RTW Trip Year 2 – Travel Diary

Month 13

Month 13 started in Germany where we had Adam’s parent’s visiting us for 2 weeks. They landed just before our 1 year travel anniversary in Frankfurt Germany on June 29th. It has been one hell of year, pushing me way outside of my comfort zone, and bringing us to 28 countries over past year. We ended this month in Riga, Latvia where we had Hannah’s cousin’s wedding.

Month 13 Map

Month 13 had us all over, we started in Germany, made our way to Prague, few days in Krakow, Poland all it did was rain. From there we went back to Germany to explore Berlin, flew to Italy where we made our way to Rome/Florence/Bologna/Venice/Milan over 16 days, and finally ended in Riga.

We both really got into the World Cup, and cheered on Germany from day 1 in Cape Town, South Africa and couldn’t believe we were in Berlin for the final. It was us and 1 million plus other German’s cheering them on. We are still writing about our amazing times we had in Africa with Acacia Africa. Check out the new posts: Find out what an African massage is, and watch the sunrise over the sand dunes in Namibia.

  •  Flew: 1622 miles/ 2595.2 km
  • Drove:   1644.38 miles / 2631 km 
  • Walked: 197.79 miles/ 316.46km
  • Trained: 505 miles/ 808km 
  • Total Miles: 3,969,17 miles/ 6,350.67 km

Money Spent$3,460.32

We both are very happy with this figure, for an entire month in Europe during peak season no complaints here. We had already purchased our flights a few months ago, they both were cheap $150 from Frankfurt to Rome and $290 from Milan to Riga with luggage isn’t bad. We had ATM withdrawals of $1400 which was mainly for food & entertainment. We took the train around Italy from Rome-Florence-Bologna-Venice-Milan for $255 for both of us. Spent $995 on hotels, we always picked the cheapest options we had which is no luxury in Europe. We used several reward nights we had racked over this past year, in order to keep our spending to a  minimum. $325 went into the gas tank of our rental car we had while we made our way from Germany-Prague-Poland and back to Germany. We also purchased a few souvenirs.

Number of Beds slept in:   9 beds, 1 pull out couch which we are still on and let me tell you NEVER and I mean EVER sleep on a pull-out couch for a week straight.

Beers Drank (Adam):  66

Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Hannah): 39, what can I say we were in Italy!

Items lost, ditched, or otherwise MIA: We were so happy to send an entire bag full of souvenirs we purchased in Africa home with Adam’s parents.

Best of Month 13

Best Beach: Didn’t go to any beaches this month…So let’s just pretend we visited one, let’s take a look back at our time in Fiji.

Best Ice Cream: My go-to flavor in Italy was Stracciatella. 

Best Beer: Master’s 18 in Prague

Best Dish: The best pesto we have ever had, and only 4 euro ($5) for a huge takeaway portion at Pastificio in Rome.

wpid-20140718_202559.jpg

Best Bar: (Forgot the name, sorry) It was a little place off the tourist’s map in Bologna. They had an amazing happy hour bar with 5 euro ($6.75) liters of tasty European beers AND free food. They put out a spread and bring you plates (pizza, pasta, fries, chips, sandwiches, popcorn, olives, etc).

wpid-img_20140723_185258.jpg

Best Sunset:  We enjoyed watching the sunset in Rome, love this picture we captured.

Rome Colosseum GS-1

Cutest Cat: Walking through the Colosseum in Rome I found this cutie hanging out sunning.

wpid-rome-colosseum-gs-4.jpg.jpeg

Month 14 started in

Recap Map Month 15

Month 14 stats:

  •  Flew: 11,135 miles/ 17,816 km
  • Drove:  2721 miles/ 4353.6 km
  • Walked: 130 miles/ 208 km
  • Cruised: 560 miles/896 km (estimate) will get accurate
  • Total Miles: 14,546 miles/ 23,273.6 km

Money Spent$5,813. 16

I know what you are thinking BUT we had several upgrades happen this month. $867 was spent on camera gear alone, $500 expenses for our house (driveway repairs, etc), $3,346 for flights/hotels/gas/car rentals (many for upcoming months). We both expect this month to be much much lower. Our wallets are ready for us to leave Europe as we can’t afford to be here much longer.

Beds slept in: 11 

Beers Drank (Adam): 49

Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Hannah): 23

Where & What have we done in Month 15?

Month 15 was a whirlwind. We spent the first 2 weeks back at home in Wisconsin, saying goodbye to friends & family and eating as much Wisconsin cheese & washing it down with tasty beer as we could. We upgraded several things in our backpacks, Adam took the plunge and got a MacBook Pro as his photography is getting more & more advanced we needed to upgrade the computer. We decided another DSLR camera body would be necessary, we upgraded to Nikon D5300. Upon upgrading these two items came with several other purchases, all which we hope to our lives easier & hopefully start selling photos.

We flew from Chicago to Munich in which we immediately hopped into our rental car and headed to Vienna. It was a travel day from hell, yes traveling is not always glamorous! Little did we know day 3 would be worse…nothing is good when the police are involved! We spent 2 nights in Vienna, explored the old town and finalized our November plans (to be announced yet). From Vienna, we started our journey to Dubrovnik, Croatia not knowing that it would be two, 9 hour days of driving to make it to there. Adam was our sole driver, as learning how to drive a manual shift car is still on my bucket list. Learning on the Croatian coast was not the place.

Croatia Cruise day 2 - Stone School and Omis-34

We then hopped aboard the Adriatic Pearl for a 7-night cruise. We were happy to unpack our bags and settle into our rather large cabin for a week. Highlights of our cruise would have to be Hvar and Omis, both places were picturesque and had several cute cafes/shops we’d like to sit and take it all in.

Croatia Cruise day 4 - Hvar-61

We had fairly good weather, I wished it would have been a little warmer as I wasn’t able to get much bikini sundeck time in as I would have liked.  We both agreed September was a good time to visit Croatia, there were plenty of tourists but nothing compared to the amount in the summer month and the weather is comfortable.

