Where do I even begin? This past year has been absolutely incredible. I had been planning for 2019 for several years. I spent all of my time leading up to 2019 planning and saving for a trip around the world. All of my hard work definitely paid off because we had the time of our life exploring 26 countries!
WHAT!! We visited to 45+ cities, 26 different countries, and 5 continents in one year! We visited: USA, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Vietnam, China, United Arab Emirates, Greece, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Morocco, Denmark and Sweden.
Our year was filled with amazing experiences all over the globe. We checked off so many bucket list items. I could write a book about all of the adventures we had. Here are some of our favorite memories from our trip.
Adventures We Had Around the World:
- Hiked in Zion National Park, Utah, USA
- Went snorkeling with sea turtles in Hawaii
- Rented an RV for a month of hiking in New Zealand
- Went swimming with dolphins in New Zealand
- Learned to scuba dive in Fiji
- Enjoyed dinner at the Sydney Opera House
- Became locals in Australia by housesitting cute dogs
- Went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef
- Motorbiked around Bali to visit waterfalls and rice terraces
- Got dengue fever and stayed in the hospital for a week in Kuala Lumpur
- Visited my best friend at her school in Cambodia and met wonderful Cambodians
- Walked through the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia
- Explored the gorgeous limestone karst formations of southern Thailand
- Bargained for deals in Bangkok
- Visited a country we knew very little about, Laos
- Sang with the supertrees in Singapore
- Rode motorbikes throughout Vietnam
- Kayaked in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
- Hiked part of the Great Wall of China
- Saw the world’s tallest building in Dubai
- Explored ancient Athens, Greece for the first time
- Watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night
- Showed Luke around my favorite city, Amsterdam
- Enjoyed time slowing down and eating delicious food with my Germany host family
- Our American friends visited us and road tripped through Germany, Austria and Italy with them
- Made great international friends on our first group trip through Morocco
- Explored tiny Malmo, Sweden
- Got poured on while exploring beautiful Copenhagen, Denmark
Changes to the Itinerary
The year was thoroughly planned out before leaving, so there are only a few itinerary changes we made while we were traveling. Flexibility is always key when traveling! First, we ended up not going to the Philippines, which I am still sad about. But the time we were going to be able to visit was during their typhoon season, which would have made it not as an enjoyable stay hopping the islands.
Next, we also missed out on a few days visiting Hong Kong. When we were looking to buy our tickets, it seemed like the protests were in no way slowing down. We decided to fly straight from Vietnam to China. Hong Kong is definitely high on my to-visit list.
Lastly, we changed our Africa plans a lot. We wanted to go to Tanzania and South Africa, but when we started to look at flights from where we were in Asia, it wasn’t easy to get to with our airline miles. So we ended up booking a group trip with Intrepid through Morocco, and we absolutely loved our small introduction to Africa through that.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”Marcel Proust
What Did We Learn?
Luke and I both learned so much during this year of traveling together. It was Luke’s first time leaving North America! We took cooking classes, went on local walking tours and visited countless historical sites and museums to learn about the history of the places we were traveling through. Travel is one of the greatest teacher’s we have in life for cultural reflection and understanding.
We also learned a great deal about each other and our relationship. We spent every moment together for months on end. In the times we got frustrated with each other, we reflected on the fact that our needs (hunger, tiredness, being too hot) were probably not being met. Our relationship came out stronger and we are excited for what the future holds. We were actually pretty sad the first day we had apart when we were back in Wisconsin.
We also learned how we enjoy to travel. In the future, I can see us traveling slower. Maybe for 3-6 months at a time in a region, but spending longer in a city and living there for a bit to get a more local approach.
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”Aldous Huxley
How Well Did We Stay on Budget?
We stayed pretty well within our budget of $50 per day per person. This fluctuated from $70 in more developed countries and then to $30 in less developed countries. I would say that we did overspend a bit more than we thought we would, but that was mostly for our sanity. We did not pick the cheapest hostels in every country because I wouldn’t have made it the entire year sharing a room with strangers and getting bad sleep. So I found us often, in cheaper countries, spending the extra $3-5 extra a night for a better place to stay. By the time we were in our last hostel of the trip in Copenhagen, an 8 bed mixed dorm room, I think we were both ready to be in our beds again and not waking up at 2 am when our roommates come back.
“Jobs fill your pocket but adventures fill your soul.”Jamie Lyn Beatty
I had been planning and saving for our trip around the world for so long that hadn’t given much thought to what was next. I was truly obsessed with circumnavigating the globe. For now, we will be saving again and relaxing in Wisconsin.
My 2020 will be filled with focusing on health, happiness and the environment. I have now reached visiting 39 total countries so I also would like to get to 40 countries this year, probably somewhere in South America. The travel doesn’t stop here!
I have taken a little break from blogging since we have been home just to unwind a enjoy family and friend time a bit, but I will continue sharing tips and stories of our travels throughout the year.
“It is better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.”Asian Proverb