YEAR IN REVIEW 2019 – My Best Travel Moments!

2019 was another year of adventures! It was also a year of change, growth, stepping outside of the comfort zone and learning! Let’s take a look at my year in review 2019 here:

January

Celebrating New Years in Dublin

My New Year started in Dublin. Despite having to operate the 09.30am flight from Dublin back to Abu Dhabi on New Years Day, I had an amazing New Year’s Eve! I had a great time bringing in the New Year at Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge with some really lovely colleagues. I had got called from standby to operate this Dublin flight, so I was so lucky. The year before I had watched in the New Year 40,000 ft above ground serving orange juice and not so much as one mention of ‘Happy New Year’ from the passengers!

Onsen overlooking Mount Fuji, Japan

It was a total dream of mine to see Mount Fuji in all it’s glory. Fuji is notorious for always hiding behind cloud so I was really hoping for a clear day. And boy did I get one. The view was incredible – I had goosebumps the night I arrived to my accommodation right at the bottom of Fuji. My hotel had an onset overlooking Mount Fuji, so this was my first time in a communal pool being naked, which was a bit strange to say the least!

Hot Air Balloons over Bagan, Myanmar

I took a short break to Myanmar with a friend at the end of January. We spent 4 days in Bagan and 1 day in Mandalay – it was a total dream. The hot air balloons gliding over the pagodas in Bagan at sunrise was so magical, and Mandalay had some really lovely temples too! I loved how untouched Myanmar was compared to the rest of SE Asia, and the people were just so innocent.

February

Rediscovered my love for Bangkok

I’m often taking my parents away on trips, and this time we headed to Bangkok for a few days. I had been to Bangkok so many times on layovers that I had actually grown a bit tired of it. But spending a few days there with my parents made me fall in love again with the city again! We found some amazing restaurants and local places, and even visited the famous train market!

Discovering Sri Lanka

Due to all the leave I took in February, the only rostered flights I had this month were to Colombo, Sri Lanka – I had 3 layovers there! One time I headed down to Dalawella (with the famous palm tree rope swing!) and Galle, another time I headed to Pidurangula and Sigiriya rocks, and the third time I did an elephant safari. All three trips were amazing and I just loved getting to explore this beautiful country!

Going back to Iran

Only 2 months after my first trip to Iran, I headed back! This time on a 9 day collaboration – it was my first press trip! I love Iran, the people are incredible and so misunderstood. The country is full of incredible nature and beauty. I went back to Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan, but also visited Abyaneh, Kashan, Yazd and Qeshm. I know for sure one day I will be back again in this beautiful land.

Nasr ol molk mosque shiraz iran pink mosque imam mosque Isfahan iran

March

Laos – my final SE Asian country to visit!

I headed to Laos for a few days with an Iranian friend I had met during my first visit to Iran. We had a great time travelling from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. As I usually travel alone, it was so nice to be travelling and experiencing somewhere new with a good friend! Laos was my final South East Asian country to visit and I loved every bit of this laid back country!

Visiting Soweto in Johannesburg

Johannesburg always remains one of my favourite places for a layover. The meat is so cheap (and so good!!) and I really like the people. I have a good friend there who always takes me round when I visit. This time was my 4th time there, and we headed to Soweto. This was where my friend grew up, and we visited the Aparteid Museum and Nelson Mandela’s House located here. It was so interesting and I learnt a lot about the struggles the people here faced. I love learning about the history of a place and how it has influenced the people. Afterwards we visited a gold mine which was really cool!

blue lagoon 3 vang vieng Laos kuang si falls Luang Prabang Laos

April

Heading back to Zurich

My first layover of April was Zurich. This was only my second time there – my first being at Christmas time so it was so cold and I spent the majority of time at the Christmas market drinking mulled wine with the crew! This time I wanted to do more sightseeing in the day so headed off alone and explored the city. Zurich isn’t typically a touristy city but I found plenty things to see and do!

Melbourne – yet again!!

Another layover back in Melbourne for what feels like the thousandth time there. I had already been to St Kilda and the Brighton Beach Huts a few times, so the time I decided to head into the centre again and see what new places I could find. Personally Melbourne is my least favourite Australian city – because the weather is so unpredictable and it gets really cold in winter!

