From getting stuck at a luxury resort in El Nido to instagramming my way through picture-perfect Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2016 was definitely an eventful year. Here you can find the compilation of my top travel moments… the good and the not so good ones.
I can’t believe it’s that time of the year already! I feel like 2016 flew by, don’t you? But probably, it’s just me getting older, sigh.
I’ve started 2017 super motivated and I’m working my butt off updating old content and Pinteresting all day long. By the way, are you following me on Pinterest? Lots of travel inspiration [bragging here], you should totally be doing it 😀
If you’ve been following my journey for a while, you know that every here I like to make a compilation of the best and worst travel moments of the year, and I have lots of fun doing so!
This year was a good one, not many bad moments to remember, but loads of good ones… it was hard to choose the top 10! Here they are.
1| GETTING HIT BY A TYPHOON IN PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES
After the TBEX conference in Manila, I was lucky enough to be invited by the Philippines Department of Tourism to a fam trip to Palawan.
During the 5-day trip, we visited quite a few beautiful places, but the highlight of the trip was most definitely El Nido. Where we were hit by a super typhoon.
No worries, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Actually, this was one of the best travel moments of the year, and we ended up having a great time although we were mostly stuck at Lagen Island, a resort owned by El Nido Resorts.
It was a mix of meeting incredibly fun people (3 of which became sister wives), having a few cocktails while lounging with LadyBoy, my pink flamingo floatie, and staying at a strikingly glamorous overwater bungalows-resort that made the trip so special. If all of this doesn’t make any sense to you, then come back in a week to read all about it.
Trust me, El Nido is so beautiful that it’s impossible not to fall in love with it, typhoons or not.
THIS PLACE. Unreal. We were stranded on Lagen Island (part of @eldinoresorts) because of the super typhoon, but I’m guessing this must be the best place in the entire world to be stranded! More time to float with my pink flamingo… can you spot us? 😂 ✌️ ✌️ @TourismPhilippines #SoulOfThePhilippines #PhilippinesPhotoContest
2| MEETING THE ORANGUTANS IN BORNEO
Last January I had an amazing adventure in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. I partnered up with the most sustainable tour operator in the region, Borneo EcoTours, and went on a 3-day river safari in the jungle looking for the kings of the forest, the orangutans. Little did I know, I would also be able to spot other animals such as crocodiles, proboscis monkeys, and the extremely rare-to-spot pygmy elephants – with their babies! It was one of those experiences that will be hard to top up – like, ever.
Little did I know, I would also be able to spot other animals such as crocodiles, proboscis monkeys, and the extremely rare-to-spot pygmy elephants – with their babies! It was one of those experiences that will be hard to top up – like, ever.
3| WORKATIONING IN LONDON
May saw me going to London for the millionth time, with no special plans other than visiting my friend and exploring new parts of the city. Discovering things to do in London off the beaten path is one of my favorite activities! I spent most of my time in East London, working on my laptop at design cafès, buying flowers at the Columbia Rd. Flower Market, and taking probably 1000 Instagram pictures in front of the coolest walls of London (ahem,
I spent most of my time in East London, working on my laptop at design cafès, buying flowers at the Columbia Rd. Flower Market, and taking probably 1000 Instagram pictures in front of the coolest walls of London (ahem, thanks Baldo!). Each time I go back to London, I find out there are more and more reasons to visit!
4| MOVING TO BARCELONA
Ok, this is probably not a travel moment per se, but more of a life change. And what a life change!
Last April I decided to follow my boyfriend to Barcelona, Spain, where had just accepted a new job position. I’m not going to lie, it was a BIG decision to make, but since it pretty much it meant life or death for our still fresh relationship, I decided to go with my guts?
I’m not going to lie, it was a BIG decision to make, but since it pretty much it meant life or death for our still fresh relationship, I decided to go with my guts?
Luckily, it all went well and nine months later – NO, NOT HAVING A BABY! – I’m happy to say Barcelona is starting to feel like home.
5| POPPING THE GLAMPING CHERRY
When Big Berry Camp invited us to spend a few days at their new lifestyle camp in Bela Krajina, Slovenia, I had no idea what to expect. Camping? Me? My girl scout days are over, not so keen…But glamping? Oh yes, that’s my thing! I totally loved the concept, the camp, and
But glamping? Oh yes, that’s my thing! I totally loved the concept, the camp, and discovering an off-the-beaten-path region in Slovenia. Looking forward to more glamping experiences in 2017!
