I know I said that my last post would be my final one for 2015 but it wouldn’t be the end of the year if I didn’t do a bit of reminiscing. So I thought I’d do a little round up of the main highlights since we started this journey in April.
In 9 months we have explored 8 different countries over three different continents 🌏🌍 We have flown 13 times ✈ Slept in 80 different beds, 2 tents ⛺ and a camper van 🚐
It was a difficult task trying to think of only a few highlights. As you can see I got a little carried away…
Back in April when our skin was pale(r) we were total newbies to the backpacking culture. Five months of adventure awaited in Southeast Asia…
Songkran – Thai New Year💧💧💧
We braved the streets of Koh Phangan in the middle of really heavy rain with a Chang in one hand and a water pistol in the other. Our faces were painted with a weird chalky paint and we were attacked by super soakers from every angle! This was a great intro to the Thai culture.
Discovering Scuba diving
Making the crazy decision to face a major fear while Jonny was getting his Advanced license. I signed up to do a Discover Scuba course. I had myself convinced I was going to be that 1 in however many hundred people to die diving. But sure – YOLO?! I loved the experience but hadn’t quite caught the bug at this stage.
Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Okay, so I HATED getting up at 4am. And that nasty bitch we shared a hostel room with. Remember her?! But seeing Angkor Wat with the sun coming up was a pretty special experience.
A sobering taste of Cambodian history
I’m not sure it can be classed as a highlight as it was a pretty depressing day learning about the Khmer Rouge regime and how 40% of an entire population were wiped out. However, it showed us how resilient and forgiving the Khmer people are.
Immersing ourselves in Vietnamese history
Another weird highlight as it focused on so much tragedy but we did love learning about the Vietnamese war. The War Remnants museum & Cu Chi tunnels were major highlight of our time in Saigon.
Being the ultimate child at Vinpearl Land
Riding a cable car with unbelievable views over the beautiful beach town of Nha Trang to the Vietnamese Disneyland! Almost getting whiplash on the strangest rollercoaster ever and hanging out with Vietnamese students on waterslides. An epic day!
Everything about Hoi An
Hoi An is the prettiest town ever. Our stay with Lee at his Homestay; tailored clothes; a gorge “locals” beach; and a lantern festival made this one a firm favourite with us.
Hanging out with Lee & Trang in Hanoi on our free walking tour was such an amazing experience. Learning about the real Vietnam from locals was really special. And the fact that they introduced us to the taste sensation that is Bun Cha made it even more wonderful!
Tubing in Vang Vieng
Now I wasn’t a massive fan of VV – this is one place that backpackers have totally ruined. But I did have a lot of fun lazing on a tube taking in the wonderful scenery that Laos has to offer with a few refreshing beverage stops along the way.
Slow boating back to Thailand
Travelling like a local from Laos to Thailand was an experience. Going up the beautiful Mekong Delta with nothing but greenery on either side; a couple of elephants; and children playing in the water. It wasn’t all pleasant but it’s definitely something we’re glad we did!
Jurassic World 4D
Getting back to civilisation in Thailand meant a trip to the cinema to see the much anticipated Jurassic World. The regular screen was sold out so we bought two 4D tickets not having a clue what to expect. Best cinema experience EVER.
Hanging with Asian elephants in Chiang Mai
This was an incredible day. I learnt that Asian elephants are very hairy & painful to sit on. I wouldn’t recommend riding an elephant to anyone but getting to bathe with them was one of the most amazing experiences 🐘
Exploring Pai on the back of Jonny’s scooter
£2.50 to rent a scooter for 24 hours. Why not?! I was terrified every single minute of the time I was Jonny’s passenger. But we saw so much of quirky Pai thanks to that scooter and Jonny’s excellent driving skills!
Living on Koh Tao for a month
Sun, sea & Singha’s. I don’t even need to explain this one. You all know how much I love Turtle Island.
Catching the diving bug
I talked about scuba diving at least 10 times a day after leaving Thailand the first time. It was only right I faced my fears again and got my open water license. I fell in love with the underwater world (after I got over the stress of having to take my mask off underwater of course!)
