'Tis the season to reflect, channel our inner Oprah and Julie Andrews and round up a list of all of our favourite things.
But instead of woollen mittens or Ugg boots, we thought we would take a different approach and focus on the real stuff; the experiences, moments and memories that travel leaves us with.
Other than the wait at the airport and the jetlag, there isn’t much else that we don’t absolutely love about travelling. But if we had to narrow it down, these would be some of our favourite things that keep us coming back, trip after trip, year after year, to explore this beautiful planet of ours.
In no particular order, here’s our big top 30…
My favourite thing is to go where I've never been - Diane Arbus
We could just stop here, but in order to truly understand what is so amazing about food when you’re travelling, you need to delve into all of the amazing avenues and options available for your taste buds to explore. Food at home is just not the same as food when you’re away, and it’s not just because you don’t have to cook it either.
1. Cooking classes
If you can take even one technique or tip away from a cooking class in another country, your cooking skills are pretty much guaranteed to improve. The immersive, authentic and rewarding experience of learning it from locals, in person, is something that YouTube and any cookbook in the world just can’t beat.
2. Street foodFast, cheap, fresh, portable – it’s exactly what we want and need when we’re on the go, exploring as much as possible during the day.
3. Local restaurants
Because there is so much more to local cuisine than what’s served up at tourist traps. If there isn’t an English version of the menu, it’s usually an amazing sign of delicious things to come.
4. New drinks
Juices, cocktails, craft brews – the worst part of falling in love with a local drink is the struggle of trying to find/ recreate it indefinitely when you get home, but those frustrations aside, discovering that liquid local gem is so worth it.
5. Late night eats
Because few things are more rewarding than finding a fresh, delicious, unknown and unexpected beacon of food light to satisfy your craving at 2am.
Sunrises and sunsets
They’re something we take for granted at home, but we’ll never say no to being there and present in the moment to marvel at one abroad.
6. Temple backdrops
The lines, angles and scenery of ancient ruins and temples are only accentuated by the mist and candy colours of the rising or setting sun.
A glass of champagne and toasting to life just go with a sunset when you’re travelling.
8. Rewarding hilltop hikes
The only thing that makes us want to hike to the top of a hill first thing in the morning is a tranquil moment of reflection and a jaw-dropping view.
9. That perfect photo lighting
Because everyone and everything just seems to look better at dusk.
We don’t have the privilege of being shoreside on an average day, so revelling in those mirror-like amplifications of any sunset is a real treat.
Even if your profile photo is from 2013 and the only camera you own just happens to be attached to your smartphone, there is something about a new and exciting place that compels even the most rookie photog to indulge in a snap or two (or a thousand) when you really fall in love with a destination. Here’s what we can’t help but photograph when we travel:
11. Ancient ruins
When you’re taking photos of a place that’s existed for thousands of years, there’s just another level of emotion and mystery that’s exuded that you just can’t find in modern architecture. Just picture all of the people and things that have happened in that place, and your pictures can tell their own stories.
12. Local life
You can learn so much from another culture by observing and respecting their day to day routines and customs, and when you can capture the authenticity and colours of everyday life, you come away with photography that really means something.
13. Historic hotspots
Because regardless of how many people have taken those photos before, they mean that much more when you are taking them for yourself. Plus the opportunities to put your own spin on an old classic are endless.
14. Street art
So many parts of the world have transformed the mundane into brilliant public galleries of pure artistry, and it’s so much more than your local graffiti.
15. Events and festivals
Because how we celebrate says so much about who we are as people, and celebrations around the world are so much more interesting than another unoriginal parade float or stuffy family dinner.
We’ve always fantasized about living by the beach, working on the beach, just being on or around the beach as much as possible, and travelling allows us to live out that fantasy as much as we can.
16. Aquatic life
Because for some of us, swimming amongst exotic sea life rather than in a pool is the closest we’ll ever get to being a mermaid, and it’s pretty darn amazing.
17. Shoreside eats
Swimming and sunbathing can work up quite an appetite, and if we don’t have to put on proper clothing or footwear to get our grub on, we’re thrilled.
The fresher the better, and the more there is, the happier our stomachs are.
19. Just getting wet
Because when the water is that beautiful, you’ve just gotta be in it as much as you can.
Because the weather at home is often questionable, and we really crave that vitamin D.
Where we love it: Mexico
Art & Architecture
There are so many beautiful manmade things around the world, and even though we may not ever live in a castle or have an artistic flair, we can appreciate the talents of our fellow humans past and present.
21. Famous creations
Because seeing a real Monet or Michelangelo makes all of that time spent in art class finally click.
22. Tiles and patterns
There are so many walls in the world, and travelling has taught us that plain walls are overrated – we like them as beautified as possible.
23. Preservation techniques
We can’t even keep our rooms clean or our iPhones intact, so the ability of cultures around the world to create artwork and buildings that stand the test of time will never stop amazing us.
24. Castles and fortresses
We all need house goals that aren’t totally inspired by the modern shoeboxes on HGTV, right?
Because a bit of travelling teaches you that the sounds, genres and soundtracks of countries and languages around the world are far more interesting and beautiful than listening to that top 50 playlist, again.
Even if your typical days are spent like a couch potato, that’s no way to spend a vacation. Being in a new place brings out the best in us, getting us up out of bed and into the wild.
26. Camping under the stars
It’s a whole different version of nightlife when you’re enjoying the noises, constellations and nothing but nature whilst sleeping outside.
27. Getting active
Our hotel room is the last place we want to see when we’re abroad, and biking, hiking and swimming is best done when you can explore new places in the process.
28. Walking everywhere
You’d be amazed at all of the amazing places you can stumble upon on your own two feet that you would never have found otherwise.
Because the zoo is not our idea of a great way to see exotic wildlife, and we’d much rather get lost respectfully exploring the habitats of the world’s most amazing creatures.
30. Great weather
If we can be in paradise outside in the sunshine, with a cool breeze, it just makes us better and happier people in general.
Where we love it: Anywhere hot
What are your favourite things about travelling? Tell us in the comments below!