The year 2018 was pretty amazing and we would say it was one of our best years we ever had. The reason why it was such an amazing year is that we traveled to five continents and visited all together 17 countries. I didn’t think that I will write such a review as I thought that whatever I do is just not enough. But thinking about 2018 made us realize that there is so much we can be proud of.
We had many awesome and memorable experiences and of course a few set backs. We learned a lot about traveling, how to save money while traveling, how to get better with photography, editing and blogging. Every day we learned something new. We also learned that we do not want to go back to our lives we had before. Even though it was of course nice life where we had stability, jobs and careers. But we just knew that we want something else in life, and try to work on our dreams first. We have seen breathtaking Myanmar and Philippines, 15 most beautiful places in South America, visited our friends and family, explored Florida and moved to Australia.
AND THIS WAS OUR 2018
We do not want to set any New Year’s resolutions. We look back at 2018 and actually realized that there is so much we can be proud of.
In January 2018 we were still traveling in Southeast Asia and finishing our six months journey. We were in beautiful Myanmar and believe me, we didn’t want to leave. People are so friendly and the atmosphere is so authentic and traditional. If you’re not sure whether you should visit Myanmar, you can read more about our thoughts here. From breathtaking Bagan to beautiful Mandalay and Ngapali Beach, you must go and see yourself.
After Myanmar we continued to the Philippines where we spent all together one month. It was the last country we visited in Southeast Asia and we were honestly speaking already very tired from full-time traveling and full-time blogging. We visited around six islands and we ended up stuck in Siargao because of a typhoon. Thanks God nothing happened to us. We snorkelled with whale sharks, we completed our deep dive into 30 m and saw thresher sharks on Malapascue Island. And we took one of our best drone shots on Kalangaman Island.
MARCH: BYE SOUTHEAST ASIA AND HELLO HOME
In the middle of March after 6 months on the road we flew home to Germany for a little break. We spent two weeks there which was pretty nice to see family and close friends. But again, even though we were tired of travelling, it took us only a few days to realize that we want to be on the road again. That’s why we booked tickets to South America and we were heading to Bogota. This is where our South American adventures started.
APRIL-MAY: COLOMBIA, ECUADOR
We spent 1 month in Colombia and we totally loved it. Yes, it is completely different, but also very authentic. We learned a lot about coffee, saw many beautiful and colourful cities and explored the Caribbean coast. This is where we explored the most beautiful beaches in Colombia. The biggest highlight was San Andres Island.
In May we spend two weeks in Ecuador. Here we celebrated Nico’s birthday spending it on the beach Montanita. Nico got from me a surfing course. After two weeks we left for Peru.
Peru is really extraordinary and a diverse country as it has so many beautiful places to see. We spent all together 4 weeks wandering around Peru. We explored the north and the coast of Peru. Then we moved to the mountains where the temperature changed to a colder climate. Here, we hiked to the one of the most beautiful lagoons: Laguna Paron and Laguna 69. We flew to famous Cusco where we stayed 1 week. From there we hiked up to Machu Picchu and did the 4 days Inca Jungle Trek which was a lot of fun. We spent a full day in Machu Picchu, the weather was amazing and sunny. We also saw beautiful rainbow Mountain and visited the amazing Salinas de Maras. I spent my 30th birthday in Hucachina oasis and we also took a flight over the Nasca lines.
JULY: HELLO BOLIVIA, CHILE, PARAGUAY, ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL
Bolivia was another country we explored. It was also one of the most coldest countries regarding temperature and people. We traveled to many places and one of the most extraordinary things we saw was the Milky Way on Isla del Sol and of course the amazing Salar de Uyuni. I also tried on a traditional Bolivian dress and played with many alpacas.
