From the beaches to the mountain tops, compiling a list of my best travel moments of 2015 was not an easy feat. I somehow managed to visit seventeen countries while studying full-time!
That number may not seem impressive to people who travel constantly, but as a 22-year-old with a permanent address (finally!) I find it pretty unbelievable.
This list of my best travel moments of 2015 is a celebration of all the wonderful places I visited as well as reminder to stop and smell the roses. Gratitude is a beautiful thing and seeing how far I’ve come this year – both literally and metaphorically – fills me with so much energy, optimism and resolve!
So enjoy this trip down memory lane and don’t forget to follow along next year. I have some very exciting plans for the first quarter of 2016 and I’ll be revealing them soon…
10. Spa break in Gran Canaria
You know a list of best travel moments where a spa break in Gran Canaria comes tenth must be pretty spectacular! Getting my back massaged on a daily basis and my body smeared with sticky algae was probably my most indulgent experience of the year and a much-needed week of no stress.
9. Moving to Manchester
I’m not always that appreciative of my new home – will it ever stop raining? – but moving to Manchester has really allowed me to see the UK from a different perspective. Slowly but surely I’m beginning to fall in love with this city and I can’t wait to see what living there brings in 2016!
8. Filming in Greece
I make no secret of the fact that Greece is one of my favourite European destinations. That is why spending a week on the island of Ios with my boyfriend was pretty heavenly!
Things didn’t all go according to plan because my visit coincided with the Greek financial crisis and bank shutdown. But getting to film in this beautiful country and showing everyone it was still ok to visit despite the media’s fear-mongering was extremely rewarding. This is the final video I edited – have you seen it yet?
7. Monkeys in Gibraltar
I had one of the most incredible travel moments of all time in Gibraltar. A small macaque monkey came over to me and decided to sit on my lap! Not in the zoo or anything – a wild (albeit definitely used to tourists) monkey out in the open.
We even held hands for a short moment as my boyfriend looked on disapprovingly. It was magical.
6. Safaris in Lapland
Lapland is one of those places I always admired on photos but never thought I’d actually visit IRL. But when I became obsessed with ‘Frozen’ (about a year after everyone else) I decided it had to happen.
I got to ride on a sleigh pulled by huskies, spend the night by myself in an ice castle and had the perfect winter holiday in Levi. Check out the video below to get a better idea of how magical it was…
5. Hiking in Canada
Canada was never that high on my must-see list… until I went there. Now I yearn to go back whenever I come across a new photo of this mountain paradise, which is surprisingly often.
I visited the province of Alberta and the journey from Edmonton to Banff was one of the most spectacular road trips you can imagine. Just look at the sparkling waters of Peyto Lake in the photo above. A nature miracle that requires no filters!
4. Exploring Iceland
Visiting Iceland had been a dream of mine for a long time, so when I finally booked a trip there with my friend Tom this spring I was extremely excited. My stay was short but I got to cross not one but two items off my bucket list.
The first was the Blue Lagoon – which I have written about here – and the second the Northern Lights which eluded me during my trip to Lapland earlier in the year. What an experience!
3. Road trip in the Scottish Highlands
Much like visiting Iceland, road-tripping around Scotland was something I’d really wanted to do for ages. When my boyfriend’s mum offered to lend us her car because she was flying to Canada to run her third marathon of the year (read all about that here!), I saw it as my golden ticket!
In one week we visited more magical places in the Scottish Highlands than I knew existed and to top it off, we had the best weather imaginable which is nothing short of a miracle in October. I hope I’ll be returning to Scotland very soon.
2. Secret trip to Barcelona for my mum
In February I decided to do something fun and slightly crazy – I booked all the hotels and bought my mum a flight to Barcelona! I didn’t even tell her where we were going until the day before her departure.
It was such a lovely bonding trip (sorry dad, next time I’m bringing you both) and we had lots of fun exploring the city together. Watch the above video of our first meeting!
1. Round the world trip with #EYD2015
If you’re a regular here I’m sure you’ve heard about my #EYD2015 project during which I visited five countries on three continents in ten days! I visited Ethiopia, Tanzania, Philippines, Dominican Republic and Lebanon and saw lots of suffering but even more hope.
I was working with the European Commission to promote their development work abroad and I’m still so honoured to have been able to play my part in this incredible project. Being able to combine my love of development, knowledge of
I received so many lovely messages from people who saw the video online or in cinemas across Europe and am so grateful for the response it received. I even got to watch myself on the silver screen when I went to watch ‘Hunger Games’ – fighting for the audience’s attention with Jennifer Lawrence was definitely a dream come true.
Have you seen the final video yet? If not, check it out here…
What were your best travel moments of 2015? Where would you like me to go in 2016? Let me know – I’m always so inspired by your comments!