Looking back on a year filled with travel, I decided to call it a day for 2017. I’m exhausted and the stress of having the post something new each week is getting to me. There is a lot of things going on on the back-end of Probe around the Globe and December and January are the busiest months for my full-time job. So, this will be the last post of 2017. Just like last year’s post, I’ll look back on a year of travel and travel blogging at Probe around the Globe and a sneak preview of my plans for 2018.
The first month of the new year doesn’t really start with a bang. No travel in January but I don’t really mind. As I find an amazing deal for a flight to Tehran Iran. I’m planning my 2-week solo adventure to Iran.
Sick to my stomach I board the plane to Iran at the end of February. I have no idea what to expect for my solo female travel to Iran and I’m worried I will not have a good time. I couldn’t have been any further from the truth. Once the first anxiety fades away, I enjoy Persia with all it has to offer. I take several desert trips in Iran, I eat with locals and explore more mosques and bazaars then I ever could have imagined! Iran was a dream trip!
I return from my trip to Iran in March and spring has arrived back home. My Instagram is booming with all the colorful pictures from Iran. Between my full-time job and writing new content for the blog, I also try to plan my new travels for later that spring.
I love April. It allows me to travel as we have a long weekend over Easter and we have our national holiday, Kingsday, which gives me a very long weekend.
For Easter, I travel to Prague. I add an extra day to the long weekend and this gives me almost 4 days in the capital of Czech Republic. But I failed a bit at preparing so I just walk around town and try to take as much in as possible. I take a day trip by train to Cesky Krumlov which I enjoy very much.
My second trip in April is to Cinque Terre. Due to a great flight deal, my boyfriend and I fly to Nice, France and drive from there to Italy. We have 5 whole days, but due to horrible weather and a longer than anticipated drive, we only have 3 full days in Cinque Terre. But we enjoy it to the max. We eat our weight in ice cream and manage to hike part of the Cinque Terre trails. Yes, it is busy but the colours and cute villages make up for it 10 fold!
At the end of May, we have another public holiday, followed by a long weekend in June. I string the days together and make one of my long train travel dreams come true. I hop on a train near my home town in the Netherlands and travel via the modern Orient Express route to Istanbul via train!
12 days of uninterrupted solo backpacking across Europe. It really is the trip of a lifetime as I visit Munich (Germany), Vienna (Austria), Budapest (Hungary), Bucharest (Romania) to finish with a couple of days in Istanbul (Turkey).
At the start of June, I’m still in Istanbul and enjoy the great weather and the vibrant atmosphere of the city. Once home, I have people remodeling my house and I feel quite stressed with several appointments, blogging and work of course. I’m happy to be home for a bit but take a day trip in the Netherlands. We visit the Seal Rescue Centre in the north of the Netherlands and even get to release seals into the wild!
The summer months in the Netherlands are typical. Rain, not very hot and a lot of work. I try to write as much as I can for the blog. At the end of the month the boyfriend and I take a whirlwind trip to the Provence in France to find some lavender. It is super-hot and mega exhausting to fly in on Saturday morning and fly back at Sunday night. Monday’s I’m back in the office like nothing ever happened. I tell myself to never again take a 2-day weekend trip.
But August comes rolling along and I’m tempted again. This time, we make it a 3-day weekend trip which is much more agreeable. We fly to Barcelona and take a 3-day Costa Brava road trip where we visit Girona and Figueres and explore little villages in the country side. Although smoldering hot, we have a great time. I’m super excited to find Greek and Roman ruins and I feel I want to write more about them.
September is the month of my boyfriend’s birthday! Hurray! We plan for a week of fun and take a trip to my all-time favorite theme park the Efteling in the Netherlands on Monday. From Tuesday to Saturday we booked flights to go to Bologna, Italy. Unfortunately, our flight gets canceled last minute and this causes for a lot of stress on my part. I manage to find another flight on the same day that takes us to Bologna, but it takes a while to shake off the feeling of unfairness. Once in Bologna, it starts to become clear I hurt my back and sitting hurts too much. I feel restless and I’m in pain. We do eat the most delicious food and enjoy ourselves on the best food tour ever.
2 short weeks fly by before my 10-day trip to southern Spain arrives. The weeks are marked with physiotherapy appointments and trying to walk and stand as much as possible. I am quite worried to sit on the plane and in the rental car, because my back aches non-stop.
But once I touch down at Malaga Airport all is forgotten. I haul my bag with 4 books to my rental car and start driving. And I have the best time ever! I didn’t plan anything for the blog, no comped stays or sponsored tours. Just me, the things I wish to do and my books. I explore, I read, I walk and explore some more. After 9 full days of exploring, I’ve seen so much of Cadiz Province. My books are finished and the back pain is almost over.
