136 days, 13 trips and 8 countries! That was 2014!!
My dear friend Sophie got a work and travel visa for Canada for a year! How exciting is that! Saying goodbye is never easy, but we always skype and since we never lived very close we never got to spend a lot of time together offline. She is one of my closest friends and a travel nerd as well. She flew to Montreal and is travelling all over North America!
Salzburg, Austria March + April
Visiting the old part of Salzburg and simply enjoying the getting lost part! Plus I got a new job here! Remote working wuhuu!
I didn't expect making it so far- but somehow after applying for the Austrian Airlines Blogger Challenge with a text explaining why I think I'm the right person for the challenge I made it to the Top 8 Bloggers. With the help of you, friends and family I got picked as one of the two finalists. That meant that I got the amazing opportunity to go to New York City for a week. As it was a Blogger Challenge I had to complete challenges every day and write about the experiences. By far the funniest ones were making an announcement on the plane with 250 people on board and a spontaneous flashmob and teaching Viennese Waltz in Central Park!
I've wanted to go to Canada for a long time and this year was the year! My only plan for the summer was to go to Mexico and when I looked at different flights there was always a layover in Canada or the US so I decided to extend that shorter layover to two weeks. For me the best decision was to rent a car and road trip through the provinces Ontario and Quebec. I started in Montreal, visited Gananoque, 1000 Island National Park, Kingston, Toronto, Niagara Falls (both Canadian and US sides), Burlington, Ottawa, Trois-Rivieres and Quebec. I had planned even more stops, but there was simply no time. Key rule for Canada: Take your time and appreciate the nature! For the first time in my life I kept all the bills and made my calculations concerning the rental car, insurance, gas etc.
Mexico, August + September
After visiting Mexico twice back in 2011 I decided to come back and improve my diving skills with yet another great course. It usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to complete the PADI Divemaster course and since I was with a small shop at this time it took us about 3,5 weeks to get everything done. I became a rescue diver in 2010 in Venezuela and always dreamt of going further – just for fun, just for myself. At the end of the course I found myself completely in love with diving and everything underwater! I kept on diving for the other few weeks in Playa del Carmen and on the island Cozumel with my amazing instructor Steve who had done a great job teaching and mentoring me for that time!
Another very touching moment was visiting the Mayan ruins in Palenque which I had dreamt about for ever! My tip: go there early in the morning and have to ruins all to yourself!
This summer was all about pushing my comfort zone! I finally decided to get over my fear of heights and go bungee jumping in Cancun. It took me forever to let the staffs hand go and eventually he pushed me. My bad – but I was smiling and happy afterwards!
My last stop on my summer trip around the Americas was the State of Florida where I was lucky to visit some friends from Venezuela and Germany near Miami. It was a great finale to this amazing summer! Again I got myself a rental car and drove to Orlando to live the dream of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. I spend all day taking all rides, eating too much magic food, drinking butter beer and pumpkin juice, visiting Mr. Olivander's to get my wand, going shopping at Madame Malkins for my Hogwarts robe, sneaking around knockturn alley, taking the Hogwart's express to the wizard and witch school (and I'm still waiting for my letter) and just having the most magical day in my life! Although 136 US$ is a lot for one day, but I swear to you that you'll not regret it. Ever!
After this exciting experience I drove all the way to Key West and enjoyed myself there. If you go there make sure to stop in Marathon and visit the Turtle Hospital!
Lake Garda, Italy, September
Shortly after arriving at home my family and I packed up our things and drove from Austria to Lake Garda in Italy. My mum turned 50 this year and so she wanted the family united on a short 4-day-trip. First stop was the gorgeous city Verona, where we strolled around the streets and visited Juliet's House (yes, the one from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet). Then we visited many countless towns around the lake and I fell in love with Italy once again! One wonderful thing to do is getting on the cable car to the top of Monte Baldo near Malcesine and have a stunning view on the lake and the surrounding mountains!
Israel – the holy land, a place that caught my eye some while ago. It was one of the items on my bucket list – but I thought I would have much longer to check this off. Joined by seven other travel bloggers we were shown around one of the most misunderstood countries in the world. Starting in Tel Aviv, making our way up to Caesarea, Haifa, Nazareth, Golan Heights, Sea of Galilee, Dead Sea, Qumran, desert Negev and Jerusalem. I enjoyed every single moment there, there was no safety issue or any annoying disturbances. All together a wonderful trip! Read about my guide to Israel.
Hamburg, Germany, December
A wonderful long weekend in the North of Germany. Yes, it was windy and cold, and rainy as well. Nevertheless we explored the Hansecity and got lost in the many wonderful christmas markets. Visiting the fish market, museum of customs, and were welcomed by us. Travelling in winter can be a bit tougher because of the cold weather, but there is less tourists and more real life you can catch a glimpse.
It's been my 4th time in Mexico so far and I simply can't get enough! I was supposed to stay in Playa del Carmen as in summer, but there where some last minute changes and I ended up on the wonderful island that is called Cozumel. A divers paradise – it should turn into my personal paradise as well. I was at a local dive shop to get more training for my upcoming dive instructor course in summer 2015. Imagine living your dream – in the Caribbean! Diving every single day, getting to spent your time with people from all over the world, listening to their stories and afterwards exchanging ideas and thoughts with the other divemasters, instructors and staff. I will be back!
2014 was even more exciting than the year before, I can't wait to see what 2015 brings!
How was your 2014? What was your highlight of that year? Let me know in the comments below!
Cheers, keep on travelling,