Adventures · Solo Travel · Tips & Tricks

Reflections on 2016 travels

2016-reflections

Last year was my busiest year of travelling yet. I managed to go to 19 countries in 2 continents and I couldn’t be happier with what I managed to achieve. So, as I start planning my adventures for this coming year I’ve decided to have a quick reflection on the year just gone.

Where did I go?

Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland, Estonia, Italy, The Vatican, Germany, Portugal, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Ukraine, Gibraltar, Macedonia, Kosovo & South Africa.

Where was my favourite destination last year?

Having to pick a “favourite” place is an impossible task for me as I am a ridiculously fickle person. However, I can narrow it down to my top three countries – Lithuania, Slovenia and South Africa.

What bucket list items did I manage to tick off?

This year was a pretty poor show for bucket list ticks. I only managed to do a few things from my list including – visiting Giant’s causeway, having a curry at Brick Lane and walking around Pompeii. Looks like I’ll have to work on doing more next year!

Best experience

Going to Lithuania in January with Australian friends and getting to see them experience snow for the first time. The pure, child-like joy was infectious and made the whole experience magical!

Worst experience

Getting robbed in Ukraine. Hands down the scariest and worst travel experience so far.

Place that surprised me the most

I wasn’t expecting too much from Kosovo which made it a really interesting place to visit. I only went for a day trip from Macedonia but found the day thoroughly enjoyable.

Lessons learned

  • Slow down: I always cram my weekend travels with activities and end up finishing the trip utterly exhausted. As the year progressed I slowed down a little bit, no longer beating myself up for not seeing everything. Sometimes a city just has too much to see in a weekend, and that’s OK – it’s the perfect excuse to revisit. Also, I’ve travelled so much this year I have barely had a chance to write about my destinations – in 2017 I aim to catch up on all of the destinations I’ve missed writing about as well as writing about all the new ones I plan on visiting.
  • Be safe – Nothing material is worth compromising your safety for. There are several ways to be safe which I’ve gone into in more depth in this post.
  • It’s the people that make the trip – It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling with someone or  if you’re on a solo adventure, the people you meet along the way (or bring with you) really make all the difference to your enjoyment of a place. I’ve been so lucky to meet amazing people this last year, hopefully some of them will join me on 2017 adventures!

Where do I recommend visiting?

Bulgaria. I went twice in a matter of weeks and loved it there. It’s both affordable and there is so much to do in Sofia.

Travel tip of the year

Don’t think about it – just book the trip! Think of me as the devil on your shoulder … I know I get major envy when I see my Facebook filled with travel photos from my friends and I’m sure I’m not alone there. So book a trip and make memories for yourself!

Statistics

Countries visited – 19

New countries visited – 15

Plane journeys – 29

Bus/ train trips  – 8

Boat rides – 10

Hostels/ hotels stayed at – 20

Miles covered – 28,847

What next?

Watch this space… I wish I was being mysterious but I’m actually just unsure at the moment. When I know I’ll let you know…

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13 thoughts on “Reflections on 2016 travels

  1. What an epic year! You certainly packed in a lot of travelling in 2016 and I’m impressed most of these were weekend visits! I agree with the premise of slowing down when travelling – when possible I think it means you can enjoy your destination in a more natural, less time pressured way. Safe and happy travels for 2017!

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  2. What an amazing year you had! Some great recommendations there as well on some places I’ve been thinking about going to in Europe for a while like Lithuania and Bulgaria. Knowing that you’ve said how cost effective it is as well the more I’m eager to book them for this year! I agree with you on the ‘taking it slow’ approach, sometimes as travellers we put ourselves under pressure to everythiiiiing but you can also end up with travel burnout if you’re too exhausted. I wonder what 2017 will have in store for you? πŸ˜‰

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  3. Lithuania was one of my greatest 2016 travel experiences, too. I made so many friends at my hostel. Truly, the people do make the trip – just like you said. I wish you many incredible adventures for 2017!! πŸ™‚

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  4. you had lots of great adventures in 2016. Im sorry to hear that you got roobed I bet this was a very scary experience. I had some money stolen when I was in Cuba and it was heartbreaking

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  5. Wow, 19 countries in one year? 2016 sounds like a year to remember for sure.
    We’re with you, learning to slow down a bit with traveling to prevent burnout.
    Lithuania wasn’t on my radar before, but your photos have encouraged me to move it higher on my places to visit.
    Can’t believe you were robbed in Ukraine, how terrifying!
    Here’s to more adventures in 2017, looking forward to following along πŸ™‚

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  6. Sounds like an eventful year indeed! Sorry to hear that you were robbed in Ukraine 😦 That sucks. But it sounds like overall it was an exciting year with a lot of bucket-list landmarks achieved!! Here’s to an amazing 2017 … hopefully more snow fun in your future this year :D!

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  7. Northern Ireland is a beautiful place to visit. Giant’s Causeway is a must place if you happen to visit Northern Ireland. The hexagonal shape from volcanic eruption is just breath-taking. The legend behind Giant’s Causeway of Fin MacCool and Benandonner is very interesting. I would recommend everyone to visit Northern Ireland especially Giant’s Causeway.

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