Croatia Cruise day 3 - OMIS-11

Our cruise came to an end and it was time to make our way back to Munich, where we would be dropping off our rental car and meeting Adam’s brother at Oktoberfest. We had 3  nights before we were due there, and decided to spend it near Lake Bled, Slovenia. We stayed in a small little village 30 mins from the well known Lake Bled (touristy), we loved our area. We had amazing views right and left, hiked around the nearby lakes and enjoyed the fall weather. Stay tuned for more articles on Slovenia.

Slovenia lake bled europe

Finally, September 30th had us in Munich gearing up for Oktoberfest! We decided to go on a weekday as advised from several Germans, so October 1st would be our beer drinking debut at Oktoberfest!

Favorites

Favorite City: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik-1

Favorite Photo: Taken in Hvar, Croatia Croatia Cruise day 4 - Hvar-76

 

October Travel Plans:

Our first week will be spent in Germany, the main event will be Oktoberfest! We have heard so many myths about Oktoberfest, we hope to set the record straight. From Munich, we’ll head towards Stuttgart & Cologne in yet another rental car. We were in Cologne earlier this year and wanted to go back and explore further.

After our fill on Germany beers, it’s off to Belgium for the trappist beers. You can see Adam and his brother take beer seriously. We send his brother home and fly to Barcelona, Spain where Becky, Hannah’s childhood friend will be meeting us to explore Barcelona (3 nights), Madrid (4 nights), and Athens (10 nights) together. Who would have ever thought we would have visitor’s back to back like this? We will be attending TBEX, travel blogging conference in Athens and have several trips before and after the conference, therefore 10 nights was necessary.

Month 15 started in our hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and ended in Munich, Germany. We headed home August 12 and left September 13, we cashed in American Airline miles for both legs of the trip only leaving us to pay the taxes/fees which was about $50 per person. Our trip home went by so fast, so much has happened since we left that we had to catch up on. We tried to see everyone (sorry if we missed you), eat everything we missed, backup as many photos as we could, update our gear, and much much more. Here is a snapshot of our travels in month 14:

Recap Map Month 15

Month 15 stats:

  •  Flew: 11,135 miles/ 17,816 km
  • Drove:  2721 miles/ 4353.6 km
  • Walked: 130 miles/ 208 km
  • Cruised: 560 miles/896 km (estimate) will get accurate
  • Total Miles: 14,546 miles/ 23,273.6 km

Money Spent$5,813. 16

I know what you are thinking BUT we had several upgrades happen this month. $867 was spent on camera gear alone, $500 expenses for our house (driveway repairs, etc), $3,346 for flights/hotels/gas/car rentals (many for upcoming months). We both expect this month to be much much lower. Our wallets are ready for us to leave Europe as we can’t afford to be here much longer.

Beds slept in: 11 

Beers Drank (Adam): 49

Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Hannah): 23

Where & What have we done in Month 15?

Month 15 was a whirlwind. We spent the first 2 weeks back at home in Wisconsin, saying goodbye to friends & family and eating as much Wisconsin cheese & washing it down with tasty beer as we could. We upgraded several things in our backpacks, Adam took the plunge and got a Macbook Pro as his photography is getting more & more advanced we needed to upgrade the computer. We decided another DSLR camera body would be necessary, we upgraded to Nikon D5300. Upon upgrading these two items came with several other purchases, all which we hope to our lives easier & hopefully start selling photos.

We flew from Chicago to Munich in which we immediately hopped into our rental car and headed to Vienna. It was a travel day from hell, yes traveling is not always glamorous! Little did we know day 3 would be worse…nothing is good when the police are involved! We spent 2 nights in Vienna, explored the old town and finalized our November plans (to be announced yet). From Vienna we started our journey to Dubrovnik, Croatia not knowing that it would be two, 9 hour days of driving to make it to there. Adam was our sole driver, as learning how to drive a manual shift car is still on my bucket list. Learning on the Croatian coast was not the place.

We then hopped aboard the Adriatic Pearl for a 7-night cruise. We were happy to unpack our bags and settle into our rather large cabin for a week. Highlights of our cruise would have to be Hvar and Omis, both places were picturesque and had several cute cafes/shops we’d like to sit and take it all in.

Croatia Cruise day 4 - Hvar-61

We had fairly good weather, I wished it would have been a little warmer as I wasn’t able to get much bikini sundeck time in as I would have liked.  We both agreed September was a good time to visit Croatia, there were plenty of tourists but nothing compared to the amount in the summer month and the weather is comfortable.

Croatia Cruise day 3 - OMIS-11

Our cruise came to an end and it was time to make our way back to Munich, where we would be dropping off our rental car and meeting Adam’s brother at Oktoberfest. We had 3  nights before we were due there, and decided to spend it near Lake Bled, Slovenia. We stayed in a small little village 30 mins from the well known Lake Bled (touristy), we loved our area. We had amazing views right and left, hiked around the nearby lakes and enjoyed the fall weather. Stay tuned for more articles on Slovenia.

Slovenia lake bled europe

Finally, September 30th had us in Munich gearing up for Oktoberfest! We decided to go on a weekday as advised from several Germans, so October 1st would be our beer drinking debut at Oktoberfest!

Favorites

Favorite City: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik-1

Favorite Photo: Taken in Hvar, Croatia Croatia Cruise day 4 - Hvar-76

October Travel Plans:

Our first week will be spent in Germany, the main event will be Oktoberfest! We have heard so many myths about Oktoberfest, we hope to set the record straight. From Munich, we’ll head towards Stuttgart & Cologne in yet another rental car. We were in Cologne earlier this year and wanted to go back and explore further.

