It's time again for my annual series of year-in-review top-five lists. As always, I'm starting with my top five leaps of the year, which, I find, is a good way of looking back on some of my travels and other adventures. 2015 hasn't been a particularly strong year for leaps: for various reasons (mainly weather-related), I didn't manage to take any on my European trips to Brussels, Lisbon, Copenhagen and Cannes. Here are a few favourites from some of my other adventures:
1. The 'blast from the past' leap. San Francisco, USA. After a work trip to Washington, DC, and San Jose, I had a few precious hours in San Francisco before my flight home. I used to travel to SF relatively often but it had been six years since my last visit. Luckily, it was a perfect sunny Sunday and Crissy Field and Golden Gate Park were glorious. I didn't have a tripod with me but managed to take a quick self-timer leap with the bridge in the background. Now, of course, I want to return to the Bay Area for a longer visit.
2. The 'never gets old' leap. New York, USA. Unusually for me, I only made it to New York once this year for a brief family holiday over the Easter weekend. The weather was gorgeous and so of course we made time for a few morning jogs in Central Park and a leap on Gapstow Bridge with the Manhattan skyline in the background. Tradition is a wonderful thing.
3. The 'it's a cliche for a reason' leap. Isla Mujeres, Mexico. After ten days of exploring Mexico City, Oaxaca and Mérida, there was nothing I wanted more than to find the perfect beach and spend a few days relaxing on it. I came pretty close with Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres, with its soft, powdery sand and warm, crystal-clear turquoise waters. I didn't move very far for the next few days. It took me a number of takes using the self-timer on my waterproof camera to capture the perfect 'beach paradise' leap, but it was well worth it.
4. The 'sunshine in Wales?' leap. Farchynys, Wales. Many of my childhood holidays were spent in and around Barmouth and Dolgellau in Mid-Wales. It was almost always cold and rainy and there was a little too much walking and too little shopping for my younger self's taste. This year, though, my dad took my brother, sister-in-law and me back for a long weekend in June. Unexpectedly, the weather was beautiful — so much so that I barely recognised the views over Cadair Idris. On the Sunday morning while the tide was out, my dad and I went for a walk along the estuary and the light was particularly spectacular. We were able to capture a few leaps — and to avoid sinking into the soft, muddy sand.
5. The 'freshwater' leap. London, UK. I've always been a bit of a wuss when it comes to outdoor swimming but when an outdoor swimming pond opened up near my office in King's Cross, I knew I had to try it. I selected a warm day in August for my swim, but the pond's clear waters were still far nippier than I would have liked and leaping was the only way I was going to get myself in.
2016 is, of course, a leap year and I hope it will also be a good year for leaps!