2019 in Review
It’s that time of year again…
for my annual year in review!
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):
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).
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.
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!
With gratitude and love, happy travels!
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