After our fill on Germany beer’s, it’s off to Belgium for the Trappist beers. You can see Adam and his brother take beer seriously. We send his brother home and fly to Barcelona, Spain where Becky, Hannah’s childhood friend will be meeting us to explore Barcelona (3 nights), Madrid (4 nights), and Athens (10 nights) together. Who would have ever thought we would have visitor’s back to back like this? We will be attending TBEX, travel blogging conference in Athens and have several trips before and after the conference, therefore 10 nights was necessary.

Month 16 started in  Munich, Germany and ended in Casablanca, Morocco. October was a month of visitors, first Adam’s brother Paul for 10 nights and then my childhood friend Becky for 10 nights. Each wanting to visit multiple countries which kept us busy. Let’s recap the month:

rtw, travel, month 16, round the word trip

Month 16 stats:

  • Flew: 3657 miles/5851 km
  • Drove:  875 miles /1,265 km
  • Walked: 140 miles/224 km
  • Total Miles: 4672 miles/ 7475 km

Money Spent$2,946.84

This includes: our flights from Istanbul to Chiang Mai ($1052), $146 return flight Istanbul-Cappadocia, $50 new clothes to wear at TBEX Athens travel conference, $120 1 year membership Smugmug,  and $52 Adobe monthly fee. Most of the hotels were paid in the prior month except $265 worth. Overall being in Europe this isn’t a terrible amount for 2 people.

Beds slept in: 10

Beers Drank (Adam): 60

Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Hannah): 12

Where & What have we done in Month 16?

The first of the month we crossed off a big bucket list item, OKTOBERFEST. Adam’s brother Paul came to join in on consuming too many German beers. Next time we attend Oktoberfest we know the essentials to surviving Oktoberfest. We rented a car and drove from Munich to Stuttgart, spent ungodly hours stuck in traffic and ended up seeing nothing there and paying $40 for parking…Made our way to Cologne for 3 nights, we visited Cologne earlier this summer and wanted to come back and spend more time.

Oktoberfest Munich - tips myths-42

After Cologne, we made our way to Belgium, where beer was back on the schedule. Visited several Trappist breweries, ate Belgium waffles, & chocolate too!  After 10 days of traveling based around beer, our liver’s were happy to see us say goodbye to the tasty beer region.

Achel Trappist Brewery - Belgium - Beer Tourism - Abbey visit details and tips-8

We flew from Brussels to Barcelona, where we had another friend from home meeting us. My childhood friend of 30 years flew over to spend 2 weeks with us. She studied abroad in Spain during college and couldn’t wait to get back. We spent 3 nights in Barcelona before flying to Madrid. We started our mornings at the Spanish standard around 10 am, went to markets and cafes. Loved the churros!

Spain Barcelona-4

We walked a ton, as Barcelona is a great city to see on foot. Most days we walked at least 10 miles. We caught up with Becky over crazy good and cheap bottles of wine, and then went out for tapas. We really enjoyed the Spanish lifestyle. We also happened to be in Spain the same time the family I babysat for 8 years for was, crazy seeing them in Spain. Luckily we were able to meet up twice for dinner.

Spain Barcelona-1

After Spain, we flew to Greece to attend TBEX Athens. We rented an apartment on Airbnb for 10 nights. Our 10 days in Athens were jammed packed with tours, parties, and the conference activities, time flew by so fast. We luckily had 2 free days at the beginning with Becky to explore Athens.

Airbnb first-timers, sign up here to get $40 credit when you book your first trip! –>> sign up here! 

Greece Viator-3

We found a cheap flight from Athens to Casablanca, and we were able to schedule in a 3-day layover back in Barcelona. A few extra days in Barcelona was great as there was more to the city we wanted to see, and we had to prepare for our 14-day tour in Morocco. We had time to take a cooking class, we had to learn how to cook paella!

Before you know it we were off to Casablanca! And that is where month 16 ended, but our Morocco adventures were just about to begin at the start of month 17!

Favorites

Favorite City: Barcelona, Spain

Spain Barcelona-2

Favorite Photo: Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany This beer server was on a mission, he had thirsty customers I was glad to catch the photo in action!

Oktoberfest Munich - tips myths-36

New Articles this month:

November Travel Plans:

November will have us in 3 different countries, starting in Morocco. We will spend 18 days in Morocco, of which 14 days will be on a tour with TourRadar. We will be starting in Casablanca and ending in Marrakech on the Drunk on Color Tour. We can’t wait to spend the night camping in the Sahara Desert!

After Morocco, we will fly from Morocco to Turkey, where we will spend 4 nights in Istanbul and 4 nights in the Cappadocia. We can’t wait to spend a night in a cave hotel and hot air balloon ride at sunrise in the Cappadocia.

Month 17

Month 17 started in  Casablanca, Morocco and ended in Chiang Mai, Thailand. November was a very busy month for us. We celebrated our 500th travel day, a milestone we could have never imagined! We were on the go for almost the entire month, getting stamped in 4 countries. And too many flights (8)….by the middle of the month we were in extreme travel burnout mode.

rtw, travel, month 17, round the word trip
Month 17 recap of our RTW trip

Month 17 stats:

  • Flew: 9813 miles/15,700.8 km
  • Minivan:  895.63 miles/1433km
  • Drove: 131.25 miles/210 km
  • Walked: 175.35 miles/280.56km 
  • Camel: 4 mile/ 6.4km estimate
  • Hot air balloon: 8.125 miles/13km estimate
  • Train: 192 miles/307.2km
  • Total Miles: 11,219.35 miles/ 17,950.97

Money Spent$2,433.75

Besides food/drink this includes: Rental car in Turkey for 4 days $124.22, one way flight from to Bangkok from Chiang Mai $74, bus from London Gatwick airport to Heathrow airport $79, Adobe $52, flight to mystery destination (stay tuned) $497, $375 December rent in Chiang Mai, $60 Dior mascara & Clinique face wash (necessary), and $150 supplies for apartment (towels, bed-sheet, pillows, blender, rice cooker, etc). The goal for next month $1000-$1100

Beds slept in: 16

Beers Drank (Adam): 10  (A shocking Record Low)

Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Hannah): 26

Where & What have we done in Month 17?

