Life + Travel Plans for 2019


By the time this post goes live, we will already be one week into the new year, and for the first time in a long time, I move forward into this new year with very few definite trips planned, and with the strong likelihood that I will be going on significantly fewer adventures in 2019.

So, why will things be slowing down?

Though 2019 will not be completely filled with overseas explorations, it will be extremely full of brand new life experiences.

If you have been following this blog for a while, you may recall a post about my body image and the impact that significant weight loss has had on my travels. Well, despite having a significant improvement in my body image, things are still far from perfect. After losing around 40kg (88lbs) I have been left with a fair bit of excess skin that I am extremely self conscious of. So, I have finally made the decision to forgo spending all of my money on travel, and to instead spend a significant portion on undergoing two surgeries to remove the bulk of this excess skin.

Financially, these surgeries are an enormous commitment, and physically, the surgeries themselves are quite full on, and I will need a minimum of six weeks to recover.

Furthermore, at some point this year (the when is still quite fuzzy) I will leave my life in Darwin to move my home base somewhere else, in order to facilitate being with my partner Dan.

Originally this move was to be to Melbourne, but at the time that this goes live, Dan will have just taken a job in Sydney, which is where the bulk of suitable work for him is. So, my future kinda depends on how long he stays at this job. I might end up moving to Sydney, maybe to Melbourne, or I may do contract work in rural areas around Australia if he moves to a FiFo (Fly in, fly out) kinda job.

Basically, I have no idea what lies ahead!

Regardless of where I go, this move will be a rather bittersweet one. On one hand, I am absolutely in love with Dan and really hate being away from him – which is why the move is unavoidable. But on the other hand, I moved to Darwin over three years ago with plans to stay six months, or maybe a year, but Darwin got under my skin and I really fell in love with it here. I love my job, I have amazing friends and the relaxed pace of life here makes it a really special place to call home.

The East Coast is home to huge cities, crazy traffic, long commutes, a buttload more people and there will certainly be no tropical living! But, I have never really explored the East Coast of Australia, and moving to one of its biggest cities will definitely give me the opportunity to explore and seek adventures domestically.

Despite all these changes, I just couldn’t cope without a few little overseas jaunts!

So, at some point in the year Dan and I will head to Bali and try to explore parts of it that I have never seen (such as the Gili Islands) and then later in August, I will be taking Papa Burne to Tonga to swim with humpback whales once more. Later in the year, I am going to aim to take 4-6 weeks off and head somewhere in Central or South America. Currently on the shortlist are Mexico, Belize, Cuba, Ecuador and Costa Rica – so any destination suggestions within this region will be highly appreciated in the comments below!

However, never fear, my bonkers busy trip over the past four months has left me with content up to my eyeballs and I have more than enough material to keep you with brand new blogs each week for at least the next nine months, if not longer.

So make sure to stay tuned for new blogs about Finland, Kenya, the Faroe Islands, Namibia, Iceland, Tanzania, South Africa, Scotland, Norway, Czech Republic, UAE and Oman.

My blog schedule does have some flexibility, so if there is any particular destination you’d like to read about sooner rather than later, feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Finally, I’d once again like to thank you for travelling with me in 2018 and I am looking forward to sharing more life and travel adventures in 2019.

Happy New Year, and as always, safe travels.



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30-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

9 thoughts on “Life + Travel Plans for 2019

  1. I feel a little sad Ellen. Over the years we’ve seen you in bikinis and naked in outdoor bathtubs and never once have I thought you overweight. To lose 88 pounds is an achievement for anyone – that’s over six stone in our money – although I don’t know how you had that much to lose in the first place. I do hope you are well and happy and that this surgery is really necessary because any such surgery sounds drastic and a last resort. I’m sure you know what you’re doing – after all you’re the one who can navigate around the world whereas I can hardly get to the end of the street – but I’m just trying to add a positive voice to the pile over the negative ones you say you carry with you.

    All my best for 2019, wherever you end up.


  2. Ellen, never have I thought you had an issue with body weight. You have always looked fantastic and a positive attitude to life. I really enjoy your blog and confidence to travel where few would go alone.
    I am amazed you are travelling with Papa Burne again (I have known him for years) but he is really looking forward to Tonga.
    Keep travelling and loving life.
    All the best for the future wherever you end up.

  3. Looking forward to reading about your past adventures. Also wishing you the best of outcomes on your impending surgeries and speedy recoveries.

  4. I wait Your post about Finland. I hope that You do not stay in Helsinki, because the real Finland is outside of it. Even short trips help You to find much better experiences. Here You can see, what Finland offers for example:

    About me

    Happy and safe travels!

  5. Monteverde was my favorite part of Costa Rica. The Cloud Forest was magical. I didn’t spend much time in San Juan to be honest (it doesn’t wow me personally), but the gold museum there is interesting. Arenal is a bit touristy, but it’s worth a stop. Casados are delicious and I miss eating them. There are lots of hot springs there, some more touristy than the others. I went to a couple and Eco Termales was my favorite because it just wasn’t as crowded. Those are the resorts though. There are some free spots that the locals go to. I didn’t get to try those, but I definitely saw people there. 🙂

  6. Investing in yourself is always worthwhile. I also put off taking care of myself while spending my money on travel but when I finally took off it was worth it in the end. Staying still for a while can also be a nice way to reflect. After a very busy 2018, I too am looking at a calmer 2019. Good luck in the new year!

  7. Can’t wait to keep following along with your adventures!

    As for your potential 2019 destinations, the only one I’ve been to is Costa Rica so that’s the only advice I can provide. Things that stand out: driving in San Jose is utter chaos, uber is the cheapest way to get around (and we never felt unsafe, even at 2am), and most everyone in the service industry speaks English. From the US, we didn’t need a visa. Not sure about Australia but I assume it would be the same. Most everywhere accepts USD but will probably give you change in Colones.

    In terms of things to do, ziplining through the jungle was a bucket list item for me and we really loved it! We also visited Arenal, 1 of the nation’s 7 volcanos. A couple were active and therefore closed when we were there, so I guess plan for that! Arenal is dormant and a pretty solid bet. There’s also a hot spring coming out the side and you can soak in the water at the Tabacon resort. Beaches are the other main highlight of CR and though we didn’t make it there, my friend who lives in CR says Guanacaste has the best beaches in the country.

    Not sure I have much else to add… this was my first ever foreign destination and I haven’t traveled internationally much. But hopefully this gives you some ideas if you do end up visiting CR 🙂

  8. As for Central America, I recommend the Ruta Maya: Copan in Honduras, Antigua and Tikal in Guatemala, Caye Caulkner in Belize (great snorkling). In Mexico, Tulum, Chichen Itza, Merida, Uxmal, Campeche, Palenque, San Cristobol de las Casas, and Oaxaca. I’m told Costa Rica is nice, but lots of Americans are discovering it.

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