Short version: 2014 was an amazing year of travel for me.
I went to four different places I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and managed a return to New York while I was at it.
New York (hello, old friend)
2014 was remarkable because I only made it to NYC once this year (not a real problem, I know). Even though I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve visited NYC, this was my first trip taking public transit to and from Laguardia, thanks to a late-2013 change to the Q70 routing. It’s now an airport limited service, connecting Laguardia to the E/F/M/R/7 trains into Manhattan.
I visited in May, when spring was in full force and it was simply splendid. However, we did have a cracker of a storm one night, which yielded this unforgettable image captured by a lucky fellow over in Brooklyn:
Last nights storm in NYC. One WTC and Empire state building both being struck by lightning at the same time. pic.twitter.com/E05kr8CNAh
— jon rubino (@OkFineItsMe) May 24, 2014
The days were otherwise pleasant, with lots of time for wandering around, including my first-ever trip to the Ghostbusters fire station in Lower Manhattan, and a beautiful sunset walk on the High Line.
As well, I got to see some truly remarkable shows, including Neil Patrick Harris’ Tony-winning turn in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Alan Cumming’s unforgettable performance (and Michelle Williams completely forgettable performance) in Cabaret. I loved my seat for Cabaret, as it had a very small table for my drink.
My trip ended with my first extended exploration of the East Village. Of all of the corners of NYC I’ve visited so far, the East Village was the furthest removed from the tourist trail and equally removed from hipsterization of otherwise cool places.
Dublin (for not long enough)
Oh, Dublin, did we become fast friends… I was only there for a couple of days on the way to London, but I hope this trip was the beginning of a beautiful friendship with Ireland. Other than getting to know Dublin’s charming streets, the highlight of the trip was a craft beer pub crawl hosted by our new friends of the Dublin Ladies’ Beer Society.
We did manage to cover quite a bit of ground in a few days, and Dublin proved to be the soft, incredibly fun landing we needed for as more adventure awaited us over in England.
London (hello, new friend)
Continuing on from Dublin, I made my first-ever visit to London and was delighted at every turn. Every London cliché lived up to the hype, including riding the Tube and the Eye, crossing the Thames, and, most important of all, raising a few pints. I turned the highlights of the trip into an artsy poster for the friends who traveled with me.
The highlights included a Jean-Paul Gaultier retrospective, watching Wimbledon on an outside screen on top of a shopping centre, a dance party at the West End musical of The Commitments, the glorious Matisse Cut-outs at the Tate Modern, and the reason for the trip in the first place, the Monty Python reunion out at the O2.
Reykjavik (for not long enough)
We took a detour (on purpose) through Reykjavik and it was just enough time there to tell me I have to go back and spend more time there. The people are incredible, the days (in July) are long, and the hotdogs are amazing. The weather turned quite cold during my visit, but the next time I’m there, I’ll be better prepared and will definitely make my way out of the city, to take in the endlessly fascinating ways nature dominates the spirit of the country.
Spain (more, please!)
The crowning achievement of my 2014 travel year was finally starting and finishing the Camino de Santiago. I’ve still got lots to share about my Camino experience, and will get back to it as soon as the holidays calm down. I got to spend a little more time in Madrid this time, and as a result, changed my opinion of a city I wasn’t that interested in visiting again. Barcelona remains close to my heart, and I know I’ll be back again before too long.
2014 Travel Obsession: The Knowledge
Luckily for travel types, there’s always something new to discover, research, and, sometimes, obsess over. For me, this year’s travel obsession came late in the year: The Knowledge.
The Knowledge is the legendary training course and series of tests a London cabbie must endure and pass in order to become a licensed black cab operator. 320 official routes, 25,000 streets, and another 20,000 landmarks. Research has reveals the learners’ brains change while acquiring The Knowledge. Extraordinary.
When my gang visited London in the summer, we got a taxi from the train station and, at the time, were concerned our cabbie wouldn’t know the tiny side street where our AirBNB flat was located. Upon reflection, I regret the concern and humbly offer a belated apology to our very capable and knowledgeable driver, who still got us to the right location after we gave him the wrong street number.
Looking ahead to 2015
Accomplishing so many huge travel milestones in 2014 has left me at a bit of a loss for what to do in 2015. I have a lot of ideas right now, ranging from a canal barge/bike tour somewhere in Europe to another long multi-day hiking adventure to FINALLY visiting Eastern Europe to island hopping in Northern Scotland. Time and money won’t permit all of these from happening this year, but it’s nice to know that I’m only getting MORE adventurous as the years pass.
How was your travel year in 2014? What are you looking forward to in 2015?