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2019 in Review

It’s that time of year again…

for my annual year in review!

(Pssst…If you haven’t already read my previous round-up’s for  20162017  /  2018  definitely check them out).

2019 Year in Review

Twenty 19 was a productivity-oriented year for me while I finished up my research study in Tanzania!

The biggest change for me in 2019 was a shift to slow travel. After living a semi-nomadic lifestyle (by my definition, I had a home-base but travelled monthly) while doing my PhD, in 2019 I finally burned out hard.

I found myself not really wanting to travel (I know, shocking). The actual logistics of travel, especially in East Africa, felt like too much effort and from March-May, I spent three entire months in my home in Mwanza, Tanzania…the longest I had stayed put since early 2017.

There were still plenty of adventures (and misadventures) though, and as always, I share them here for your reading pleasure. Without further delay, here is my travel round up for 2019!

2019 Countries Visited (*indicates first time):

-Canada

-Tanzania

-Kenya

-Ethiopia

-Switzerland*

-England

-Puerto Rico*

Top Adventures of 2019:

1. Living in Tanzania

Renting an Airbnb for a few months enabled me to focus on writing my dissertation and this blog, while also truly getting to know that area. While finishing up my research study in Mwanza, Tanzania, I rented my own studio flat (get $60 for new members).

I also took a solo adventure across lake Victoria to visit Ukerewe Island.

Before the end of my time in Tanzania, I wrote this one-year reflection blog post and received a serendipitous opportunity to participate in a female entrepreneurship retreat in Zanzibar. For four days, I lived in luxury with three other boss babes and our mentor Glo from the blog abroad.

2. 8-Day Road trip in Ethiopia

After the retreat, I visited Ethiopia for my second time with Ghion Tours, who took me on a 8-day adventure through the Southern country — I wrote this Ethiopia roadtrip itinerary all about it! I met a few different tribal groups, crossed the Omo river by traditional dugout canoe and enjoyed amazing coffee and food.

I love Ethiopia and think it is a highly underrated tourist destination!

3. Housesitting in Switzerland

Through Trusted Housesitters, I was able to find a pet sit in a Medieval village in Switzerland for 2 months, where my days were filled with thesis writing, hiking with the doggo in the woods and sipping wine in my garden or the village square. (You can read more about housesitting in Switzerland here).

  

Top Misadventures

Having rung in 2019 in Kenya, I returned to my home in Tanzania in early January to my entire bedroom covered in green fuzz. Unbeknownst to me, there was a leak in my ceiling and the humidity created the perfect environment for a mould emporium…it was in my shoes, on my bedsheets and covering almost every possession I owned. What follows mould? Mites I tell you. Attempting to live in a mould and bug infested environment had me shook, so I fled to Kenya (LOL, yep I literally left the country).

You see, I realized I only had one page left in my passport, which is kind of problematic for someone still needing several visitor visas. I needed to apply to renew my passport abroad at the Canadian embassy in Nairobi. My horrific apartment in Tanzania just gave me an excuse to finally get it dealt with.

The whole process took an entire month, so while in Nairobi I had the chance to explore the yoga scene, drink my body weight in soy lattes and do an epic hike, where I literally circumvented a crater.

Mt. Longonot, Kenya

Top Accomplishments

Y’all, I FINISHED MY PHD!!!

For those who don’t know my story, I started this blog back in 2016 at the beginning of a four year PhD program. At the time, I didn’t think I would have the time or financial resources to travel, so the blog was a creative outlet and a way for me to still stay engaged in the world of travel.

Little did I know, by 2017 I would be offered sponsored stays and products, by 2018 I would book all-expense paid trips and 4-figure sponsored posts, and by 2019 be planning a re-brand with an expanded focus and business model (stay tuned in 2020).

(Read my three year blogging anniversary post here).

Don’t get me wrong, I for suuuure had naysayers.

I’ve had people discourage me from traveling, insinuating that a woman who wants to travel (let alone travel solo) in her childbearing years is not only unconventional, but inherently wrong, irresponsible and wild. A wild woman must be tamed, right? (* rolls eyes *). Just because my dreams may not align with the “collective norm”, they were seen as lofty, so the vision I had for this blog and my goal to visit 50 countries by my 30th year were discouraged, if not downright dismissed.

Nothing makes me more angry, stubborn and determined than when someone else tries to change me or tame me. So here I am, a PhD and 51 countries later.

My point is this:

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. You and you alone set those boundaries. You are limitless.

Thank you for reading and continuing to support my journey! If you liked this post or my video above, please leave me a comment here on the blog or subscribe to my newsletter or social media channels. I would love to hear from you!

If you missed the fun from years prior, you can find my yearly roundups for 20162017  and 2018, or feel free to read more about my story.

With gratitude and love, happy travels! 

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arvinder said:
To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote: To travel is to live.
March 13, 2020 at 5:16 am
ULO said:
What a year you had!!. I hope 2020 will bring you more happiness and love.
February 24, 2020 at 11:55 pm
thepinkbackpack.com said:
Thanks Caitlyn :) I will have to write an update post with what's next for sure!
February 3, 2020 at 9:04 am
Caitlyn said:
Congratulations! I know this is a travel blog but I'd love to hear more about your PhD and what's next.
January 27, 2020 at 11:52 pm
Andrew-Stephen Luck said:
Well done on finishing! Yes while I love travelling as well I think some extended time in one place is very good part of travelling.... and staying at home or somewhere on the road is good because you could visit surrounding countries with less stuff more easily...plus you get good friends that make you feel at home 🏡 I lived on two tiny islands 🌴 In Asia during 15 years of world wide travel. It helps knowing the friends are there or we are all passing through now and then. Friends like family like blood forever ♾ x Good Luck on future journeys or future jobs... remember you are not bound to keep moving - it’s ok to stop for a few months or years and start again as a d when you like x ♥️ Don’t get unwell and look after your health first and foremost!x
January 12, 2020 at 11:07 pm