30/10/12 - "Not all who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkein

Although I am very much a homebody, travelling is one of my favourite things to do.  Not even just the excitement of exploring a new place, meeting new people and eating new food...but the actual act of travelling.  Train journeys are where I get a vast majority of my university work and reading done because I don't have the distractions of the Internet to put me off.  Just me, my iPod - I can't travel without my tunes - and whatever work I have to do.  I also find it relaxing to just sit back and switch off for a couple of hours.  No one can expect much of you when you're sitting on a train.  It's a nice way to escape.  For this reason, I'm really looking forward to the coming month.  Although it's a bit depressing when I think that between now and Christmas, I only have one weekend where I don't have plans...and that's next weekend.  From then on, my life gets a little insane.  I'm going to be missing out on lots of quality time with my lovely housemates, and spending a lot of money on trains tickets.  Both of these things make me sad, but I know I'll still have fun.

The furthest afield I'll be going is Edinburgh which is one of my all-time favourite cities (I actually applied for the University of Edinburgh - needless to say, I didn't get in - and just ordered a postgraduate prospectus for there), but my mind is already straying ahead.  One of my least productive yet favourite pastimes is looking at train and plane tickets to various places...just to see how much the little excursion would set me back.  This is usually just a time-wasting ploy and tends to show me how unlikely any trips would be in the near future.  However, the other night, I stumbled upon some flights from Liverpool to Dublin for the first weekend in January...for £36.  Return.  Less than £40.  That's cheaper than it is for me to get the train to London over the same weekend.  And it got me thinking.  

Because I'm normally a 'play it safe' kind of girl.  Despite my parents' belief, I can actually be quite sensible.  I wish I were more spontaneous and occasionally I can be...but as a general rule, I like to stick to what I know.  However, the one thing I do tend to do is book random trips.  Two years ago (wow, time flies!) I went to Paris for a few nights with one of my closest friends, Rachel.  I don't remember how far in advance we booked it, but it was fairly spur-of-the-moment.  And it was an incredible trip - the perfect memories for me to take to university with me.  And she's like, my travelling buddy...we've been to London together a few times as well as Edinburgh, plus Berlin and Paris more than once.  So why not go to Dublin in January? I'm really tempted and even if I ended up going alone, it would be an adventure.  I'm not the kind of person who needs to go to specific tourist attractions or have activities to fill each day.  I am perfectly happy to just wander around and look at stuff, soaking up the atmosphere of the new place.  I'm never happier than sitting in a cafe with a good coffee and a good book, watching the world go by.

Loving life in Edinburgh...with some roadworks.

Feeding the birds in the Tuileries Gardens

I wouldn't say I'm a restless person.  I'm perfectly happy staying in the same place for months on end.  I don't really have a choice.  But when I do travel, it always make me want to do more of it.  And the more I think, the more I want to do it.  I want to see the world.  I want to ride a Greyhound bus from one side of America to the other.  I want to wake up to a view of the Great Wall of China or the Rialto Bridge or the Empire State Building.  I want to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Mexico and Diwali in India.  I want to live in a list of at least five different cities which gets longer every time I think about it.  I want to be able to sit and read in the Tuileries Gardens on a regular basis - it's basically my happy place.  I want to drink beer on an Australian beach and sip cocktails in a swanky bar in London.  I want to travel around Europe with only a backpack and a camera and a notebook.  I want to write about everywhere.  I want to understand the world.  We'll see if that ever happens.

I'd love to hear about your favourite places to travel to.  Pop them in the comments - where's your favourite holiday destination, and where would be your dream place to visit?