Exploring a new Palace in Abu Dhabi

Living in Abu Dhabi for over 3 years I had already explored all the touristy places here. All except a new Palace that had just opened to the public: Qasr Al Watan! It was so nice feeling like a tourist again in my city! Click here to read my guide to Abu Dhabi that was featured in We Are Travel Girls!

May

Chicago again 🙂

Chicago is another layover they love sending me on. Whist the city is amazing, the flight is very long challenging and our hotel is far from the centre! However I always go out and explore, no matter how tired I am! This city has a certain buzz that I just love! And there is a lot of interesting things to visit, such as The Bean, Lake Michigan and the cool wall murals!

The Holy Land

For my mum’s birthday my dad and I took her to Israel. It was such a memorable and moving trip, walking in the footsteps of Jesus and finally getting to see all these places you heard about in the Bible since I was a child. We visited all the Holy sights in Jerusalem, including walking the Via Dolorosa, visited Nazareth, Galilee, as well as spending some time in Tel Aviv which was cool! We hopped across to Bethlehem in Palestine to see the place where Jesus was born, before heading to Jericho, The Dead Sea and then going across into Jordan.

24 Hours in Los Angeles

Having only 24 hours in Los Angeles after working a 16 hour flight to get there was certainly a challenge! But I managed to whizz round and see some spots I hadn’t seen before in LA including the LAMCA lights installation, the LAX sign, the end of Route 66 at Santa Monica Pier and a really cool library that looks like it was made for Instagram!

best photo spots in chicago Venice beach LA

June

Visiting Istanbul during Bayram

I had a couple of days off at the beginning of June so decided to visit Istanbul. The last time I had been here was 15 years ago and I didn’t remember it very well, so I wanted to go back again. It was absolutely packed as it was Bayram – the end of Ramadan so the whole country was on holiday! I still managed to get to see all the tourist spots I wanted in 2 days, plus squeeze in a hotel collaboration at a stunning hotel located in Karakoy – the trendy area of Istanbul!

Went back home to London for a few days

I asked for days off in the middle of June as my nephew was having his Confirmation and I was his sponsor so needed to be at home. Luckily I got 6 days off so I could enjoy some time with my family and catch up with friends which was great. I love spending time back in East London, going back to my local cafe Pellicci’s and exploring the markets. This time I even decided to stay overnight in one of the boutique hotels not far from my home as part of a hotel collaboration.

July

Geneva on a budget

My first time visiting Geneva as Cabin Crew, but my second time overall as I had visited whilst I was living in Italy as an au-pair prior to being a Flight Attendant. Switzerland is an expensive country so I wanted to explore Geneva on a budget – and I managed! I spent less than £10 all day! The trick: transport is free, and don’t eat at expensive restaurants!!

Revisiting Washington

Washington DC: another destination that frequently appeared on my Cabin Crew roster. Again, I chose to go out and try to find some new places to explore, as well as revisit some iconic spots here such as The White House, Lincoln Memorial, The Capitol Building and the US Arboretum. One thing that I love about Washington is that all the museums are free! So even if the weather isn’t great, there’s plenty to keep you entertained!

2 Days in Oman

I had another couple days rostered off so popped across to Oman. I had been twice before to Oman: once to Salalah and once to Muscat (Mutrah and Muscat Old Town) when my parents were on holiday there. This time I flew into Muscat and saw the incredible Sultan Qaboos Mosque, before whizzing down to Wadi Shab, Bimmah Sinkhole and Fins Beach. I had wanted to visit these places for so long so it was so amazing to finally be there! I stayed at the incredible Muscat Hills Resort – where you stay in barasti huts on the beach! It was incredible and SO peaceful!

capitol building Washington DC sunrise

August

Last operational flight to Singapore

My last rostered flight was to Singapore which I was happy about as I love this city and always love going back! As usual, I whizzed around trying to see places that I had missed on last trips, such as the Orchard Garden, the Joo Chiat Houses and the Art & Science Museum. I met the crew in the evening for a farewell dinner and drinks which was nice – especially seeing as I hardly ever go drinking with the crew these days as I’m too busy blogging!

