The Best and Worst of 2022

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After two years of minimal travel thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, I got back to travel life in a big way in 2022. The year started pretty rough with (yet another) long lockdown but when March hit I was quick to hop on a plane and get back to adventures. I spent nearly 7 months abroad in 9 different countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. I sold two group trips for my followers and readers (scheduled for 2023) and got back into the swing of travel writing, both for my blog and on a freelance basis. While there were still some mishaps along the way and things still aren’t back to 100% normal on the travel business front, it felt so good to get back to doing what I love.

This past year was fun and exciting with so many great memories. Of course, there were some not-so-great moments too. So, as I do every year, I’m sharing the best and worst of 2022.

The Best of 2022

Living in Tel Aviv for 3 Months

Hannah posting between two signs, one says Yalla and the other says Ballagan

When I left Canada in March I headed to Tel Aviv. For many, it seemed like a random pick, but I had my reasons. First off, Israel was one of the first countries to be vaccinated and therefore one of the first countries to return back to ‘normal’. Secondly, I have a lot of friends in Tel Aviv and after two years of lockdowns and feeling lonely, I needed a social life. Finally, it’s so much warmer than Canada and as much as I love snow at Christmas, by the time March comes around I’m over it.

I didn’t expect to spend 12 weeks in Israel. I started with renting an apartment for 7. I figured that would be plenty of time for the rest of Europe to start opening to tourism again too. However, I quickly fell in love with life in the Middle East. I lived 20 minutes from the beach and was close to several friends. I’d meet up with people for walks, happy hour drinks, beach days, or a plate of hummus. Tourism was slow to return to Israel and for a while, I felt like the only non-local around. I explored Jerusalem without the crowds and visited several Palestinian cities with a guide and only 2-3 others in our group. My friend Alicia and I hopped on a bus down to Eilat and crossed the border to Egypt for scuba and free diving. It was great and I loved my time there so much that I extended not once but twice. Staying so long in one place was new for me but I really enjoyed having a base, slow travel, and creating a life for myself somewhere so different from Canada.

Getting Back to Greece

Hannah sitting on a cliff edge with her hair blowing in the wind as she looks down at shipwreck beach in Zakynthos

After Tel Aviv, I headed to Greece for three weeks. I first went to Greece in 2019 and had made plans to go back in 2020 and 2021. Of course, Covid ruined that so it felt really good to get back to a country I love so much. I explored Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Meteora, and Zakynthos but it was the couple of days I spent in Symi that were the most special and brought back that ‘spark’ of why I loved solo travel so much. A beautiful old town, natural beaches, friendly locals, and very few tourists. It was perfect.

Cottage Summer & My Nephew

Cottage summers used to be a thing of my childhood but since the 2020 lockdowns I’ve set up internet there so I can live and work at the lake during the summer. It’s been the best decision ever and I spent three amazing months there with friends and family. My best friend also had a perfect baby boy in July who I consider my nephew. I love him to bits and it’s been so amazing spending time with him.

Getting Back to Ireland

In September I also finally made it back to Ireland after three years away. Regular readers will know that Ireland is where my travels started back in 2011 and I’m still really close with my old roommate and his family. I’d been back every year until Covid hit so it was a long time to be away. I spent 3 weeks in the country that I consider to be my second home. Two of it was actually with a group of family friends who asked me to plan their trip and play tour guide. It was a lot of fun to show them some of my favourite parts of the country before spending several days with James, Julie, and their kids.

Two Epic Destination Weddings & Quality Time with Friends 

My fall adventures also included two destination weddings. The first was a small 32-person wedding for two of my Israeli friends. They had a weekend event at a resort in Crete and it was an absolute blast.

The second was a Portugal wedding. My mermaid bestie, Chantae and her now husband Moritz planned a week in Ericeira for friends and family to meet each other before their big day at a Quinta in Mafra. Unlike the Crete wedding where I knew most people, I only knew my other good friend Brittany at this one. But, after a week of beach hangs, pastel de nata eating, and drinks I walked away with a number of new friends. Also, very sore knees after dancing for 6 hours straight. Note to self: you are not 22 anymore!

The weddings were so much fun but the best part was spending time with friends at them. Again, 2020 and 2021 felt really lonely with the lockdowns so as much as I love solo travel it was really nice to be able to meet up and spend time with so many of my friends this year.

A Magical Week in Venice

I first visited Venice in 2013 as a broke backpacker and instantly fell in love with the city. However, for anyone that has been, it’s not the most budget-friendly place in the world. I went back again in 2014 for a couple of days, still very much a broke backpacker, and promised myself that one day I’d come back and spend longer to really explore. Well, when I had a random week with no plans, I made it happen. I rented an apartment for a week and spent it exploring Venice. A lot of people will think that’s too long but I absolutely loved it. I did some work and then went out exploring somewhere new every day. I experienced Aqua Alta (high water) which was kind of fun, took a local food tour, did a photoshoot, and just got lost in the narrow alleyways. To me, Venice is one of the most magical places in the world, and I know I’ll go back again. 

