Each year at the end of another adventure-filled 365 days, I like to look back at the top journeys of the year. It’s my little nod to the name of this blog and a lovely way to look at how far we’ve come.
In 2014, our best journeys included a sunrise boat ride to Somaemuldo in Korea, our 200km cycle trip up the Nakdong River (also in Korea) and our epic 5-week trek across the Himalayas.
In 2016, we moved to Vietnam and almost all of our top journeys were experienced on the back of a motorbike in the Northern countryside. Motorbike journeys in Pu Luong, Xuan Son and Dong Cao were some of the best!
This year was also spent living in Vietnam, but we also managed to have plenty of adventures elsewhere in Asia and further afield. Without further ado, here are the top journeys of 2017.
Cycling in Myanmar
In 2017, the long and much anticipated Vietnamese Lunar New Year’s holiday Tet fell in January and we took a trip to nearby Myanmar. It was an absolute joy to travel in and took us back to our first backpacking trip in South East Asia. We managed to fit so much into our 10 days in the country and something that really stands out are the cycle journeys we took in Bagan and Inle Lake.
Cycling among thousands of crumbling temples in Bagan, with barely another soul in sight, is one of my most precious travel memories. It is only topped by the fact that at the end of our long and beautiful cycle trip around Inle Lake Oli proposed!
Sunrise cycle in Cambodia
A highlight for me this year was definitely my work trip to Cambodia that ended with a weekend festival on a paradise island in the Gulf of Thailand. It felt amazing to travel with my job, to meet so many amazing people from all over the world and be inspired on location in the places I usually write about from my office. A defining moment (and mini journey) was waking up at sunrise to cycle around Angkor Wat with one of my colleagues. We then showered, changed and went to work!
This is exactly the kind of routine I’d love to recreate now that Oli and I can take our business on the road…
Switzerland family road trip
Oli got to spend some quality time with his folks when they took a road trip through Switzerland. From Basel through the stunning Swiss countryside to Geneva. Basel was an amazing city full of history and intrigue and is where Oli’s parents first met nearly 40 years ago! It may have been the most expensive trip they’ve ever taken but it was also one of the most beautiful. Driving around Lake Geneva they saw some of the clearest water and cleanest air Oli had seen in a while!
Hanoi to Hoi An
Living in Vietnam, everyone dreams of a big motorbike trip at some point. Our long distance trip from Hanoi to Hoi An was full of adventure. With both of us taking our freelance work with us, we were able to take it slow with no deadlines or end dates in mind. We discovered some incredible new places, some totally unexpected, and the bike did pretty well, considering the fact Oli, Jimi and I all share it! We were so inspired we wanted to carry on all the way to Ho Chi Minh City but something about Hoi An and it’s nearby beach kept us sticking around for a whole two months.
One day we’ll make it back and finish the trip all the way south.
Introducing loved ones to Vietnam road trips
We had so many incredible weekend road trips this year and some of the best were the times we introduced visitors to northern Vietnam. It’s amazing to see people hop on a bike with confidence and enjoy the open road and mountain views as much as we do! Kudos to my mum for surviving a nighttime storm on the bike and to Will for somehow still enjoying it after not one but two accidents!
Exploring Khao Yai National Park
class=”p1″>For Oli’s birthday, we took a trip to a stunning national park in Thailand. We uncharacteristically stayed in a boutique resort with a pool and went to a winery for wine tasting! We balanced it out by renting a scooter and adventuring around on our own in the park and eating street food. It was an amazing trip.
Exploring Taroko National Park
This was another year for motorbikes and not just in Vietnam. In Taiwan, for my birthday, we rented a scooter to explore the incredible gorge at Taroko National Park and it blew. us. away. This is one of the most naturally beautiful places I’ve ever had the fortune to visit and it’s just incredible that you can visit it in the first place. Imagine a deep, thin gorge, cut through dark marbled rock by a rushing grey river, and then imagine a thin little road cut right into the middle of the rock itself. We rode that on a shitty little scooter.
And then we have the most elaborate journey of the year: moving home. This monumental decision was made even more intense by the complications of bringing a Vietnamese beach dog into England and it caused us a lot of worry and doubt. But, now we are here and Jimi is running around the British countryside happier than ever, it feels worth it.
No matter how often we think about Vietnam and miss its quirks, its people and its crazy cheap and delicious food, it feels right to be here, now.
A safari journey to the Kenyan coast
Amazingly, moving home at the beginning of December wasn’t the final journey of 2017! We also went to Kenya for 10 days for our best friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful, traditional ceremony followed by one hell of a dance party and after we gatecrashed their honeymoon for a few days! We travelled by safari minivan towards the Kenyan coast, driving through Tsavo National Park on the way. We saw lions, giraffes, buffalo, zebra and countless herds of majestic elephants. It may just be one of the best journeys we’ve ever taken.
As Journey Count tradition goes, I’ll update you on the Journey Ahead next week!