It’s that time of year again! Another year to reflect on goals and progress made and to remember all the adventures and good times to be had. I was fortunate enough to cross off some major bucket items off my list, including African safaris and visiting Cuba for the first time. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite travel moments and adventures of 2019:
10. Revisiting DC and Exploring Monuments (Washington, DC)
I made my second trip to Washington DC in 2019 and enjoyed seeing the monuments as much as the first time! The National Mall is easy to walk around and navigate, as well as free to visit.
9. Living like an expat for a weekend (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
This was the first time I had ever traveled to visit a friend overseas and I thoroughly enjoyed this type of travel experience. After my camping safari, I spent a few days visiting an old friend living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I always enjoy the chaos of exploring a new city and it’s even better to be led by either a local or a friend living like a local!
8. Learning to Surf (Jenness Beach, Rye NH, USA)
Last year, I took my very first surf lesson in Gold Coast, Australia and absolutely loved it! I wanted to keep up with it and take lessons again this year, this time closer to home. And even though New Hampshire only has 13 miles of coast, there is amazing surf culture and vibe here! It has taken me quite a few attempts to balance and be able to stand up, but is a new adventurous sport I plan on continuing to learn next year!
7. Wandering Havana (Havana, Cuba)
As of a few years ago, it is no longer impossible for US citizens to visit Cuba. Even with current travel restrictions (as of June 2019), it is still possible to visit the island under the “support for the Cuban people” category. And exploring the city of Havana definitely beats reading about it and seeing those infamous posts on Instagram. From its colorful pastel buildings and classic American cars to images of Che Guevara, Havana truly feels as if you have traveled back in time.
6. Hiking through Spittal Pond Nature Reserve (Smith’s, Bermuda)
When most people think of Bermuda, they think of its stunning pink sands beaches and teal blue water. While that is most certainly the case, the island also offers hidden gems, including Spittal Pond Nature Reserve. It’s a short walking trail with views of the ocean that are not to be missed (and make the perfect spot for a picnic lunch!).
5. Urban Safari (Nairobi, Kenya)
Who knew how close safari animals coexist among an urban population? Nairobi National Park is located right in the city and offers an exotic experience within a day without leaving too far from the city. Within the short safari excursion, I saw a variety of wildlife, including gazelles, giraffes, hippopotamus, and warthog, to name a few.
4. Horseback riding and tobacco production tour (Viñales, Cuba)
Most people think of Havana and traveling back into time to the 1950’s when thinking of Cuba. However, the countryside town of Viñales is not to be missed, from its stunning mountains to colorful colonial-era wooden houses. I thoroughly enjoyed horseback riding through the valley and getting some insight on tobacco production.
3. Snorkeling at Tobacco Bay and John Smith’s Bay Beaches (Bermuda)
Whenever I go to the beach, I can spend the entire day in the water, whether it’s swimming, kayaking, or snorkeling. Both Tobacco Bay Beach and John Smith’s Bay Beach in Bermuda offered some excellent snorkeling with shallow waters, limestone formations, coral reefs and a variety of fish. Tobacco Bay is more popular with tourists and includes a bar while John Smith’s Bay is more off the beaten path.
2. Sunset Drive in a Classic Car (Havana, Cuba)
No trip to Cuba is complete without riding around in a classic car in Havana! Spending an hour driving through Havana during sunset was the perfect last night in Cuba! It is truly amazing how well-maintained Cubans have kept these cars and is well worth spending some time in them.
1. African Camping Safari (Serengeti & Ngorongoro Park, Tanzania)
I never thought I would be fortunate enough to go on an African camping safari so soon! But my trip to Tanzania was a spontaneous one and would not be complete without spending a huge portion of my trip on safari. A four day, three night camping safari through the Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater, I was fortunate enough to see the Big Five! It is truly an incredible experience to witness a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat.
What were some of your favorite places and adventures for 2019?