Top 10 Travel Moments of 2022

ROUND-UP: My Top 10 Travel Moments from 2022

Ten travel highlights from a year of change

Can someone tell me how it’s already the end of December? I have so much yet to recap from this year’s adventures but when they say that time is a thief, they’re not kidding. This year, more than any has been a year of ongoing change. Beyond our transition to a 50/50 bicontinental lifestyle between Italy and Anguilla, we’re also preparing to welcome our first child onto the scene which will undoubtedly usher in a shift in life and a shakeup in travel style. We opened Borgo San Vincenzo – a seemingly an impossible task to complete in the window it was done – and had a great first season with wonderful memories made. In all, it’s been a year of transition for us and one that has brought every emotion under the sun. I’ve been fortunate to have a pretty easy pregnancy which has allowed us to keep up a crazy travel pace for 2022 with lots of new sights and adventures along the way.

By the Numbers

Countries Visited: 15
Airplane Legs Flown: 28
New Citizenships Earned: 1 (British) 🎉

2022 had us based primarily in Europe, with some back and forth to the Caribbean; a rhythm that was slightly unexpected due to our baby news. Our idea when we first started Borgo San Vincenzo was to spend summers (high season) in Italy and winters (high season) in Anguilla but giving birth in Europe meant that we would stay in Europe for the bulk of the year, with a few back and forths, but shorter windows in the Caribbean than we’d normally anticipate. It’s made us miss Anguilla and look forward to splitting our time a bit more equally – as planned! – in the coming years. Our travels primarily centered around EU destinations this year with the notable exception of an East African island escape for a bit of Compass & Vine recon work. We had many amazing moments in our personal life with pregnancy news and with a new business taking shape in 2022, plus some great family adventures in the process. In very rough order (these things are hard to rank), I’m sharing my top 10 trips of the year. ⇣

Anguilla Moments

COVAC Insurance

10Despite the fact that the majority of 2022 was spent in Europe, Anguilla is still the place we consider ‘home’; it’s where our physical house is, it’s where we got married, where we spent the last decade full-time and generally the only place that’s been ours for our entire marriage. Being away for this long of a stretch made us appreciate our times back on the island immensely. Not being as operationally involved in Frangipani also meant that our times in Anguilla weren’t solely about work, which brought an entirely new perspective for us. We were able to enjoy some time on the beach, mornings working from home, and a less hectic pace of life.

👉🏼 If you’re considering traveling to Anguilla, reach out and say hello! With C&V I’m helping a few other travelers make travel to AXA in 2023 a reality!

Springtime Escape to Estonia

Estonia

9We’ve made a lot of memories in Estonia throughout the years, and this marked our second Easter holiday spent in Tallinn, one of our favorite European cities. Estonia has become the central point of our IVF journey and was where we quietly sojourned in the spring to give it another go!

👉🏼 Read more on Estonia here for inspiration for your trip!

Escape to the Cote d’Azur

Nice, Eze or Villefranche

8A mere 6-hour drive from our second home base in Tuscany, a visit to the South of France is now an easy summer escape for us, bringing sunshine along with a culture + gastronomic scene entirely different from that of Italy’s. By July we were ready for a change from the ever-present pasta, so fresh salads and seaside lunches hit the spot. As a last-minute trip in high season, we based ourselves in Nice instead of the more typical locales (St. Tropez, Antibes, Cannes, etc.) and visited Villefranche-sur-Mer and Eze for beautiful day trips to these charming enclaves.

A Longer-Term Stint in Malta

Malta, The Wanderlust Effect

7Malta became a temporary home base for us this year as we settled into the last two months of 2022 to welcome our baby in my family’s ‘homeland’. We visited earlier in 2022 for doctor’s appointments and then made our way from Italy down to the heart of the Med in early November to resettle for 3 months with our new addition (yet to come – and due in two days – as of writing this post). We’re seeing Malta as residents now vs. just as visitors, better understanding its nuances and finally took the time to spend a couple of nights in Gozo to dig into Malta’s sister island.

👉🏼 Read up on 10 things to do in Malta and 13 Things to Do in Gozo!

Dining and Drinking through the Douro Valley

Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

6With a long weekend to spare, we toyed with a slew of destinations we could easily access from Florence or Rome. Portugal had long been on my travel wishlist and the Six Senses Douro Valley, in particular, was a spot I’d had my eye on for a wine-tasting excursion. We’ve made it a priority to visit a new wine destination each year and the Douro helped satisfy our needs early on in 2022 with the usual suspects (Tawny Ports and LBVs) along with some great non-fortified still wines that wowed us along the way.

