2018 was a whirlwind year. My goal for the year was to settle into a normal routine a bit more and travel less (but take longer trips). Even though I flew HALF the amount of air miles as I did in 2017, I can’t say I traveled much less (lol)! I crossed some amazing trips off my list and revisited some of my favorite destinations again.
Countries Traveled: South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius, Indonesia, Singapore, China, French Polynesia, Canada, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, The Bahamas
Here are the highlights of my 2018 travels!
My first trip of the year was back to California and then on to Las Vegas to attend the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with GoPro. I helped GoPro introduce their new Fusion 360 Camera and it was such a cool experience to see all the new tech from companies around the world.
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Botswana was my big African adventure this year—and it was so memorable. If you love wildlife, then this country must be on your list!
At Jack’s Camp in Botswana, I got to hang out with the meerkats (a huge bucket list!) of the Kalahari. And while staying at Sable Alley, we took a mokoro to discover to experience this peaceful wonderland of the Okavango Delta—that was one of the most beautiful and serene places I’ve ever seen!
In Botswana, I was able to go offline and disconnect for a bit. We were so remote that we spent our days watching hippos from the lodge, elephants drinking from the delta, and falling asleep in the afternoons reading books.
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South Africa TBA Escapes Tours
This year, I hosted 48 women across four different TBA Escapes South Africa tours. The 9-day tour is a luxury adventure that shows off the best of South Africa from Cape Town to Safari to the Cape Winelands.
I had such an amazing time meeting like-minded women and showing them my favorite spots around the Western Cape, plus teaching them more about my photography and editing styles!
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Mauritius was the perfect tropical escape from Cape Town! Meyer and I spent the days swimming and lounging around— the water is warmer and bluer than anywhere else I’ve been in the world and the weather was a perfect 80°F.
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Raja Ampat, Indonesia
In April, I spent an amazing ten days at sea in Indonesia aboard the Samambaia Liveaboard in the remote islands of Raja Ampat and the Banda Sea—completely disconnected and, predominantly, under the sea! This was my first “liveaboard” scuba diving cruise and it was absolutely magical.
I did 28 dives between Raja Ampat and the Banda Sea—some with sea snakes (10x more venomous than a cobra), manta rays, and hammerhead sharks!
Raja Ampat is an archipelago of about 1,500 remote islands located in Indonesia’s West Papua province and is known for the beautiful beaches, pristine coral reefs, and turquoise waters. It is part of the “Coral Triangle” which is considered the global center of marine biodiversity and has the richest marine life I’ve ever seen while diving.
Read More: 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Raja Ampat
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I spent a whirlwind 3 nights in Singapore on a long stopover, exploring (and eating) my way through the city! I was so excited to finally visit the Gardens By the Bay—and was thrilled to learn that the most visited attraction in Singapore is equally cool as it is educational.
As for food, I couldn’t get enough of the delicious street food and yummy noodle soups like laksa and prawn mee! I also stuffed myself at The Colony at The Ritz-Carlton because it has the most INSANE buffet I’ve ever eaten at.
And, no trip to Singapore is complete without a swim in the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, on top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
Singapore Travel Guides:
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This was my first trip to Hong Kong, and I only had 2 days to explore. There’s so much to see and do in the bustling city of Hong Kong. With neon-lit streets, fishing villages, temples, and endless amounts of restaurants, it’s like no place you’ve been before.
I stayed at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental and I have to say, the attention to detail is unlike any luxury hotel I’ve ever experienced. Even if you don’t stay over, their 2 star Michelin restaurant is the #1 rated restaurant in Hong Kong and a must experience in the city!
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New York City
The Big Apple! I actually made three different trips to NYC this year, and all were equally as fun! The first trip I met my boyfriend, Meyer, in the city to celebrate his birthday. The second trip in September, I went to attend and speak at the first-ever MogulX Conference. It was a day full of female empowerment in the workplace, and it was SO inspiring to hear from such amazing women.
The last trip, this past December, was to attend the inaugural The Point Guy Awards or fondly known as “the Oscars” of travel. TPG rolled out the red carpet and announced the best credit cards, hotels, and airlines of the year. I was honored to present an award and dance the night away!
New York Travel Guides:
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Home sweet home! After New York, I came back home to California to show Meyer, and my best friend from Cape Town, Natalie, around. It was Natalie’s first trip to the US, and so we did all the touristy things.
We drove the California Coast, exploring San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco, and ate Mexican food to our heart’s content.
