Happy new year everybody!
I truly hope 2022 is a better year for all of us. If I am being honest, 2021 has been quite a hard year for me. I have changed jobs multiple times, moved cities, had multiple surgeries and hospital admissions and been struggling with the state of the world and how drastically my life has changed.
It certainly hasn’t been all bad (I got engaged everybody!) but it’s been a mostly unrelenting year. Hopefully 2022 gives us all a break and for those of us that love travel, I hope it is the year that we really start getting back out there and exploring the world once more.
On that positive note, I wanted to start 2022 by discussing my 22 favourite trips of all time. Hopefully it will help inspire some of you in your future trip planning.
Trekking with mountain gorillas in the DRC
I genuinely cannot speak highly enough about this trip. For me, it had been years in the making and when it finally did happen, it was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped, and then some.
This will go down as one of the best experiences of my life and I would urge anyone looking for an adventure to consider this as a future one – you certainly wouldn’t regret it.
Click here to learn more about a trip to the DRC.
Hanging out on the edge of a waterfall in Zambia
For several months a year, the water levels in the Zambezi River drop to a low enough point that a place called Livingstone Island becomes accessible. The main appeal of visiting this island is the opportunity to swim across the top of the Zambezi and quite literally hang out on the edge of a waterfall thanks to the presence of a naturally formed infinity pool on the edge – named the Devil’s Pool.
Technically speaking, the Devil’s Pool is accessible from June to December, but when I visited in mid September the water levels had only just dropped to a low enough point for this trip to be possible, so I would recommend September and October as being the best months to do this trip.
Click here to learn more about the Devil’s Pool.
Swimming with humpback whales in Tonga
This trip was so nice that I did it twice!
Tonga is one of the best places in the world to wild swim with humpbacks and I am extremely lucky to have had at least 30+ individual swims with humpbacks across two trips, one in 2017 and one in 2019.
If you want to feel awed, humbled and truly ecstatic, then this is the trip for you.
Click here to learn more about swimming with whales in Tonga.
Kayaking in the Arctic
This was the trip that really kicked off my love affair with the polar regions. I first visited Greenland in 2015 and on a whim, booked a sunset kayaking tour in Ilulissat. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the crunch of ice underneath my kayak, the burnt orange colour of the sky being mirrored in the bay and the unexpected Bacardi that was smuggled under a lifejacket all combined to make this an experience like no other.
Click here to learn more about kayaking in Greenland.
Road tripping through Namibia
In 2018, I spent two glorious weeks road tripping through Namibia and it is a trip that I have dreamed of recreating over and over and over again. The perpetually changing landscapes, glorious colours and textures and the fact that you feel like you have the entire country to yourself all combine to make an absolutely unforgettable adventure.
Click here to learn more about road tripping through Namibia.
Having pyramids to myself in Sudan
Ever since my trip to Sudan in late 2019, I truly haven’t stopped banging on about it, even now! Sudan was a surprisingly beautiful country and due to low tourist numbers, almost anywhere you go you are likely to have the entire site to yourself. If you are like me and truly treasure those moments, then Sudan is an absolute must visit!
Click here to learn more about travelling through Sudan.
Camping in Antarctica
Alright, my entire Antarctica adventure was completely off the chain incredible, but a notable highlight for me was the night that my Dad and I got to get off the ship, dig graves in the ice and spend the night sleeping in the wilds of Antarctica! It was an absolutely epic place to sleep, and way more comfortable than I would’ve thought!
Click here to learn more about camping in Antarctica.
Backpacking solo through Iran
Of all the places I have budget backpacked solo, Iran is easily one of my favourites. Travelling Iran was cheap, surprisingly easy and so unbelievably enjoyable. The architecture, the food, the people and the landscapes are some of the most beautiful in the world. I cannot wait to return to Iran one day – hopefully very soon.
Click here to learn more about travelling in Iran.
Chasing waterfalls in Iceland
There are no words to describe how naturally beautiful Iceland is. The country is blessed with geological diversity and a wide array of otherworldly landscapes. Volcanoes, lava fields, hot springs, black sand beaches, iceberg filled lagoons are just the beginning – and for me, it is the many waterfalls in Iceland that are the most special.
Click here to learn more about road-tripping around Iceland.
Backpacking through Myanmar (twice)
At the present time, backpacking through Myanmar is likely much different than it was when I visited, furthermore, the country is currently totally closed for tourism. However, despite the country’s turbulent history, it is easily my favourite country in SEA. The food, the pagodas and the temples are so different to neighbouring Thailand, Laos and nearby Cambodia. I truly hope that I will be able to return to Myanmar, but the reality is that this might not happen for a long time. I am so glad that I visited Myanmar while I could.
