Best of 2019 – Travels

I didn’t think I’d be able to top 2018 for overseas travel but taking five months off work allowed me to visit some incredible places in 2019, though I was looking for a job afterwards. After a few years of extensive travel I’m planning on doing far less in 2020 though, time to recharge my travel mojo.

Mexico, January
Second half of a month travelling around Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. To be honest Mexico was my least favourite of the three countries, but there were some wonderful Spanish colonial cities, natural beauty, and Mayan sites to explore.

Myanmar (Burma), February
A wonderful country and trip, that restored my travel enthusiasm after being a bit over it by the end of my Central America travels. It reminded me how much I like Southeast Asia, it feels exotic but is safe and relatively easy to navigate. Myanmar was so photogenic, home to endlessly varied temples, colourful sunsets and sunrises, and a fascinating if often horrific history.

Australia, March
My twenty second trip to New Zealand’s neighbour, exploring the southern coast of Western Australia. The weather was more variable than expected but there were some stunning beaches and national parks to explore, plus I spent time in the increasingly appealing Perth, which has changed a lot since I first visited in 2010.

Borneo, April
An enjoyable trip around the Malaysian region of Sabah, seeing monkeys and orangutans in the wild and closer up in reserves, visiting memorials to the battles fought here in WW2, and climbing Mt Kinabula, the highest point between Papua and Myanmar.

Kokoda Track (Papua New Guinea), June
Second trip to one of my favourite countries, which is completely different from anywhere else, and mostly devoid of tourists. Spent a week walking where the Japanese and Australians fought in WW2, visiting remote villages, and spending time understanding how the locals live.

UK (Yorkshire, Sussex, Surrey), July & August
Time spent with family visiting many National Trust and English Heritage sites, and seeing more of the country I left ten years ago, something I didn’t do enough of when I lived there. The sheer density of historic sights in the UK is hard to beat.

Haute Route (France, Switzerland), July
A quite incredible solo walk from Chamonix (by Mont Blanc) to Zermatt (by the Matterhorn), with some of the longest and toughest days I’ve spent in the mountains, and the most spectacular scenery I’ve seen.

Lisbon, July
I was only there three days but packed in a huge amount, enjoying the historic city despite visiting at one of the busiest times of the year.

India, Delhi to Ladakh, August
I enjoyed my first time to India less than I expected but with time the memories have improved, particularly of the second half in Ladakh visiting fascinating Buddhist temples, and spending time in the remote Nubra Valley.

Romania, Moldova, Transnistria, Ukraine, September
Not the most photogenic trip I’ve done (other than the stunning Orthodox churches and the surreal Chernobyl) but historically one of the most interesting, exploring some of the least visited places in Europe.

Bhutan, September & October
At over a month this was the longest I’ve ever spent in one country travelling, most of which was spent walking the Snowman Trek, one of the longest and hardest hikes in the Himalayas. It’s a fascinating country which is managing tourism better than almost any other country I’ve visited.

Morocco, November
An enjoyably varied fortnight, half spent in historic cities, the other half in deserts and mountains. By this point I was pretty over travel though and looking forward to staying put in one place for more than a little while.

Ethiopia, December
No photos to share yet as haven’t been there yet, but I’m looking to visiting over the Christmas break.

New Zealand, when I wasn’t at the places above!
Even after visiting all these places though I’m pretty confident that New Zealand is still the most beautiful place in the world. I did a few tramping trips to the South Island, spent a weekend in Wellington, and did various day trips from Auckland.

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