Travel is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and this year pushed us to a new level. We traveled to 13 countries, saw wonders of the world, and reached over 1M views on our YouTube channel. It's truly astounding that we can share our travels with millions of people around the globe - thank you for joining the adventure!
It's the end of 2018, so time to reflect on this jam-packed year of travel. Here's what we learned during our adventures this year:
1. January - Mexico - Yucatan y Tulum
We spent New Year's in Mexico again - this time to see the Wonder of the World: Chichen Itza. There's no better way to spend New Years Day than by swimming in Mexico's warm Caribbean waters and visiting Mayan archeological ruins. We return to this country more than any other country because of its endlessly inspiring regional cultures, cuisine, and archeology.
2. February - Ireland and Northern Ireland
We crossed the invisible border between the UK and Ireland to visit a once foreboding capital city of Belfast. Here, we learned about how a city known for its religious conflict is moving on from its past to a bright future.
Two hours away is Dublin, where we spent the the rest of our trip. In fact, our Dublin vlog ended up being our most popular video of the year on YouTube!
3. March - Greece - Athens / Paros / Hydra / Delphi / Olympia
We visited one of the oldest cities in the world and Cradle of Western Civilization: Athens, Greece. Many of the pillars of modern society like democracy, philosophy, and the Olympic sports all began here. It truly changes your perspective of time when you view sites from 2,400 years ago that are still standing. Coming from California where the oldest standing buildings are from the late 1700s, seeing these ancient cites were especially mind blowing.
4. April - Spain (Barcelona / Ibiza / Formentera)
This was the most surprising travel destination of them all - Ibiza. It's portrayed in the media as Europe's party island, but in April - the island is chill, magical, and free. Here, we competed in our first international race: the Ibiza half marathon and 12K.
Next, I returned to Barcelona after a whopping 15 years. My first trip was so brief (half a day), that I knew I had to return and spend more time here. What made this trip special was that it was my first official solo international trip. I relied on my Spanish for a week and found the city to be a blast of a travel partner.
5. May - Canada (Vancouver / Victoria), Colombia (Cartagena / Bogota)
On our second trip to South America, we visited the vibrant country of Colombia. For much of the 80s and 90s, Colombia was a challenging country to travel due to the drug cartels, and now it's undergoing a chapter of peace and rebirth of tourism. What surprised us most is that the people here are joyous, full of warmth, and don't let their past get in the way of their present day happiness.
6. June - Isles of Scilly, UK
This trip marked another first - an island adventure and swimrun challenge. The Otillo Swimrun is a team race that went from land to water and brought together athletes from around the world. As the only athlete in the race to represent the USA, I felt proud and like I'd been let in on the UK's best kept secret location. When I think of the UK, I now think of beaches as dazzling as the Caribbean and islands as chill as a city retreat.
7. July - Germany (Berlin / Hamburg / Dresden), Czech Republic (Prague)
Germany is a county that we keep returning to because of its fascinating regional differences and historically rich cities. We crossed the once divided city of Berlin and learned about how walls cannot separate ideologies forever. Hamburg felt almost Scandinavian, whereas the Baroque city of Dresden taught us that you can rebuild from the rubble.
This trip also came with many challenges. From loosing luggage, missing busses, getting lost, delayed trains, and rain in July. Sometimes travel doesn't go as planned and it's all part of the adventure.
8. August - Iceland / USA (Portland, Pittsburgh, Miami, Florida Keys)
This month was packed with travel - mostly domestic. We decided to visit parts of the US we never have seen before including the Oregon wine region, Pittsburgh, and Florida. Sometimes some of the greatest travels don't need a passport!
We also booked an impromptu trip and revisited Iceland, this time in summer. Our first trip was during winter and was so much fun that we decided to revisit. Seeing the landscapes in summer felt almost like visiting an entirely different country.
9. September - USA - CO (Fort Collins / Rocky Mountains / Boulder), MO - Kansas City
We took a break from filming and visited the peaceful mountains of Colorado. While we did snap a few photos, we decided to enjoy this trip without WiFi. Sometimes it's best to disconnect and take a step back from technology.
10. October - Break
For an entire month, we gave our wings a rest and stayed put. When you are woking on something constantly for many months, sometimes it's best to take a hiatus. During this time, we geared up for our ultimate end-of-the-year travel adventure...
11. November - USA (FL - Orlando / St Augustine), Mexico (Valle de Guadelupe, Baja), South Africa (Johannesburg / Cape Town) , Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls)
We rounded out the year with a month filled of travel and new challenges. This was the most anticipated travel destination and hardest to reach: South Africa and Zimbabwe. The journey included the longest flight route of my life at 26 hours long. Gearing up for this trip involved getting inoculations, special clothing, and quite a bit of research.
The travel experience was unlike any other place in the world. It was wild, filled with danger, and pure adventure. We saw lions in the wild a few feet from us, traveled to the edge of the world, became "billionaires", and visited a country that just 30 years ago would be unrecognizable.
12. December - USA - CA (San Francisco, Mendocino)
To finish the year, we decided to travel within our own state - California. We spent so many weeks abroad this year that it was time to enjoy what's in our own backyard. We visited one of the wonders of California - the majestic redwoods. These giant trees grow taller than the Statue of Liberty and are only found in this region of the world.
After being away from our home state for so long, it allowed us to enjoy it with a fresh perspective and appreciation. Hiking the redwood forests gave us the rejuvenation that we needed.
Where are you headed in 2019? Comment below and let us know.
Cheers and happy new year!
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.