We made our way to Casablanca the first of the month, where we had 2 days to explore before our 14 day Morocco Highlights Tour with TourRadar started.  We visited Hassan II Mosque which is the 7th largest mosque in the world. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 meters(689 ft).

 Hassan II Mosque- Casablanca, Morocco
Hassan II Mosque- Casablanca, Morocco

It was then time to for our Drunk on Color tour, which would be taking us from Casablanca to Marrakesh visiting 10 cities in total over 14 days. It was a great trip, but we were moving almost every day…busy busy busy! For us it was the perfect way to see Morocco, there is no way we would have seen as much of the country if we didn’t do it this way.

Morocco was so home to all climates. We had hot 90 degree (~30C) days in Casablanca, freezing nights in the Sahara desert, snow in the High Atlas mountains, and rain in Marrakesh. Adam and I hadn’t played in snow in 2 years, so I naturally had to throw a snowball at him!

Drunk on Colour Tour - Trip Journal - Trip Review - Morocco - TourRadar-24
Throwing snowballs in the High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

We got our fill of mint tea, tajine, and Adam even indulged in a camel burger. I gave the camel burger a pass…Adam did report back it was tasty, but after seeing the camel’s head in the market I just couldn’t do. Would you try it?

Camel burgers Morocco
Camel burgers Morocco

The highlight of month 17 on our RTW trip was the night we spent in the Sahara desert. We rode camels to our desert camp. Let me tell you, camels are not a comfortable mode of transportation or fast, but the ride was worth the trip to Morocco alone. Once at camp we settled into our tents, enjoyed a great dinner, and drank wine under the stars. We woke up early to ride our camels back to town and catch the sunrise over the sand dunes.

Sahara Desert Morocco
Sahara Desert Morocco

After our time in the desert, it was time to drove through the High Atlas mountains and make our way to Marrakesh.  These roads are not meant for a weak stomach, I was doped up on car sickness pills, can you see why?

Drunk on Colour Tour - Trip Journal - Trip Review - Morocco - TourRadar-52

I think it was worth the sickness in the end. We had a great scenery and amazing photo opportunities the entire drive. Before we knew it we were in Marrakech, where we had 2 nights before making our way to the beach, yes beach after just being in snow! The beach town of Essaouira is completely different than any other city we visited in Morocco. It had a much more chill vibe, we called it “Morocco light”, we did most of our souvenir shopping here as the vendors weren’t pushy and they started their prices fair, unlike in Fes & Marrakesh. We spent 2 nights catching great sunsets, eating gelato by the sea, and enjoyed the rest of our Drunk on color tour.

Drunk on Colour Tour - Trip Journal - Trip Review - Morocco - TourRadar-55

Marrakesh is full on Morocco. The markets are so full of color & life. We enjoyed people watching from the rooftop cafes. Adam captured the below just as the sun had set and the night was just beginning. We stayed at Riad Belle Eqoque a lovely riad just 10 min walk from Jemaa el-Fnaa.

Marakesh Market-5
Jemaa el-Fnaa Marrakech Morocco

From Morocco, we made our way to Istanbul, Turkey but for some reason our flights had us flying into Gatwick London airport with a 13-hour layover and taking off of Heathrow airport…and who would have thought it would cost $80 to take a bus for 40 mins to get between airports! Finally, after 24 hours we reached Istanbul, where we stayed at Sirkeci Mansion which had a ridiculously comfortable bed we never wanted to get out! We aren’t sure if we were just so burnt out of traveling after 500+ days of traveling, or if the rainy weather outside. We spent 4 nights in Istanbul and a good 12 hours a day in this bed…

Sirkeci Mansion Istnabul Mansion
Sirkeci Mansion Istanbul Mansion

We flew from Istanbul to the Cappadocia region, where we would be staying in cave hotel outside of the tourist town of Goreme. We were at the foot of a castle, not only have gorgeous views but Kale Konak Cave hotel had gorgeous rooms literally built into a cave. Cappadocia was literally freezing, we even got caught in a snowstorm. We were nervous a cave hotel might be cold, we were wrong. Nice and toasty, with a hot shower that warmed us up nightly.

Cappadocia Turkey
Cappadocia Turkey

You can’t go to the Cappadocia without going on a hot air balloon, every morning (weather permitting) 100 balloons take off at sunrise. We were lucky because the balloons only took off 1 out of our 4 days we were in the Cappadocia, the day we were scheduled the balloons were canceled due to high winds but thankfully Voyager Ballons were able to move us to the next day which did take off! The highlight of our trip to Turkey.

Cappadocia Turkey hot air balloon
Cappadocia Turkey hot air balloon

Our journey to Chiang Mai, Thailand started at 4 am thanks to a snowstorm in the Cappadocia…our rental car couldn’t make it up the hill to our hotel so we had to get an early start walking with our bags. A total of 4 flights and 26 hours later we landed in Chiang Mai. A quick nap and our apartment search was on. We looked at 3 apartments before signing a lease, we moved in less than 24 hours after landing in Chiang Mai. We now have a great balcony with perfect sunset views.

Chiang Mai Thailand sunset
Chiang Mai Thailand sunset

Favorites

Favorite City: Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira Morocco
Essaouira Morocco

Favorite Photo:  Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia Balloon
Cappadocia, Turkey hot air balloon

 New Articles this month:

December Travel Plans:

We are slowing down finally, it’s safe to say after 500 days on the road we need a break. We have hit a wall, every 3 months we get burnout and it’s happening right now. We have so much yet to write about and we just haven’t had the time. Chiang Mai was the perfect place to sit still and catch up, and really just catch our breath.

Month 18

Month 18 started in  Chiang Mai, Thailand and ended in Chiang Mai, Thailand. December was a month of catching our breath after the whirlwind of month 17. Last month we visited 4 countries and had too many flights (8)…. Month 18 we were recovering from extreme travel burnout mode. By the end of the month, we are feeling all settled into our new apartment make sure to come take a walk through with us here.

