A lot happened this year and in many ways, this was the year of first times for me. I took a leap of faith and moved to Ecuador, I started a new job, got a new apartment and explored many places for the first time. In an eventful rollercoaster year, traveling has been the only constant.
I started working more on my blog when I got back from my trip to the United States. Going back to the country where my solo travel adventures began reminded me that it is possible to make your dreams come true and reignited my desire to share my journey with you. From climbing even more mountains to breaking my personal record of escapes to the beach, here are some of the highlights of 2018.
Going into the New Year, I want to keep writing about my travels but also share even more unfiltered experiences with you in videos on Youtube. I created my channel a few years ago but only have one video up at the moment (It’s about to change!). Last but not least, thank you all for your support. I always love interacting with you in the comments or on my social media and I hope you’ll be there to take part in the journey this year. Thank you for a great year. 2019, let’s do it!
Moving to Ecuador
I couldn’t start this year’s rewind without mentioning that hey, I moved to the other side of the world! I packed my bags in January and hopped on a flight to Ecuador. Although I’ve lived abroad during my studies, this time felt different. I was actually moving my life thousands of miles away from my family and friends, without a return ticket or even date in mind.
Getting Vitamin Sea
By now I’m pretty sure you’ve gathered that I’m more a mountain person than a beach enthusiast. But with that being said, a few months ago I realized that I had traveled thoroughly through the Ecuadorian Andes but hadn’t gotten to know the coast that well so I made it a point to take as many beach trips as I possibly could this year. Judging by the beautiful sunsets I’ve seen, let’s say I developed a new sense of appreciation for the ocean and being able to sunbathe in February!
This is one of the reasons I moved to Ecuador, to be able to go hiking as I so pleased. With so many volcanos around Quito, it would be a crime not to get outdoors every weekend and enjoy mini breaks in nature! One of my favorite climbs is Rucu Pichincha, not only because it’s the mountain that sparkled my mountaineering interest but also because it is so easily accessible. Going to the mountains always brings me a sense of peace and clarity and is definitely something I want to keep doing in 2019!
Visiting Old Friends in the United States
2018 has also been the year that I finally got to see my friends that I met on my exchange program in America again. I needed a break from Ecuador and hadn’t seen them in 7 years so it was about time! I am forever grateful for them, as they are the kind of real friends with whom you can pick things up right where you left them off despite the years without seeing each other.
Falling in Love With Boston
On this trip to the United States, I also discovered two cities that I had been wanting to visit for a very long time. One of them is Boston. Boy, did I like Boston. Granted, I was there in the summer so I haven’t experienced its freezing cold winter but even so, I loved its cobbled streets, architecture and overall the somehow perfect mixture between what I love most about Europe and the United States.
… And Finally Going to Chicago!
I took advantage of a long bus trip between Minneapolis and Rochester to stop halfway in Chicago. I love any city with a river so it is no surprise that I enjoyed wandering along the riverwalk a lot. The Windy City wasn’t so windy but its eclectic architecture and cultural offer left an impact on me. Oh, and I crossed standing on the Willis Tower’s glass platform off my bucket list!
Traveling to Canada for the Afternoon
One of my friends lives in Upstate New York so we took a day trip to the Niagara Falls and crossed the Canadian border to get a better view of the Horseshoe Falls. Coming from Belgium, I’m used to crossing international borders for the day but I still find it exciting every time for some reason.
Welcoming Old Friends to Ecuador
I also got surprised by one of my best friends who decided to travel to South America a year before originally planned. Having them in Quito and being able to show them around was amazing so hint, hint, to my other friends who might be reading this… What are you waiting for?! Buy your ticket already.
Going Home for Christmas
Finally, I am grateful that I got to go home for Christmas and spend the holidays with my family and friends. As much as I love traveling, living six hours behind your loved ones isn’t always easy so I’m enjoying every moment I get to spend with them to the fullest.
I hope you had a great year and that you’ll have an even better one this year! Let me know what were your favorites moments of 2018 and what are your plans for the New Year.
Cheers to more adventures together,