Dubai Desert

After my last flight I had a few days off before my repatriation flight back home. These days are meant to be for packing, handing in your uniform, cancelling your visa etc but me being me, I used them to take one final trip – this time just down the road to Dubai. Even though it was so close, I didn’t often visit Dubai so it was a chance to go round and get some nice Instagram pictures of Dubai!

I then stayed with one of my best friends in a luxurious hotel in the Dubai desert which was incredible! It was a collaboration so it was really nice to have my friend take my pictures and videos for me, instead of struggling to take my photos of myself alone, which I usually do! It was the perfect end to my 3.5 years living in UAE.

Goodbye UAE

August 6th was the day I left The Middle East. Typical me I left my packing to the last minute and almost missed my repatriation flight back home! I got upgraded to Business and one of my good friends was the Chef working on the flight, so she looked after me so well! It was strange as kind of felt numb leaving – I thought I would have been so sad leaving, as the decision to quit my flight attendant job was a really difficult one, but I didn’t really feel anything which was weird! I guess I was uncertain for the future as I didn’t have anything set in stone for the future – I was just planning to house sit and blog and see where it got me. Trying to balance flying with blogging was too hard, and I really wanted to give blogging all my energy, at least for the next year.

September

Lake Garda with the family

My sister and I took her children away for a week to Lake Garda. We stayed in a mobile home which was our first time in one. It was really fun, but looking after 2 children can be so tiring! The campsite was attached to a water park so we spent most of the days going on the water slides and going off the slide in the pedalos in Lake Garda. It was really nice to have a trip where I could just switch off from taking photos and blogging for once!

House sitting

My plan was to be back home for a couple of months before heading to Australia to live for a year. But I didn’t want to get under my family’s feet so I decided to house sit nearby – so I could have my own space and still see my family a lot! I did a few cat sits which was good – all the cats were so sweet and I was able to get lots of blogging done, finally!

Blogging conference

I also went to my first Blogging Conference in September which was exciting! It was held in London and I got to meet up with a couple of blogger friends I had been in contact with over the internet but never actually met, which was cool! We got to meet lots of brands and attend some really useful talks – plus there was a really good party afterwards where we could all socialise!

October

Moved to Australia

In October I moved to Australia – my 3rd continent I had lived in. I still didn’t know if it was the right thing to do – it felt so far away and isolated from everything. But I thought just go with the flow and see where it takes me! It felt weird and a bit overwhelming that I had no job organised and that I would try to make a living blogging, but I knew it was worth a shot.

Fell in love with Brisbane and Remy!

I had a 6 week house sit organised in Brisbane with a gorgeous staffy – just like our dog back home! The apartment was located right on the South Bank in the perfect location! I found it a little hard to meet people sometimes, but I really enjoyed having my own space and being able to work on my blog. I really loved Brisbane – it is such a liveable city!

November

Seeing friends in Brisbane

Fortunately a lot of my cabin crew friends had layovers in Brisbane in November so I spent a lot of time catching up with friends! At the end of November I house sat in Bulimba (a trendy Brisbane suburb on the river) for a cute Jack Russell who had separation anxiety. She was such a sweetheart though and was no bother at all!

Sunshine Coast

I then house sat in Buderim on the Sunshine Coast for a weekend. Let’s just say those dogs were a bit harder work than the previous two house sits! The owners let me use their car for the weekend though, so I was able to head up to Noosa and The Glasshouse Mountains one day, which was so great! After staying indoors blogging a lot, it’s so nice to be exploring new places again!

Noosa fairy pools

December

North Stradbroke Island

Somewhere where I had wanted to visit since a couple of years was North Stradbroke Island, located very close to Brisbane. I finally made it here when I had a couple of days off from house sitting – and it was so lovely! There were so many nice places to relax and explore, and there are kangaroos just bobbing around next to you!

New Zealand

I spent the last couple of weeks of 2019 cat sitting in Christchurch, New Zealand. This was my 75th country to visit and it was so beautiful – although it was a lot colder than Australia! On Christmas Day I headed down to Dunedin to see the penguins, and on New Years Eve I went to Wellington which was cool as it is the first major capital to celebrate New Year’s Eve!

Christchurch tram NZ day trip to north Stradbroke island Australia

 

And that was my 2019 year in review – I wonder what will be in store for 2020!

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24 Hours Layover