Month 18 - Recap Map.001

Month 18 stats:

  • Flew: 0 miles
  • Walked: 196.89 miles/315.02km
  • Songtaew: 45.63miles/73km
  • Total Miles: 217.52 miles/348.03 km

Money Spent$4,036.22

I am shocked at this number so I had to do a little digging to see how in the hell it got so high. We had to pay for our 5 month gym membership up front that was $310, our travel insurance expired so we bought another 6 month policy $966, had my highlights touched up at New York New York hair salon $117, we purchased some equipment another external hard drive /Adam got another camera lens/unlocked Samsung smartphone/Asus unlocked tablet all items cost $545.32, our rent was $375, electricity & water & the internet another $71, oh and can’t forget Christmas ordered on Amazon.com $332.81, and we sent our first 5lb package home for a whopping $100! The rest was spent on food, drinks, songtaews, etc.

Beds slept in 1

Beers Drank (Adam): 45  

Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Hannah): 15

Where & What have we done in Month 18?

We made our way nowhere…really. We stayed in Chiang Mai the entire month! It took a few weeks to get our apartment in order, join a gym, unpack, make new friends, and just relax a little.

Christmas in Chiang Mai is much different than at home, for example, a popular park in town by our house spread salt all over the grounds to appear like snow. Did it look pretty, yes…but walking through salt and breathing it in not so pretty. We are quite sure it has killed many trees & the color of the pavement.

One of our favorite restaurants in town had an ugly sweater Christmas party complete with free food and Christmas cookie decorating! Me and my friend Brittany from TheTradingTraveler decorated the cookies and made smores over the fire.

On Christmas morning, we got up at 5:30 am to make it up the mountain for sunrise at Doi Suthep temple. We went with 4 other bloggers early in the morning to beat the tourist crowds that come during the day.  No way you could capture the below picture at 11 am without a ton of others in your photo.

We were able to video chat with our friends and family on Christmas, which is great but not the same as being there. It was nice to say hi to the grandparent’s, even though I know my grandma was more confused on how she was seeing me…we are so lucky to have technology on the road.

xmas2

Right before Christmas another Wisconsin travel blogging couple was in town and contacted us to meet up. Matt & Alana are from the Wausau area, and their story is so much like our’s we instantly clicked. We hung with almost every day of their 10 days in Chiang Mai.

New Year’s Eve we headed into the moat area for some street food and little bar hoping with Travis from FlashpackerHQ and Matt & Alana from GreatBigGlobe before we got ourselves on a rooftop to countdown to the New Year and watch the fireworks.

Favorite City: Chiang Mai

Thailand - A view from our Chiang Mai Aprtment-1

Favorite Photo:

Temple sunrise-5

 

 New Articles this month:

January Travel Plans:

Now that we have been in Chiang Mai for a month it’s time to get our passports back out and travel! We are headed to Siem Reap, Cambodia to revisit Angkor Wat as really enjoyed this town last year and didn’t have enough time to explore the temples. After Cambodia, we are flying to our favorite city in all of Asia,  BANGKOK! We are having our first visitor of 2015 come, my college friend Andrea is flying in. We will be exploring Bangkok and then off to our favorite island in the world Koh Lipe for 5 days of fun in the sun.

Month 19

Month 19 started in  Chiang Mai, Thailand and ended in Bangkok, Thailand. We hadn’t used our passports since November 28th when we landed in Chiang Mai, and that changed this month. It was time to hit the road again, but this time with only carry on bags! We needed to leave Thailand as our 60-day visa was up, so we either had to pay for an extension or just leave. Naturally, we left and decided to go back to Cambodia a country we visited last year but didn’t spend enough time in Siem Reap.

Month 19 Recap Map.001

Month 19 stats:

  • Flew: 844.47 miles/1,351.15 km
  • Walked: 185.4 miles/ 296.64 km
  • Tuk Tuk: 167.87 miles/278.6 km
  • Total Miles: 1,197.74 miles/1,916.39 km

Money Spent$6,177.47

This month makes me sick to see how much we spent! So what happen, what did we buy? Here are the big things: $1,320 gorilla trekking permits for our photo safari, $1,513.01 new Macbook Pro for Hannah, $500 cash for 5 nights in Siem Reap, $100 hotels Siem Reap, $225 hotel in Koh Lipe for next month, $668.72 Air Asia flights (Chiang Mai to Siem Reap, Siem Reap to Bangkok, Bangkok to Hat Yai with transfer to Koh Lipe, and Hat Yai to Chiang Mai), $49.26 spa treatment Bangkok, $375 rent on our apartment, $29 cable bill, $30 unlimited data packages on 2 phones for a month, $100 went clothing shopping, $200 amazon items my friend is bringing us supplies for new computer and REAL deodorant, and $62 new website themes & plugins!

I already know next month won’t be pretty either as having a visitor is fun, but it does cost us more money…Hoping next month us under $3,500!

Beds slept in: 4

Beers Drank (Adam): 25 

Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Hannah): 23

Where & What have we done in Month 19?

January started off with a hangover, naturally! We nursed it off with some Kraft Mac & Cheese and a day of doing nothing but watching TV. We spent 25 days in Chiang Mai working like crazy. One of the biggest projects you may have noticed was the website redesign, this was a solid week of work at the coffee shop for 12-16 hours a day…and it’s still not 100% done the way we want it. So stay tuned for additional changes.

We said goodbye to several friends we have met here in Chiang Mai this month, Sabrina from JustOneWayTicket, Travis from FlashPackerHQ, and Matt & Alana from GreatBigGlobe all left in January. Chiang Mai is a city for travelers coming and going, several stay for a few months at a time and others for only a few days. It’s great to have a like-minded community here, and when you need a break from your computer someone is usually up for grabbing a beer.

