Travel has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was lucky enough to have parents that took us on holidays every year and we explored a lot of the East Coast of Australia when we were growing up. I am glad Mum & Dad waited to take us abroad until we were an age that we would remember and really appreciate it. Since my first overseas trip I’ve been lucky enough to explore more than forty countries across six continents and have so many incredible memories from these adventures that will last me a lifetime. Here are some of my favourite travel memories from a lifetime of travel and we’d love to hear yours in the comments!
TRAVELLING AROUND NEW ZEALAND IN A CAMPERVAN WITH MY FAMILY
Our first family holiday abroad was to New Zealand when I was 13 years old. Mum and Dad booked a campervan and we spent two weeks exploring all the South Island had to offer! It was our first time seeing proper snow and one of our favourite memories from the trip was when we were on a day trip to Milford Sound and it began snowing really heavily, so the bus driver stopped to let all the Aussies off to play in the snow! We all fell in love with New Zealand and have visited as a family on a number of occasions since. I have the fondest memories of this family trip and love the close time we spent together as a family. A camper van holiday is the perfect way to explore & spend time together as a family and when we have a family of our own, Dan and I would love to take our kids on a similar holiday!
FALLING IN LOVE WITH ITALY ON MY YEAR 11 HISTORY EXCURSION
I’ve mentioned before that I am a massive history geek and in high school I absolutely loved ancient history. My school had an incredible history department and two of our amazing teachers literally gave up their holidays to take a bunch of 16 and 17 year old students to Italy for two weeks! This trip saw us visit Rome, Assisi, Orvieto, Florence, Venice, Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum. I honestly believe my travel bug is thanks to this trip and I’ll be eternally grateful to my parents for allowing me to go on this trip of a lifetime at that age and my teachers for taking us on this adventure! I’ve since been back to Italy four times and fall in love with it more and more each visit.
GAP YEAR CONTIKI TRIP
After finishing high school, I took a gap year to work and save money for University and travel. During this year I went back to New Zealand with my family for a few weeks and at the end of the year headed over to the UK and Europe for two months of adventures! These adventures consisted of a week in London, a five week Contiki and two weeks exploring beautiful Austria with my high school bestie Mesi, who is from Austria! The whole trip was amazing and it was so beautiful seeing Europe in winter and getting to see so much snow. Contiki and Topdeck tours are almost a right of passage for Aussies and I do really think it was the best way to properly do Europe the first time. It was an epic five weeks travelling and partying our way around Europe with 50 other like minded travellers, some of whom I still keep in touch with.
WOO GIRLS SOUTH PACIFIC GRADUATION CRUISE
When we graduated from University, three of my best friends and I went on what we have called the “woo girls cruise”! We spent two weeks over the New Year period cruising the South Pacific and it was one of the funniest holidays I’ve ever had, literally the perfect girls trip. We spent our sea days sunbaking by the pool drinking cocktails, our island days exploring all we could and every night dolling up and eating as much amazing food as we could and hitting up the d-floor in the nightclub! Every time we catch up, the cruise always gets brought up and we laugh so hard over memories from this trip. We’re aiming for a woo girls reunion cruise down the track, but this time we’ll let hubbies, partners and other friends come along too!
WORKING IN A US SUMMER CAMP AND ROADTRIPPING THE STATES
A month after our University graduation ceremonies, my best friend Nina and I waved goodbye to Australia for six months of adventures! We spent a few weeks travelling around LA, San Francisco and Las Vegas before heading our separate ways for two months to work as camp counsellors in US Summer Camps! My summer camp was Camp Blue Ridge in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia. It was an amazing experience to create friendships with our campers and fellow counsellors and spend the entire summer with them. I worked as a lifeguard on the waterfront and as a counsellor in the 13 year old girls cabin. It was certainly hard work but lots of fun and as soon as camp was over, 7 other counsellors and I flew to Miami and then road-tripped from Miami to Las Vegas over a two week period, which was an epic roadtrip and adventure! I liked the US because every state is so different that each honestly felt like a different country!
