2014 In Review – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

If you had told us last January that within 12 months we would have sold our car, got rid of our apartment, packed up our things and left Dubai for a life of travel, we would have laughed in your face and asked you what you were smoking.

And yet, here we are almost 365 days later: no permanent address, two (overstuffed) backpacks to our names, and little to zero plans of where we’re heading next month.

It's been a beautiful journey

It’s been a beautiful journey

2014 has been an incredible year for us. It hasn’t always been easy; after all, neither of us had any backpacking experience when we started out, so we made (and continue to make) a lot of mistakes along the way. However, we wouldn’t have it any other way – we’re getting to live out our dream of travelling more and carving out careers that we love for ourselves. No more cubicle blues!

The other night, we got sentimental and started to reminisce about the highlights (and low points) of our travels so far. We then decided to put together a post to share these moments with you, and use this as an opportunity to thank you for all your support and kind words over the last five months! Thank you for being on this incredible journey with us! We cannot wait to see what 2015 brings.

Highlights

Every single Koh Lanta sunset

This Thai island paradise has a major attraction and that’s its sunsets. Every single late afternoon, we’d make our way down to the beach to witness Mother Nature’s finest show, and it never disappointed. Explosive colours, beautiful lighting and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore made this one hell of an ethereal experience, time after time. We loved it so much, we wrote an entire guide to Koh Lanta because of it.

Yet another incredible Koh Lanta sunset

Yet another incredible Koh Lanta sunset

Visiting the Taj Mahal

While very much firmly on the beaten track in India, the Taj Mahal was magnificent. We weren’t too sure whether it would live up to our expectations, but it was a sight to behold, and we’ll never forget the experience.

The Taj Mahal - nothing short of phenomenal

The Taj Mahal – nothing short of phenomenal

Getting to eat Hoi An specialties again

When we were in Hoi An in May, we fell head over heels with the cuisine, and, in particular, White Rose dumplings and cao làu. Beyond delicious! So imagine how nuts we went when we had the fortune to be in town again in September. We literally ate ALL the food, and it tasted even better second time round. Vietnamese cuisine is, simply put, divine.  

Vietnamese food, how we love thee

Vietnamese food, how we love thee

Sharing jackfruit with a nun on a train in Vietnam 

Travel brings you into contact with people whom you more than likely would never meet back home. During a train journey from Nha Trang to Da Nang, we shared a cabin with a Vietnamese nun. She couldn’t speak a word of English, but she halved her jackfruit with us, and we spent an hour trying to communicate through our smiles.

Spending Diwali in India

Our trip to India in October was Andrea’s first, and we got to celebrate Diwali while we were there. It was a magical experience and everything that she had ever imagined it would be.

Diwali in India

Diwali in India

Being with the whole family for Christmas in Cyprus

Likewise, we were lucky enough to be able to fly all the way from the depths of Asia to Europe to be with Andrea’s family for Christmas. It was particularly special, as it was the first time in nine years that all her siblings were together for the occasion.

Home is where the family is

Home is where the family is

Winning a competition and a GoPro in the process 

In November, we entered a competition that was run by Papa New Guinea Tourism UK, and our blog was the winner for that month! Sadly we didn’t win the grand prize, but we did get a GoPro out of it, as well as a massive boost to our morale. We are so chuffed to have been acknowledged in that way when we’ve only been running the blog for five months. Watch out for videos on the blog very soon!

Receiving blog comments from readers who we don’t know

While we’re extremely happy that our friends and family find us interesting enough to keep up with our escapades through the blog, we were particularly excited when we realised that complete strangers are reading and commenting on our posts. From the start we wanted the blog to be a well-put together resource of travel inspiration, so we’re so happy that people are finding us and hopefully feeling encouraged to explore our amazing planet more.

Falling in love with the Cambodian people

Travel bloggers and writers alike can be a guilty of always trying to find lovely people in any given place. You’ll always find descriptions like ‘the people are so welcoming/warm/friendly,’ and while that’s all well and good, the truth is that sometimes you just want to hear about the rawness and realities of any given place.

Saying that, however, Cambodians are so ridiculously lovely that you cannot help but comment on their loveliness. They are the kindest and friendliest locals we’ve met so far, and every single exchange we had while in Siem Reap left us feeling all warm and fuzzy.

Getting to spend time with some overexcited nursery children in Vietnam

During our tour of Cam Kim island near Hoi An, we took a little detour to a nursery, where the kids were ridiculously excited to see us. We snapped pictures while they laughed and giggled at us. It was such a precious moment and we really didn’t want to leave them!

Nursery children in Cam Kim

Nursery children in Cam Kim

Low points 

Our nightmare Airbnb experience

During our first few weeks on the road, we decided to try out Airbnb while in Ho Chi Minh City. We reasoned we would get a place with a kitchen to keep food costs as low as possible. Imagine our horror when we checked in to find a place so filthy that cockroaches the size of small mice were climbing up the walls. We were so traumatised that we ended up checking straight out and spending the week with friends instead.

Ankit’s Cyprus visa battles

Back in November, Ankit had a nightmare time trying to get his visa for Cyprus. Thanks to an incompetent travel agent and the rude staff at the embassy, we ended up having to postpone our trip to Koh Lanta, and almost lost a lot of money because of the delay.

That visa was earnt with sweat and tears

That visa was earnt with sweat and tears

Trying to check-in to our flight to Cyprus

Imagine showing up at the airport all excited about the fact you’re heading home for Christmas and that you’re only four hours away from your family, only to then come up against check-in staff who tell you you’re not able to board the flight. That’s pretty much what happened at Dubai International Airport in December when Ankit was interrogated by the staff there. The issue was that his return ticket was to Dubai where he doesn’t get an on arrival visa (which is ridiculous because it’s SO easy for him to get the visa). In the end, he had to buy himself a cheap ticket to Mumbai just to appease them.

Trekking in Sapa

Following a sleepless overnight train from Hanoi, the last thing we wanted was to trek for 10 plus kilometres. But that’s the beauty of travel – one minute you’re riding high, the next minute all you want to do is head home, crawl under the duvet and not come back out for a few days. Andrea has now been put off trekking for life (although she’s probably happy she has an excuse not to bother trying again).

Never again

Never again


What have been the travel highlights of your year? And what are you looking forward to in 2015 travel wise?  


  • I love the nun + jackfruit story!

    And I am on the trekking fence too. I loved our experience on the Inca Trail, but then I was miserable when we hiked a volcano in Chile. I am guessing Everest isn’t going to show up on my bucket list anytime soon!

    • Andrea

      Thank goodness it isn’t just me! I started to think there was something wrong with me, as most backpackers seem to love trekking! I have come to accept that it’s not really for me. I’m more of a museums/galleries person 🙂

  • Looking forward to reading more of your amazing adventures and horrendous battles in 2015! 😉

    • Andrea

      Thank you and thank you for being such a loyal follower of the blog 🙂 Happy New Year!

  • Emily Ray

    What an exciting 2014 for you! I’ve never really done much trekking myself, but I’m on a mission to climb Snowdonia this year – I’ll let you know my thoughts after that 😛

    • Andrea

      It really was a great year! Yeah, let me know how it goes 😉 I for one have finally admitted that trekking isn’t for; I’ll stick to café culture 🙂

  • The Taj Mahal is a place I definitely want to visit one day. Pictures of it are just amazing, so I imagine that being there would be even better. Even with the low points, it sounds like it was a great year.

    • Andrea

      You definitely should visit, Michelle! It’s magnificent. And yeah, it’s been quite the year. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • visaforvietnam

    You are having great fun guys amazing post. Waiting for your more posts.