29 Countries, 3 Continents, Endless Adventures. My 2016.

I meant to write and publish this review post at the end of the year, but as usual I was having far too much fun. 2016 was without a doubt the best year of my life. Despite over a decade of travel and escapades, I’ve never travelled as much as I did in 2016. It was my first year of full-time travel and I like to think I made the most of every minute of every day. I still find it difficult to believe how many amazing opportunities I was given, that allowed me to travel to many of the most beautiful destinations on this planet.

My blog grew from strength to strength, and I was delighted to take away not one but two awards at this year’s Irish Blogger Awards and another at the Asian Travel Blogger Awards in Sri Lanka! It is thanks to all you awesome people, whether you follow along here or on social media, that my blog continues to grow allowing me to continue to travel. I have finally found a “job” I love and have made so many incredible friends through this line of work, all thanks to YOU. I couldn’t be happier with life and I hope this blog puts a smile on your face when you read it or at least inspires you to go out and live your dreams.

It really has been a crazy year, one that I could never have predicted and certainly did not plan. I’m off to Mexico in 5 days, a new adventure for a new year. Where will I go from there? Nobody knows!

Here’s a little glimpse of what my 2016 looked like, as told through my ever-growing Instagram account!

January

I started the New Year in Morocco, where I brought a group of 10 fellow adventurers on a surf trip to sunny Taghazout. Following a week of surfing and a few days exploring the markets of Marrakech, I flew on to Paris, one of my favourite cities in the world. I’ve never been a fan of cold weather, but goodness Paris sure is pretty in January. I was then invited by The Surf Office to spend a few days at a co-working space in Lisbon. it was my first time in Portugal and I fell totally in love with the country, but with Lisbon in particular. The streets were a photographers dream and those Pastel De Natas were….addictive! I finished a busy month of travel back in Ireland, celebrating my 30th birthday with close friends and family.

Loving the Louvre, loving life!

A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

February

Expedia sent me on a fun assignment to Norway, where I had to make a video about an unusual Winter sport there called Bandy. I brought my friend Lauren with me and we had a fun-filled 3 days playing in the snow, interviewing top Bandy players and even watching a world championship ski event! You can watch the video I made for them here. One of the most exciting things that happened at the beginning of the year was being selected to take part in Kerala Blog Express in India. It was the most amazing trip of my life, staying in 5 star hotels across the province, touring with 29 other travel bloggers from all over the world, and getting to see a total different side of India to what I had seen when working in Calcutta. You can read about some Kerala highlights here.

Flying down a mountain near Oslo on a kids toboggan was the most fun I’ve had in…YEARS!! A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

“It’s raining tea, hallelujah it’s raining tea!” ;-) #keralablogexpress A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

March

I spent the entire month of March in one country – something that doesn’t happen to often. I flew straight from India to beautiful Thailand and spent the month island hopping from Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and smaller islands on the West side of the peninsula to spending a few weeks in Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. I also went to another Full Moon Party – probably my last one! I’m too old for that stuff. instead of writing all about Thailand, I ended up writing about what Thailand taught me about myself. I should add that I was extremely lucky to be invited to stay at some of the most beautiful hotels in Thailand on this trip – which meant I bounced around from cheap backpacker hostels to luxury 5 star resorts! This is also where I met Ian (his new blog is Escaping Expectation) at a hostel on Koh Phangan, who would later in the year travel the whole way across Europe and parts of Africa with me. A friend for life.

Happiness is…. A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

April

I spent the first half of April in Thailand celebrating Songkran Festival in Chiang Mai and tasting all the amazing food on offer with my friends and fellow bloggers Claire and Emily. I then booked a last-minute flight to Hong Kong so I could chill out some more with the awesome Curious Claire, who I has met on the Kerala Blog Express in India. We did all the touristy things you would expect and had one fun afternoon pretending to be posh and indulging in Afternoon Tea. I booked a flight to South Korea on an impulse, despite the fact that I already had a flight to Vietnam on the same day…at the same time! I had great fun being a tourist in my second home (I lived in South Korea as an English teacher for 2 years), catching up with old friends and eating my weight in Korean BBQ. I also visited more themed cafes than you can shake a stick at.  After about 2 weeks of Korea draining my bank account, I hopped on a flight to Vietnam and was SO glad to be back in a country where dinner costs no more than a dollar or two! I met up with Claire again and we had endless fun doing as many adventurous things from this list as possible. We also partied like crazy on the Castaway Tour of Halong Bay.

Missing sunny days on Halong Bay with these two crazy ladies! ❤ @ananasnorda @salamcd

A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

May

I started the month of May continuing to travel down through Vietnam and then flew to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. From here I flew to the Maldives, where I spent the most amazing week of my life in paradise. Despite what you might believe, it is possible to travel the Maldives on a budget and it’s also inevitable that things will go wrong at some stage or another. I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved the Maldives – I have never seen water so clear in my life. It really is heaven on earth.