Christmas Markets with my Mom

2 mugs of gluhwein in festive glasses held in front of a Christmas market stall

I wrapped up my 2022 adventures with a 2-week European Christmas market trip with my mom. Our last trip together was in 2018 (Christmas in NYC) and it was really great to do something with her again. My mom was the one who sparked my interest in travel, and being able to create travel memories with her, especially during a time of year that we both love so much, is important to me.

The Worst of 2022

Being Denied Boarding

When I flew to Tel Aviv in March of 2022, the rule was either a PCR test 72 hours in advance OR a rapid test 24 hours in advance. Since PCR tests cost $150 and rapid tests were only $50, I opted for the rapid test.

Well, that decision bit me in the ass when I got denied boarding in Toronto. Israel changed the rules literally right before my fight and made it PCR only, so I got stuck in Toronto. The airline did rebook me for a couple of days later and put me up in a hotel for the night. But I did have to run around and get another PCR and reschedule hotels and plans with friends. It was very stressful. 

Getting Covid in Tel Aviv

Cotton candy sunset from Tel Aviv Beach

After two years of avoiding covid, it finally got me in Tel Aviv. To be honest, I was really lucky with it. I didn’t even know I had it, only tested because a friend was sick and I had spent some time with her. So, I got the PCR to make sure and it came back positive. I isolated for 5 days as required and when I tested negative I tried to figure out how to get the recovery paper to be ‘released’. After all, at that time destinations still wanted PCR tests and the recovery certificate meant I didn’t need them.

Well, turns out that Israel wasn’t set up to deal with tourists who had Covid and nobody knew how to ‘release’ me. I was in their system (with my address) as infected, but since I didn’t have a doctor to figure out the paperwork nobody knew what to do. Thankfully my angel of a friend Nicole literally spent hours on 3-way calls with me translating. After 8 hours of phone calls (and some tears of frustration on my part), I got the paperwork and the ok to leave my apartment. 

The Tel Aviv Terror Attack

Wall of different bottles of gin on shelves

The spring of 2022, while I was living in Tel Aviv, was very eye-opening. There was a lot of tension between Israel and Palestine which resulted in raids and attacks on both sides. Since Tel Aviv is, as my friends describe it, ‘a bubble’, I never felt unsafe. However, the night of April 7th there was a mass shooting in central Tel Aviv, 5 minutes down the road from where I was sitting in a bar having a drink with some friends. It was the most surreal experience being in a noisy bar when suddenly everyone went quiet checking their phone as alerts came in and panic kicked in. We were locked in the bar for hours as police searched for the shooter on foot and by helicopter. At the time, I was able to stay pretty calm. There was nothing I could do, I was safe where I was. But I found sirens especially to be very triggering for a few weeks after.

Online Hate


The land of Israel and Palestine is beautiful and full of incredible people. But, it’s also messy. Very messy. And I experienced a ton of hate and backlash for my choice both to spend time in TelAviv and my choice to visit and spend time in Palestinian cities during my time living there. 

While I did my best to keep my content unbiased and only share what I was hearing/seeing/experiencing during my tours through Palestinian cities and life in Tel Aviv, someone was always angry, hurt, or upset. As a content creator, navigating this part of the world was an absolute nightmare and I ended up in tears more than once reading the messages I received. I wrote an in-depth personal post about it all here but, in a nutshell, I received more hate in those 3 months than I have over the course of my career as a travel creator.

Covid Breakout in Ireland

Going back to Ireland was amazing. Taking a group of friends and showing them around was amazing. What was not amazing is that covid got the group and took out half of them in the first few days. We quickly implemented masks on our tour bus and daily testing but it was very stressful seeing people drop off sick and then trying to plan and make arrangements for them while also still continuing on as planned with the healthy members of the group. Definitely not quite the experience I had planned for my first group trip. However, it was a risk everyone was aware of while travelling during a global pandemic.

Flooded in Crete

As I mentioned earlier I love Greece so when I found out my friends were getting married in Crete, an island I hadn’t been to yet, I decided I’d go early and explore. I anticipated a week full of beach days and warm weather exploring. What I got was insane storms and flooding. Flooding so bad that some people actually died. It was cold. It was wet. I spent a lot of time inside and only had one proper beach day. While it wasn’t the end of the world, it was pretty disappointing and as a result, I didn’t fall in love with Crete the way I had hoped that I would.


What’s next for 2023


A lot.

As I write this I’m also packing for my first adventure of 2023: a month in South America and Antarctica!

In a week I fly to Buenos Aires where I’ll spend a few days before catching another flight to Ushuaia. From there I will board the Ocean Endeavor with 12 readers/followers on an 11-day cruise through the Drake Passage to Antarctica! This will be my first ESBT group trip and I’m so excited to get to share this incredible opportunity with some like-minded travellers. I can’t wait for penguins, whales, and seals.

After Antarctica I have about 10 days in Brazil then it’s back to Canada for a couple of months. I have two weddings to attend in Israel this spring as well as my ESBT Greek sailing trip at the end of May.

That’s as far as I’ve planned for now, but I’m sure there will be lots more to come.

Thank you as always for following along on the adventures!

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