Top Travel Moments of 2016

I can’t believe 2016 is almost over. I was traveling for this entire year. That’s insane! Let’s look back on the sixteen top travel moments of 2016.

Before we get into the blog, let’s talk about you. Have you always wanted to travel? Is your dream trip on your list of to-do’s for 2017? I’ve just released my newest ebook soon – titled “How To Travel The World: Your Guide to Experiencing the World on A Budget”, just in time to help you plan your goals for 2017! This ebook comes complete with tips on solo travel, saving money to travel, booking flights, packing light, and even includes checklists for packing, accommodation, and my budgets for South America, Europe, Thailand and Australia! Click here to snag your copy – it’s 30% off for the first week only!

I must admit, it was hard to choose only 16 top moments of travel after spending the last 365 days on the road, visiting seventeen countries and living in two countries. I started the New Year of 2016 in Paris, worked my way around Europe, then flew to Nicaragua and made my way South to Peru. I then moved to Thailand for three months for some r&r (and a few cheeky visa runs to neighboring countries ;)) and then moved to the land down under – Australia! I can’t believe how many travel goals I’ve accomplished this year. Let the countdown begin!

16. Seeing Machu Picchu in real life. I told myself I would see Machu Picchu when I first learned about it. I was maybe 12 years old. Seeing it in real life was surreal, though the weather was not the greatest. It was so foggy that you couldn’t even tell where I was. I did get to see loads of llamas though, and went on a nice long hike to get to this iconic wonder.

a nice clear day at Machu Picchu. What a view, eh? 

15. Working at a coffee shop in Western Australia. If you know me in real life, you’ll know that doing the working holiday visa in Australia has been a major goal of mine for years. Moving to Perth, after working at an insanely stressful Italian restaurant in Melbourne, was just the breath of fresh air that I needed. Things are working out so well for me here, it’s almost scary. I am so happy to have the opportunity to work somewhere I love, and get to learn about Australian coffee culture as well (heads up: it’s completely different than America). It’s also nice to be able to bring money in again – after an entire year of living off my savings.

stunning sunsets in Western Australia

14. Visiting Pai in Northern Thailand with my soul sister. I met Maddie in Thailand and we hit it off super fast. We visited Pai together and stayed in this super cool bungalow. It was hot, it was humid, it was so fun. We went out one night and spent an insane amount of money on American beers and learned our names in Thai. Pai is a beautiful place, and I would highly recommend visiting if you ever make it to Chiang Mai – it’s just a three hour bus ride from CM.

the lounge area at our bungalow resort in Pai, Thailand 

13. Being in Venice for the Carnival. Venice wasn’t even on my super-ADD itinerary. I ended up there because it was the cheapest bus from Turin. I planned to stay there for a few days, which turned into a week, ending with a bang at the Carnival. I ate so much pasta, so much pizza, saw snow from inside a cute little italian bistro, stayed with one of my favorite couchsurfing hosts yet, and made amazing friends and incredible memories. Cheers to the travel life!

beautiful Venice, Italy 

12. Driving across Costa Rica alone in a rented 4×4. I left my family at the airport on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, and took our rental car to the Southeast corner of Costa Rica, landing in Puerto Viejo. I had no idea where I would go until the day before. I drove through the rainforest, over rivers, and through remote villages. I listened to Adele and old school American music. It was a 6 hour drive, and my first solo road trip. I have to admit, it was pretty fun.

11. Spending a week with my sister in Nicaragua. I’m so happy we added this amazing country to the itinerary.

the best sunsets I’ve ever seen were in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua 

10. Playing with elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was blessed to have the opportunity to visit an elephant sanctuary for a second time in two years. I visited the elephants for the first time in 2015, and couldn’t stay away. I love playing with elephants – they are such sweet, caring creatures.

Jungle Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand 

9. Taking a coffee course in Colombia. My brother and I took a trip to a coffee plantation one day in Santa Rosa de Cabal, Colombia. We got picked up in a Jeep, and drove out to the plantation. We picked coffee beans, roasted coffee beans, and made the best and freshest coffee I’ve ever had in my life. Of course, we took the afternoon tour and I didn’t sleep at all that night, but it was completely worth it. Another fun fact about this tour: it was all in Spanish, and I got to translate for my brother. #fluent

just call me a coffee master 

                                                                                    the lab 

8. Seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. It’s smaller than you’d think it would be. 😉

7. Almost running over a wild monkey in Dominical, Costa Rica. It was the first wild monkey I’d ever seen, and I didn’t hit it. I could be the world’s best driver (just don’t ask my mom to be the judge of that).

beautiful Costa Rica 

6. Laying on a beach in Western Australia for the first time. The water truly is cerulean here, and the beaches are just insane.

Australian beaches don’t mess around 

5. Spending a week in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, at a secluded beach. I found a secret beach and would go there every morning by bike. I listened to music, completely alone and happy as a clam. I spent my afternoons eating at a healthy vegan restaurant (highly recommend Como en mi Casa if you are ever in Puerto Viejo) and editing photos.

Is this heaven?! 

4. Learning to salsa dance in Cali, Colombia. Seriously, so much fun. Too bad I didn’t take any pictures of my epic moves. 😉

3. Spending a week in a rainforest villa with my mom and two sisters in Dominical, Costa Rica. I’ve talked about this a few times, but seriously, we stayed in a RAINFOREST. VILLA. (via airbnb) in Costa Rica.

the backyard of our Costa Rican villa 

2. Making new friends I’ll never forget. I met so many absolutely amazing, positive people this year. The kind of people who just radiate light and happiness. I am so grateful to have met people who will forever inspire me and always make me laugh.

my first gluwein in Germany with my new BFF, Svenja 

Maddy and I at Catmosphere in Chiang Mai, Thailand 

I met Aly (and her not pictured but also cool boyfriend Scott) in Chiang Mai, Thailand 

[NOTE: I met so many cool people this year that I will be friends with forever, but I can’t add pictures of all of them because then this page would be entirely full of said pictures. To all of my amazing incredible friends: I love you and thank you for hanging out with me even though I’m insane. And Kirk, I miss you and I look terrible in all of our pictures together but otherwise I would have put one up of us. Christian and Scott, same to you two. Noga and John, we obvs need more pics together. Meet up soon. And to all of my friends I met in Europe in 2015: I have not forgotten about you. Come visit me down under! ]

  1. Making my dream as a travel writer come true. I got the opportunity to write for a travel adventure company this year. I will be a staff writer for this company, creating itineraries and eventually blog posts (when the company launches). I’ve made so much progress in terms of my own blog, youtube channel, and branding, and cannot wait to contribute to another company. I will of course keep my website, and continue my brand, but it is always exciting when someone offers to pay you to do something you’ve always wanted to do. 🙂 (Plus you know I’m all about that multiple streams of income life!)

It’s been a great year of travel. Let me know in the comments below – what were your top moments of 2016? Any travel plans for 2017?

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