After all our friends left, it was our turn to break out the passports and hop on a plane. Last year we visited Siem Reap, Cambodia with Hannah’s parents while they were visiting. We only got the one day pass to the temples, which is not nearly enough time. We both really enjoyed Cambodia and knew we wanted to go back. We had to leave Thailand because our visa was expiring, so heading to Cambodia was just what we needed.

We spent 5 nights in Siem Reap, explored the temples for 3 days with the best tuk-tuk driver in town Sok , ate too many taco’s at Viva Mexican, each got a head cold and couldn’t indulge in the 50 draft beers. We spent our last night in Siem Reap in luxury at the Navutu Dreams Resort. A day of relaxing at one of the three pools was just what we needed before we headed off to Bangkok!

Our first visitor was coming, and what better place than Bangkok to kickstart a Thailand trip! We always stay at Lub’d Hostel, which is not only the cleanest hostels we have ever been to but with their Siam location, it is perfect to explore Bangkok. My friend Andrea had never stayed at a hostel before, she was a little nervous….but within minutes she was saying “This is a hostel?”

Month 19 ended on Khao San Road drinking too many Chang beers, enjoying the best people watching in the world.

Favorite City: Bangkok

Bangkok

Favorite Photo:

Angkor Wat-7

Sunrise over Angor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

New Articles this month:

February Travel Plans:

January ended in Bangkok but our time in Bangkok extended in February. We spent 4 nights in Bangkok before whisking my friend off to our favorite island in the world Koh Lipe! 5 nights of sun & fun was needed, as we haven’t been in a beach since our Croatia Cruise in September. After our 2 week vacation, we flew back to our “new home” Chiang Mai to catch up on work the rest of February.

Month 20 started in Bangkok Thailand and ended in Chiang Rai, Thailand. This month all of our travel was within Thailand, so no getting stamped in month 20! We had my college friend Andrea with us for 9 days, we showed her around Bangkok before heading off to Koh Lipe for 5 days of fun in the sun on our favorite island in the world. Let’s look back at what month 20 all entailed.

RTW Recap Maps Month 20.001

Month 20 stats:

  • Flew: 1,181.45 miles/ 1,890.32 km
  • Walked: 164.68 miles/263.49 km
  • Speed Boat: 75 miles/120 km
  • Minivan Shuttle: 151 miles/242 km
  • Drive: 354 miles/566 km  road trip with friends
  • Total Miles: 1,926.13 miles/ 3,081.81 km

Money Spent: $3,481.37

Once again, we are well above our budget, three times to be exact. Having a visitor and budget don’t go hand and hand. We had an amazing time on Koh Lipe but managed to spend $500 in 5 days on food, drinks, activities but it was well worth it. Koh Lipe can be done on a budget, we splurged a little on the drinks as we haven’t had a visitor from home since October. Another expense was our last minute trip to ***revealed below in March travel plans* cost $1,069 in flights, $124 in visa costs, $20 buses, and $52 hotels. We will however, be making most of this up, as we have some writing & photography assignments over the week. We bought me a new Macbook Pro and had to get SquareTrade accidental insurance on it $243. Other big expenses: $340 rent, $52 drinks on rooftop bar in Bangkok, $30 internet at the apartment, $30 cell phone plans.

Beds slept in: 4

Beers Drank (Adam): 80

Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Hannah): 19 

Where & What have we done in Month 20?

We started February in Bangkok where we were meeting our friend Andrea from home. It just so happens our friends Brittany & Charlie were there and Matt & Alana. Naturally, when you have 7 people you must go out for drinks, what better place than a 55th-floor sky bar in Bangkok?

BKK Night and Roof top-2

We visited some of our favorites in Bangkok with Andrea like Wat Pho, Grand Palace, and Khao San Road. We didn’t talk her into eating any bugs, and I think this was the first time Adam didn’t eat anything on the bug cart…his last time here he ate a water beetle which is now declared the worst thing he has ever put in his mouth. We made sure to get foot massages for $5 an hour, people watch, and eat plenty of street food. Before you know it our time in the crazy city of Bangkok was up…

BKK Night and Roof top-13

We headed for our favorite island in the world, Koh Lipe! Our journey from Bangkok started at 4:30 a.m. and after a flight, 2-hour shuttle, 1.5 hr speedboat, and 15-minute walk we had arrived at Sunrise beach! We spent 5 nights in paradise, laying in the sun, day drinking on the beach, playing in the ocean, Adam & Andrea dove, and just loving life.

Koh Lipe Ultimate guide - Thailand - Happy Vibe-3

Before you know if our vacation was over, Andrea headed back to LA and us back to Chiang Mai.  Our friends Brittany & Charlie had a visitor in town and asked if we wanted to get out of Chiang Mai for the weekend and hit the road. Adam and I been wanting to visit Chiang Rai and see the countryside. So we rented a car and went on a 3 day/2 night road trip with our friends.

Naturally, we got the cheapest car that fit 5 people, at $35 a day the price was right, but the size was a little tight…We spent the last day of February making our way to Chiang Rai with our friends. Thanks to Charlie for being our “chauffeur” and sorry to Brittany to being squeezed in the middle seat….

Road Trip Chiang Rai - Month 20

Favorite City: Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe Ultimate guide - Thailand - Day Trip-2

Favorite Photo:

At my happy place, sunrise beach Koh Lipe Thailand.

Koh Lipe-9

New Articles this month:

March Travel Plans:

Still on our 3-day road trip with our friends here in Chiang Mai.  We will be cruising through Chiang Rai, Chiang Dao, and a quick stop by Myanmar border so they can do a border run. We haven’t explored much outside of Chiang Mai, so we are excited to see the surrounding area.

We will be heading to INDIA for a week! The Holi festival was always on our bucket list, but with the complicated India visa regulations, we didn’t think we would make it. Thankfully just a few months ago India opened up visa on arrival! We got offered a few writing & photography assignments covering holi and few other tours in India. Once we found reasonable flights to India, we couldn’t turn down the offer. The amount we earn will almost cover our flight costs, but we are attending an event we really wanted to and crossing it off the bucket list.

