So Iâ€™ve finally stopped travelling for the year in Chile. I am spending Christmas in Valparaiso and New Yearâ€™s in Santiago. Itâ€™s nice to finally take a breath and look back over the year Iâ€™ve had.
Iâ€™m sitting in my boxers right now, sun beating down, wishing I was in the pool rather than typing on my laptop. However, when I started my trip I couldnâ€™t feel my face and was wearing a ski jacket. Hereâ€™s whyâ€¦
2009 and 2010 were spent travelling round the world and this year has been all about going down the world. I started in Vancouver in January and have travelled (mostly) overland down to Santiago, Chile doing every country on the mainland on the way down.
Iâ€™m not going to pretend itâ€™s been a journey of self discovery; Iâ€™ve pure and simple had a blast. If anything Iâ€™ve had a little too much funâ€¦
So hereâ€™s some of my highlights from travelling down the Americas!
Snowboarding in Whistler
Snowboarding with 32 entrepreneurs in Whistler was eye opening, inspiring and also just hilariously funny. Scandinavian Spa, it got weird.
Spring Break and Sailing in Mexico
Spring Break 2.0 wasnâ€™t as good as Cancun 2012 but it was still funny to laugh at American Freshman who couldnâ€™t handle their drink. I also went sailing and figured out what happiness was all about.
Making Travel Plans
The last time I went to Lanquin in Guatemala I didnâ€™t do the trip to Semuc Champey because Iâ€™d hurt my back. The morning of the trip people were on my case (some of them I didnâ€™t even know!). Youâ€™re only here once they said. You canâ€™t not go.
Well, I can do whatever the hell I like. Also, I wasnâ€™t only going to be there once, because I came back, bitches. I did the trip to Semuc Champey and it was awesome. Sliding round caves by candlelight and swimming around limestone pools. Highly recommend it.
Caye Caulker, Belize
This has to be my favourite places in Central America and probably one of my favourites in the world. The only downside is that it lacks a beach BUT itâ€™s an English speaking country with chilled Caribbean vibes. The food is incredible, good bars, a little nightlife, excellent tanning weather and a nice breeze to keep you cool in your hammock. Iâ€™ll be back here for sure.
Diving in the Bay Islands
Honduras really does have world class diving. Roatan and Utila are both great spots although Utila is a bit more backpacker friendly. Here I finally got bothered to get my Advanced PADI (even though I have been diving on 5 continents). I also got to catch up with two of my besties who were working with orphans in Haiti but nipped over for a visit.
Yellow Submarine, whaaaat!
Yes, I went to 2000ft below in a submarineâ€¦ and it was yellow!
There wasnâ€™t an abundance of sea life at that level but as you can imagine everything was a bit weird and wonderful and there was a petrified coral reef from the ice ages.
Sailing the San Blas
You canâ€™t go overland from Panama to Colombia so your two options are to fly or do a five day sailing trip. As they roughly cost the same, sailing really is the way to go. The last day can be a bit rough if you donâ€™t have sea legs but eating fresh sea food, glorious weather and boat banter more than makes up for it.
Image: David Newell
Living in Medellin
Being â€˜homelessâ€™ is great especially with the level of freedom it provides but sometimes you need a place to call your own after months on the road. For me Medellin, Colombia was it. I had a beautiful apartment in the city. I particularly liked drinking my Twinings English Breakfast Tea (my fave home comfort) on the balcony whilst reading a book.
Publishing My First Book
This year I started the Escape Guides series the first of which was a travel guide on taking a Gap Year. It received over 2000 downloads in the first five days of publication. I was pretty chuffed to say the least.
Iâ€™ve wanted to visit here for years and itâ€™s been on my bucket list since I can remember having one. The wildlife here is unparalleled and it was a pretty special travel moment to be amongst it all.
Iâ€™ve done sandboarding before in the Sahara but with the dune buggies and the crowds of backpackers this is a popular place to do it. Just remember to keep your mouth closed. Sand gets everywhereâ€¦. everywhere.
A few years ago, when my walls were covered in travel photography porn, there was pictures of Machu Picchu there. Iâ€™ve wanted to climb up there for a very long and it was worth the wait.
Mountain Biking the Death Road
Sure, why not mountain bike down the worldâ€™s most dangerous road. Falling off near the edge was pretty funny (read: stupid) but it was exhilarating and has made me want to do more mountain biking tours.
Salt Flats, Bolivia
I escaped from a one armed T Rex. Need I say more?
So what a year! Iâ€™ve been extremely fortunate, ticking off bucket list items like there’s no tomorrow and meeting incredible, inspiring people. Antarctica is next in the New Years and then who really knows!
May 2014 bring more adventures, new sights and more importantly, brilliant people into our lives.