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My Travel Moments of 2015: the best and the worst

My Travel Moments of 2015: the best and the worst

My Best Travel Moments of 2015


WOW
!
2015 has been quite an exciting year!
11 countries, 22 flights, 46 hotel beds, 1 break-up,
uncountable new friends, and 34 destinations later, here I am to tell you about the good, the bad, and the ugly of this year… but mostly about the good.
Here are the my best travel moments of 2015.

 

1| DISCOVERING THE VIETNAM OF MY DREAMS IN MAI CHAU

I would be lying if I said I loved Vietnam.
There are a few different things that made me disillusioned and angry about the country and the way tourists are treated: just keep reading…
I was really looking forward to escape from the chaos of Hanoi, and Mai Chau in the countryside, only 3 hours away, seemed the perfect place to relax.

I had no idea though that I would finally find the Vietnam of my dreams there.
Between the paddy fields and the bike trails in the countryside, I finally fell in love with Vietnam.

And I must admit that enjoying the view over the paddy fields, while chilling in my private pool at Mai Chau Ecolodge, might or might not have contributed to that!

 

2| WHEN I WORKED HARD PLAYED HARDER IN HALONG BAY

There are mainly two kinds of Halong Bay cruises on offer: the luxury ones that generally attract an older crowd, and the party cruises… which one do you think I chose?

I had some great, great fun with an awesome bunch of new friends, partying but not only: so much fun that I even decided to prolonge my stay on Cat Ba Island with some of them.
If you are backpacking through Vietnam, and don’t mind some crazy fun, check out the cruise organized by Central Backpackers: it’s the same exact thing than the infamous Castaway Cruise, but costs half price!

 

3| WHEN I REALIZED THAT SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO LET IT GO

This year was not always all a bed of roses.
You might not have noticed it because I tend to keep this kind of things private, but I was quite devastated when things with my ex boyfriend didn’t work out.

It was very hard to move on, and the fact that I was running around, keeping busy not to think about things, wasn’t helping.
Then I found out about the isolated island of Kho Phra Thong thanks to my friend Claire, and I decided that I needed some quiet time.
There, I was really by myself. I enjoyed a week of silence, books on my hammock, walks on the beach and witnessed some of the most breathtaking sunsets I’ve ever witnessed.

There, I was finally able to cry it out, and let it go.
One morning on the island I woke up, and felt free again.

Yesterday it was a bad day, and I used to think that you couldn’t have bad days while traveling. I used to believe all those people who tell you they are “living the dream”: traveling is like life, sometimes you are living the dream and sometimes, well, you would like to stay in bed all day. I used to feel guilty about “wasted days”, but I’ve learnt to accept that ups and downs will always be there, no matter where I am. I really fell for this island, and I’m sad to be leaving tomorrow, but a place this quiet really forces you to think. And at some point those ghosts that we keep hidden in our closet have to come out, and at some point we need to face our fears. Someone said “the turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt” … and I guess miles of deserted beaches are not the worst place on earth to do it!

Una foto pubblicata da Stefania Guglielmi (@everysteph) in data:

 

4| HITCHIKING ON A HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE IN KOSOVO

It was a hot, super hot afternoon in Gracanica, Kosovo, and Lorenzo and I had this brilliant idea of walking 2 kms to check out some Roman ruins (which, well, you can totally skip), so we decided to hitchike on the way back.

Nobody would stop. We were on the side of the road for some time, then we said “fuck it, we’ll just walk”. As soon as we said that, we saw a horse-drawn carriage approaching.

You are not going to try and stop THAT, are you??!”
“Sure I am!” – said Lorenzo.

And sure enough, the gypsy family on the carriage stopped and told us to hop on.
We sat there on the straw in the back of the carriage, laughing with the kids, and it was perfect… cause sometimes it’s the smallest moments that make you the happiest!

Isn't it all about the smallest moments?

 

5| WHEN A STRIKE HIT IN KERALA AND I BECAME A BOLLYWOOD STAR…KIND OF

What do you do in Kerala when a strike cancels your plans, and you get stucked in an awesome resort together with some of the most amazing friends and a professional videographer?
You shoot a music video of course! We just had a blast dancing, making sexy funny shots in the water, and listening to the same song about one thousand times.

Unfortunately the video is not live yet 🙁 but this is THE hit. Dance away!

 

6| FEELING AT PEACE IN THE KERALA BACKWATERS

One of the best things that happened to me this year was having the incredible opportunity to participate in the Kerala Blog Express trip, which brought me with other 29 other bloggers around the state of Kerala in South India.

The highlight of the trip was definitely the cruise on a Kerala Backwaters houseboat.
Watching the sunset, and then the sunrise colouring the water of all shades of pink orange, enjying some great food and chatting about life for hours with Barbara and Arnaldo….unforgettable.

 

7| THAT TIME I HAD A PASSIONATE SIX-HOUR ROMANCE WITH THE HOTTEST LATIN MAN

Mom, if you’re reading this post, skip this paragraph.

Has it ever happened to you that you meet someone from the opposite side of the world, and you instantly feel a special connection, that you can’t stop wondering “where have you been all of my life”?

I’ve met a few similar souls out there while traveling that I could totally relate to, and it’s always a great pleasure when it happens, but let’s be honest: when they look like they could be on the cover of some magazine, and they whisper spanish words in your ear with the sexiest accent, it’s even more special. Special in a lustful way.

When I met F., let’s call him like that, I knew he was leaving soon. Soon as “I have been traveling for over a year but I have my flight to to go back home in 6 hours”.
Yes, I know, awesome timing.

So we spent a full-moon night talking about life goals, and fears, and emotions, and then one thing leads to another… and we found ourselves entwined, having some raw, mind-blowing… well, you know what, until it was time for me to drop him off at the airport, leaving me longing for more.

