This is pretty much a bunch of photos — if you are interested to read my Year In Review for 2018, it’s here. I did a ridiculous amount of travel in 2018, and its been lovely to go back over it all, but in 2019 I’ll be staying much closer to home.

January 2018 — Dungeness

Every year a group of us rent a house for a week, early in the year, to set some intentions together, lounge and generally store up some goodness to take forward in to the months ahead. For the last 5 years we have rented one of the Living Architecture houses, which (Sshhh!) are actually really cheap for literally a few weeks early in the year. It costs each of us £80 for 4 nights (£20 per night!). This was the first one we stayed in, and this year we came back. I love it — because it is black, it’s in Dungeness and Camber Sands is nearby which is my favourite beach in the South East of the UK.

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Kent and East Sussex colours are my favourite.

February 2018 — Buenos Aires

This was the first stop on a 2.5 week dream trip. This is a tiny tiny selection of my photographs. I loved the City, it felt safe to be there alone — I tango’d (thank you Point People for the gift), I visited Eva Peron’s grave and wandered around the amazing Recoleta Cemetery, visited the Casa Rosada, La Boca, the beautiful botanic gardens, and walked the streets full of dancing, food and music.

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Southern Argentina (Argentinian Patagonia)

From Buenos Aires I flew down to Southern Argentina and spent a few days in El Calafate, visiting the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier. I was here for the 1 year anniversary of Roanne’s death, which fell on a Super Blue Moon eclipse. It was special to be in this hemisphere at this time, because Roanne was born in Peru. Travelling through Argentina you see lots of roadside shrines. They are all in memory of Gauchito Gil.

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Travelling into Chilean Patagonia

From Argentinan Patagonia I took a coach in to Chilean Patagonia. What can I say? It was beautiful, mesmerising. Apart from the border, which took quite a long time to get through.

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Chilean Patagonia

I picked up a car in Puerto Natales and then drove down to Puntas Arenas for a few days — Chile’s southernmost city and “the end of the earth.” Penguins on Magdalena Island, amazing large skies, pisco sours, colourful buildings, troubled history, and under a big hole in the Ozone layer.

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I drove back to Puerto Natales for a day before heading in to Torres del Paine National Park and stayed in this beautiful place — thank you Anna and Paul for the recommendation.

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The drive alone into Torres del Paine National Park was beautiful, and then arriving in to the park itself, there were so many things — the colours of the water, the long drawn vistas, the Guanaco, the Grey Glacier, the sun sets, the changing weather (although I was so lucky with the weather!). I did two treks, one for a day, and one that was only 3 hours but incredibly steep. The breathtaking once-in-a-lifetime moment for me though,was driving out the Park at 5am alone, and seeing a family of wild Puma.

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Going back North

I flew from Puerto Natales up to Santiago, hired a car, to then drive back South a few 100 miles to Abby’s family farm in the Loncomilla Valley (the Maule Region) — “It’s an area of spectacular beauty and tranquility– the home of vineyards, blueberry farms, dairies, apiaries, pine forests and olive groves.” After 10 days of solo travel, it was also nice to have company.

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This is all I took for 2.5 weeks of travel — I LOVE travelling light.
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On the farm and using on of the Vidacycle tech products ,that Abby has developed . It’s been vital for them in making decisions about crops since part of the farm was destroyed in the 2017 fires.
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On a day trip from the farm, to the coast — near Constitución.

Driving back to Santiago

After 5 days at the farm (and a lovely time with Abby and her family), I drove back North with 48 hours to spare before my flight home. Rather than spend time in Santiago, I drove instead to the coast. First to visit Pablo Neruda’s house at Isla Negra (look at those blues) and then a night in Valparaiso, a city set into the steep hills of coastal Chile, where I visited another one of Pablo Neruda’s homes, La Sebastiana — before staying in an amazing hotel, with spectacular views of the City.

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April 2018 — Spain, Wales and Italy

I visited Barcelona, to speak at the President’s meeting of the International Federation of Library Associations about libraries and the internet. I took Sophia away to Flintshire and North Wales where we had surprisingly gorgeous weather in Colwyn Bay, before a night at Gladstone’s Library. And then a long weekend with Jenny and Suha, staying in an old monastery in the Tuscan hills for their 40th birthday’s.

