As another year comes to a close its fun to look back and reflect on the good (and the bad!) that came with 2014. Like every other year, I had my fair share of both during my adventures, but thankfully most of the bad have turned into funny stories rather than all around nightmares.
And so, without further ado, here is the list (in no particular order) of my best and worst travel moments in 2014
Completing my 25 by 25 goal
I announced on January 1st of 2014 that my next adventure would take me back to Europe for several weeks to complete my mission of visiting 25 countries before I turned 25 in June. Not only did I reach that goal, but I exceeded it and have finished the year with a country count of 27. Not too shabby since I boarded my first plane only three years ago!
Getting My Brother’s butt on a plane to Europe
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE solo travel. But sometimes it’s nice to have someone with you- someone you know you’ll get along with anyway. 2014 was the year I finally kicked my little brother’s butt onto a plane and dragged him with me to Europe. We have been to Dominican Republic and NYC together, but Europe was the next big step. After two weeks backpacking through the Netherlands, Scotland, and Ireland, he still thinks I’m crazy for ‘wasting all my money on travel’, but I like to think I corrupted him into a bit of a travel lover too.
Celebrating Paddy’s Day in the Emerald Isle itself
Let’s be honest, I think this is on everyone’s bucket list. And whoever said that St. Patrick ’s Day isn’t a big deal in Ireland; is full of crap. Between the beers drank at the hostel throughout the day, and the pub crawl in our St. Paddy’s day greens at night, we definitely made the most of this infamous Irish celebration.
An Awesome Day in Monaco
When I visited Nice, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be doing a side trip to Monaco. But was I ever surprised when everyone I talked to told me how disappointing it was, and that if I really insisted on going, I didn’t need a full day.
Thankfully, as per the usual, I didn’t listen and went for a full day. It was probably one of the best days I had during my two months in Europe and, although I couldn’t afford much, I would go back in a second.
Getting some exciting news for 2015
Part of our visit to Ireland was to be reunited with my friends and roommates from when I lived on the Emerald Isle. I thought it would be a fun surprise to visit them, but they ended up surprising me with the news that they were expecting, (a beautiful baby girl born in September). And then, a couple months later, I got the news of their engagement. Spoiler alert: as of September 2015 I’ll be crossing ‘attend an Irish wedding’ off the bucket list!
Being sick for weeks, and then getting food poisoning
After catching some mysterious illness in Ireland, I spent three weeks coughing, chocking, and all around dying thanks to what I’m pretty sure ended up being bronchitis. Countless mystery tablets and some really early bedtimes later, I finally managed to get over it in the Baltics (perhaps thanks to Black Balsam?).
Of course things were too good to be true and I went and got food poisoning during a day trip from Venice to Verona. It was definitely an awful day.
Feeling unsafe in Budapest
I was so looking forward to my time in Budapest, especially after hearing nothing but amazing things from my fellow travellers. But sadly, it was not a love affair at all, and I was more than happy to leave when my time was up. I still can’t pinpoint exactly what it was about this city that I didn’t like, but I never felt safe and always had my guard up. But don’t worry Budapest lovers, I haven’t written it off completely. I hope to return one day and have the amazing experience that seemingly everyone else has had in this beautiful city.
Being harassed on the streets of Riga
Getting lost trying to find your way to your hostel is frustrating. And, when you’re being followed by a car full of young men shouting at you in Latvian; well that’s just straight up shitty. I have zero clue what they were saying to me, all I know is that the Canadian flag on my backpack, a symbol that has previously made me welcome, turned me into an easy target that day. And despite my clear discomfort and the sheer wrongness of the situation, no one around bothered to help me or tell them off. All I can say is thank God for pedestrian only streets; because after a good fifteen minutes of being followed and harassed, that was my only getaway.
One of the worst hangovers…the morning I had a pre-booked a tour to Auschwitz
This might make me an awful human being. Especially after ‘learning’ the hard way with last years’ experience with my tour at the Vatican.
But, let me just say, Polish vodka shots go down really easy. And it doesn’t matter what your intentions are. 1 euro flavoured vodka shots always win when you are in the moment. Thankfully I sobered up pretty quickly on the bus, and was able to get the most out of my time at Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps.
Spending an entire day in Dublin Airport
I love airports, but for a normal amount of time. So when I heard my early morning flight from Dublin to Copenhagen was delayed for an hour, it didn’t bother me. When that hour turned into several, I started to go a little crazy and began to feel like Tom Hanks in the Terminal. More than the boredom though, was the fact that it cut my already short 2 day trip to Copenhagen down to one.
So there we have it, the top best and worst of 2015. I hope your year was more good than bad, and I wish you the best in 2015! Here’s to another year of crazy stories and (mis)adventures!