July was a little bit hectic regarding traveling as we traveled to 5 countries in South America. We started in Chile where we explored in the Atacama desert. Here, we cycled to the Moon Valley and visited one of the craziest lagoons we have seen. We also almost got robbed in Chile. But thanks God nothing happened to us and to our gear. After we continued to Buenos Aires where we met lovely couple Breanne and Daniel from the love & adventure. We also spent a weekend in nearby Montevideo, Uruguay and flew to the Iguazu falls (Argentinian side). We crossed the border to Brazil with a bus. Unfortunately, the bus driver didn’t stop at the boarder to allow us to “officially” enter Brazil. So we ended up illegally in Brazil. It was such a hustle as we had to go back in the middle of night to get the stamp. A Uber driver helped us big time. The next day we took a flight to Rio which was one of my dreams to see. We spend one week exploring this crazy beautiful city.
AUGUST: HELLO HOME (AGAIN)
From Rio we flew to Bogota and from there we continued to Miami. We spent 2 weeks driving around Florida. Then we flew to Germany again, but this time we had no idea for how long and what to do next…
SEPTEMBER: WE GOT HACKED
Finally, we decided to apply for an Australian Visa. We also set up our first online store as we love all of the authentic things which we saw in countries we visited. It took a long time to set it up and unfortunately in that month our website got hacked. This was a huge setback for us and we really wondered why us. All we knew was that we had to fix it which took us around one month and some money until the website was finally cleared from Asian sh*t websites. Thanks to our friend Simon for his support.
OCTOBER AND WE ARE OFF TO OUR THIRD ADVENTURE
We were working really hard on new articles and going through a very difficult and challenging visa process for me (Gigi, as I am from Slovakia). But on 31st of October after two months waiting I finally received my working holiday visa. Nico applied after that and he waited literally one second until he got it. I also spent some time visiting my mother in Czech Republic and my brother in the UK.
DECEMBER: HELLO AUSTRALIA
We arrived to Australia and started to figure out our life here. It’s our fifth continent we have been to (ok, Nico has six).
SO WHAT DID WE ACHIEVE THIS YEAR?
OUR PHOTOGRAPHY AND EDITING IMPROVED
This is something which we really improved over time. I remember our first month in Indonesia and how we were taking photos and how they looked. Now it’s such a huge difference. We also changed from shooting in JPEG to shooting in RAW. This really helped us with editing. We will never go back to JPEG ever again. Thank you onceuponajrney for convincing us to switch.
IMPROVED IN WRITING POSTS
When we started this blog from scratch we had no idea about anything. We are still of course improving as there is so much to learn every single day but we can already see a big difference. How we write our posts, how we use SEO, how to optimise our website, etc. Thank you Slavi from Global Castaway for your ongoing support.
WE GREW ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Even though the Instagram game is really hard on us and it’s technically very hard to grow now (without paying for followers and for likes), we are still proud that we could grow our audience to almost 19000 people. It is very inspiring for us to see that there are so many people interested in us and our content. Our goal is to continually provide useful info. We also grew tremendously on Pinterest and this helped us to grow traffic.
WHAT ARE OUR GOALS FOR 2019?
MONETIZING OUR BLOG
We put so much love and effort into our blog and we really want to do it full time and professionally. And so to speak, take our blog to the next level and finally monetize it. Our goal is to publish two articles every week and work on our traffic and grow our audience. Further, to continue on creating a community of like-minded people like us.
We just published our first free e-book which will mention all our travel hacks and tips we discovered during our 15 months journey. All hacks and tips saved us lots of money and allowed us to travel longer. They also make our travels smoother and more enjoyable. We want to share them with you to help you and make your life easier. We want to give back to our community and share those very cool things with you.
Because I really love editing and we received a lot of positive feedback on our photos, we will be creating our Lightroom presets. It will include all our favorite filters we use to edit our photos with additional free video tutorials how to install them and work with them.
So that was our 2018 🙂 We still can’t believe we saw so many beautiful places, met really nice people and achieved so many awesome things. We are really looking forward to 2019 and what it will bring. Thank you very much to all of you who support us, follow our crazy dreams. Thank you for every comment, every like. It means a lot to us. We hope that we can keep inspiring and helping you with your travels this year as well.
With Love Gigi & Nico