2014 started with me opening a WordPress account, so we could document the epic road trip we were starting to plan on moving to Bangladesh after 10 years in UK and driving from Sheffield to Dhaka in June 2014. This is when I learnt that people actually blog about travel! I am very technologically handicapped and my blogging journey started and ended right there with having an account in our name -for the time being 🙂
In January, I was busy planning our 3rd large group travel – organizing a trip for 22 people in Snowdonia National Park, Wales 1st week of February. The trip was great even though we had the worst weather of all times. We still managed to make the most of it, saw Snowdon in a distance and even managed to make it to the coast! I recently wrote a post from many trips on why Wales is amazing here.
We had our first visitor of the year 1st week of Jan and we took her to Cresswell Crags, a limestone gorge honeycombed with caves and smaller fissures. Stone tools and remains of animals found in the caves by archaeologists provide evidence for a fascinating story of life during the last Ice Age between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago. A very cool place to visit and one of our many local Derbyshire attractions!
Onwards to warm March where planning for road trip continued! We bought a Land Cruiser for the journey, did extensive research on the countries we would be travelling to – Iran, Croatia and Turkey – were the countries we were looking forward to most. We made www.selimsraasta.com public (with a page of the map and the car, no writing posts yet) Excitement was building, we put our house on the market and started decluttering. We had an early spring and made use of the good weather to have outdoor picnics, visit local farms and parks with visitors – When we are not travelling, we always have visitors over 🙂 We also made a trip out to Manchester and went to the Museum of Science and Industry(MOSI) – a very impressive place, kids and I absolutely loved it!
The next big travel was our epic USA trip in April! This required some SERIOUS planning as we had east and west coast to cover, 100 people to visit (we ended up seeing 79 people) with several agendas – national park, road trip, beach, family time and more! We had an amazing 3 weeks and I have written several posts on them – the two main ones being Drive from Morro Bay to San Francisco and our epic 30 people reunion in the Poconos. Besides these two, we also travelled to LA, Boston, Maine and Lancaster.
Unfortunately on our last few days there, exactly one year since Shama’s first surgery for her Moyamoya, she became unwell again. Suddenly our plans for leaving on a 3 month road trip to Bangladesh in in two months time became uncertain. We came back to England, had rounds of hospital visits and tests and everything just became in limbo. House was still on market, admissions getting sorted for school in Bangladesh, had given resignation at work..but now we might not leave.
What we ended up doing, as what we always end up during difficult times – enjoy life, travel and be merry with friends and family 🙂 We turned the Sheffield ‘farewell’ into one big party! We also went to Edinburgh, Scotland for my 1st Marathon, an amazing experience!
By June we knew we weren’t leaving for our road trip just as yet, but we decided to do Europe part of the road trip until Croatia and drive back to England for Doctor’s appointments. We had a family wedding in Bordeaux, France in July. I wrote my first proper blog posts around this time in June and realized how much I enjoyed it 🙂 We came back to Sheffield, packed up and set off for an amazing road trip driving through France(again), Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia.
As wonderful as it was, Shama became quite unwell several times of the trip and by time we came back, we knew we wouldn’t be setting off for long road trip for some time until she is healthy again. England surprised us with hot weather all the way till October! I had fieldwork along the Yorkshire coast and we made a few seaside travels around here and in Norwich August and September.
Shama’s surgery time was upon us before we knew it. During moments of low, my blogging gave me great comfort and I wrote my first personal piece about Shama. The wonderful support and outpouring of love from friends and strangers alike was amazing. It got us through the next few weeks, during surgery and slow recovery all of October. I went to China for work and combined travel time with it. Great Wall of China was amazing but things at home were quite hard. Recovery was slow, it was difficult getting normal dynamics and balance back in the family.
And then the opportunity to go to New Zealand cropped up, Ashique got an offer to apply there for work and everything started to become exciting again!
Hard times passed, as it does, and we took our first family travel post surgery and went to London. We visited Tower of London, saw the Sea of Poppies and Shama became her old boisterous self 🙂 We had the courage to plan our 10 year wedding anniversary trip to Morocco in November. And what an amazing trip that was! Have some great posts on food, colours, Atlas mountains and our perfect Riad.
In December, we had a few Sheffield ‘farewells’ with friends from London and local (even though no one believes that we are actually leaving). We drove down to London to celebrate Christmas with family and came back to a white Sheffield! We spent past few days sledging, making snowman, having snowball fights, happy we got to have see snow before we leave 🙂
It’s the last day of the year now and I reflect back on my 9 months of blogging, my new hobby and passion, through which I have connected with amazing and supportive travel bloggers. I thank you all 🙂 I look back at the 11 countries and 5 continents we travelled to this year, the local travels in England, so many wonderful moments and memories with friends and family.
On the 11th of December I wrote my second personal post, A memoir to my Mother, and in it I quoted:
And we so are! In spite of difficulties and changes in all our plans for 2014, in the end, life is turning out quite alright 🙂 We are off to New Zealand for the year and we are very much looking forward to exploring a whole new continent and Thailand too!
Wishing all our readers, all our friends and family, all you wonderful people – A Very Happy 2015 full of love, light and laughter