Happy New Year one and all!
2015 has been one interesting year to say the least. The last 12 months have been full of change and unexpected opportunities, from jobs to travel. In fact, we’ve had a surprising amount of adventures, despite being based back in the UK.
We begun with a month flitting around our various homes and continuing the post-Korea catch up. I also jetted off to Marrakech for a luxury getaway with my mum and later in January Oli and I went skiing in Germany with my dad and step-mum. In February we headed to Edinburgh to start our new jobs.
While back down South in the Spring we had two camping adventures in Cornwall and the Isle of White, visited family in Rome and then head to Ghana for work. Our two months there were incredibly busy, rewarding and loads of fun. I promise we will get to writing about them soon. We then did some more UK exploration visiting friends in Derbyshire and Western Scotland later in the Summer.
Our final big adventure of the year was in India, a spur of the moment trip brought on by missing friends from Korea and cheap Turkish Airlines flights! We rounded off the year with another month working in Edinburgh and Christmas at home.
So, actually, we didn’t really settle down… In fact it’s been quite exhausting!
This year has been very different to the last, but we have learnt so much along the way and spent a heart-melting amount of time with the people we love.
But what were our best journeys of the year?
Disclaimer: this list may include more metaphorical journeys than physical ones, but it’s the journey itself that counts not how adventurous it is, right?
The New Job Journey
When we arrived home in December 2014, we were all set to jet off again for another teaching gig. We’d even had a couple of interviews. But when our best friend humbly asked us if we would want to take on some projects with his charity, The Turing Trust, we could not pass up the opportunity.
This job has been a whirlwind learning experience and we are so grateful to have had the chance to dive into the charity sector with this amazing organisation. It’s not everyday you get to basically run a charity and see your work come to fruition with the projects in country. We’ve learnt so much.
While it may be time for us to move on now (keep reading the blog to find out more) we will continue to volunteer behind the scenes to help in making as big an impact as we can.
We love Edinburgh. A lot. The magic and history of the castle and old town, the cosy pubs with great beer and whiskey, the friendly locals, they all create an atmosphere we fall for every time we visit. But what I think we love most is the accessible and wild countryside.
Last year’s journeys were epic in size but 2015 brough more everyday adventures. Hiking around Arthur’s Seat and The Craggs continues to be one of our favourites. There is nothing like getting outside to put a smile on our faces.
Three Days in Istanbul- The Layover Journey
Oli and I discovered the joys of long stopovers this year with 3 amazing days in Istanbul spread across 6 months. We flew with Turkish Airlines (who we would highly recommend) to Ghana and India, with 3 long stopovers in Istanbul making our flights unbelievably cheap.
Neither of us had been to Turkey before and Istanbul is a really fun introduction. It’s also surprisingly easy to explore in 24 hours despite its size. We loved wondering between the mosques and through the bazaars, soaking in the atmosphere. We’d love to make it further a field and for longer sometime.
Car Journeys with Eddie Pinto
Everyone loves a road trip right? And when you are on the road between school visits, delivering computers and talking to students, it’s especially fun. But what made our car journeys across Ghana so epic, from the border of Burkina Faso to the border of Togo, was our partner Eddie and his incredible stories.
Eddie has had an amazing life and seems to make a huge impact wherever he goes. We loved his inspirational chats along Ghana’s bumpy roads, highways and tracks.
Oli: “Being home for a year has really helped us get our family/travel balance back a little bit. It’s been awesome to be close to everyone, but equally cool to take some awesome trips away together too. This year we travelled to Rome and Germany/Austria to hang out with our extended families who live there and they really spoilt us with their hospitality and tour-guiding. We also got my Uncle over to India for the trip of a lifetime and Jade had an epic weekend away in Marrakech with her Mum.
We hope 2016 proves as awesome for adventures with our families and encourage any of them reading this to get some flights booked soon!”
A Journey Through the Himalayas
Oli: “Riding through the Himalayas on a Royal Enfield was a dream come true for me. I got a taste for it last year in Nepal, where I road tripped for a couple of days with my dad, but this was the year of the truly epic adventure. We rode for 10 days in a big loop from Manali, through The Spiti Valley and up to Nako on the Tibetan border. We pushed the bikes to their breaking point and they inevitably broke down, but it was those moments, soaring high above the mountains, that made the adventure. Check out the video here.”
Tuk Tuk Journey Joy!
We had so much fun chartering Tuk Tuks in India! In Jaipur we had a recommendation from a friend and spent the best day with Banty exploring the city and then we later met another amazing guy by chance who showed us the beautiful countryside near Udaipur. There is nothing quite like holding on for dear life, with the dusty wind in your hair, as an autorickshaw swings around mountain bends…
Check out some tuk-tuk journeys in this video.
A Four-legged Journey
Another fun form of transport to take in India? A camel! Jaisalmer is the magical desert capital of Rajasthan and there is no better way to experience the area than on an overnight camel safari. Whilst camels have got to be the most uncomfortable form of transport ever, there is nothing quite like summiting a huge sand dune atop one of these ungainly beasts, out into the middle of nowhere, and then dining and sleeping under thousands of stars.
Indian Train Journeys
Our list of journeys would not be complete without mentioning the famous Indian train journey. Whilst we had major issues throughout our trip with trying to book train journeys, the ones we did take were worth the effort and made for some of our favourite memories of the trip.
Why? Well for one they are incredibly comfortable, even in the lower classes, and definitely more enjoyable than buses. We loved satisfying our chai cravings at every stop, watching the countryside whip by and the interactions we had with our fellow passengers. Indian train journeys are the ultimate form of budget travel!
So there you have it, 9 of the best journeys of 2015. Here’s to many more.