2018 Highlights

Tips for keeping safe as a solo traveller

WOW! What a year it has been. For those who have been following along, you would know that 2018 was a big year of travel for me. I have been to some amazing places and experienced some amazing things, but it hasn’t always been easy. That is why I wanted to share my 2018 highlights with you, and also some of the worst / hardest moments from this year.

So without further ado, here are my 2018 highlights (followed by the opposite).

Travelling to Sri Lanka With my Best Friend

Travelling to Sri Lanka with my lifelong bestie was an obvious highlight of 2018. Travelling alone is great, but there is something special about sharing new experiences with the people you love.

We spent time on the beaches of Midigama, in the highlands of Ella, hiking Ella Rock and little Adam Peak. We took the scenic train ride from Ella to Kandy. We hiked Sigiriya Rock and we took a safari through Udawalawe National Park. Ohh and we went all out at a luxury hotel too.

Not only was my Sri Lankan holiday a highlight of 2018, so was the impact that it had on my entire year.

My trip to Sri Lanka was meant to be a 2 week holiday, that used up all of my annual leave. After the realisation that the rest of my year would be spent at my desk, my partner and I decided to quit our jobs and chase our dreams. Within 3 weeks or returning from our Sri Lankan holiday, we had both quit our jobs, sold everything we owned, moved out of our home and booked flights. This decision forged the pathway for 2018, a year filled with travel, adventure, laughter and love.

Camping with my loved ones in Australia

Before setting off on my year of adventures, I went camping with my nearest and dearest. We spent 2 nights in Brooms Head in Australia. On our final day, we packed up then sat around for hours. No one wanted to leave. It was a relaxing weekend filled with good people, good vibes and good times. When I am hanging out with my friends, I try to live in the moment and therefore didn’t capture any photos of this amazing weekend, but the memories will NEVER be forgotten.

Travelling to 9 new countries

I am clearly travel obsessed, so visiting 9 new countries was another highlight of my year. Actually, my life!

I travelled to Bali, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brazil, Mexico, Belize, New Zealand and Samoa.

The entire experience was amazing, but there were some moments that stood out in particular.

Relaxing in Bali with my two sisters

My first stop after Sri Lanka was Bali. We spent a month on the Island of the Gods before setting off around Cambodia and Vietnam. I have been the Bali many times before, so what made this trip special was that I got to share it with my two beautiful sisters. We spend two weeks exploring the cliff side beaches in Uluwatu, adventuring around the Nusa Islands and enjoying happy hour on Gili Air. For me, there is nothing better than sharing precious, simple moments with the people you love.

Hitting the road with Jucy in New Zealand

New Zealand is an incredible country, so spending two weeks on the road in a Jucy van was an epic adventure. We didn’t get the best weather, but that didn’t stop us from having an incredible time. If you are heading to New Zealand, check out my two week road trip guide.

Exploring the remote island of Samoa

Samoa is literally paradise. I seen some of the most amazing natural landscapes in my life in Samoa, and that crazy thing was that there was no one around. We would drive to breathtaking waterfalls and private black sand beaches and have them entirely to ourselves. It was absolute heaven. One of the most unique places we visited in Samoa was To Sua Ocean Trench.

Visiting my Brazilian Family

You may have noticed that I spent quite some time in Brazil this year. What you may not know is why I visited. My fiancé is Brazilian so we went over to meet his extended family. We were completely spoilt. We travelled to Rio De Janeiro, Florianopolis and a few places in São Paulo such as Maresias, Campos Do Jordão and Franca. We experience all the best things in Brazil, that is for sure! If you are heading to Brazil, check out my Bucket list and itineraries.

Mexican luxury at it’s finest

Luxury Meets Adventure at Belmond Maroma Resort

My blog has certainly taken me to some amazing places, but nowhere quite like Belmond Maroma Resort and Spa. I stayed in a beachfront house overlooking the Carribean ocean with a private pool, spa and gym. Mexican hot chocolate was delivered to my room in the morning, which created the start of a perfect day at Belmond. Fresh quesadillas were served for breakfast, then we were invited to use the sauna and wet room, with organic, house-made body scrubs. I truly felt like royalty. If you are planning a trip to Mexico, read this.

Mexican Adventures

Enjoying a slice of Mexican luxury was amazing, but so were my Mexican adventures. We spent two weeks in Mexico, riding bikes along the beaches of Tulum, sailing to Isla Mujeres and exploring cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula. This combination of adventures made my time in Mexico soooo much fun.

Daily sunsets and yoga on Caye Caulker

So while I didn’t particularly love Caye Caulker, I still had an amazing time there. We watched the sunrise from the front of our hotel every morning, we enjoyed yoga at Namaste cafe in the day, then we watched the sunset over the spit. These simple moment are what I live for, and what made Caye Caulker an unforgettable experience for me.

Hitting the open road in Australia

Without a doubt, one of my favourite experiences of the year was hitting the open road and crossing Australia. From the Gold Coast to Margaret River, across the Nullarbor, via Esperance. I could not wipe the smile off my face the entire road trip. Some say the Nullarbor is a long boring drive. I say WRONG! It is magical.

Camping a Lucky Bay

There is nowhere on earth quite like Lucky Bay. It is without a doubt one of the best places I have ever been, so spending three-nights camping and relaxing there was the perfect way to end a busy year.

Exploring Cape Le Grand National Park

Not only was Lucky Bay a highlight of 2018, but the entire Cape Le Grand National Park was also. Hellfire Bay is another place you must visit.

My least favourite moments of 2018

So many amazing things happened this year, but it wasn’t always easy. Here are some of the hardest moments we had, and things we didn’t enjoy.

Vietnam

I would be lying if I said I loved Vietnam. I truly didn’t. I found it to be a crowded, hot and hostile country. Plus I saw so many strange things in Vietnam. There was certainly some beautiful scenery, but the overall experience just didn’t cut it for me. This is my personal opinion, many people love Vietnam and that is great, because everyone is different.

Belize

Yes, Belize (Caye Caulker) made my highlights AND least favourite lists. How? Well, I loved the experience I had on Caye Caulker, but I didn’t appreciate being hassled every time I left my hotel. You can’t walk down the street without being stopped and offered drugs or asked for money. It can get quite annoying. Belize City is one of the unsafest places I have ever been and would not recommend for anyone to stay a night here.

Witnessing a robbery in Brazil

Yep, we literally witnessed a car being robbed in Brazil. It was one of the craziest and scariest things I have ever seen. You can get all the details in my article on crazy travel stories.

Spending 55 hours in transit and sleeping on the floor of LAX

A moment of bad planning and lack of money left us in transit for 55 hours and sleeping on the ground of LAX. This was the moment I decided that I would prefer to travel for a shorter time, and be able to book direct flights or an airport hotel. This year we really pushed ourselves, with everything we did. Instead of coming home a few weeks earlier we kept travelling which meant, yet again, we came home cashless. I still haven’t learnt. I probably never will.

The impacts of long term travel

Travelling for the past 8 months has been amazing, but there are without a doubt, some negative impacts that it can have on your body and health. A routine diet and exercise go out the window, and so does a consistent sleeping pattern. I have literally gone from eating Vietnamese everyday, to Mexican every day and everything in between. Changing time zones so frequently confused my body, and left me sleeping and awake at strange hours. I spent many of days drinking beer in bars around the world, and very few days in the gym. After 8 months and a combination of these things, I felt tired, fat, unhealthy and unmotivated. If you want to find out what its really like travelling long term and working online, click here.

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