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May 2018 — New York, Paris, Istanbul

In May I spent a long weekend in NewYork. I think I have been back nearly every year since I lived there in 1999 (how long ago!) and it’s still one of my favourite Cities. This time it was to visit Camilla on her 6 month study trip. A highlight was going to the Brooklyn Museum which just happened to be showing a Radical Women Latin American Art, 1960–1985 exhibition —probably one of the best exhibitions I’ve ever seen. I also had one of the best American dining experiences at Brooklyn Crab. And then on to Istanbul for SIX — I used to travel to Turkey a lot when I worked in fashion as we had garments made over there and I still think Istanbul is one of the best cities in the world. Plus Millie lives there.

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Istanbul: day and night

Later in May, I took my niece and my Mum to Paris on the Eurostar for my niece’s Birthday. We had afternoon tea at the Ritz, and it was all a bit ridiculous.

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June 2018 — Toronto, Southern Spain

My first time in Toronto (for RightsCon) and I loved it. I got to catch up with old colleague Ollie, see the most beautiful blossom and visit Niagara Falls. I then spent a week on holiday with my Mum and her Cousin (like a sister to her) — it was my treat, they don’t get to spend much time together and it was nice for me to also spend time with them. Where we were staying on the Costa del Sol was a nice apartment but the surrounding area (apart from Estepona) was pretty grim, so we took ourselves off on day trips, driving to Tarifa, Jerez, Cadiz, Ronda and Casares on different days. I’d recommend all of them, but I especially loved Tarifa, and regretted that we didn’t have more time in Jerez for sherry sampling.

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July 2018 — The Algarve

Our annual “girls” holiday (plus Ed this year) was in the Algarve, up in the hills near São Bartolomeu de Messines. I celebrated my Birthday out there and was made up that Nancy, a long-time friend from Cambridge who moved out to Portugal about 20 years ago, was able to join us. Because of Nancy living in the Algarve, I’ve visited a lot, but much further East and so discovering the beauty of some of the beaches further West was an unexpected bonus.

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Andrea, George, Lis, Cate, Sophia, El and Louise doing synchronised swimming and Louise & Nancy.

August 2018 — Montenegro

Woah, this has to be one of the most magical places I have visited. I started in Croatia (Dubrovnik), driving in to Montenegro and had 8 days on my own. The Adriatic sea, with its crystal clear waters and rocks is my favourite kind of sea. Montenegro has so much difference it its landscape for such a small country too. I stayed between Kotor and Perast (the nicest place I went to for food and cafes etc) and then did day trips to Lake Skadar and into the mountains to Durmitor National Park — which even has a black lake. These landscapes were the stuff of fairytales and myths and the colours like no other country I’ve been to.

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August 2018 Essaouira, Morocco

Sam and I went on a last minute Bank Holiday trip to Morocco. After escaping from our dodgy Air bnb we spent the whole 4 days laying by the pool in a hotel we were lucky to find just around the corner. We managed one trip in to Essaouira itself, and spent what felt like hours watching boys jumping in and out the water to cool down. I spent 3 weeks travelling around Morocco in 2002 and Essaouira was the only place I didn’t manage to get to — shame I didn’t see much of it this time either!

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September 2018, Kent

Just a reminder of how beautiful the Kent coast can be — a sunrise in late September.

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October 2018 — Chicago, Lake Michigan, Detroit

My last trip of the year — after a work trip to NYC to talk at the All Tech Is Human conference, I flew to Chicago to start my holiday. A city I hadn’t been to and my favourite thing was definitely the boat trip architecture tour. I only had 36 hours there, so there didn’t feel much opportunity to discover more local neighbourhoods. Next time. I left Chicago in a hire car to start my road trip.

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I headed East to Galesburg to stay 2 nights in a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright house, and then travelled North, weaving up along the shores of Lake Michigan and visiting (and staying) in South Haven, Saugatuck, Holland and Grand Rapids. I’d recommend them all but Saugatuck was my favourite, mainly because it had a queer vibe (and an A+ queer coffee shop)and that was light relief after some of the sinister-feeling countryside I’d been travelling through. The last few days were spent even further North near Silver Lake, with a day trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, which was stunning. Autumn was definitely a good time to visit for the colours, the changes in the weather, the light, and all the over-the-top Hallowe’en things I encountered.

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I hit the road again, and after a week on my own travelling, it was nice to arrive in Detroit and catch up with my local friend Bryan Boyer (who just made this really cool thing), as well as the London crowd that were over for CityLab (also my reason for being in the City).

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Cat looking at the amazing Industry Murals by Diego Rivera at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
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A late Autumn sunset and some of the derelict houses I passed driving out of the city and back to Chicago for my flight home.

Goodbye 2018, thank you for all the travels and the landscapes that took my breath away. 2019 is all about staying closer to home.

Written by

Senior Head, UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund & Co-founder of the Point People. Previously Strategic Design Director at Doteveryone.

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