Ballin’ on a budget. #YachtLife #SoloMoon   A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

Good morning from Kuala Lumpur! A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

June

I flew from the Maldives to Sri Lanka, where I was attending the Asian Travel Blogger Awards organized by Cinnamon Hotels and the PTBA. We spent the first week before the conference touring Southern Sri Lanka, seeing turtles, elephants and leopards and staying in some of the nicest hotels I’ve ever laid my eyes on! After the conference I decided to stay an extra 10 days and travelled with two fellow bloggers Dave (from Jones Around The World) and Raphael (from Journey Wonders) – we had a ridiculous amount of fun and adventures and I really hope to travel with them again this year! From Sri Lanka I flew back to Paris, my second (but not last) visit of 2016. I swear I can never get enough of that city. I then flew back to Ireland to spend some time with friends and family.

Train travel. Sri Lanka. Vagabond life. ❤ . . : @journeywonders A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

July

From mid June until mid August I actually stayed put in Ireland. I got a job with Lonely Planet at their headquarters in Dublin, and used this opportunity to save a good bit of money for my travels (some great money saving tips here) and plan what I hoped would be my biggest and most ambitious adventure to date. I also bought a drone so had a lot of fun taking aerial photos of my favourite places in Ireland!

Between the trees… The Oratory Church in Gougane Barra, West Cork.   A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

August

On August 18th, Ian flew into Ireland and after a few days meeting my friends and family, we set off on our epic overland adventure, travelling overland from Cork to Cape Town. Our first stop was France where we took a boat to Cherbourg, spent a few days in Paris and then on to the fairytale town of Annecy.

“I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky…” A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

September

By September we had made it as far as Switzerland, and spent an incredible week doing the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland – a travel memory I will never forget. While there is no denying Switzerland is horribly expensive, it’s also one of the most naturally beautiful countries on earth. Breathtaking in every direction. From Switzerland we continued by train Italy, stopping off in Venice, arriving just in time for the Venice Film Festival and annual Venice Regatta. From here to took 3 trains, a bus and a taxi to get to Big Berry Luxury Landscape Resort in Slovenia– which I shamefully have not written about yet but will very soon! We spent two amazing weeks in Slovenia and I think Ian will agree with me that it was one of the highlights of our entire trip. We spent the second half of October exploring Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. While Ian fell totally in love with Dubrovnik (and rightly so!) I was so surprised by how much there was to see and do in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We spent about 8 days there in total, which naturally wasn’t enough, and one of our best memories was two interesting nights spent in a War Hostel. Blog post on that coming soon!!

October

Our time in the Balkans definitely wasn’t long enough, but as the weather had started to get colder and we weren’t equipped for any harsh Eastern European winters, we made our way south pretty fast. We travelled all the way across Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania in about a 3 week period and ended the month of October in sunny Greece, happy to be back in a warm country again!

November

We spent the first two weeks of November chilling out in Greece – one week on the island of Crete attempting (and failing!) to get a cruise or cargo ship to Egypt and one week at a really nice Airbnb in Athens, attempting to figure out our next move. Having travelled the entire way from Ireland to Crete without flying, and despite being just 300 miles from Egypt, we gave up our overland plans and jumped on a flight to Cairo. Sometimes you just have to admit defeat. We spent two weeks travelling around Egypt, and I cannot wait to share with you how much I love this country. Forget what you’ve read – you really must visit Egypt!

Island life is suiting me well! Corfu ❤️   A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

My Monday morning blues…. ;-) #toughlife   A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

How high can YOU jump?! Fooling around at the Great Pyramids of Giza today! #cork2capetown A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

“…and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

December

December was the month where sadly our epic Cork to Cape Town trip came to an end. Sadly things did not work out as we planned, we simply could not get the visas that we needed and again admitted defeat. We hopped on a flight to Cape Town, determined to finish the trip we had started, making it our final destination of the year…South Africa. We spent 3 amazing weeks in beautiful Cape Town and along The Garden Route, and I fell in love with South Africa all over again. I flew home for Christmas, back to lovely Ireland, where I’m currently writing this blog post.

Always with the mountains, always with the views. Cape Town is Instagram heaven ;-)   A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

What a year it has been!

Follow:
Share:

3 Comments

  1. January 2, 2017 / 7:21 am

    Wonderful journey, Janet :)

  2. January 2, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    What a year in travel. Too bad your epic overland adventure in Africa didn’t work out, but you can always try again! I did a Mexico City to Ushuaia trip in 2014-2015, with the only flight on the way being from Panama City to Cartagena, and it is something I’ll never be able to forget!