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My travel mistake in 2022

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What a difference a year makes to travel lovers. And writers.

This time last year I was talking to friends and colleagues who were excited to be heading overseas again and I must admit, I wasn’t feeling the same.

I was in no rush to dust off my passport. When international borders closed I’d reframed my travel dreams and focused on all the places I wanted to go and things I wanted to do in Australia. Then when state borders closed they remained out of reach as well.

And so when I was chatting to one of my lovely Escape editors Kelli Armstrong at the big travel industry networking event Travmedia’s International Media Marketplace in February I told her that I’d be happy to spend all of 2022 in Australia doing all the things I hadn’t been able to over the past couple of years.

It was true at the time. But then I realised what I’d just said to my editor and quickly added that I was still very much open to doing overseas trips for Escape if she had one that she thought would be a good fit.  

Within two weeks I received an email from Kelli asking if I would like to go to Hawaii for Escape. And did a happy dance around the house.

I was so glad I’d caught myself in that moment over that chat. Because as much as I thought I wasn’t ready it was a huge mistake to take international travel off the table completely in 2022.

As stressful as it was at the time to worry about PCR tests before boarding a flight, I’m now glad that I experienced those strange travel times. To know what it’s like to hold your breath while you wait for a result to come through that could see you missing out on a trip.

That said, we may have more of that in the future. I’m currently back to avoiding crowds and wearing masks indoors again as I’ll need to get a negative Covid test next week before boarding Azamara Quest for my first travel assignment for 2023.

In the end my 2022 was a perfectly paced reintroduction to travel. I had two wonderful and memorable international trips to Hawaii and Canada, and I made some Australian travel dreams come true on the incredible Spicers Scenic Rim hike and my first visit to the Kimberley.

Amanda-Woods-hot tub-Scenic-Rim-Trail
Hot tub recovery on the Spicers Scenic Rim trail

Recently travel writer Dilvin Yasa asked me a few questions for her Escape Team’s 2022 year in review cover story.  It got me to thinking about the year that was, and inspired by her piece I’m now sharing my answers to all of her questions. And they go like this…

How many flights did you take this year?

21.  The most memorable was on the Yukon’s airline Air North from Dawson City to Whitehorse, when I got to eat warm cookies and look out at mountain views at midnight thanks to the midnight sun.

How many nights did you spend at sea?  

Absolutely none. But that will all change in 2023 – within a few days of the clock turning on the new year I’ll be setting sail for New Zealand with Azamara.

Did you have a first-time travel experience this year? If so, please provide details.

Swimming with crocodiles in the Kimberley. Freshies that is. I have a very healthy fear of salt water crocs but at Lake Argyle was convinced to swim off the back of a boat with a glass of bubbles in my hand in a body of water with around 35,000 freshwater crocodiles.

What was your favourite place you travelled to this year and why?

Dawson City in the Yukon. There’s something in the air there that goes beyond being able to walk the dirt streets under a midnight sun and hang out in a bar where they serve human toes in cocktails.

What destination is on your hit list for next year and why?

I’ve never been to India and would love to finally make that travel dream a reality in 2023. I’d jump at the chance to see India any way I can but if a magic wand was involved I’d join Uniworld’s new cruise and rail journey with a river cruise down the Ganges and a great train journey on the Maharajas’ Express.

What’s your travel trend prediction for 2023?

Regenerative travel and journeys that help people connect with nature and themselves will continue to rise. As much as the world has opened up I think a lot of people have changed in the past few years and want to be more mindful about the way they live and travel.

How many hotel rooms did you stay in? What was the standout and why? 

26. Quebec’s Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac was a pinch-me moment stand out for those castle on a hilltop feels. While Toronto’s Marriott City Centre had me laughing every time I walked into the room and saw a baseball field outside my window. Definitely a view I’d never seen before.

Best new dish you tried this year? 

All of the new pokes I tried in Hawaii, including the unexpected and delicious poke pizza at the Alohilani resort in Waikiki.

Funniest thing that happened to you on your travels this year?

Stepping into the store that played Rose Apothecary in Schitt’s Creek and seeing the town sign on a blanket. I’d been dreaming of travelling to Goodwood, Ontario for years and had the biggest grin on my face all day as I explored with my friend Glen. It was my first day in Canada and my luggage went from half full to bursting after I bought another blanket with the Rose Apothecary logo to bring home.

Visiting Goodwood, Ontario, the town where the filmed Schitts Creek

What’s one thing you’d like to share about international travel as it currently stands…

Now that we don’t have to worry about PCR tests and all that jazz it’s a lot easier than it was when borders first opened. But it may still be harder than you remember.

After a couple years in Australia I really felt my first long haul flights more than ever before. My advice if you’re heading abroad is to go for as long as you possibly can. One long trip rather than shorter ones is not only better for your body it’s better for the planet too. 

Carry on or checked luggage?

Until around July this year I always went checked. Now I’m doing my best to change teams and join those carry on only ninjas.

Must-have item for flying?

Good headphones. After goodness knows how many laps around the world mine broke this year and my budget-friendly ones just aren’t the same. 

What’s one lesson you learnt from travel this year?

While I’ve never taken any of my travels for granted, being able to get out there in the world again this year really made me appreciate just what a privilege it is.  And that every travel day should be spent doing something you truly love.

And that’s it for me for the year. Thanks for sharing some of the memories, and also thank you to Moveology Glen Innes for creating the excellent party skeleton Christmas tree that I used at the start of this post that made me smile when I saw it in the Glen Innes Christmas tree competition. A fun tree that made me smile on a fun night.

Until next year, happy travels!

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