans, I think you will love South America, will Brazil be included on your itinerary? I might be visiting my family in the South of Brazil sometime in January 2018?

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:32h, 07 July Reply

      Will do Gilda, perhaps we’ll make it to Dorset in August if you’re around 🙂 Exciting news that you’re possibly heading to Brazil! We haven’t worked on our SA plans yet but we’d love to go to Brazil – so much planning to do!

  • Victoria @The British Berliner
    Posted at 06:08h, 06 July Reply

    Welcome back to Europe Amy! Your summer plans sound extremely exciting and you’ve chosen very nice places.

    We went to the Baltic states a few years ago, and we absolutely loved the region, and now that you’ve got wheels, it’ll be so easy to move around as the countries are really small, and living costs are low. Holland, Poland, and Germany are easy to get to from the UK too, and if you’re driving, why not explore France and Belgium while you’re at it, as they’re on the same route, so to speak!

    Winter in Prague is delightful. You’ll love it!

    p.s. We’re spending the summer in France and Southern Germany!

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:48h, 07 July Reply

      Thanks Victoria! You’re right, so many places to discover! I am really looking forward to a proper Christmassy feel this year in Prague, we may swing by a German Christmas market too! Have a great summer in France and Southern Germany, sounds amazing!

  • Janine beynon
    Posted at 11:36h, 08 July Reply

    Sounds like some exciting plans in Europe coming up this year! I look forward to reading all about it. And if you happen to be in Valencia at any point, let us know, it would be great to catch up 🙂 I definitely highly recommend it to visit and/or live, it’s very accessible, reasonably priced and there are so many cool events and things to do! Enjoy your time with friends and family 🙂 we are also excited for a proper Christmas this year!

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:50h, 09 July Reply

      Hi Janine, yes it would be great to catch up, I’ll let you know if we’re going through Valencia 🙂 At the moment, we’re still weighing up options for Europe so we’ll see how things go. I’m glad that life in Valencia is treating you well!

  • Sharon
    Posted at 21:18h, 16 March Reply

    so many options.

    Thanks for giving us the heads up on possible travel plans.

    Have to read your blog again to digest it all, and make a decision.

    Great work.

    Cheers Sharon…

    • Amy
      Posted at 23:11h, 21 March Reply

      No worries, glad you found it interesting 🙂

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