We will return back to Chiang Ma and have plans to spend the rest of March here. But you never know what might come up.

Month 21 started in Chiang Rai, Thailand and ended in Chiang Mai. This month we broke out our passports and boarded 9 flights touching down in 3 countries! It’s been a whirlwind month, an unexpected assignment offer in India and a press trip to Langkawi Malaysia. Let’s look back at what month 21 all entailed.

Month 21 - Recap Map.001

Month 21 stats:

  • Flew: 7,812 miles/12,499km
  • Walked: 134 miles/215km
  • Jetski: 15 miles/24km
  • Drove: 649 miles/1,039km
  • Bus: 168 miles/269km
  • Total Miles: 8,778 miles/14,046 km

Money Spent: $1,372.99

With all the traveling this month you would have expected this to be higher, but all of our India hotels/flights were purchases last month and our Langkawi trip was fully covered. This month’s biggest expenses were: rent $375, Adam visit to the eye doctor resulted in glasses $185, new sunglasses for Adam $30, new purse for me $33, going to the hair salon to try and remove the pink stains left from Holi $155, Clinque face-wash bought in duty free $24, $53 Adobe monthly software fees, $18 Netflix & Hulu fees, and the rest was daily food/etc here in Chiang Mai. We are hoping April is around $1,000-$1,200.

Beds slept in: 9

Beers Drank (Adam): 43

Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Hannah): 17 

Where & What have we done in Month 21?

We started March in Chiang Rai while we were on our Northern Thailand road trip. We visited the White Temple, Black House, Golden Triangle where Laos/Mynamar/Thailand meet, Chiang Dao caves, and back to Chiang Mai. It was a great weekend outside of Chiang Mai.

Northern Thailand Road Trip prAna packprAna-7

2 days after our road trip we were on our way to India! A new country for Getting Stamped. Thankfully India just introduced visa on arrival, otherwise I am quite sure we wouldn’t have been able to go. We got offered a few writing & photography assignments in India that we couldn’t turn down. In the end, it would only cover half of our expenses, but going to India and the Holi festival, in particular, was on our bucket list.

We landed in New Delhi late at night and hit the ground running 6 hours later with our first of 5 tours over our 8-day trip. We both were actually surprised how clean Delhi was, don’t get me wrong it was somewhat dirty….we just expected it worse. We toured Delhi in a day and settled into our hotel and ordered room service for the first time in ages. Indulged on chicken tikka masala, garlic naan, and rice for only $6 for both of us.

Delhi-1

After our one two nights in Delhi, we were picked up early in the morning to head to Matura to celebrate the Holi Festival. The Holi festival had been on our bucket list and to have a chance to cross it off was something we couldn’t miss. We hopped on the bus to find our friends Tony & Chris…yes a two guys we meet on a food tour in Bangkok last April 2014 happened to be on our tour in India 11 months later! On our Holi tour, it was us, Tony and his uncle, Chris, and 2 other strangers who have now become friends too. SMALL WORLD, and some of the best parts about traveling!

Holi Festival Tour-21

The Holi festival was insane, there is no other way to put it. Adam did extensive research on how to protect his camera from the flying colored powder and buckets of colored water. We are glad we brought out the DSLR camera because we got some great footage of the festival. The streets were crazy, we were getting hit with powder right and left. I think they tried to get in our eyes, nose, and ears. The festival wasn’t all happy times, the local men would get touchy/feely with women whenever they thought they could…all the girls in my group got several chest & butt grabs.

Portraits of Holi Festival-9

3 weeks after the festival and I still have pink hair…it was a great time but I won’t have to ever do it again. If you plan on going to a color run to make sure to read my girls guide to protect your hair/skin/etc. After our Holi festival tour, we made our way back to Delhi.

Portraits of Holi Festival-5

You can’t go to India without visiting the Taj Mahal. We went on a day trip from Delhi to Agra, which is 3.5 hours each way. It was a long day, but the Taj did not disappoint. We enjoyed an amazing 5-course dinner at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Taj and then made our way down to the Taj where we took it all in for around 4 hours and stuck around for sunset for some great photos.

Tour of the Taj-21

We decided to take the bus from Delhi to Jaipur 5 hours, as we wanted to see more of the countryside. We thought the bus could be scenic…I must tell you the flight would have been around $35 and the bus was $10. Well our bus never showed up and we ended up on a tour, but we got to Jaipur in the end, just not on time or what we paid for. We spent 3 nights in Jaipur, before heading back to Chiang Mai.

We only spent 2 weeks in Chiang Mai before we were off to the airport again this time we were heading to the beach! We escaped the smokey season in Chiang for 7 days for one week in Langkawi. Our time in Langkawi was action packed we went jet-skiing, snorkeling, Adam diving, mangrove tour, sunset dinner cruise, spa treatments, parasailing, off-road ATVs, ate some of the tastiest food ever and were pampered at five-star resorts.

one week in Langkawi - Diving at Langkawi coral - Photo Collages.001

And this is where month 21 ended…I didn’t want to leave The Danna hotel, the infinity pool was out of this world and I found the perfect beach lounge. Wonder what month 22 will bring!

Langkawi-11

Favorite City: Langkawi

Langkawi-4

Nightly gorgeous sunsets, amazing food, endless activities, and great staff made Langkawi our favorite destination this month! We hope to be back in 2016.

Favorite Photo:

Portraits of Holi Festival-14

Favorite New Item of the Month:

Tour of the Taj-24

Love Adam’s new prAna button dress shirt, it’s great to have a “fancy” shirt in our bags. I must say it looks good with my green prAna dress as well.

New Articles this month:

April Travel Plans:

We will be spending 99% of the month in Thailand. We both can’t believe our 5-month lease on our apartment in Chiang Mai is up in less than 3 weeks. We will be packing up our belongings and heading to Africa for our East Africa photo safari. We first will spend 5 nights in our favorite city in Asia, Bangkok! Next thing you know we will be making our journey back to Africa on the same exact day we did last year. We will be in Africa until the middle of July!