BACKPACKING SOUTH AMERICA WITH MY BESTIE + MEETING MY FUTURE HUSBAND
Nina and I then met back up in Miami and had two weeks travelling in Florida and New York before flying to Rio de Janeiro. We spent three months backpacking around South America through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru and it is still one of my favourite travel experiences to date. South America is a continent that is truly like no other and we saw and experienced some of the most beautiful and unique places in the world on this trip, as well as ticking off some huge bucket list items. On this trip I also met Dan, who is now my husband! I love the story of how we met and that we met whilst travelling, which is one of our favourite things in the world.
COMPLETING THE INCA TRAIL
As I mentioned above, one of my favourite trips to date is my trip around South America and my favourite country within that was Peru. Whilst Machu Picchu is one of the most popular tourist sites in the world, only 500 people a day can actually hike the Inca Trail, and completing this hike had been near the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember. The four day hike to Machu Picchu was one of hardest but also one of the best things I have ever done and the reward of seeing Machu Picchu for the first time feels all that much sweeter when you finally make it (and makes all the blood, sweat & tears worth it)!
UK WORKING VISA (AKA TWO YEARS OF BEING COLD AND A LOT OF TRAVEL)
Once Dan and I left South America and went home to England and Australia respectively we decided to give our relationship a red hot go! We had six months apart whilst I worked at home and waited for my UK working visa to come through. In May 2015, I set off from Sydney with about 50kg of luggage (thanks Emirates) bound for my new life in England. We lived in beautiful Surrey for two years and spent our weekends exploring England and further afield in parts of the UK and weekend getaways to Europe, in addition to as many holidays as we could possibly squeeze out of our annual leave. It was an amazing two years and an experience I would recommend to any young Australians, although by the end of my second winter I was certainly done with the seemingly endless rain, cold weather and grey skies! About a year into our time in England, we made the decision that at the end of my visa we would return to Australia to set up our lives over here. The draw of sunshine, beautiful weather, beaches, family and opportunities was what drew us to that decision in the end.
TRAVELLING ALONG THE MEDITERRANEAN FROM PORTUGAL TO TURKEY
We decided at the end of our time in England that we would spend another four months travelling around Europe before heading back to Australia. We started our adventures in Portugal and travelled through Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Greece and Turkey, many of these countries which I now consider to be some of my favourites in the world. Dan and I loved spending our days exploring the cities, towns, beaches and islands of these beautiful countries and of course sampling as much local food and wine as we could. Highlights of this trip include campervanning through Portugal, hiking the Cinque Terre in Italy, visiting Lake Bled in Slovenia, sailing in Croatia and Turkey, marvelling at the incredible sites of Turkey and island hopping throughout the Greek Islands! It’s one of my favourite European adventures to date and was so amazing to experience it all with Dan!
MOVING BACK TO AUSTRALIA
After two years in the UK and a lot of European adventures, we finally touched back down in Australia. For me, it was the excitement of returning home and for Dan it was the excitement of migrating to Australia! We were so happy to be back in Australia and settled down in my beautiful home town of Port Macquarie. We are so excited to see as much of Australia as possible and have had trips to Melbourne, Sydney, the Gold Coast, lots of small gorgeous beach towns and beautiful Stradbroke Island. One of our favourite weekends so far was when we went to Sydney to watch the Bledisloe Cup for Dan’s birthday. We both love Rugby and even though Australia didn’t win, we still loved the atmosphere and the game. We even won a little extra on our free bets which we placed before the game which was an added bonus! We have so many travel plans for Australia with the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the West Coast at the top of our Aussie bucket list!
HONEYMOONING IN SRI LANKA AND THE MALDIVES
My final favourite memory to date is our most recent holiday, our amazing honeymoon to Sri Lanka and the Maldives! I’d wanted to honeymoon in the Maldives for as long as I can remember and as the Maldives is so close to Sri Lanka we decided to have a week there too! We had the most amazing week exploring Sri Lanka from Colombo to Ella to Udawalawe and beautiful coastal Galle, we loved every second of the week. Sri Lanka blew us away and we’re itching to get back one day! The Maldives was everything we’d hoped for and more. We’d booked the most incredible all inclusive package at LUX* South Ari Atoll resort and it was a major bucket list experience ticking off a seaplane flight and staying in an over-water bungalow! It was incredible to spend two weeks together after all the craziness in the build up to the wedding and will forever be in my top travel experiences!