Click here to learn more about backpacking in Myanmar.
Experiencing incredible wildlife and luxury combined in Madagascar
I got the incredible opportunity to travel to Miavana by Time + Tide in late 2019 and it is easily one of the best luxury trips I have ever been on. The diving is world class, the accommodation and service second to none, the food unbelievable and the wildlife is both unique and abundant. I think every day about returning to Miavana one day. I truly can’t wait.
Click here to read more about luxury travel in Madagascar.
Big cat spotting in South Africa
There is something truly humbling about a safari in Africa. The wildlife is just so raw, beautiful and engaging. The big cats are a personal favourite, and I have been lucky enough to have some incredible spots over the years across multiple countries, but my spots in Sabi Sands and Madikwe Game Reserve are easily my most memorable.
Click here to learn more about big cat spotting in south Africa.
Hiking in the Faroe Islands
My time in the Faroes was a little bit hit and miss – the weather was pretty abysmal and I had a not so pleasant experience in Saksun – but the hikes I did manage to go on were absolutely phenomenal. The landscapes of the Faroes are dramatic and breathtaking, making this archipelago a must visit for avid hikers and photographers alike.
Click here to learn more about hiking in the Faroe Islands.
Doing Hogmanay in Edinburgh
I was lucky enough to ring in 2013 in Edinburgh whilst celebrating amid the famous Hogmanay festival and to this day, I have never had a better New Years in my life. The torchlight procession, street party and the bone-chilling loony dook are all memories that I will treasure forever.
Click here to read more about Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.
Getting drunk in a helicopter for a day in Darwin
This is boujee. It’s excessive. It’s all kinds of insane, but it is also an absolutely phenomenal day out. A chopper, endless beers and gorgeous Northern Australia landscapes? It doesn’t get much better than that!
Click here to learn more about helicopter pub crawling in Darwin.
Trekking in Patagonia
In 2017 my father and I travelled through Chile and Argentina together before embarking on our Antarctica expedition and one particular highlight was the day we trekked to Laguna del Torres. I misunderstood the maps and thought it would be a 9km hike plus the few extra kilometres in and out of El Chalten. As it turns out, it was 9km each way and it was quite a few k’s from the town to the starting point! However, despite the much longer trek than we had anticipated, my dad, who at this time was in desperate need of a knee replacement, did the whole trail with me like an absolute boss! Making it to the lake felt like such an achievement and it was extra special that we had done it together.
Click here to learn more about the trek to Laguna del Torres.
Having Petra all to myself
Actually getting to experience the stunning facade of the Treasury all by myself took a little bit of forward planning and losing quite a bit of sleep, but it was worth every little inconvenience. This was the kind of experience that made me feel awed, humbled and amazed all at once.
Click here to learn more about visiting Petra.
Eating breakfast with giraffes in Kenya
Okay, so this one is kind of mental, but mental in the best way possible. Getting a reservation at Giraffe Manor was a pure stroke of luck (due to a well timed cancellation) and required making an expensive detour from Prague back to Africa, but it was absolutely worth it. I will never forget feeling Kelly’s cheek against mine!
Click here to learn more about a stay at Giraffe Manor.
Doing all the snorkelling in the Maldives
I have snorkelled so many reefs in so many places all around the world, but nothing even comes close to being as good as the Maldives! Reefs here are so abundant and teeming with life. It isn’t uncommon so spot turtles, sharks, moray eels and even sea snakes. My favourite atoll for wildlife spotting is the Baa Atoll – sometimes I would spot all of the aforementioned creatures on just one snorkel!
Click here to learn more about snorkelling in the Maldives.
Getting snuggles from a bunch of bunnies in Japan
Looking at these next pictures is making me so nostalgic! I visited bunny island in 2016 and it is easily one of the most memorable experiences I have had in Japan. If you follow this blog you will know that I am a diehard bunny lover, so a day on this island was nothing short of amazing.
Click here to learn more about visiting bunny island.
Learning to scuba dive in the Comoros
I have always loved the water. Swimming is just about the only sport that I am any good at, and as a result, I relish any opportunity to jump in head first. When I visited the Comoros I was presented with a fantastic opportunity to finally learn to dive – and it was absolutely phenomenal. The diving is absolutely world class and is still up there with some of the best diving I have ever done.
Click here to learn more about diving in the Comoros.
Spending a week in Tasmania (and proposing to my wife to be)
In August of 2021, my partner Ella and I spent a week driving around Tasmania. We did a loop, starting in Hobart, driving up the East Coast and back down the west until we made it back to Hobart. It was an absolutely wonderful week away, especially because this trip culminated with me proposing to my beautiful fiancee.