California Travel Guides:
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Bora Bora, French Polynesia
After our trip through California, Meyer and I headed to French Polynesia for a week in the sun! One of the most beautiful places in the world, French Polynesia is made up of 100 islands in the South Pacific and has some of the best diving and beaches on the planet.
We stayed at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui in the most amazing overwater bungalows, went snorkeling, rode jet skis, and more.
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Banff National Park, Canada
I was so excited to explore Alberta with GoPro! Banff has been on my list for some time, and what better way to explore than with a bunch of other adventure lovers! We ventured to the iconic Calgary Stampede, the insanely beautiful Moraine Lake, Mt. Norquay, Lake Louise and more places around Banff.
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France was the only solo trip I did this year, and it was so nice to travel for myself again. For me, getting to travel at my own pace and doing exactly what I want to do, when I want to do it, is liberating. I woke up at sunrise to stroll the cobblestone streets of Paris, spent 3 hours at the Louvre and popped into every cute cafe I saw.
I traveled through Paris, Bordeaux, the Provence and Luberon regions, Marseille, and the French Riviera.
In Bordeaux, I stayed a few nights in the quaint town of Saint Emilion. It is a UNESCO world heritage town in Nouvelle-Aquitaine and looks like it is straight out of a postcard.
In Provence, I set out looking for sunflowers and fields of lavender, quaint castle-like villages perched on hilltops and Provence rosé (all day). I found all of those things but what I least expected was to find was a giant canyon and an insanely blue-green river—Gorges du Verdon.
In the French Luberon, I made my way to Roussillon, which reminded me of Chefchaouen in Morocco (the famous blue city) only this town was red, and Gordes for their Tuesday market. The village markets in Provence are full of local products like cheese, bread, honey, lavender, olives, Marseille soap, nougat and tons of beautiful fruits & veggies!
France Travel Guides:
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It was so amazing to travel back to Stockholm for the first time in 4 years! My friend, Tara, and I first came to Sweden back in 2014. On our big European adventure that summer, she fell in love with a boy and it just so happened that I returned there to celebrate their wedding this summer!
I was blown away by the amazing subway art throughout the city!
Sweden Travel Guides:
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I spent an amazing 48 hours in Geneva! I cozied up at the Mandarin Oriental Geneva took myself on a fondue dinner date (and finished the ENTIRE pot), ate ALL the chocolate, went paragliding over the city, lost count of how many swans I saw, and watched the most incredible sunset from the top of a Ferris wheel.
It was the perfect end to an amazing summer adventure in Europe!
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This year, I attended my 5th Burn in Black Rock City. Last year, I took the year off to attend AfrikaBurn in South Africa, which was an awesome experience, and I was so excited to get back to Burning Man.
Burning Man is a place where I can completely disconnect, where I feel euphoric happiness and sometimes overwhelming sadness, where I play and discover and dance, and experience a culture unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. It’s indescribable and amazing at the same time.
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I had the opportunity to host my first-ever meet up in Austin where I hung out with nearly 50 incredible humans! It was so much fun! We floated down the San Marcos river, dancing, singing and playing games.
The following 3 days, I attended TravelCon 2018, hosted by Nomadic Matt, where I had the opportunity to speak on “Building a 6-Figure Brand.” I hadn’t been to a travel conference in five years (not since I first started blogging) so I was really nervous to stand in front of hundreds of people to share my journey—but the travel community is just SO amazing, and it was such a good experience.
I can’t wait for TravelCon 2019!
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Cape Town, South Africa
While I was back and forth between Cape Town and other destinations this year, it was so nice to settle back into a regular routine in Cape Town from September through November—visit my favorite coffee shop every morning, work on some fun projects, and explore more of my “home base”.
South Africa Travel Guides:
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Sydney was a quick trip, but I hadn’t realized how much I missed Australia until I touched down!
For a little background, 7 years ago, I came to Sydney for the very first time. That summer, I spent 3 months traveling through Australia, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand and went on my first big solo adventure to Thailand. I kept a daily online journal that would eventually become “The Blonde Abroad” — so, needless to say, that trip changed the course of my life forever and I’ve got a very special place in my heart for this country.
Australia Travel Guides:
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I ended the year in The Bahamas where I unplugged for some quality time with my boyfriend and close friends. I’d previously traveled to the Bimini Islands and the Atlantis Resort, but this was my first time visiting Cat Island—a more off-the-grid island destination void of any big resorts and with hardly any tourism.
It was the perfect destination to recharge my batteries and start the New Year off right!
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What were some of your top travel moments from 2018? Let me know down below!