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Top 17 Travel Moments in 2017 (+ an update on where I’ve been)

By on January 7, 2018

Well, it has definitely been a while since I’ve published any articles on my travel blog. There are a couple of reasons for that…

  • My main passion (teaching): I got offered a temporary teaching job at my school teaching music and drama and later in the year got offered a Kindergarten class for a term which has really been a huge learning curve for me and a great step in the next direction in developing my teaching career. Unfortunately, my little travel blog has had to take a back seat for a while as I have been focusing my time and energy on my career.
  • My husband: As of March 2017, only just 7 months after we had just married, my husband had been experiencing 24/7 headaches/migraines and had to stop working, and we spent the rest of 2017 seeing many different doctors and trying numerous medications to get a definitive diagnosis of what he has. As of November 2017, my husband was diagnosed with Occipital Neuralgia, a condition where the nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord up through the scalp, called the occipital nerves, are inflamed or injured. My husband lives with 24/7 pain in his eye and in his head and is unable to leave the house, go to work or socialise with friends without his pain getting amplified. The year 2017 has been a really tough year on the both of us, and since my husband and my job took priority, I didn’t have any spare time to write and prepare content for you all (sorry!).

I am not making any promises or “new year’s resolutions” that I will do better to continually and regularly update this blog on what we are doing, because as I have always said, I am passionate about my career first and foremost and then travel, so in 2018 I am going to be focusing on having my own Kindergarten class for the first time and focus on developing my career as a school teacher. Also, my husband’s health is currently up in the air and that is and will always be my top priority, to look after him during this tough season.

What I can promise you is that I will update and continue to share my adventures, stories and travel tips on this blog when I can. I DO currently, have some draft blog posts that I’ve been sitting on for a while now that I can’t wait to share with you and that I hope you will find insightful, inspirational and also helpful. I DO currently, have more blog post ideas sitting in my head that I want to write also, so please do stick around!

Despite the challenges we have faced this year with my husband’s health, we did manage to check some things off our bucketlist this year on our Round the World (RTW) trip in January 2017 before he got sick and we also had opportunities this year to explore Sydney a bit more when my husband could manage it.

So, with all of my “where have I been?” sop story out of the way, here are my Top 17 Travel Moments of 2017, which I hope will inspire you to travel more!

Top 17 Travel Moments of 2017

1. Spending New Years in Bergen, Norway

My husband and I were lucky enough to spend our first new years overseas in Bergen, Norway. Coming from Sydney, Australia we were expecting New Year’s Eve celebrations to be very busy and crowded with loads of fireworks; what we experienced was completely the opposite. New Years Eve fireworks were small yet lovely at the port in Bergen and we were lucky enough that our hotel (Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Bergen) was the prime spot for viewing them! We headed outside to watch the fireworks at 11:45pm and there was no one to be seen until right before midnight! A very different New Years experience, but definitely a refreshing one.

Things To do In Bergen During Winter

2. Experiencing my very first snowfall…ever!

Coming from Sydney, Australia we have zero snow apart from hours away in the mountains and I had NEVER EVER SEEN SNOW EVER until we came to Bergen! We were so excited and felt very lucky to experienced the very first snowfall of the season, which was truly magical!

What was even more magical and spectacular was our Fjord cruise from Bergen to Montraumen was transformed into a stunning winter wonderland which was truly an amazing experience, although very very cold and super windy on the boat. Here is a little video I put together of our time in Bergen, Norway. Enjoy! (and if you like, please subscribe to my Youtube channel, Lucas Travel!)

3. First time skiing

I feel I have repeated myself a few times about the disadvantage of coming from Australia where there is virtually NO SNOW and because going skiing in the mountains hours away from home is SO EXPENSIVE = NO SKI BEFORE.

One of our bucketlist items on our RTW trip was Finnish Lapland, and let me tell you, our experiences there deserve a billion other blog posts because it was so freaking amazing.

Alas, I digress, I skiied for the very first time, for 3 days, and in summary: Stacked it many times, legs were super sore, husband was my ski instructor and taught me everything he knows (or lack thereof only being skiing a handful of times), stuck to beginner slopes and ended up doing quite okay for a first timer.

Maybe it’s better if I explain through video and throw my ski instructor husband under the bus a little:

4. The Northern Lights

This was one of our ultimate highlights of the trip in Finnish Lapland! We went on a photography tour to see the Northern Lights and let’s just say it is the most magical and amazing natural phenomenon I have EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. The photos just don’t do it justice, and I cannot wait to see them all over again (and um, try to get some better photos when I’m not freezing my fingers and toes off in -28 degrees).

