With the motorsports season virtually non-stop, opportunities to take a week off the grid in an exotic destination are next-to-none.
In fact, it hasn’t been since 2014 that I boarded a plane for a trip entirely for pleasure.
That changed this month when I cashed in my frequent flier miles and hotel and car rental points for a trip to Iceland, a place that’s been on my ‘bucket list’ for as long as I could remember.
While I’m fortunate that my travels covering motorsports takes me around the world, I mostly go to the same places year after year, which can get a bit dull.
For 2017, I’m trying to shake that up that by visiting some new locations, off the beaten path from the racing world, and New Zealand was at the top of the list.
Following last weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, I hopped across the Tasman Sea to Queenstown, where I explored Fiordland National Park, New Zealand’s largest national park, including a trip to Milford Sound, by bus and plane.
In May, following the FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa-Francorchamps, I headed East to Ukraine to check off one of my “bucket list” items, a trip to Chernobyl.
I took part in a one-day tour of the area, which has been virtually uninhabited since the 1986 nuclear catastrophe that claimed the lives of thousands, and the forced relocation many others in the Soviet period.
From the two checkpoints, to exploring the decaying town of Pripyat, and getting an up-close view of Reactor No. 4 (with the finishing touches being put on the new sarcophagus, adjacent), it was an experience I’ll never forget.