I don’t know about you, but 2015 was a whirlwind of a year for us. We literally circumnavigated the globe, visited 4 continents (and 18 countries – whew!), and finally gained permanent residency in Australia. All of these took a lot of work, but I’m currently most stoked about that last achievement!

As is expected, plenty of ups and downs were had throughout the year. After finally establishing a rhythm for successfully working remotely on the go, things began to really shape up. More eyeballs began landing this site (thanks guys!), I began getting lots of warm fuzzy e-mails from people ditching their belongings and hitting the road, and eventually reached an overall agreement with myself to officially retire my old identity as a nurse and keep on writing (a book is in the works, guys!). Cool beans!

Anyhow, though I’m late to the party (as per usual), a review of 2015 is definitely in order. Here’s a chronological playback in photos – from Asia to Europe, to North America and finally South America. Enjoy, and happy 2016!

Taiwan

After six months of exploring North America (including a 3-week cross-Canada trip doing a 1 cent/day RV relocation – pssst, our how-to guide is here), these itchy feet were Asia-bound. We spent most of the month exploring Taiwan, which we later deemed the most underrated place we’ve ever been. It’s a small country packed with variety – from wild monkey-ridden rainforests to red-lantern filled cities perched along the ocean. This is one country we’d go back to in a heartbeat!

Fermosa Boulevard Station, Kaohsiung

Fermosa Boulevard Station, Kaohsiung

Sun Moon Lake by dusk

Sun Moon Lake by dusk

Xuantian Shangdi, Kaohsiung

Xuantian Shangdi, Kaohsiung

China

We spent a total of two months in China this year as we had a return entry visa. One of those months was February, otherwise known as Chinese New Year – the single largest human migration on earth. That first visit was an experience in itself (especially if you decide to bike through crowds in the thousands – why oh why). Though we found it culturally abrasive at times, China definitely offers that very in-your-face “wow” factor that so few places provide.

2015 posts from China:

The Great Wall of China – Jinshanling

The Great Wall of China – Jinshanling

Xi’an

South Korea

Yet another hugely underrated destination we visited this year was South Korea. Its capital city, Seoul, is teeming with zest. The food here is as fresh as it gets, and is bursting with flavour (after travelling Korea, we deemed its food our #1 favourite!). Never-ending shops abound and their sprawling neon signs dizzy the eye. Just over an hour by flight you can reach Jeju Island, the Hawaii of Korea. Its so named for its perfectly turquoisey waters and bleach white sand, and it’s hard to believe that this paradise is just an hour’s flight from the bustling metropolis of Seoul!

2015 posts from Korea:

Downtown Seoul

Downtown Seoul

Jeju Island

Jeju Island

Japan

It’s no secret that this is one of our favourite countries to travel in – so we were ridiculously stoked to return and explore places both old and new. We spent another 7 weeks here, beginning in the luminescent blue water of Japan’s Pacific – Okinawa and its speckle of islands. We returned to the mainland after that, revisiting some of our most cherished cities in cherry blossom season, which was absolutely incredible!

2015 posts from Japan:

Downtown Tokyo

Downtown Tokyo

Kinkaku-ji Temple (Gold Temple), Kyoto

Kinkaku-ji Temple (Gold Temple), Kyoto

Mount Fuji region speckled with cherry blossoms

Mount Fuji region speckled with cherry blossoms

Thailand

We’d long anticipated visiting Thailand – admittedly largely due to the value this country offers to travellers. We weren’t let down, and it made for a great base to buckle down, get an apartment, and hammer through work for a month’s time. Curries, stir-fried noodles, an abundance of smoothies, plus plenty of temple-hopping in Chiang Mai meant our first impression of Thailand was a great one!

2015 posts from Thailand:

Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai

Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai

Wat Phra Sing Temple, Chiang Mai

Wat Phra Sing Temple, Chiang Mai

Ukraine

We only spent a full day’s layover in Kiev, Ukraine, but we were so impressed that I wanted to squeeze in this shot to showcase its beauty. We had a great time strolling the town, nibbling on pastries, and meandering the Sunday markets speckling the city. Definitely great value for money here, too!

Saint Sophia Cathedral, Kiev

Saint Sophia Cathedral, Kiev

Hungary

Budapest, Hungary was the perfect city to park our butts for a month and seriously hammer through a stack of work once more. We loved its incredible architecture, deliciously cheap eats (hello chimney cake and kebabs!), and laid back feel. Another gorgeous city we’d happily return to!

Budapest city

Budapest city

Budapest's Turkish baths

Budapest’s Turkish baths

Germany

Another country we’d always longed to visit was Germany. I had a skepticism that perhaps it wouldn’t look as quaint as it’s portrayed. Would there really be Pinocchio-remiscent villages? Could the roads still be cobblestoned? Just how medieval would Germany really look? Indeed, it was all these things, and heaps more. Germany is also where we did our first formal housesit (in Munich), which was simply awesome!

2015 posts from Germany:

DSC06161

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle (the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle)

Rothenburg

Rothenburg – the inspiration for the town Disney’s Pinocchio lived in

Austria

If you could only road trip one country in the world, I’d argue Austria should be it. The Grossglockner Alpine Road is literally the best drive we’ve ever done. The roads literally wind directly through mountain tops, meaning each photo stop is right near the peaks – it is incredible. Though many of the alpine cabins we stayed at insisted we should return in winter, we were hugely impressed with the very Sound of Music views even in summer!

The hillllllls are aliiiiiiiive....

The hillllllls are aliiiiiiiive….

Contemplative llama

Adorable llama – probably contemplating how great his life is with this view!

The lakeside town of Halstatt

The lakeside town of Halstatt, which looks straight out of Frozen!

The Netherlands

We only had a few days in Amsterdam after finding an error fare that would get us home directly in comfort class at a ridiculously low cost. The four days we spent meandering were enough to convince us to come back and re-visit the city’s laid back vibes and colourful canals sometime soon!

Colourful Amsterdam

Colourful Amsterdam in summertime

North America

We typically aim to be “home” in Canada for the summer months and we were glad to have done it again this year. Montreal and Ontario were our usual stops for visits with family and friends, though we also went South to the U.S. to housesit for friends in Florida.

Downtown Montreal at dusk

Downtown Montreal at dusk

South America

Our final ventures of the year included our longest seperate travels yet. My best friend Maggie coerced me into a 5-week girls trip to South America (let’s be real though, I didn’t need any convincing). While we were zipping about the continent, Ted backpacked his way around Colombia, then road tripped through the U.S. It was a worthy challenge to travel apart, and actually made us more keen to do separate trips in the future (absence does make the heart grow fonder!).

Bartolome Island, Galapagos

Bartolome Island, Galapagos

Machu Picchu in the early morning

Machu Picchu in the early morning

What’s Next?

Ah yes, the ever-present question. With our newly obtained residency in Australia due to expire January 12, we had to fly back to Sydney to ensure our efforts didn’t go to waste. We’ve just arrived back in Australia two days ago and are currently minding three mischievous cats near the Blue Mountains while frantically catching up on infinite unanswered e-mails and work.

The rest of the year is entirely up in the air at this point. We’re still not based anywhere in particular, though we’ll probably keep house sitting our way around Australia for the time being. There are a few very exciting opportunities in the works for later this year, but I can’t spill the beans just yet!

And so it’s back to the grind for us – stay tuned for upcoming content on South America, Disney, and plenty more budget travel topics. And if you’re not already, why not follow us along on Instagram to see what we’re up to in real time? Till next time, happy new year!


What are your travel plans for 2016? Is there anywhere particular you’re itching to go this year?