5. Husky Riding in Finnish Lapland

This was my husbands favourite lapland activity! This is definitely a must do in Finnish lapland and it was another bucketlist item.

Here is a video of our experience that my husband put together!

6. Reindeer Riding in Finnish Lapland

Now this was one of my favourite activities in Rovaniemi, Finland, a town on the border of the Arctic Circle. My husband thought it was a little lame, but I really don’t care, reindeer are cute and have fluffy bums which I think are also cute, and they pull Santa’s sleigh okay?

Here is a little video of my experience!

7. Standing on a frozen lake

Something that my mother told me I probably shouldn’t do, but I did anyway (sorry mum!). In saying that, we were very careful and didn’t really go that far out on the lake itself, we just wanted a few photos to say we did it! It was also a bit of a novelty for us lack-of-snow-anywhere Australians.

8. New country: Russia

A country we had always wanted to visit was Russia! It was a Winter wonderland as well and we went to St Petersburg and Moscow. Since it was Winter time, there were hardly any tourists around and you got most well known sights and attractions to yourself!

9. Being the only two guests at a private game reserve lodge

Our last stop on our RTW trip was South Africa. My husband and I flew into Johannesburg, picked up a hire car and drove 6 hours to Parsons Nature Reserve, a Big 5 game reserve where we stayed at a beautiful private lodge by the name of Emhosheni River Lodge. Two beautiful souls (our hosts) by the names of Leandra and Dave hosted just the two of us at their 8 person lodge for a few nights and we had the most amazing time!

Leandra and Dave cooked our meals, showed us around the lodge, took us on game drives around Parsons Nature Reserve and cared to our every need on the trip. It was so lovely to have the place all to ourselves and really have the time to get to know our hosts and be provided with a customised, private and authentic experience.

10. Improving my photography skills at Vivid Sydney

Each year in Sydney, the city gets lit up with various light projections, installations and decorations for the annual Vivid Sydney festival. In 2016, I completed my very first night photography course and this year was my year to put my newly learned skills into practice again and take some cool Sydney night shots!

11. Exploring La Perouse

What I didn’t realise, was that La Perouse was not that far from the city of Sydney, and that there was plenty to be explored. From what my husband could manage we set off on a small day trip to see some of the key sights and attractions around the area, and we were not disappointed!

12. Exploring Kangaroo Valley

Another Sydney day trip that I had read about online before but never got the chance to visit was Kangaroo Valley. Located approximately 2 hours from Sydney, you will find the gorgeous Fitzroy Falls, Hampden Bridge and if you drive about 10 minutes further to Bendeela Camping Ground, you might see some local Australian wildlife!

13. Exploring Ku-Ring-Gai National Park

My husband and I have explored the Royal National Park a fair bit, so it was high time we chose a different national park to explore for the day. Even with my husband’s health being tricky, we still managed to do minimal walking and sightseeing around the park for the day.

14. Celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary

In August of 2017, we celebrated our very first wedding anniversary, and my husband booked us a little getaway in Blackheath at Parklands Lodges for the weekend!

15. Enjoying a romantic Winter getaway at a secluded and romantic couples resort

Due to not travelling as much this year, I was dying to getaway from Sydney for a few days. I went Google searching (as you do!) and came across the most gorgeous and secluded couples resort in Rydal, NSW (located 15 minutes from Lithgow in the Blue Mountains) by the name of Eagle View Escape. I was searching for a fireplace, a spa and a perfect view and that’s exactly what we got (and so much more!). We had such an amazing stay at Eagle View Escape and eit was the perfect getaway that was much needed!

16. Exploring more of the Blue Mountains

As I mentioned above in Top Travel Moment number 15, my husband and I went for a quick Winter getaway at Eagle View Escape, and on our way to the beautiful couples resort we managed to fit in some quick sightseeing around the Blue Mountains exploring some new and unique spots!

17. Flying to Melbourne in business for my birthday

To top off my year, my husband surprised me with a trip to Melbourne flying business class with my mum for the weekend to celebrate my birthday! It was a short but sweet trip away, but I think my husband knew I was getting itchy feet not travelling overseas for the last few months!

So, that rounds up my Top 17 Travel Moments of 2017. It was definitely a difficult year, but I am hoping that 2018 brings total and full health for my husband, and hopefully a lot more travel adventures to be had! Watch this space!

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