Travel is always full of exciting and enjoyable moments! But you would be lying to yourself if you said that there weren’t times where things didn’t always go as planned, and many aspects of travel aren’t quite as glamorous as they may seem. Let’s face it, while travelling you sometimes have to rough it a bit, sometimes your plans don’t run smoothly. It happens. I guess the best thing you can do in these situations is just laugh and think about the hilarious stories that will result from it!
Looking back over the last 12 months, I have had an absolutely incredible year of travel. In fact, 2014 has probably been my best year of travel so far. Over the year I have been able to tick off some of the adventures and places I have always dreamed of. However, alongside these incredible, eye-opening experiences, I had my fair share of not-so-great travel moments.
I would like to share with you some of my favourite moments of my travels this year, as well as those moments that are a little cringe-worthy and horrible at times.
Note: All of these photos are from my favourite travel moments!
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2014 QUICK STATS!
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR
- We had a really fun night out in Austin for the 4th of July. Beer pong was played, and many, many ciders and $2 jägerbombs were had. We made it back to our hostel after 5am. The next day I met up with a girl I had met on my travels the previous year, it was a lovely catchup and great to have a local to show us around her own city!
- Spending a week in my favourite city, New York. We were staying in our hostel on the Upper West Side and had an awesome group of people in our dorm. We spent most of the week together exploring the different sites of NYC, a few bars and clubs, and an evening at a comedy club. The only downside was that a week is never enough time to spend in New York.
- Exploring Chicago and getting to see Cloud Gate aka the Bean again…and again…and again. Bec and I put in a lot of dedication for the Bean, we even woke up in the wee hours of the morning in order to see it at sunrise. Sincerest apologies to the poor newlywed couple whose beautiful wedding photos were probably ruined by us as we attempted to take (some very unsuccessful) jumping shots.
- Bike riding, everywhere! I love exploring a city by bike and we were able to do this in a few cities! Which in turn, saved us some money along the way!
- Hiking and bike riding in the beautiful Yosemite National Park. We were treated to some incredible weather, so the whole day was very picturesque.
- Getting to see two of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza and Christ the Redeemer.
- Swimming in the beautiful blue cenotes in Mexico, as well as taking the long way around to get into the underground sinkholes.
- The amazing all-inclusive clubs in Mexico. Yes, after a few nights they did start to add up cost-wise. But they were oh so worth it! Definitely some of the best nights out over my trip.
- The absolute highlight of my trip was hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! Those four days were the best four days of my 105 days away this year.
- Being deliriously exhausted and a few beers led to a hilarious train ride home from Machu Picchu. This was followed by an awesome night out in Cusco with our Inca Trail group and other travel companions. There was plenty of salsa dancing, pisco sours and dancing to a mix of Spanish music and our all time favourite, Iggy Azalea. It was the perfect way to end our Machu Picchu experience.
- The adrenaline rush from the various adventure activities we took part in while in South America. From bike riding down Death Road, to sand boarding in Huacachina, to horse riding in Salta and the many hikes we went on – there were plenty of jaw-dropping activities to let the inner thrill-seeker out!
- Food, food and more food! Seriously, we had some fantastic food during our trip, especially in South America. Some of my personal favourite were Five Guys burgers and deep dish pizza in the USA, pretty much every type of cuisine in Peru and the sweets in Argentina!
- Making friends from all around the world. Hopefully we can keep in touch and catch up again sometime in the future!
- The incredibly random places and things we did while in Bolivia. From gallivanting around an abandoned train cemetery, to attending a baptism of twins, to going 100m deep inside an active mine, our few weeks there were pretty fun!
There were plenty of other highlights from those months travelling, I wish I could list them all. Of course, I couldn’t write everything down for the sake of the privacy of my friends – I’m sure they wouldn’t want me sharing all of our funny and embarrassing moments!
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LOWLIGHTS OF THE YEAR
- Getting stuck without accommodation in Texas….on the 4th of July. This one was our fault. We had accidentally booked for June rather than July when booking online. But I’m still going to blame the difference in the American and Australian date format for this one! Despite our mistake in booking the wrong date, we were able to score the ‘penthouse’ room of the hostel for an extra $20 each a night. Not a bad deal when everywhere else (that wasn’t ridiculously expensive) was sold out. What a miracle!
- Gruelling long journeys with my ridiculously heavy backpack on, ahh the pain! I don’t know why we decided that it was best for us to walk to some of the bus stations rather than just catch a cab there. And doing this on multiple occasions. Very bad decisions on our behalf.
- Spending a long bus ride out to a shopping mall in Nashville, which apparently doesn’t exist anymore. It would have been nice for google to tell us this before we got there and were stuck in the pouring rain.
- My wallet going missing from my cubicle while I was showering at one of the hostels. It was handed in to the reception later that day and fortunately nothing was taken (luckily I had no cash in there in the first place).
- An unexpected surprise in the NYC hostel shower. Now I warn you, this will be a little revolting. One night at about 5pm I went into the girls bathroom to have a shower, only to find that someone had left a disgusting poo on the shower floor. Like seriously girls, how hard is it to take 3 steps across the room to go in the toilet cubicle?! I will never understand how and why this happened. Sorry to all the people who received snapchats from us on this night – we were clearly in shock.
- Sitting across from a newly released prisoner on public transport. I didn’t really care at first. It was only when I was woken by the guy behind me yelling at the ex-con for taking photos of my friend and I while we slept, that I began to feel quite uncomfortable. Yes, it was a little creepy.
- There is always a place that you don’t particularly enjoy. For us, that place was Memphis. Apart from the music-related activities and the Civil Rights Museum (which I highly recommend), we spent most our our time being bored in Memphis.
- Of course the absolute highlight of my trip has to have some kind of negative attached. I ended up getting ridiculously sick on the Inca Trail. Perfect timing, right? This meant that I was awfully sick for four days and was without access to civilization or a proper toilet, sigh. Thank god for that medication we had packed last minute!
- After 3.5 months on the road, I was hit with the dreaded travel burnout while in Buenos Aires. We spent a week there and although we tried to make the most of our time and explore each of the different neighbourhoods, we were often getting home in the afternoon and spending the night in our hostel room rather than out in the town. We were too tired to do much at all!
- We almost were denied entry to Brazil when travelling from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro. There happened to be a bit of a muddle up with our visas and when we went to check-in at the airport, we were told that we would not be allowed on the flight. After long discussions between the officials in Argentina and Brazil, we were finally allowed to board our flight and had no problems at the other end. Thankfully we had arrived at the airport early that day!
We were lucky that we didn’t have any completely disastrous things happen to us while we were away. We were never left completely stranded or much out-of-pocket, which I am very grateful for!
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Your turn! What were your best, worst or just plain weird travel moments of 2014?