As I look ahead in wonder to my thirties, I look back on the adventures of my twenties with great fondness and deep appreciation. To me, the luxury of travel is all about the journey. It’s about exploring somewhere new, challenging the boundaries of my comfort zone and seeking out hidden gems to share with others. Here are the top five destinations on my 30th birthday bucket list…
There are so many things that attract me to South Africa as a celebration destination, especially the trendy metropolis of Cape Town. After an early morning hike up Table Mountain (perhaps wishful thinking!), I’d love nothing more than a morning of moseying down Kloof Street, popping in and out of local roaster coffee shops, people-watching on my way towards lunch in a family-run, farm-to-table type café, overlooking the waterfront. An afternoon of Cape Town must-dos would lie ahead, including a trip to Robben Island and a late afternoon adventure to Boulders Beach to meet the penguins. My sundowner spot would have to be Grand Africa Café & Beach at Granger Bay, before heading into town to dine in one of the many delicious eateries, like The Pot Luck Club or Test Kitchen.
To me, Mozambique seems somewhat magical – a faraway land which I know and love dearly through words and pictures – so fabulous and untouched, I can’t quite imagine it to be real?! On the mainland I’m particularly drawn to the national parks which barely flicker on the radars of tourists and the southern coastline of Ponta Mamoli, home to White Pearl Resorts. From here, I would venture from south to north, in search of the Quirimbas Archipelago, home to some of the world’s most pristine islands and underwater reefs. The area is known for its diving, snorkelling and island-hopping journeys by traditional dhow. Having the opportunity to explore this wild outpost, meeting and engaging with the local communities on remote paradise isles, would be a dream come true.
As an outdoorsy girl, whose luxury is defined by unique experiences and remote places, Oman ticks every box! Not only is it so accessible from the UK (a big plus!), it has a wonderful climate and an incredibly diverse array of things to see and do. My heart’s allegiance is torn between the mountains and the ocean so I’d split my time between the two, hiking Jebel Akhdar in the Al Hajar mountain range and exploring the coastline of Salalah, perhaps starting with a few nights in Muscat and squeezing a few nights in the desert in-between! I would travel during spring to time my adventures with the best weather, but to be in the mountains when the Damask roses are in full bloom, a cascade of pastel-pink flowing down as far as the eye can see.
My dream birthday trip to Malaysia would consist of two parts: islands and wildlife. Depending on the time of year, Malaysia’s clever coast-to-coast microclimates mean that you are sure to find a beach swathed in sunshine on which to rest, relax and recover. On the west coast of the Malay Peninsula, Langkawi is high on my island-lust list, with whiter-than-white beaches and tropical island resorts such as The Datai. From here the wildlife of Borneo awaits, just a short flight from the country’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. An adventurous journey to Sabah would lead to one of the jungle’s floating river camps, perfectly positioned to explore the vibrant canopies and search for a glimpse of the infamous orangutans, who call this almighty landscape home.
Fiji had me at hello… or Bula! should I say. Before I visited, the warmth, happiness and hospitality which radiates from every Fijian seemed utterly infectious and now I’ve been there and met them, they didn’t disappoint. For some people, the 26-hour journey seems a chore, whereas for me, it’s the ultimate adventure. The trip of a lifetime, bound to take all who embark on it to a treasure trove of island adventures. Alongside the array of incredible hotels and resorts in which to rest weary heads after days of exploration, the main draw to Fiji really is the people. To be so passionate and so content with the place you call home is truly inspirational and the perfect mantra to take me marching into my thirties.