Every year I think back about my favourite trip of the year. This year is a little more difficult, as I had so many other life changes happening – in between changing careers from full time working in retail travel sales, to helping start up a news and lifestyle magazine, to moving house and getting pregnant, and spending almost two months away from home travelling around to new exciting places, it’s been a big one!
In May and June this year I spent more time out of Australia than in, with a combination of work and personal trips.
The first one was a trip I had won through work – but could take in personal time – so I went to South East Asia with my mum and sister. We did the G Adventures Cambodia on a Shoestring, and not only was the whole trip a complete new kettle of fish for me, it was probably a new point in my writing career, as my diary blogs of this trip have received more hits than anything else I’ve ever written! It was challenging – traveling with family, going to third world countries, and participating in a group tour; bloody rewarding – meeting a fantastic bunch of people, not one we didn’t get along with, rare for such a small group and exhilarating – travelling by bus was new for me, drop toilets was something I hope never to have to get used to, and the cost of living was a nice change to Europe! I seriously loved it, although I’m not sure whether I would choose to travel by bus again. I felt I lost a lot of time, but this was an express tour, seeing three countries in 10 days, so the knowledge and insight I gained can never be forgotten and I certainly wouldn’t go back and change it.
Next up was a work trip to Croatia. This one was a work trip, in that I won a spot on a family with a bunch of other travel agents from across Australia to travel with Topdeck and sail around Croatia for 10 days. It was the most challenging trip I’ve ever been on, where you can either gel with people automatically, or you can feel a bit like a fish out of water. Where everyone on this trip was only traveling once, I was in the middle of three trips back-to-back and saving for a house, so my budget was much lower than normal and I hardly participated in the social activities. Spending so long away from home and my boyfriend was starting to become a little harder too. I thought Croatia was absolutely stunning, and I felt so super blessed to be taken on such a brilliant tour and spend my days sailing around on an incredible boat. I would definitely love to go back with family and friends to experience it in a different way.
After this, I was home for 36 hours before I was back on a plane to Europe with my sister. After our first trip to Asia together, I decided that it might be best for us to have a little more time apart (as awesome as she is). After a few days in Paris and Rome together, I flew to my in laws in the UK and she went on a Topdeck trip around Europe for 16 days. I had a great time relaxing, seeing more of my partners home town, hanging out with family and getting over a terrible chesty cold I got from all of the flying. I went down to Great Missenden to stay with my Aunty and friends after 10 days up North in Wakefield, and enjoyed the local public walks around the area again. I love England, so it was nice to be able to take a deep breath and stop running from city to city.
This year I’ve also been camping in Rye, was chosen by Student Flights to go and film in Bali (and got so sick from food poisoning I haven’t been able to eat Shell fish since) and we’re already planning our next trip back to England for Christmas next year with hopefully a week in Bavaria. Though this time we’ll have a small baby with us, so everything is going to be a whole lot different! So I guess (in a super long winded summary – are you still there? hello?), I don’t really have a favourite trip, but every single one was different and awesome in its own way and I learnt a lot about myself, and new cultures along the way – I’m pretty lucky!
By Madelin Baldwin / lemondeentier.net