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Hello, and Merry Christmas! I hope you are having a day surrounded by friends and family, and also resting and relaxing. As it is always so fun to hear what everyone else has been up to over the past year, this will give you an overview of my year, some of the highlights and all the miles I’ve traveled.
Wishing You a Merry Christmas and Looking Back on 2018
2018 Key Facts
Miles Traveled by Air: 30,656 miles (49,336 km)
Most Miles Traveled by Car in 3 days: 338 miles (545 km)
Number of Countries Visited: 9
Amount of Hours Spend on Airplanes: 66 hours (nearly 3 days!)
Hours Logged in Taxis with questionable safety records: well over 100
Hours spent swimming in the ocean: 108
New continents visited: 1
Number of days in the US: 0
New Projects Started: Two wonderful education projects!
New Blogs: One, right here!
Rainbows spotted: 45
Incredible friendships deepened: Many, fortunately
New friends made through above blog: Also many new friends and growing!
As you can see, for me it has been an unusual and rich year. It was actually a low travel year until August when I embarked on a 4 month non-profit educational adventure. As I only started this blog in September, there is still a lot of the year to share with you. I will be sharing the best I’ve learned and done this year in the coming months. Here are some of the highlights:
In January I took road trips to Frankfurt and Brussels. I met a childhood friend who is now living in Frankfurt. Although we hadn’t spent significant time together in over 20 years, we connected right away and found we still share many similar interests. Here’s to making new friends while keeping the old!
February was a big month, both because it was my 35thbirthday, and because I took a dream birthday trip to Lisbon, the Azores, and London. You can read all about the free walking tour I took in Lisbon, my obsession with Pastel de Nata, the big waves of Nazare, the incredible beauty of Cascais, all my adventures in the Azores, and even tips on London. This trip was one of the best I’ve ever taken and I am happy it is well documented.
March and April
In terms of travel, these were slow months. I arrived back from London on March 3, and hunkered down at home to get lots of work done. Holland had an incredibly warm April, so I got out in the national forest, Meinweg, for biking and hiking as often as possible.
In May I rediscovered the joys of train travel in Holland. I took two trips to Den Haag and one trip to Amsterdam. I stayed at a classic old hotel on the beach in Den Haag and enjoyed a weekend getaway close to home. These trips inspired the series on how plan a weekend getaway. I also had to apply for a new passport because I’d run out of pages in my old passport!
In June I went back to Amsterdam to pick up my new passport and then headed out on another dream trip. I flew from Holland to Madrid, where I spent one wonderful day and night visiting with local friends before flying off to Santa Cruz de La Sierra, in Bolivia. I flew from there to Tarija, Bolivia, and spent two weeks at a special job-training course in the mountains. It was a special and transforming time. I’ve written one post on Tarija, but you can be on the lookout for more Bolivia posts!
I arrived home from Bolivia on July 10 and headed out again the end of July. Holland was having a record-setting heat wave and without any air conditioning, by the end of the month I was ready to escape. I booked a cheap ticket (30 euro roundtrip) to Mallorca and spent a week enjoying the beautiful ocean and air conditioning – as well as the warmth of the Spanish people. Expect many more posts on Mallorca, as it captured my heart.
In August I headed out for what I thought was a maximum of six weeks to facilitate setting up a non-profit educational project and poverty removal program in Guyana. In reality, I only made it as far as Barbados in August and got to spend two glorious weeks working from there while the program in Guyana was finalized. You can see my photos and recap of some of my experiences of Barbados on the blog.
In September I officially launched the blog! I also travelled to Guyana. This trip was where I logged most of the hours in taxis of questionable safety records. It was also where I saw beautiful wildlife, lotuses blooming in the ditches, and got to work with students and faculty in schools and universities who opened my heart and made me feel more full of life.
Most of October was spent in Guyana, continuing the project we came for. We worked hard, suffered some, worried about expenses, and stretched and grew. In the end I can definitely say Guyana was a blessing, although if you’d asked me in the middle I’m not so sure that would have been the answer.
After finishing in Guyana I returned to Barbados to do more preparation work for our next phase in Guyana. As it turned out, another team was sent to Guyana, which meant I got to work from Barbados. This was the month where I logged the most swimming hours, walking down to the beach in the early morning and again in the late afternoon to swim in the incredibly clear water.
I also got serious with my blog in November and joined Elite Blog Academy. Through that network I am continuing to improve the content here, and also have had the pleasure of meeting many of you!
In December I returned to Holland. It felt great to be home, even if it meant the sun had set by 5 pm. I went to the Cologne Christmas Market with my mom, and then took a quick three-day trip back to Mallorca to look at some properties. I loved Mallorca even more in the winter than in the summertime.
2018 brought many new adventures for me, and I am especially grateful for the inspiration to start this blog and connect with all of you. May 2019 bring you many wonderful adventures, and new ideas of how to bring more travel into your life.
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