However, one day back home and it returns again. I try to walk as much as possible and prepare for my next trip to Spain. I’ll visit Barcelona with my mom for a 3-day weekend and I’m super excited for all the cultural tours I’ve arranged for us to visit. We have a blast. I love to travel with my mom! Although it is my 3rd time in Barcelona, we see a lot of new things and it feels really fulfilling to be able to see everything with my mom (partly thanks to my blog.)
The weekend goes bye too quickly and I spend the rest of the month working and blogging. I have one more trip planned for this year and I look forward to take a road trip from Alicante to Valencia with my dad. It will be a short weekend trip and I’m really excited for the tours I’ve arranged and the sights we’ll see. Unfortunately, we cannot go at the very last minute. More on that below.
Wow, maybe I should just be short and say: see all the above. The year has been amazing! I visited 3 new countries and had some great solo adventures. The trips with my boyfriend were amazing and my weekend with my mom was really valuable.
To highlight a few:
- Iran was a dream. The country surprised me with her beauty and ease of travel. I think I grew a little bit as a traveler.
- Cinque Terre with my boyfriend. We hiked, we laughed and we eat delicious foods. Perfect trip.
- The Modern Orient Express was a dream come true. It was like 5 mini trips in one and it was a great ride.
- Releasing seals back into the wild might have been the most exciting and fun thing I did all year.
- My relaxing solo cultural vacation to southern Spain in October. It felt good to relax and only do stuff I wanted to do.
The bad and the ugly
Unfortunately, there were also some less pleasant travel experiences. I’m not going to dwell on them for too long but here we go
- Ryanair canceled our flight to Bologna. It caused me a lot of stress to find an alternative and to get over the fact how unfair it all was. In the end though, things worked out great. I booked a different flight with another airline that arrived earlier. In the end, we got a refund of our canceled tickets and we got a €80 voucher each for another flight (which we used to book tickets for Portugal 2018). And I just received the money for our claim, where Ryanair paid for the difference between their flight and the flight I had to book and the mandatory EU claim amount for late cancellation. In the end, not so bad, just ugly at the moment.
- My back pain. That was bad and ugly. With some fresh snow on the ground, I’m not able to walk as freely as I’d like to. And that causes for new muscle cramps and back pain.
- My dad got a cardiac arrest one week for our trip to Valencia in December. Or should I say: my dad got a cardiac arrest. Point. It doesn’t really matter that we didn’t get to go to Spain for our weekend together, although that was unfortunate. After a few days in the hospital, the doctor released him with medication and we’re still waiting to see how his health progresses. He’s doing much better now but we need to find a new way to deal with the fact he is a heart patient now.
- Not really bad or ugly, but something I do want to change for 2018: the short weekend trips are amazing but just too tiring to really enjoy. I get all worked up to arrange everything at work and at home to go away and the trips themselves are just exhausting.
My travel blog Probe around the Globe
All the travel is good for my blog of course! Part of the reason why I travel. If I didn’t have the blog, life would be much more relaxing but less fulfilling.
Also, after 2 years with a local host, I decided to move to a new host. Although much more expensive, I don’t regret it at all as my site is much faster now and some issues at the back-end resolved automatically.
At the end of the year, I decided to hire a designer who made me a brand new and shining logo. I’m very happy with the result and also ordered some business cards with the new logo.
2018 a new year of travel
I’m super excited about the new year. Excited and nervous as I don’t know what it will bring. My boyfriend and I have planned for a 12-day trip to Portugal in March, but other than that, everything is wide open!
And this makes me nervous. The world is wide open. All I have to do is choose a destination and go! But with all good things: too much choice is never easy to pick and choose.
I have mapped out my working schedule for 2018 and the free days and public holidays. I want to still travel as much as possible but take less exhausting short trips. However, I still want to take advantage of public holidays. So we’ll see where to go.
I’m thinking to finally visit Jordan or maybe give Morocco a try or visit Oman. Copenhagen is still on the list but Slovenia is also very interesting. I’m very curious about southern Italy and Greece too. I want to take another breathtaking train trip, but also an epic road trip would be nice. So we’ll see where 2018 will bring me. Of course, you can be the first to know of my new plans if you sign up for my mailing list. You’ll get a monthly update with stuff going on that you will not find if you stalk me on social media.
Read more: Travel Bucket List – Where to go next?
Blogger Conferences 2018
I also plan to attend one or more blogger conferences. I have booked tickets for Traverse 2018 in Rotterdam and I’m thinking of going to TBEX Conference in Ostrava, Czech Republic in July. This makes me very nervous as I’m not the outgoing type of person and social contacts make me anxious, but I feel it would be good for my blog and my brand Probe around the Globe. And I’d love to meet some of my fellow blogger friends in person.
All in all, it has been an amazing year of travel but it now time to put on my Christmas pants, put my nose into my fresh stack of Lonely Planet guidebooks and enjoy some time off. See you again in 2018.