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2014 saw a lot of change for me. A lot of travels. A lot of friends – old and new! A lot of new experiences. New countries. New challenges. New bucket list checks… I left my job in England, set up Richy Feet, took my country tally to 53 by visiting 19 countries (some new, and some I’d loved enough to return to), took a hell of a lot of pictures on my GoPro and ended the year on the other side of the world in Byron Bay, Australia!
Here’s the story of my 2014…
2014 started on a high for me, in Lisbon watching the fireworks at the waterfront with mates from Australia, Turkey and Brazil! I spent the best part of a week in Portugal road tripping along south coast, up to Lisbon and the surrounding area whilst eating as many pastel de natas as possible!
One of my highlights of an amazing 2014 was the week I spent in Cancun with three of my best mates, celebrating the impending marriage of one of them! Making friends with Atlante FC’s number one supporter, exploring Isla Mujeres on a golf buggy and acting like idiots for a week in the Mexican sunshine was amazing!
I’d visited Barcelona for a day years and years ago but it had been one of those places that I wanted to properly explore, and that happened last February! From the beach, all the way up to Park Güell, I discovered why so many people love this city!
My mate’s girlfriend had been telling us a lot about Cologne Carnival and so we headed to the West of Germany in late February to see what it was all about! What we found was a city full of people in fancy dress, listening to dodgy German carnival music and loving every second of it!
I knew that later in the year I would be leaving England for a while so my dad and I planned a getaway. Before booking our flights we knew next to nothing about Montenegro, but it turned out to be an incredible country, full of friendly people, amazing views and delicious food!
This was my 3rd trip to visit my good friend Emre in Istanbul, and this city seems to get better with each visit! Devouring my body weight in the best kebab I’ve ever eaten, cruising across the Bosphorus from Asia to Europe and exploring the huge mosques and markets made for an epic visit!
I spent as much time in Brazil as any other country in 2014, and I love it more now than ever! The beaches, the football, the caipirinhas, the steaks, the waterfalls, the friendly people – what’s not to love?!
Punta Cana is all about the beaches and the amazing turquoise waters. I spent two weeks there chilling, drinking rum, bodyboarding and parasailing high above this beautiful island! You can check out a video of my best bits here!
Panama is the southernmost city in Central America and was where we began our journey through the continent! The highlight of my second visit to the hub of Central America was definitely deepboarding through the Caribbean sea and exploring the deserted island of Cayo Zapatilla .
Home to rainforests, beaches, white water rafting and more, Costa Rica is with good reason one of the more popular, and therefore more expensive destinations in Central America. I made a whistle-stop tour through the country to save money for the countries further north, white water rafting, rope swinging and enjoying some beach time along the way!
Home to a big bucket list check for me, Nicaragua felt different to the other countries in Central America. Big lakes, big surf and big volcanoes ready to slide all the way to the bottom! I went volcano boarding on the Cerro Negro volcano and managed to live to tell the tale!
This was one of the biggest surprises of Central America, and probably my travels so far. When we arrived in Panama I knew absolutely nothing of El Salvador other than it’s questionable safety reputation. As we travelled north, we met very few people who had been there until our final stop in Nicaragua where we were recommended to check out El Cuco. From the first minute in the country (where a policeman offered us a free 30 minute ride to the next town), I loved everything about El Salvador – home to beautiful lakes, volcanoes, beaches and ruins.
In contrast to El Salvador, Guatemala had been hyped up by everybody we met but for a very good reason: it’s an amazing, diverse place. I attempted to climb a huge volcano and nearly got struck by lightning, kayaked across the huge Lake Atitlan and got stuck in the middle of a storm and visited the incredible Semuc Champey. If you haven’t considered visiting Guatemala yet, all I can say is GO!
This place has a reputation as being dangerous, emphasised by the fact that it is home to the murder capital of the world, San Pedro Sula (where I accidentally spent a night). We were here for one reason and one reason only though: to learn to SCUBA dive. We headed to Utila, a Caribbean island paradise which is one of the cheapest places in the world to learn where everyday life revolves entirely around diving. It got me intrigued to visit other parts of Honduras despite the dodgy feeling we got there.
A Caribbean paradise, Belize was the most chilled out place I visited in Central America, and one of the most laid back places I’ve ever been to in my life. Couple that with by far the best snorkelling I’ve ever done off Caye Caulker, and the result was an amazing final week of my Central American journey!
This was all about STEAK (oh and Joanna’s birthday). So yeah, technically the only reason we were there was for family birthday celebrations, but there was also STEAK as far as the eye could see! I mean, Argentinians really know their steak. We spent an amazing 4 days exploring Buenos Aires and the neighbouring Tigre – brilliant!
Before leaving England I crammed in a few awesome trips, like this roadtrip up to Scotland, through northern England and down to Wales, climbing the UK’s three highest peaks in the process over three tiring days! When I returned after the South and Central American trips, I visited as many country villages and towns as possible, and squeezed in a trip to London’s amazing Winter Wonderland!
When I realised that the cheapest flight to Australia went via Taipei, I booked it immediately knowing that my old roommate is from and still lives there! It’s one of those places that I didn’t know much about at all before booking the flight, but all in all, it was one of the most amazing cities I’ve been to in a while. Night markets, mountains, one huge skyscraper in particular and nearby hot springs made for an amazing stay in Taiwan!
After a busy, exciting and incredible year touring the world, I ended up down under. Pretty much as far away from home as I could possibly get, I moved to Byron Bay, the easternmost point of Australia where I have been until now, getting to know Australia, exploring the local area and saving some pennies for the next adventure!
2014, you rocked!