2016 – what a year! When we moved to Abu Dhabi with plans to make the most of the travel opportunities, we never dreamed we’d get to travel quite as widely as we have whilst holding down full-time jobs. Between us, we’ve explored 26 countries since the beginning of the year, starting off in Slovakia and ending in Norway. We feel so, so fortunate to be out seeing the world – it’s both a reminder of how lucky we are to have these opportunities and also a reality check – the world is so much bigger than any one of us.
Rather than doing the monthly round-up that I was attempting to do (I think we managed two bi-monthly ones and that was about it), I’m planning on putting an annual summary post together to look back on our highlights and the occasional lowlights.
The Countries We’ve Visited in 2016
Our Favourite Moments
From tracking gorillas in the highlands of Uganda to partying for the first time in Ibiza, there have been so many highlights this year. We finally saw the pyramids (and were blown away by them!) and soaked up the sights of Petra. We spent seven weeks travelling through Europe over the summer which would have been an inconceivable thought as a teacher in New Zealand and have gotten to know Abu Dhabi and Dubai better. Finally we’ve wrapped the year up travelling Norway in an RV having just spent over a week in Iceland – my new favourite country!
In addition to all of the travel we’ve managed to squeeze in (around full-time jobs), it’s been fantastic to see Exploring Kiwis take off like it has. I’ve long been passionate about travel and joining the travel blogging community has only served to further grow this. We’ve gotten to know some awesome people through this community and also in meeting the fantastic people that run the many hotels, tours and activities that we’ve reviewed over the year.
We’ve developed friendships in Abu Dhabi and I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled with two of these lovely ladies. All things considered, it’s been an awesome year!
Nathan, Avalon and I, with the Treasury in the background #petra #jordan #middleeast #7wonders #instatravel #travelgram #wanderlust #worldtraveller #passionpassport #worlderlust #wonderfulplaces #photography #instagood #instadaily #photooftheday #potd #travelgram #eivamosviajar #knowheretogo #destinationed #thecuratedcollective #thewanderlustclub #alwaysgtg #girlslovetravel #glt #girlswhotravel #neverstopexploring #letsgoeverywhere #girlslovetravel #whataview #viewfromthetop
Nath getting fancy at the pyramids! #instatravel #travelgram #wanderlust #worldtraveller #passionpassport #worlderlust #wonderfulplaces #photography #instagood #instadaily #photooftheday #potd #travelgram #eivamosviajar #knowheretogo #destinationed #thecuratedcollective #thewanderlustclub #alwaysgtg #outbounderlife #iamtb #travelblogger
Though there have been some incredibly memorable bucket-list-ticking moments in 2016, it hasn’t been without it’s challenges.
Living away from home, we miss our family, friends and our two cats, so, so much. We hate missing out on watching kids grow up and on those special occasions.
Nathan managed a few trips home for work and spent some quality time with his family but I haven’t been back to New Zealand in the year and a half we’ve been in Abu Dhabi (though was fortunate to have my Mum and Stepdad visit) and the more time goes on, the more I wish I was jumping on that plane with him. It was especially disappointing to miss out on his Mum’s wedding to her long-time partner!
April marked the first year without my Dad which was particularly challenging. It’s times like those when you really wish you were home with family but everything’s a balancing act and right now, it’s worth going through those challenges to be here.
What a Year!
I still pinch myself when I think about some of the incredible things we’ve seen and done – we’ve worked hard to make this all happen but there’s also no doubt that we’re very fortunate.
There’s still a lot of this world to see though and I can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring for us. Hopefully another adventure or two!
What are your 2016 highlights? What do you have planned for 2017?