Highlights of 2012
This has been a year of ups and downs, with a lot of contrast. I started off the New Year quite royally in Budapest, blind drunk on their delicious and unforgivably cheap wine. Budapest is a really magic place, especially during the festive season so it was a great way to start off the year.
At the moment I’m on an overnight bus making my way down to Thailand’s islands, namely Koh Phangan for one of the world’s biggest parties. This year I have a lot of goals and resolutions to satisfy but above all I want to make the transition properly into full time freelance writer and explorer.
I feel like every year I say “This year is going to be the biggest and best” but this time somewhere deep inside really means it.
One of the biggest highlights for me was my first trip to America, which was for the sole purpose of attending Coachella. I fell in love with San Diego in the process, ate too much mole and tuna tacos and enjoyed Coachella so much I knew that it wouldn’t be my last. I can’t even describe how it feels to run between different stages at a concert, only to be absolutely spoiled with good music and overwhelmed with choice.
After being overseas since June 2011, I finally ventured home in May 2012, marking the longest I’d been away from New Zealand, ever. I got to catch up with friends, enjoy time with family and see a little more of my country I love so much. As much as it sucks being away so much and missing people, it’s a really incredible feeling being connected with friends you’ve kept in touch with well.
Meeting My Nephew
As much as travel is a priority for me, nothing can compare to meeting my nephew for the first time – to see the next generation of your family and to meet someone that your sister made, entirely. It was one of the coolest things that I have ever experienced, and while not at all travel related it is definitely a highlight of my year. This was his look on his face when he realised his mama had left him alone with me overnight – oh no! We both survived!
Moving To Spain
Although I didn’t post about it nearly enough, moving to Spain was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. I’ve spent a lot of time in countries where I’m not particularly interested in learning the language, but Spanish is something I’m very keen to learn. Above that, Spanish people are very fun and San Sebastian certainly holds its rightful spot as one of my favourite places in the world. I did have to put up with a lot of weird Spanish things though!
Although at times traveling Morocco was frustrating and tiresome, it was really cool. I’ve not been anywhere like there before, and while I complained a little too much about the surplus of Targine, I must admit I’ve found myself missing it a little. The medinas were really an experience in themselves, too.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
One of the most breathtaking sights I’ve ever seen – so much so that my travel buddy actually thought I was being sarcastic because my enthusiasm was too much for him to take. Crystal clear water, beautiful scenery – it’s really a dream and a must-see if you’re in Croatia any time soon.
I hadn’t really heard of the Alhmabra, but I’d heard of Granada and from everyone’s account I was sure to like it. I loved Granada and thanks to the gratis tapas (free tapis) it quickly made its way into my “I could live here!” book. We explored the Alhambra on a sweltering hot day and although we were desperate for air con, it is certainly one of the most incredible buildings I’ve ever seen. Move over Eiffel tower, Spain’s got something on you!
Returning to Asia
I love Asia – it’s no secret. I have a long standing love affair with this region and I can’t seem to shake it. Europe’s comfortable.. America’s America… but Asia is fun, and it pushes the boundaries but only in the best way. When I was recently in Bangkok we finished off a night out with a ride in a supercharged tuk tuk – it had crazy lights, amazing sounds and we tore around Bangkok’s streets at ridiculous speeds with Michael Jackson blasting. This stuff just wouldn’t happen in NZ, especially not for $8… and it’s part of the charm. It feels good to be back and I’m already feeling anxious about leaving!
Getting Paid to Write
For the past 2.5 years my mind has been focused on travel; there’s been nothing else that’s pulled me or captivated me as much. Now I’ve figured out a way to do something I love (writing) for money, which in turn allows me to fund something else I love; travel. I feel like people spend their whole lives trying to get to the point I’m at – although I must admit my bank account is looking pretty dismal and my work/life ratio is out. Either way, I’m getting started and it’s going good.
I can’t wait to see what I can write about 2013 at the end of the year Hopefully it’s jam packed with awesome adventures!
Have you got anything cool planned for 2013? I need some inspiration.