Balearic Escape to Mallorca

Mallorca

5I’ve called our trip to Mallorca a babymoon because it was the trip that most closely resembled such a thing. After finding out our baby news, we had trips to Seychelles, Malta, Anguilla, Croatia, Scotland, plus other locales booked but Mallorca (at 21+ weeks pregnant) was really the only destination that we attributed to a babymoon escape. We loved our visit to Ibiza in 2021 and it gave us hope that Mallorca would fall in line with the perfection of Mediterranean summer in the Balearics. Full transparency: Ibiza > Mallorca in my book, but a Spanish getaway in the summer is never a bad idea. ✌🏼

Italian Lifestyle + Exploration

Italy, The Wanderlust Effect

4We’ve spent about five months or our year in Italy opening Borgo San Vincenzo and taking in as much as possible in the region over the course of the seasons. The major highlight though was our January intro to Italia. In the midst of an Omicron surge we managed to make our way to Italy as a family of 5, bringing my then 96-year-old grandmother with us on an Italian adventure to allow her to fulfill her lifelong dream of visiting the Vatican and seeing the Pope. It wasn’t easy – and I’ll never sugarcoat the challenges of traveling with an elderly person with mobility issues – but it was worth it. The memories of her watching the Pope’s Angelus, going to confession, and taking communion in the Vatican were extraordinarily special. Add to that that it was my parent’s first ever trip to Italy and it was something very special!

👉🏼 Read about our golf cart tour through Rome, a perfect option for the less mobile travelers in your life.

Coastal Croatia with the Crew

Croatia, The Wanderlust Effect

3Our last visit to Croatia was in 2017 when we spent nearly three weeks exploring from Dubrovnik in the south up to the Istrian Peninsula in the north. The trip was memorable and we loved our experience but it took place amidst Hurricane Irma which had our minds wandering. We knew we wanted to go back again and do it with our heads in the right place.

Enter 2022. My parents planned on visiting us in Italy in September with my aunt and uncle. With an extra week to spare, we decided to add on Croatia, taking in the same Dubrovnik + Hvar + Split circuit that I often recommend to first-timers visiting the country.  While the weather was mixed, we still enjoyed the week taking in the historic city centers of Dubrovnik and Split and the coastal vibes in Hvar.

Read up on inspiration for 8 Weeklong Itineraries for Central Europe.

Escape to the Seychelles

One Week in the Seychelles

2After a number of trips to East Africa, I’d been intrigued with better understanding the surrounding islands to better incorporate for folks on safari in Kenya, Tanzania, and surrounding areas. We’d toyed with the idea of Seychelles for years and it was higher on our list than the Maldives, Mauritius, and other Indian Ocean islands based on our travel profile. When we found a simple enough flight from Rome, we couldn’t pass it up. We jumped around a bit more than I’d normally advise but explored Mahe, Desroches, Praslin, and La Digue to get a feel for what each island has to offer. With gorgeous beaches and a Jurassic Park-esque edge, there’s a reason the Seychelles’ landscapes have enchanted travelers for years.

👉🏼 Get some inspiration for One Week in the Seychelles.

A Family Escape to Scotland

Scotland, The Wanderlust Effect

1One of our most anticipated trips of the year, our trip to Scotland with Scott’s family took us to the north of the United Kingdom for two weeks of golf, Scotch, castles, and landscapes. I’d visited Scotland twice before while living in London but mostly based myself in Edinburgh with quick trips to St. Andrews and a long day trip to the Highlands to get a glimpse. This go-around we had time on our side and were able to really delve into Scottish culture, spending a week at Turin Castle with friends + family, plus time in the Highlands (at one of my dream hotels!) and on the Isle of Skye. The boys golfed at some of the country’s most prestigious courses and we whisky tasted throughout the Highlands (okay, I watched, but still). Men out there brainstorming a bachelor party destination, not sure you can get better than this — reach out for help planning!

Get our itinerary for 3 days on the Isle of Skye.


This year has brought a ton of change and lots of unexpected adventures – in many ways! – for us. I’ve learned to go with the flow a bit more given the fluidity of our lifestyle and look forward to bringing more unexpected adventures into the coming season. We have a number of getaways on the docket for 2023, including returning to our beloved Anguilla, time in Italy, an island-y escape to Thailand, an adventure in Iceland, celebrations in California, and some time in Greece, but this go-around we’re tackling it as a party of three (whenever this baby decides to come)! Cheers to a year of new adventures, lots of learning and adapting, and wonderful memories!

Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.