Month 22 started in Chiang Mai, Thailand and ended in Nairobi, Kenya. This month was an emotional month as our 5-month stay in Chiang Mai has come to end. It was our second home, and can’t believe our 5-month lease is already over and now it is time to for our photo safari in Africa!

Month 21 - Recap Map.001

Month 21 stats:

  • Flew:
  • Walked: 134 miles/215km
  • Total Miles: 8,778 miles/14,046 km

Money Spent: $

With all the traveling this month you would have expected this to be higher, but all of our India hotels/flights were purchases last month and our Langkawi trip was fully covered. This month’s biggest expenses were: rent $375, Adam visit to the eye doctor resulted in glasses $185, new sunglasses for Adam $30, new purse for me $33, going to the hair salon to try and remove the pink stains left from Holi $155, Clinique face-wash bought in duty free $24, $53 Adobe monthly software fees, $18 Netflix & Hulu fees, and the rest was daily food/etc here in Chiang Mai. We are hoping April is around $1,000-$1,200.

Beds slept in: 9

Beers Drank (Adam): 43

Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Hannah): 17 

WHERE & WHAT HAVE WE DONE IN MONTH 21?

We started March in Chiang Rai while we were on our Northern Thailand road trip. We visited the White Temple, Black House, Golden Triangle where Laos/Myanmar/Thailand meet, Chiang Dao caves, and back to Chiang Mai. It was a great weekend outside of Chiang Mai.

Northern Thailand Road Trip prAna packprAna-7

2 days after our road trip we were on our way to India! A new country for Getting Stamped. Thankfully India just introduced visa on arrival, otherwise I am quite sure we wouldn’t have been able to go. We got offered a few writing & photography assignments in India that we couldn’t turn down. In the end it would only cover half of our expenses, but going to India and the Holi festival in particular was on our bucket list.

We landed in New Delhi late at night, and hit the ground running 6 hours later with our first of 5 tours over our 8 day trip. We both were actually surprised how clean Delhi was, don’t get me wrong it was somewhat dirty….we just expected it worse. We toured Delhi in a day and settled into our hotel and ordered room service for the first time in ages. Indulged on chicken tika masala, garlic naan, and rice for only $6 for both of us.

Delhi-1

After our one two nights in Delhi we were picked up early in the morning to head to Matura to celebrate the Holi Festival. The Holi festival had been on our bucket list and to have a chance to cross it off was something we couldn’t miss. We hopped on the bus to find our friends Tony & Chris…yes a two guys we meet on a food tour in Bangkok last April 2014 happened to be on our tour in India 11 months later! On our Holi tour it was us, Tony and his uncle, Chris, and 2 other strangers who have now become friends too. SMALL WORLD, and some of the best parts about traveling!

Holi Festival Tour-21

The Holi festival was insane, there is no other way to put it. Adam did extensive research on how to protect his camera from the flying colored powder and buckets of colored water. We are glad we brought out the DSLR camera because we got some great footage of the festival. The streets were crazy, we were get hit with powder right and left. I think they tried to get in our eyes, nose, and ears. The festival wasn’t all happy times, the local men would get touchy/feely with women whenever they thought they could…all the girls in my group got several chest & butt grabs.

Portraits of Holi Festival-9

3 weeks after the festival and I still have pink hair…it was a great time but I won’t have to ever do it again. If you plan on going to a color run make sure to read my girls guide to protect your hair/skin/etc. After our Holi festival tour we made our way back to Delhi.

Portraits of Holi Festival-5

You can’t go to India without visiting the Taj Mahal. We went on a day trip from Delhi to Agra, which is 3.5 hours each way. It was a long day, but the Taj did not disappoint. We enjoyed an amazing 5-course dinner at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Taj and then made our way down to the Taj where we took it all in for around 4 hours and stuck around for sunset for some great photos.

Tour of the Taj-21

We decided to take the bus from Delhi to Jaipur 5 hours, as we wanted to see more of the countryside. We thought the bus could be scenic…I must tell you the flight would have been around $35 and the bus was $10. Well our bus never showed up and we ended up on a tour, but we got to Jaipur in the end, just not on time or what we paid for. We spent 3 nights in Jaipur, before heading back to Chiang Mai.

We only spent 2 weeks in Chiang Mai before we were off to the airport again, this time we were heading to the beach! We escaped the smokey season in Chiang for 7 days for one week in Langkawi. Our time in Langkawi was action packed we went jet-skiing, snorkeling, Adam diving, mangrove tour, sunset dinner cruise, spa treatments, parasailing, off-road ATVs, ate some of the tastiest food ever, and were pampered at five star resorts.

one week in Langkawi - Diving at Langkawi coral - Photo Collages.001

And this is where month 21 ended…I didn’t want to leave The Danna hotel, the infinity pool was out of this world and I found the perfect beach lounge. Wonder what month 22 will bring!

Langkawi-11

Favorite City: Langkawi

Langkawi-4

Nightly gorgeous sunsets, amazing food, endless activities, and great staff made Langkawi our favorite destination this month! We hope to be back in 2016.

Favorite Photo:

Portraits of Holi Festival-14

Favorite New Item of the Month:

Tour of the Taj-24

Love Adam’s new prAna button dress shirt, it’s great to have a “fancy” shirt in our bags. I must say it looks good with my green prAna dress as well.

NEW ARTICLES THIS MONTH:

April Travel Plans:

We will be spending 99% of the month in Thailand. We both can’t believe our 5-month lease on our apartment in Chiang Mai is up in less than 3 weeks. We will be packing up our belongings and heading to Africa for our East Africa photo safari. We first will spend 5 nights in our favorite city in Asia, Bangkok! Next thing you know we will making our journey back to Africa on the same exact day we did last year. We will be in Africa until the middle of July!

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