I’ve visited 20 countries over the past year and had so many amazing experiences along the way from hiking to the summit of an active volcano to swimming with sea turtles .
I quit my job to travel in November 2015, sold all my furniture, and haven’t looked back since – it gave me a freedom I longed for and now I mix up travel with a bit of PR work here and there.
It’s been a life changing 12 months where I’ve become more independent, made new friends from across the world, and now live a life where it’s all about experiences and not material possessions.
I hope to inspire others with my list of adventures. Here’s my favourites from the past nine months.
1. Hiking an active volcano in Nicaragua
I nearly didn’t make it up to the summit of the Concepcion Volcano because my calves were burning from the brutal incline. But that made reaching the top of an active volcano so much sweeter.
With sweeping views over Ometepe Island and Lake Nicaragua as well as a volcanic crater belching sulphuric smoke – I had one of those moments of “I can’t believe I’m here – I’m living my dream”.
This is one for the bucket list for all your outdoor adventurers.
2. Swimming with turtles in Hawaii
Simply amazing. I’ve never been up this close to sea turtles before and it was really cool swimming alongside them. And the best part was it was free – I didn’t pay anyone to go snorkelling or diving to see them. I just stumbled onto a fantastic beach park on Hawaii’s Big Island and there they were.
3. Ziplining in Costa Rica
I’d wanted to zipline in the cloud forest of Costa Rica for years. And when I finally did it, I was not disappointed – it was actually 10 times better than I had hoped.
Flying through the clouds hundreds of metres above the ground on the Superman Zipline – I actually did feel like Superman – just smoothly gliding along. Worth every cent.
4. Bathing in a mud volcano in Colombia
One of the weirdest experiences of my travelling life but also one of the most memorable.
Rocking up to the mud volcano which was basically a dirt hill was not what me and four friends had expected and we thought we were about to be robbed. Then as we got into the mud we were massaged by a couple of locals, before simply floating on top of the warm dense mud (it was actually pretty relaxing) and trying to keep it out of our mouth and eyes. And that was before we were basically stripped down and washed off in a thermal lake by local women.
We didn’t stop laughing once the whole time – it was weird but I’ll never forget the day I had a mud bath inside a volcano.
5. Hiking to Trolltunga in Norway
I didn’t know if I could hike 22km in one day through mud and snow and over slippery rocks and waterfalls. But I was determined to get onto the Trolltunga Rock and I made it. And the hike itself didn’t disappoint, there was so much to see on the way and I had my camera out snapping away most of the trail.
The air is so clear up there and the views were simply stunning. One of the most beautiful places I’ve been to and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
6. Exploring Santorini on quad bikes
I travelled to Santorini with one of my best friends and had a great time exploring the island on a quad bike. With the wind in our hair and the sun on our faces, we got to see brilliant black and red sand beaches, travelled on winding roads through vibrant blue and green mountain landscapes, and got off the beaten path.
Quad bikes are a great way to see the island giving you independence and the ability to stop when you see magic views (which are everywhere in Santorini).
7. Hitchhiking to the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye
The Fairy Pools on Scotland’s Isle of Skye can only be described as magical. And made even more so that it was a bit of an effort to get here. Buses can take you part of the way but without a car, you’re hitchhiking in. But along the way I met a group of Swiss musicians, a couple of locals and a French couple – all who had interesting travel stories to share.
Up a hill among the mist was the beautiful Fairy Pools – cascades rolling down the hill framed by flowers, bright green land and blue rock pools.
8. Hiking a glacier in Iceland
I wasn’t meant to hike a glacier in Iceland – the plan had been to see an ice cave but it had melted so much in unseasonably warm weather that you couldn’t get in. So a glacier hike was substituted – but what a substitute. I’m so glad I got to do this.
I felt like I was in another world as I hiked along the glacier in my crampons armed with an ice pick. The glacier was so pristine white with the ice a blue colour I’ve never seen before. The scenery was unbelievable and photos can’t portray the beauty of the scenery. You’ll just have to go see it for yourself.
9. Skydiving in Queenstown
I got the most perfect day to skydive over Queenstown. Not a cloud in the air or a breath of wind and Lake Wakatipu shimmered dark blue as the sun beamed onto it.
As I sat on the edge on the plane about to be propelled into mid-air I thought ‘what am I doing’ but two seconds later, the fear evaporated and I was having the time of my life… and what a view!
I skydived from 12,000 feet soaring above Queenstown and the Remarkables mountain range. It was a breathtaking experience diving through the air and then floating along as the parachute was deployed. One of the best experiences of my life.
10. Meeting a bunch of like minded travellers
Simply meeting like minded travellers is an adventure in itself. Strangers become friends.
Travel is not just about the places you see but the people you meet along the way. I’ve met so many amazing people in my travels across the world. In the past nine months, I’ve met some great people while hiking in Norway, watching the sunset in Santorini, exploring Poland’s salt mine, playing beer pong in an Estonian hostel, swimming in a mud volcano in Nicaragua, on a tour from Guatemala to Costa Rica, and teaching English in Hungary.
Even though these people live on the other side of the world I’ve managed to catch up with some of them a couple of times on new adventures – or when I needed a place to crash in their hometown.
The memorable adventures I’ve had with my fellow travellers across the world will last a lifetime.