2018 has been a year jammed packed with travel adventures and misadventures. This year brought 7 new countries, an uncountable number of miles travelled, and most importantly, memories to last a life time. With adventures on 4 different continents, we were able to see a ton of different cultures and partake in a number of amazing experiences
Our travels this year tested our limits more than other any other years of travel combined. From a bed bug fiasco in Central America, to food poisoning in Africa, 65 hours in transit for what was supposed to be a 4 hour flight, serious earthquakes in Indonesia and plenty of scams and minor misadventure sprinkled in between.
This hasn’t deterred us in the slightest and has only made us stronger, more resilient travellers. All these mishaps have made us appreciate all the years without any “excitement”. It has also reinforced the old saying, “roll with the punches”. And we still have smiles on our faces!!
Just because we’ve had to deal with plenty of issues on the road this year, doesn’t discount the fact that we’ve had an AMAZING year of travelling.
We started our adventures this year in Central America with one week in Belize and two weeks in Guatemala. This adventure was a special treat for us as we brought two friends on their first ever backpacking trip!! Not only is this pocket of Central America completely gorgeous, but being able to watch our friends experience so many new things was an absolute pleasure.
Once in Belize, we headed straight to Caye Caulker to take on some sunshine and palm trees. While on Caye Caulker, we lived a true island life and spent our days ocean side. We swam with sharks, snorkelled the second largest barrier reef in the world and watched the sunset with cocktails in our hands.
Back on the trail again, we headed to the interior of Belize and spent a few days exploring the jungles of San Ignacio. We rented a vehicle and took on pot holes and dirt roads to reach beautiful waterfalls and epic views.
I wish I could say our time in San Ignacio was strictly jungles and road trips, but this is where we ran into the dreaded bed bug fiasco. You’re probably thinking, didn’t you check your bed before prior to sleeping in it?? The answer is, yes.
Bed Bugs in Belize
To make a long story short, the floor boards our beds sat on were completely infested with bed bugs. Gross!!! I urge you, always check floor boards as well!! This situation ended up leaving me with large itchy welts all over my body (mainly my face) for over a week, a lot of unnecessary laundry, changing hostels in the middle of the night and PARANOIA!! But we did learn how to really search for bed bugs and those skills came into play just a few short days later…
Overall, Belize was absolutely stunning and has left me with an ache to return and explore more of this beautiful country!! From here we crossed the border into Guatemala and immediately took on another round of bed bugs. Luckily, our skills from Belize left us trained and we spotted them right away, changed hostels and left bed bugs in our past!!
Guatemala proved to be a land of diversity. We started our adventures in Flores, a tiny island in the middle of lake Petén. From here we ventured out to Tikal to explore the ancient Mayan civilization. An afternoon here makes you appreciate just how impressive the Mayan culture really is.
We then had a full day on a bus to reach Semuc Champey, the place I consider the ultimate Guatemalan adventure. This little village is packed full of stunning nature!! Our day here started by exploring a pitch black water cave with only the light of the candles we were carrying. Followed by swimming under a lovely waterfall and tubing down a river.
We some how accomplished all this by lunch time and in the afternoon hiked out to have a look at the famous cascading pools of emerald water. We finished our day with a rewarding swim in the natural pools before heading back into town. This day is one of my highlights of the year with two of my favourite people.
After so much excitement in Semuc Champey, we headed to Antigua and Lake Atitlan where we watched lava spew out of Pacaya Volcano, celebrated Easter in full Guatemalan style and camped out in front of a volcano by the lake. Needless to say, Belize and Guatemala made for an epic adventure in Central America!!
A few months later, we found ourselves flying over to London, England to visit two more of our dearest friends. Our friends live in London, so we were extra lucky that we got to stay with them. As we’ve already explored much of London, we spent a few days catching up with friends followed by a road trip.
Our road trip kind of started off as a joke, but quickly turned out to be amazing. My husband’s name is Thruxton, and my maiden name is Poole and it just so happens, England has a town for both of us. So naturally, we had to visit these two places and do a photo shoot with signs sporting our names. “Thruxton” is a very unique name, so it was exciting times for my husband.
We both got to visit our name towns and then headed to Brighton for a ridiculous night out and a day by the sea. Of course, everything was amazing, but getting to spend time with our friends was by far the highlight of England.
Journey to Morocco
Getting to Morocco turned out to be an extremely tedious journey. We were suppose to take a 2 hour flight to Spain to make a connection and then land in Morocco. Pretty simple. Pretty standard. This journey turned out to be anything but simple or standard.
