TraveLynn Tales: A Year Around the World
Just the words, “World Travel,” sound romantic. What’s it like to really chuck it all and travel around the world for a year? After visiting over a dozen countries on a shoestring-budget, I thought I’d do a little visual re-cap of some of the highlights. First stop, on my world travel adventure – Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, where I took a leap of faith as well as a leap in the ocean, and later frolicked with rock wallabies…
…felt the spiritual draw of Uluru, soaked up the sun on Sydney’s beaches, and toured the famous opera house.
From the capitol, Canberra, to Melbourne to Tasmania, I not only explored all the scenic beauty Australia has to offer, but the beauty and hospitality of the people as well, couch surfing with wonderful souls who opened their homes to me (too many on this journey to name in one blog!)
Sad to leave the land of Oz, I was at the same time excited to check out the natural beauty of New Zealand’s South Island, from fjords to waterfalls…
…helicopters and glaciers and swimming with dolphins…
…to tracks and tramping to wine. It was sensory-overload in every aspect.
After all that adventure, it was time to slow down with a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Thailand, focusing on breathing and letting thoughts float by (world travel isn’t all about constantly moving).
Other treats lay in store in Thailand as well, like cooking class, night market shopping, and even swimming with elephants!
From there, a swing through Cambodia to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat, the largest temple complex in the world, and with the help of a generous friend, to buy a tuk tuk for a young man struggling to start his own business.
Japan has long been on my list, and exceeded any dreams of what this locale would bring. From the bustle of Tokyo, to a ryokan in cherryblossom-filled mountains near snow monkeys soaking in hot springs…
…to historic, temple and shrine-filled Kyoto, and out to the hush of Arashiyama’s bamboo-forest, Japan was a feast for the senses.
As hard as it was leaving Japan, Croatia was calling, with historic cities like Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, and Zadar…
…crystalline waters of National Parks Plitvice and Krka…
…and scenic islands to hop – Mljet, Korcula, Brac, Hvar, and hundreds more, all set like gems in the vast blue ocean, the colors of which are hard to describe.
I even managed to slip in a day trip to Montenegro!
Farewell Croatia meant hello Slovenia, and fairytale Bled, with it’s island and church and jade-colored lake…
…and of course, what fairytale would be complete without castle, knights, and dancing ladies?!
Only thoughts of Italy, Venice and gelato, could pry me away from Slovenia. Who can resist singing gondoliers, carnival masks, bridge-stitched canals, and Italian wine?
Italy also brought the Amalfi coast, Isle of Capri, historic Pompeii, Rome, and the Cinque Terra…
France included not only couch surfing in Paris and tango in front of the Eiffel Tower, but a free private tour on the top of Notre Dame, amidst a city full of art and architecture.
Loire Valley is filled with castles, and I managed to explore several, including Chenonceau, Villandry, Cheverny, and Chambord. Although I didn’t meet a prince, I did get rescued by a fairy Godmother, but that’s another story.
In the South of France, amidst fields of sunflowers, I sat for a couple of weeks – my first house sit, for two little poodles (and a lazy tortoise), gave me use of my own private pool!
Spain also lay waiting on my world travels, beautiful Barcelona, infused with the influence of Gaudi, including Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia, and tapas and flamenco rounded out the experience.
After months of sun and following summer, it was time to head someplace cool, so I hopped a flight to the emerald isle of Ireland, where for a few days in Dublin, I discovered the joys of craic (Irish fun, including music and liquid refreshment), and was even turned temporarily into a leprechaun!
Renting a car was the only way to get around on the backroads, so I headed off on the Wild Atlantic Way, through fields of green in every shade, along coast, past grazing sheep, through rainbow villages…
…and castles and Celtic ruins.
In time for my second housesit, I flew to Scotland, where first I sampled the magnificent city of Edinburgh…
…then headed to Fort William to care for a feisty border collie and hike the highlands, while housesitting in a Victorian manse on a hill overlooking a loch.
From one dog sit to another to another, I was dropped into Dickens, in a little village called Corsham, where I walked much more slowly with my 15 year-old charge, and also fed a visiting peacock named Kevin.
A day to cruise through Bath led to four days in lovely London, full of museums, parks, and markets.
Rounding out my year of world travel, was yet another dogsit in Hove, in the south of England, for two lively little dachshunds, and walks on Brighton’s promenade.
All in all, it was an amazing journey, and this post just scratches the surface. If you’d like to know more about a particular place, enter it into the search box, and any relevant posts will come up. If you have questions, feel free to write me here! When my year was over, not ready to return to the States, I spent six months in Thailand writing about my adventures. Soon, my book of TraveLynn Tales will be available, where you can get the FULL story…
Wow, what a journey it has been Lynn!!! I really enjoy all the wonderful pictures and your travel tales.
It’s been a journey of a lifetime, Katja! Thanks for following along 🙂
Sounds like a great trip Lynn! I’m also looking into doing housesits. I’m curious your thoughts on couch surfing. How did you find out about it? Is it safe?
A couple of friends told me about couch surfing – one was a solo male traveler and the other, a female traveling with her 4 year old daughter! She & her little girl couch surfed all over Europe for 3 months & really inspired me! Is it safe? Like with any travel, especially solo, you need to be careful, but on the official couch surfing site (www.couchsurfing.com) there are filters you can set, like you only want to stay with females, what age range, private or public room, etc. And always check the reviews! If someone has none or very few, you might look instead for a host that has lots of great ones. In addition to spending the night, there are also couch surfing meet-ups where fellow couch surfers get together for dinner or events.
Hope that helps 🙂 Happy travels!
Thanks for your response Lynn! I’m going to look into couch surfing.
You’re welcome Linda 🙂 Good luck, have fun!
Your photos are fantastic. You make it all look easy – and I know it hasn’t always been, but you’ve done it all with grace.
Thank you so much, Susan. You’re right, it’s not always easy, but has been a truly fulfilling journey. It’s nice to be able to share 🙂
Thanks for sharing your experiences! How awesome it all seems! Glad I saw your comment on that WSJ article.
You’re welcome, Vera! It was a pretty amazing time. Thanks for taking the time to write 🙂
Your photos are gorgeous and are so enjoyable! What great experiences you had! It’s been a while since I’ve traveled abroad, so thanks for the pseudo vacation!
So glad you enjoyed my photos! Pretty much all were taken with my iPhone (except the underwater ones). Happy they gave you a little virtual vacation – I aim to inspire and entertain
Wow, that’s an amazing story! I hope one day life can be so adventurous!
Thanks Lisa – I think it can be an exciting life if you believe it can and set your intentions in that direction!
Lynn, I’m on the Irish box site with you. THIS is amazing!! My daughter is on her two and a half month travel through Europe and she is visiting many of the places you went to. I loved seeing your photos and reading the descriptions. What a trip! When you went, did you sell all and quit your job or rent out your home and go on a sabbatical?? asking for a friend (lol)
Glad you’re enjoying a vicarious adventure! Maybe soon it will be you on the road (or on the fly!) I did leave my job, though not by choice; I had the rug pulled out from under. The owner put the business up for sale and cut my position to make the bottom line look better. When I found myself not getting hired (mid-fifties made it difficult) and spending my retirement savings early, I decided if that was the case I would rather spend the money following a Dream than spinning wheels paying the high cost of living in the US. My plan was to travel around the world for a year, so I sold everything and took off with a backpack and shoestring budget. That year turned into almost 4!! Some of the most amazing years of my life – I highly recommend letting go of what holds you back and following your dreams 🙂