6| SWIMMING WITH TURTLES IN APO ISLAND
I just realized that two moments on this list involve animals. Oh well – I never hid the fact that sometimes I like animals better than humans. One of the highlights of my recent trip to the Philippines was swimming with turtles in Apo Island.
During my stay at Atmosphere Resorts, in fact, I had the incredible chance to go on a snorkeling trip to nearby Apo Island, a beautiful ecotourism hotspot where it’s very easy to meet giant sea turtles just a few meters offshore. They don’t mind the human presence, and I got so close I could have easily touched them (but don’t do it!!).
Two days ago I lived one of the coolest experiences of all my travel life: swimming with turtles at Apo Island! 😍👙 At one point I had four circling around me, so close that I could have touched them… how awesome is that?!? A huge thanks to @atmosphereresorts for giving me this opportunity (and a great stay at a beautiful resort). 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢
7| FALLING IN LOVE WITH NORTHERN EUROPE
Last summer I finally headed to Northern Europe for the first time. I knew I would like it, I just never had a chance before, mostly because it’s a really expensive region to visit. But TBEX in Stockholm was the perfect excuse to finally go, so I spent around two weeks in Sweden and Finland. Not nearly enough time, I know, but enough to explore the lovely islands of Uto and Sandhamn in the Stockholm Archipelago,
Not nearly enough time, I know, but enough to explore the lovely islands of Uto and Sandhamn in the Stockholm Archipelago, get pampered in the Aland Islands, and experience the Finnish summer in the Turku Archipelago. The midnight sun, the tiny wooden houses, and such beautiful landscapes were enough for me to fall in love with Northern Europe. I will be back soon!
8| INSTAGRAMMING MY WAY THROUGH BOSNIA- HERZEGOVINA
Last August Lorenzo and I went on our second road trip around the Balkans, specifically around Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina this time around. I must say that it’s very very hard not to fall for the latter. Sarajevo conquered me with its beautiful city center and amazingly cheap food and then we headed south to Mostar and I completely fell for the region. Perched villages, old monasteries, and beautiful landscapes were so picture-perfect that I couldn’t help but fill my Instagram with pictures of it.
READ ALSO: The Ultimate Balkans Road Trip Itinerary
9| VISITING A SLUM IN MANILA
I’m so lucky to be able to travel the world as much as I do, and although it’s something I work hard for, I recognize that I’m a privileged. I come from a somewhat rich Western country, I am white, and I’ve had the chance to attend college and get a master degree. Traveling around the world has taught me not to give this for granted, and to try and go beyond what’s in front of me. When I was in Manila for the TBEX conference, the Philippines Tourism Board did a great job in introducing us to their country, and they spoiled us so much. I loved it, but I also wanted to see the other side of Manila, so together with my friend Tianna I joined a slum tour led by Smokey Tours.
During the tour lead by a lovely guide, we saw people making food with the leftovers found in garbage bins, we saw how badly flooded the slums get as soon as it rains, and we saw people scavenging for recyclable goods. It was a real eye-opening experience. I loved the tour especially because it didn’t feel like a zoo where the rich people go and look at the poor. We weren’t allowed to take pictures right because of this reason, and we were warmly welcomed by the people. 100% of the proceeds from these tours are in fact donated to a local NGO that assists the population in the slums. It was a strong experience, a very strong one that almost made me sick to the stomach, but I would recommend it to anyone passing through Manila. If you want to see the world, try and see it in its entirety.
10| GETTING SICK, OH SO SICK IN BORNEO
This year I was lucky enough to many good experiences and very few bad ones. Actually, I can only recall one last January. Lucky girl!
I don’t mind solo travel. Actually, in the years I have started to appreciate the freedom that comes with it more and more. However, being sick while traveling alone is miserable. All you want is someone to cuddle you and take care of your needs, and listening to your whinings. As soon as I arrived in Borneo I started to feel sick with what turned out to be a bad case of food poisoning… it happens. I spent three days dragging myself from the bed to the bathroom and I honestly thought I was going to die. I was as sick as I’d never been before, and yes, I will save you the pictures from this one 😀 The staff at my hotel was totally unhelpful and I really, really wished someone was there with me to help me! Eventually started to feel better, luckily in time to go on my Kinabatangan river safari.
I can’t complain, 2016 was a really good year. What about yours? Let me know your best travel moment!
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