To learn more about our travels in Tasmania, stay tuned! There are a couple of exciting posts in the works.
35 thoughts on “It’s 2022! These are my 22 favourite trips of all time <3”
Thank you so much! <3
Beautiful travels. Love the wildlife shots 🙂
So nice to read your blog again! Almost forgot how much I love your beautiful photos.
Thank you Susan – I am so happy to have you back! <3
Wow loved reading read of them..n honestly I am a bit jealous 😁😁 but a lot more inspired.
Thanks Madhu – hopefully more inspired than jealous! <3
I remember so many of these photos, you have so many wonderful memories, Ellen! ☺️
I am so happy to have readers who have been with me long enough to remember some of these! Thanks for reading and travelling with me 🙂
Glad to see you back on the road. I followed you for several years, and you were a major inspirations for my solo RTW trip at age 65 three years ago. I didn’t go to exactly many of the same places, but certainly got to see highlights of the world that I never imagined I would have seen ten years ago. I love the descriptions you provide with the pictures, and the insight that you provide.
Steve, this comment has made me so unbelievably happy. The thought of me helping inspire you to go on and amazing solo trip is exactly why I write this blog. Thank you so much, you’ve absolutely made my day.
Great pictures, great travel.
These are really incredible destinations. The one place that really resonates with me is Virunga National Park. Ever since watching Virunga on Netflix (have now seen it about a dozen times) I am consumed with dreaming of making it there some day. I did read your Trekking With the Mountain Gorilla post. Lots of helpful information there. A very good point of using the services of the local Congolese people as porters. Thank you for sharing.
God, isn’t that an absolutely phenomenal doco?! I loved it too, it definitely contributed to me choosing to visit the DRC over Rwanda or Uganda. Do you have any plans to visit?
Yeah, it was such an incredible documentary. I am really wanting to visit. With COVID and the uncertainty with travel it might be awhile. My family is totally against it, so I have been looking in to organized adventure tours. Though they may be over my budget when airfare from Canada is included. The one the mostly appeals to me is through a UK travel company called Secret Compass.
Oh I highly recommend booking with Virunga directly! We flew into Kigali, drove to the border, crossed into Goma and were in the hands of the NP staff the entire trip – it was as safe as it could possibly have been and extremely good value for money! The park can even give you the contact details of a trusted driver to contact to drive you from Kigali to the border crossing.
Fantastic trips there! One or two brought back memories of similar trips we did.
Which trips brought back the memories? 🙂
Oh, definitely Madagascar, although we sailed around some islands on a catamaran and didn’t stay in luxury like you, the Maldives – a treat, and then of course Comoros, once again sailing around Moheli & Grande Comore. Memories made for life!
Amazing! The Comoros are such an underrated destination, the island of Moheli is so gorgeous <3
Some amazing experiences there – memories to treasure.
Thank you so much <3
I absolutely love this post and am slightly envious of the amazing adventures you have had. I have done heaps of travelling and done some incredible stuff but apart from the animal spotting in South Africa all your trips are different than mine. Congratulations on your engagement – Tasmania is one of my most favourite places in the world so you chose a great place – hope you got to Cradle Mountain, I could stay there forever!
We did make it to Cradle Mountain! The weather was so bad but it was still absolutely gorgeous <3
I think breakfast with giraffe is my favorite activity on your list of trips. Awww! I always miss my puppy and Siamese cats when I travel. Amazing pics.
That was certainly an epic morning! Giraffes are such beautiful creatures! I know the feeling, I miss my beloved bunnies so much when I am away
We are always looking for great new ideas to add to our travel plans. So fun to see your favourite trips of all time! What an amazing list. I have to admit that swimming with humpback whales might have made it to the top of my list! And while Antarctica has been on our list for awhile, I am probably not looking to camp there. What a great set of memories!
You wouldn’t be game to camp if it was just one night? Definitely recommend the whales – its an incredible experience!
Fantastic! I have been to many of these places too but you gave me some additional ideas to ponder. The world is big and beautiful and waiting!!!
Which of these places have you already been to? 🙂
Wow!!! Amazing trips and experiences… Great pictures especially the Devil’s Pool; breath taking one 😀
Thank you so much <3
I love how many of these trips happened in Africa ❤️ Having lived in both Ethiopia and Ghana and traveled to South Africa, Djibouti, and São Tomé, I am always thinking about my next trip back. You’ve reminded me of some places on my bucket list: Namibia/Botswana, Madagascar, and, of course, more time in South Africa.
Ooooh how did you like Djibouti and Sao Tome?! Those two are absolutely on my bucket list!