Travel & Photographic Itinerary 2023 - 2024
Due to the Global Pandemic, and China's 'Zero Covid' response, I was confined to home for most of 2022. I'm hopeful travel will become a lot easier in 2023 !
Obviously, just like everyone else, CV-19 has had a massive effect on my travel plans over the past three years and especially so in 2022. In my adopted home of Shanghai, in China, overseas flight prices rocketed due to the restrictions on overseas travel - with even a single economy ticket to London costing thousands of dollars ! However from April 2023 that is changing as from April/May onwards foreign airlines are permitted to offer flights to/from major cities in China again.
That said being resident in China has some obvious benefits ! Travel to stunning and exotic sites is usually quite easy here, however the Covid outbreak, and the administrations severe response,
meant that even domestic travel during most of 2022 was difficult to impossible.
Whilst there was a slight easing of restrictions over the Winter the severe conditions in the regions I'd planned to visit meant delays to most of the proposed destinations on my itinerary.
With the canceling of 'Zero Covid' in China the situation resolved itself quickly and, although previously QR health status codes were de rigueur everywhere I went, and of course I had these on my phone, it was not always an easy process as every region had their own regulations, restrictions and requirements - especially so for foreigners ! Happily that has all been dismantled and everything is back to pre-Covid now!
Hence 2022 was, as for many people, a time of treading water. My plan is still to tick off some new (to me) iconic China locations and revisit much loved provinces and sites. New will include e.g Xinjiang, Gobi or Taklimakan desert, Qinghai, Gansu, Guizhou (see below) & the rice terraces of Yunnan whilst I'll renew acquaintance with some old favourites such as Huangshan Mountain (this trip was completed on time).
Next up (3 weeks in March 2023) is a voyage through one of the poorest, but culturally the most diverse (aside from Yunnan), provinces in China. Filled with incredible mountainous villages populated by minority tribes (18 ethnic groups in the province) and spectacular lush mountains and waterfalls. I'll be finishing up that trip with another visit to the spectacular Hallelujah Mountains of Avatar
(although, in reality, the region is known as Zhangjiajie, in Hunan province bordering Guizhou).
Even though 2024 is still some way off I'm planning a couple of months in South America, specifically Peru and a 2 week trek of the Cordillera Huayhuash is pencilled in !
It's possible an Antarctic trip is in the works - with my daughter having just returned from there and my wife is now keen for us to go too !
Japan, trekking the Indonesian Islands & Xinjiang are all earmarked too.
My last major trip was to Tibetan Sichuan (November 2021) so I'm really looking forward to 2023 and the 6-7 months we'll be in Europe (based in London & Belgium, where our children are), with the highlight a 5-6 week return to one of my favourite countries, Iceland. In addition the Isle of Skye, Greece, Turkey, the Canary Islands and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are on the agenda.
This trip commences on the 3rd March 2023 and finishes whenever it finishes!
I estimate roughly 3 weeks to cover the route in my provisional plan, though I'm sure this will change as I progress.
I'm planning to finish this trip with a hike through and then above the mountains of Zhangjiajie (aka the Hallelujah Mountains from the film Avatar)
5-6 weeks hiking & camping
Late Spring or Early Summer 2023
A third trip to this magnificent country makes my heart beat faster ! Photographically it is surely one of the most spectacular places on earth.
For this trip my plan (evolving over the past 6 months) is for a series of short (2 days up a week) to various spectacular sights at various locations in the Icelandic Highlands plus the return to a handful of previously visited gems.
Islands & Meteora
2023 on our European trip
Not only one of my wife's top destination picks but one of mine. A 2023 trip is planned !
Instanbul & Cappadocia
Planned for Autumn 2023
A long time sitting on my To-Do list. As we are returning to Europe for 6-7 months this year it is definitely on the itinerary for 2023 !
CHINA : TIBET
EARLY DECEMBER 2023 as long as the border is open,
it's closed to foreigners at the moment
Maybe not many people realise it but the Tibetan Plateau covers a vast area across the North of Tibet and what are the pre-annexation lands of Western China. This vast area consists of lands inhabited mainly by ethnic Tibetan people having lived a traditional Tibetan way of life for decades after fleeing persecution by rich landowners enslaving them in Tibet.
The areas are geographically quite similar, both contain very high mountains, have vast plains and both areas are at cold Northern latitudes.
Tibet and the bordering Chinese provinces of Qinghai to the North and Sichuan and Yunnan (to the West) are all gorgeous !
This huge and amazingly geographically diverse province has massive lakes, numerous deserts, gorgeous mountains, lush green valleys and culturally numerous distinctive minority tribes.
Getting around is not easy due to security controls and vast, unpopulated distances to cover. Xinjiang is more than x6 greater in size than the UK and more than x3 the size of California !
But it should be an adventure !
The incredible Danxia Rainbow Mountains
These icons have long been on my China-list so it's about time I ticked them off.
So long as it rains first to bring out the saturated colours!