2015 was the year my travel dreams came true. I finally boarded a plane with a one-way ticket to try my hand at living a #gaplife.
This year I have visited 4 countries, been away from home for 9 months and experienced more than I could ever have hoped.
As 2015 comes to a close, it doesn’t look like 2016 will be short of adventures either.
Here’s to my favourite travel experiences of 2015!
TradFest in Dublin, Ireland
Dublin kicked off the year of travel. I use any excuse to travel, even when saving for a trip of a lifetime, so Ryan’s birthday seemed like the perfect chance for a getaway.
We managed to accidentally time our visit with Temple Bar’s TradFest, an event celebrating the best of Ireland’s traditional music.
Sitting in the pub with a Guinness in hand and a man on a fiddle couldn’t get more Irish and I couldn’t be happier!
Read more: Dublin TradFest 2015
Watching the sunset in Boracay, The Philippines
The Philippines was the first country on the #gaplife itinerary. We made a beeline for the beautiful sandy island of Boracay, famed for its fiery sunsets and cheap pina coladas.
Both delivered, and I made a point of watching the sun sink below the horizon with a cocktail in hand every evening.
Read more: White Beach, Boracay
Driving mopeds around Palawan, The Philippines
The Philippines in general was a dream. Palm-fringed empty beaches, an ocean teeming with life and friendly locals to boot. But this day trumped any other.
Zooming around the idyllic island of Palawan, passed incredible stretches of sand, hot springs and rolling rice paddies took my breath away.
It’s one of those days I’ll never forget and cements Palawan as one of my favorite spots in the world.
Read more: El Nido on Two Wheels
The Good Food & Wine Festival, Melbourne, Australia
There are so many reasons why this day graces this list.
1) It was a great professional day for me as it was the first event I’ve attended as press, (I even wore my blogger’s hat!).
2) I was able to share the day with Ryan and our friends from university who were living in Melbourne at the time.
3) It was such good fun! Trying the best wines Australia has to offered chased with unlimited free cheese and fresh produce – what’s not to love?!
Leah coming to stay! Melbourne, Sydney & The Great Ocean Road, Australia
Leah is one of my best friends from home and came all the way from England to visit me in my new Melbourne digs.
We crammed in a lot during the 2 weeks she was here. We played tourist in Melbourne, flew over to Sydney for the weekend and road-tripped the world famous Great Ocean Road.
We had a blast and it was so lovely to catch up with a familiar face after so long away from home.
A Weekend at Wilson’s Promotory, Australia
Wilsons Prom is one of my favourite places in Australia so far. Ryan surprised me with a trip there and an overnight stay at the beautiful Waratah Lodge.
By day we hiked the stunning National Park, taking in mountains, beaches and local wildlife. By night, we drank beer in front of a roaring fire as I watched one of my best friends from school walk down the aisle (oh the joys of Skype!)
Surfing at Redgate Beach, Margaret River, Western Australia
The Margaret River region of South-West Australia is one of the best surf spots in the world. It would simply be rude not to slip on a wetsuit, grab a board and hit the waves.
As a complete surfing novice I had no idea how much fun surfing was. We spent the day battling massive waves, mastering the art of standing up and just appreciating how beautiful this place is.
We later found out that a massive great white shark had been spotted the beach over from us! Oh, Australia. You be crazy.
Spending the Weekend in a Caravan, Perth, Australia
At this point in our travels, we were deep into our 4 months farm work. We devoted our days to the cows and calves at our dairy and barely had a chance to escape.
So the weekend we were able to spend in Perth was incredible. We stayed in an amazing retro caravan in the beachside suburb of Cottesloe, watched Tame Impala perform at an outdoor amphitheatre and slowly became human again after a bucketful of flat whites and delicious meals out.
The cherry on top? It was also our four year anniversary!
Read more: Doing Perth Differently
Leaving the farm, Western Australia
Doing our 3 month farm work for our 2nd year visa extension was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was physically and mentally draining and almost everyday I said I was going to quit.
Yet, 4 months later I’d done my time (and some) and had survived to tell the tale (oh, and the tales I can tell…)
I had stuck it out, gained some killer arm muscles and raised nearly 1,000 calves by hand. I had also made friends for life and had an experience that I would remember forever.
As we drove out of those dairy gates for the last time, I had never felt so proud of myself!
Seeing kangaroos on the beach, Lucky Bay, Australia
Can you get more Australian than kangaroos on the blooming beach?! I think not.
When we visited the stunning Lucky Bay in South-West Australia, we were more than happy with the amazing beach and crystal clear water.
Then, to our surprise, two kangaroos bounded from the bush onto the sand. It was something I had only seen in Australia Tourism brochures but had never expected to see in the flesh.
It’s moments like these that remind me how special this country is.
So, that’s my favourite travel experiences of 2015. I’m wrapping up the year in Bali, Indonesia and couldn’t be happier with what 2015 has so kindly given me.
There has definitely been some bad times (more on that soon), but 2015 was the year I made my dreams reality and I can only hope that 2016 will be as awesome.
What have been your favourite travel experiences of 2015? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages!