What countries have we been to in 2019?
In total, we visited 17 countries in 2019, 14 of which we had never been to before; these were:
- El Salvador
- The Philippines
- Taiwan (just for a day)
Cazzy also took her Dad to Iceland for a week to celebrate his 60th birthday!
This sounds like an almost obscene amount of countries, however I can honestly say that we thoroughly enjoyed all of them.
Except for Denmark and Taiwan, we spent at least 2 to 4 weeks in each of these countries, meaning we had chance to really explore them and get to know the locals and really experience what makes them unique.
On that note …
What were our favourite moments from 2019?
I could probably spend all day talking about moments I loved from 2019, but here’s just a quick list of some of the best memories that immediately come to mind when thinking back.
- Snorkelling in The Philippines - Even Cazzy (who was terrified of fish) came to love this; honestly, if you want my number one recommendation for where to visit in 2020, it has to be The Philippines!
- Seeing the Northern Lights in Norway - This has been a dream of ours for years, and in the northernmost edge of Norway we had the chance to experience them in all their glory.
- Meeting the real Santa Claus in Lapland - That’s right, he’s the real one and he lives at Santa Village, just outside Rovaniemi.
- Meeting so many wonderful people - When visiting so many countries, it would be impossible to list everyone we met; fellow travellers and friendly locals alike. However I want to give a special mention to the entire Tinggly team who made our 3 month adventure around Scandinavia possible.
- Roadripping Ireland - Despite living in the north of Ireland, Cazzy had never ventured too far south, and this has always been on my bucket list. So our 16 day Ireland road trip ended up being nothing short of a truly epic adventure!
- Discovering Margaritas and Pico de Gallo in Central America - I took a lot of fond memories home with me from Central America, but the two biggest things I took were Pico de gallo and proper Margheritas (I’m still addicted to both).
- Learning to wakeboard in Bali - In August/September, we spent a 2 week holiday with friends in Bali, and for me the highlight was learning to wakeboard; so much fun, but surprisingly hard to get the hang of!
We have also had the pleasure of watching my wonderful niece start to grow up; she’s only small but is incredibly feisty and independent; traits that I hope to encourage even more in coming years!
How has the blog been coming along?
One of the biggest changes for us in 2019 was committing to going full time on the blog.
This was a big risk in some ways, as it meant putting all our eggs in one basket and cutting out our freelance writing that had supported us for the best part of 2 years.
But what it allowed us to do was focus absolutely all our energy on growing the blog and enjoying our travels.
So, how has it panned out in 2019?
Traffic to the blog has grown by 600% compared to 2018!
To put that into numbers, in 2018 we had a grand total of 151 thousand pageviews; and in 2019 we had a total of 1.06 million pageviews.
Looking back, we are both honestly overwhelmed by how fast it’s grown, and it’s allowed us to live a crazy life around the world; far beyond what we ever imagined it becoming when we started blogging back in 2016.
How will things look in 2020?
As you can see, 2019 was pretty full on for us.
We probably spent less than 6 weeks in England, meaning we were constantly travelling and working at the same time.
And though it’s been amazing, we’ve decided to take a different approach to 2020.
Our plan is to spend a month at a time living and working in different locations around the world.
For example, we’ve already booked 3 weeks in an all-inclusive resort just outside Marrakech, and we fly there in a weeks time (check it out here).
There, we have the chance to experience Marrakech to the fullest, whilst having the majority of our time to work on the blog.
We have big plans for growing Dream Big, Travel Far even further in 2020, and simply need more time to dedicate to it.
But don’t worry, I reckon we will still hit at least a dozen countries next year.
These aren’t yet set in stone (in fact we are particularly relaxed in our approach to next year) but some countries we are planning on visiting include:
Perhaps the thing I am most excited for is building our own campervan!
That’s right, Dream Big, Travel Far has plans to officially enter #vanlife.
Our plan is to buy a relatively new van, gut it and convert it into our dream vehicle that we can then live in and use to travel all over Europe.
After our amazing adventures in Ireland and Scandinavia, we’ve realized that having your own van to live and travel in is a great way to explore new countries to the fullest; so that’s exactly what we plan to do.
We hope to get this underway by June, but don’t worry, we will keep you updated.
Before rounding off, I just wanted to be clear that our lives are far from perfect.
We have had plenty of personal drama in 2019, more so than I think even Jeremy Kyle is capable of dealing with.
But I guess that’s a part of life.
Also, Cazzy’s blood sugars have been far from perfect; especially seeing as we spend so much time travelling to different climates.
We’re hoping that by slowing things down a little bit in 2020 she can take more time to adjust wherever we are and to not have to push herself quite so hard.
Well, that’s about it; other than that there’s nothing left to say other than I hope you've had a great Christmas and wishing you a wonderful New Years.
In a few hours time we plan to head up our local village pub with the family and get royally drunk ...
So here’s to 2020!