Basically, this journey resulted in a number of cancelled and delayed flights, two nights spent in airport hotels and a ridiculous number of hours spent in airports. Overall this journey took us nearly 65 hours, a night in Spain and a night in Portugal before we finally made it to Morocco, completely exhausted.
Mixed Emotions in Morocco
We immediately started exploring Chefchaouen, Morocco’s Blue City and it was absolutely incredible!! This amazing little city is located in the Rif Mountains and everything is painted a vibrant shade of blue.
Following the Blue City, we headed to Fez where we spent two full days of being scammed and slightly disheartened after the hospitality in Chefchaouen. Fez wasn’t for us, but our trek through the Sahara Desert was another highlight of the year!!
We joined a small group and spent a few days driving through some of Morocco’s most beautiful landscapes. On this trek we visited canyons, rode camels through the desert and watched the sun set and rise over stunning mounds of red sand. We also had the pleasure of “glamping” at one of the most stunning desert camps around!! If you get the chance, I highly recommend a visit to the Sahara!!
After recharging in the desert, we headed back towards civilization for a few days in Marrakech. Marrakech is a unique city full of snake charmers, lovely mosques and more shopping than I think I’ve ever seen. Sadly, we didn’t get to explore this interesting city as much as we would have liked. I came down with an awful case of food poisoning and was stuck in our room. This run in cut another two days off our exploration of Morocco, just as we were due to head home. Overall, Morocco was an adventure full of highs and lows and I was super excited to be returning home, for the first time in my life.
Indonesia was a trip that we had been planning with a friend that lives in England, the same one we visited earlier in the year. Kalen and I met nearly 10 years ago as exchange students in Barbados and have been chasing each other across the globe ever since.
Our adventures in Indonesia were absolutely incredible!! I got to have my best friend and husband by my side while hanging out in paradise!! We started in Bali and checked out some beaches and rice terraces. I tried yoga for the first time, joined a cooking class and played with the most adorable kitten that lived at our hotel. Another highlight while on Bali was heading over to Nusa Penida to explore a more untouched island.
Finding Paradise in Indonesia
After some time in Bali we set sail for the Gili Islands and that became quite a journey in itself. The water across the channel was too choppy for the fast boats (2 hours) so we had to take a slow boat and then catch a connection shuttle the rest of the way. The ticket salesman really under sold how slow this slow boat really was. We ended up stuck on this boat for over 10 hours to disembark to find out that our “shuttle tickets” were a scam.
There really wasn’t a bus waiting to pick us up. We had to find our own way two hours across Lombok island and hire a private boat to take us to the Gilis in the dark. It was a massive day of complete chaos, but the Gilis were awesome!
While on the Gili Islands, we lounged by the pool and beach as often as possible. The water surrounding the islands are stunning and crystal clear for snorkeling. These islands are a place you visit, to feel as if you’ve escaped to paradise.
Earthquakes off Lombok
As you can imagine, given our luck this year, we were not going to escape this journey without more upheaval. On the morning we were due to leave the Gilis, the islands were rocked by a massive set of devastating earthquakes. These earthquakes came in at a massive 6.8. This was the first time I’d ever experienced a natural disaster of this sort, and to say I was a little shaken up, is an understatement. Unfortunately, these earthquakes continued to happen for many days and caused a lot of hurt and loss for many people. My travel mates and I managed to remain safe, but our hearts go out to those that weren’t able to.
The Gilis were amazing, minus the earthquakes, but it was time for us to keep moving. From here we headed to Flores to join a live aboard boat for a few days at sea. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being stuck on a boat, but turns out, I LOVED it. We did some snorkeling, visited beautiful beaches and Padar island, saw some Komodo dragons in the wild, and watched bats fly their coop at sunset.
Indonesia was a country that I had been eager to visit for many years and the wait was certainly worth it. This country of islands quickly jumped to the top of my favourites list.
Ontario is our home in Canada and we did plenty of exploring in our own backyard as well. We are very lucky to live in an area that so many people want to visit. With many beautiful places just a short drive from our home, we took advantage of weekend exploration. Not only did we visit many beautiful places, but spent a ton of quality time with friends and family!! I must say, Wasaga Beach, my hometown, is one of the best places to spend the summer!!
As many bumps in the road we’ve come across this year, its still been one of my favoruite years of adventuring. With all the craze around solo travel, I must say, I’m very thankful for all the memories I’ve made with my friends!! The days of 2018 are coming to a close, but we have one more adventure in store. We will be saying goodbye to 2018 and welcoming 2019 in Mexico. Stay tuned for our latest adventures and hopefully a few less misadventures. Wishing you all a happy year of travelling!!
Pin it! Share on Pinterest!
Want to see more of my travel photos? Follow me on Instagram!
Want to stay connected? Join my Facebook Page!