Who know, maybe one day…life is absolutely weird, and I love it for this.
So, who wants to come to South America with me? 😀

I obviously don’t have a picture to show you, so here it’s a bunch of latinos for you.
Girls, no need to thank me.

Untitled design (7)

 

8| THAT DAY I WAS BEATEN BY THE POLICE THEN CHASED BY THE MAFIA IN VIETNAM

So, this happened. But no worries, this is definitely the worst moment on this list… also cause it doesn’t get much worse than this, does it?
Fortunately I’m fine and everything is alright.

I kept a little secretive about this because I heard stories of people getting in trouble for writing things on the internet, but I think you should know about it because if you happened to find yourself in the same situation, well, at least you’d know what to do.

It’s quite a long story, so I won’t get into details here, but expect a post about it soon!

When you travel, it’s never black or white. Some days are just incredibly amazing, and some are not. Today we went to see the White Dunes of Mui Ne, and they were breathtaking (you can see it below!) Unfortunately, coming back from that we had a terrible experience. In each country there are good and bad people, and today we were unlucky enough to meet the wrong ones. I won’t be able to tell you what happened until I leave the country, but bad experiences are still part of the travel experience, and I feel lucky that we are totally fine…with one more story to tell you about! I cannot judge Vietnam just from what happened today, so I will keep telling you how beautiful this country is… but now, please send me a virtual hug 😊!

Una foto pubblicata da Stefania Guglielmi (@everysteph) in data:

 

9| CONNECTING WITH ELEPHANTS AT ELEPHANTS NATURE PARK IN CHIANG MAI

Elephants are probably my favourite animals on Earth, so when I heard about Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai there was no way I could skip it.

There are plenty of elephant camps in Northern Thailand, but this is a special one because the rescued elephants are treated with the respect they deserve.

Communicating: because sometimes, you don’t need ONE. SINGLE. WORD. This is Thai, one of the oldest elephants at the age of 80 years old. Yesterday I spent an incredible day at @elephantnaturepark outside of Chiang Mai, where I had the possibility to interact with these beautiful, extremely smart animals without disrupting their lives. Why is Elephant Nature Park different? Here all the elephants have been rescued from a past that saw them in the logging industry, as street beggars or in elephant trekking. Some of them still carry the physical, or mental, scars of the terrible things they lived but Finally here animals have the possibility to just being animals and to form families. It’s been a fantastic and emotional experience, and I was on the verge of tears multiple times. Expect to see quite a few elephants in your feed! 🐘

Una foto pubblicata da Stefania Guglielmi (@everysteph) in data:

 

10| REUNITING WITH MY BEST FRIEND IN ISTANBUL

Because, what would a girl be without her girlfriends?
My friends are all scattered around the world, and it’s not always easy to meet up: when I’m home, they are far away, and when they come back sometimes it’s me being somewhere else.

So when I told Viola, who’s doing her PHD in Los Angeles, about my Balkans roadtrip plans and she replied that she was going to meet me in Istanbul, I couldn’t be happier.

We spent 3 days exploring the beauty of Istanbul, eating cheap streetfood and girls chatting… because, don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of guy friends, but the spicy conversations i have with my best friend are on another level!

What was your best travel moment of 2015?
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RELATED POST

  1. #8 was terrifying! I’m glad you were safe! Meeting the crew and bloggers of KBE2 is one of the highlights of 2015 for me. Enjoy your Asia backpacking trip and i hope to see you real soon here in the Philippines while I’m still here 😀

    • Steph

      17 January

      Definitely! Hope to meet you soon again Mica! <3

  2. Tom and Sheila

    5 January

    Enjoyed your post – and great photos! We also went to Elephant Nature Park this year – we volunteered for a week – there was mostly good, but some not.

    • Steph

      17 January

      Wow, after reading your post I’m definitely happy I went for the one.day trip, as I found it perfect!

  3. Synke

    5 January

    Sounds like you had quiet the adventure in 2015. Traveling is always the best way to get over a heartache. I am glad you are doing better.

    Curious to hear about what happened with police and mafia in Vietnam? Sounds super scary!

    Looking forward to see where you are traveling in 2016. Keep safe but have fun!
    Synke

  4. Michelle

    6 January

    Wow – what a year it has been for you 🙂
    Looking forward to reading all about Vietnam and seeing what you get up in 2016

  5. I’m glad you got the time to enjoy yourself, despite the ups and downs. Travel always has unexpected good and bad surprises, but it always takes you where you need to be. Hope you have an awesome 2016 of travels!

  6. David Johnstone

    13 January

    The Philippines is a great place to visit but so many people miss out on La Union.

  7. […] It’s no wonder that Hoi An, Vietnam, is one of many tourists’ favourite destination. The many things to do in Hoi An and the cute, little streets of its UNESCO listed ancient town conquered me to the point I was happy to have given Vietnam a second chance. […]

  8. Jessica Brown

    1 February

    Hey Steph, Its really an amazing post. I enjoyed a lot. If i can rank your post then it will be 100 out of 100. Cheers

    • Steph

      2 February

      Thank you so much Jessica! I’m glad you liked it 🙂

  9. Roberta

    27 February

    Every experience is usefull, also bad moments. Really a great post

    • Steph

      27 February

      So true! Thank you Roberta

  10. You have shared your travel experience in very catchy way. I really learnt a lot from this post.

  11. […] Elephants playing in Chiang Mai. Many tourists heading to Thailand can’t wait to meet these very smart animals. Please, PLEASE, make sure you practice responsible tourism though. Elephant trekking is a big no-no, as well as visiting those parks that exploit the elephants for profit. Do your research before visiting an elephant park. My tip? Head to Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, where you can interact with rescued elephants in a fun and respectful way. […]

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