Chillaxing in Ubud ✌
Rice paddies; traditional dance shows; food for a cause; Balinese bungalows; and massages. Ubud was the best place for me to be when I was loaded with a stinking cold.
Diving the Liberty wreck in Amed
The vis was awful and we lost a dive buddy for a brief period of time. But we dived a shipwreck!!!!
Waterbom park in Kuta
Literally the only good thing about Kuta (oh, along with Bubba Gumps!) The anticipation waiting for the capsule slides to release you was petrifying! But we loved it!
Five months in Asia had disappeared and we were almost crying at the thought of leaving. We started to plan on ways to leave Aus early to get back to Asia before we’d even got on the plane. How things changed once we got to the land down under…
A tour of the Atherton Tablelands with cousin Linzi & a bus load of hilarious people. We swam in a freezing cold creek; slid down a massive rock with water gushing down it; pretended to be Peter Andre while flicking our hair back Herbal Essence style at Milla Milla Falls; and drank hot choc lying at the most beautiful lake. A great start to the Aussie adventure.
The Hippie Camper 🚐
The debate between bussing our way through Aus or forking out for a camper van continued until we reached Sydney. That was until I came across a company giving us a ridiculously cheap quote for 5 weeks on the road. The decision was made and we never looked back. There is NO other way to see Australia if you’re travelling with someone. The camper lifestyle was the best. Fact!
Making sand angels on Whitehaven beach
This has to be the world’s most beautiful beach. Miles of white silica sand & turquoise water. Bliss!
Seeing whales for the first time from the Carlo sandblow 🐳
This was such an awesome day. We walked through a forest to find a massive sandblow – everywhere we looked there was white sand. Sitting near the edge watching humpback whales totally made the day.
K’gari aka Fraser Island
The world’s largest sand island; four wheel driving; dingoes; a great bunch of people; and so much exploring! A great weekend down under.
Diving with grey nurse sharks at South West Rocks
The BEST dives we have ever done. 30+ grey nurse sharks swimming alongside us is a sight we will never forget! Thanks to dive master Steve for holding my hand to ensure the crazy current didn’t sweep me away 🙈
Leaving sunny Sydney was a difficult task. We hated NZ when we first touched down. Auckland was so dull & dreary and we couldn’t help but think we’d made a massive mistake with our travel planning. Thankfully things changed and the land of the long white cloud became a favourite of ours…
Spellbound by glow worms
We were amazed by the sight of ugly little maggots lighting up a cave in the most magnificent way in Waitomo.
Tamaki Maori experience
More Maori education. Jonny loved joining in for the Haka. The traditional dinner cooked underground in a Hangi was DELISH!
Jumping 15,000ft out of a plane ✈
By far one of our top 3 experiences. There is no way to describe how amazing skydiving is – you have to do it to believe it! An incredible day with the guys at TTS!
Swimming with the dusky dolphins in Kaikoura
This was just AMAZING. I truly believed I was Ariel for the day. The freezing water almost killed us but it was SO worth it🐬❤
An adrenalin fuelled stay in Queenstown
Getting drenched on the Thunder Jet boat; racing luge carts with a view over beautiful QT; and of course doing the Nevis Swing (twice!)!
Back to Jonny’s homeland for Christmas in the sun. A special one for me as it was time for the reunion of the year to take place…
Meeting my parents in Cape Town Airport
They took their time coming through immigration but the wait was definitely worth it 😍 Even if the reunion video produced no tears! It was time to turn my parents into backpackers!
Great white shark cage diving
We will never get bored hanging out with sharks. Another amazing day with the apex predator! I don’t think my mum would agree it was so amazing though 😂
On safari at Kwantu
Undoubtedly one of the best days of our trip to date. Seeing lions in their natural habitat was unreal. And my dads face when we were interacting with the elephants 😍🐘
Feeding the animals at Holmeleigh farm
We were all big kids for a day & loved every second!
Twenty fifteen was an unbelievable year. 2016 has a lot to live up to! We are looking forward to getting stuck into volunteering in the new year.
I hope 2016 is a great year for all my friends & family. Thanks for all your love & support while we’ve been off touring the world.
✌ & ❤ x