So we are back in Australia. Where it all started. And perhaps you are curious where family travel took us in the last 574 days or 1 year, 6 months and 25 days. Here is a list of countries we visited. In total I have now been to 41 countries in my 33 years of life. Mia has just turned 5 and has been to 35 countries, her 3 year old brother has also been to 35, and Josh has been to 39.
May to November South East Asia
Bali is where we flew to first. It was close to home and seemed easy to retreat from if things went haywire. We spent 2 months living here, being our 8th time to Bali and still adored it.
Our 3rd visit to Singapore and we love it each time. It’s a beautiful part of South East Asia, which should be on everyone’s list of places to visit. Sentosa Island is also a great family destination.
This time around we visited Kuala Lumpur for a month. It’s a great city, filled with opportunities for a potential home base. It’s Western enough to have malls and great conveniences, but Asian enough to be affordable and cultural.
We also did a brief visit to Kota Kinabulu on the Borneo side of Malaysia for plenty of beaches and fun in the sun.
The month we spent in Manila was not my favourite part of travel; however the weekend we spent in Boracay was dreamy. I look forward to heading back in discovering more of the tropical islands instead of the city.
A busy city with so much potential. We love Hong Kong the city even if the majority of people we encountered were unfriendly. I can’t recommend Disneyland, but I did enjoy the famous Victoria Peak.
Our first stop in Thailand was a month in Bangkok. A city filled with taste, aroma and culture. We loved our stay in Bangkok and definitely could consider living there.
Headed back to Malaysia and based ourselves in Penang while we visited several cities including Ipoh and Johor. We absolutely loved our stay here and met several travelling families during our time.
Before we were to head to the US our friends told us we couldn’t leave without hitting the Yi Peng festival in Chiang Mai. So we flew in for the week and were so glad we did, it was amazing.
We flew into Shanghai on our way to the US and spent the night there. The language barrier was almost visible.
November to January USA
Wow, what didn’t we see in the US? The first two months in the US we spent in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, Las Vegas and then road tripped the east coast from New York to Florida.
From Florida we took a very cheap $800 cruise (for 4 people over 4 nights) and headed to the Bahamas. It was a great time of sun and surf after the cold winter in the US.
January to April Central America
To escape the cold and for visa reasons we flew from Florida to Cancun, Mexico. We spent one night there before moving into Playa Del Carmen. We loved that place; we made great friends, loved the food and enjoyed our first Mayan pyramids.
There is an island not far from Belize City called Ambergris Caye and after our friends raved about it we decided to visit for 2 weeks. It was my husband’s ultimate dream since primary mode of transport is golf cart and we swam with sharks.
We wanted to visit Antigua for Semana Santa and ended up staying 6 weeks. Our kids learnt basic Spanish and we caught up on all our writing.
April to June USA
We flew from Guatemala to Puerto Rico and while it is part of the US it didn’t feel like it. We enjoyed touring the island and visiting the neighbouring Vieques for the bioluminescent bay.
From San Juan we took a 7 night Caribbean cruise. This is a great way to cross off some countries on your list – St Kitts, St Lucia, Barbados, St Thomas, St Marteen. It was our first time zip lining and eating fresh coconuts near a waterfall.
Back to Puerto Rico for our flight into mainland USA where we visited New Orleans and then road tripped from San Francisco to Seattle and back again. Crater Lake remains one of our favourite natural sights ever. We flew from San Francisco to Boston to visit friends we made in Belize and then drove to New York to say goodbye to family.
Transit in Moscow on our way to Israel. One of the worst airports anywhere. In a hunt for a powerpoint to recharge our depleted laptops we resorted to unplugging a public massage chair and sat on the floor for several hours waiting for our flight. Not fun.
June to September Middle East
Josh’s parents live in Israel so we spent two months here. For such a tiny country it has a lot to do and we spent the first two weeks touring the whole place. Before settling down into a more rhythmic routine.
A quick stop in here to see Bethlehem… oh, and buy cheap ice creams!
We headed to the south of Israel in Eilat and took a 2-day trip to Jordan to see the famous Petra. It was worth every penny and I wish we had stayed longer. Jordan was surprisingly affordable compared to Israel.
Back into Israel to spend time with the relatives and catch up on all our writing, since we knew we had some super fast-paced travel ahead of us.
One month in Turkey wasn’t enough. We loved vibrant Istanbul and then hot air-balloon riding in Cappadocia will never be forgotten, not to mention the unique underground cities. The beachside in Alacati & Oludeniz were also highlights.
September to November Europe
We flew into Rome at the same time as my parents and it was a joyous reunion. We did a food tour in Rome before heading on a cruise with them around the Mediterranean.
Siciliy, Greece, Turkey, Crete – we got to visit a few countries on this cruise too and it was incredible.
Back to Italy we road-tripped with my parents through the Amalfi Coast, up the east cost through Matera and Puglia into Florence and then out via Pisa to Nice, France. Mumma Mia!
We spent a few days in Nice, Arles and Toulouse and the French countryside was beautiful. We never managed to find any real French food. Apparently French people don’t like eating out in French restaurants.
We spent a tiny bit of time driving around seeing the flash hotels and flash cars and flash boats, walking the beaches and then drove on.
In Pamplona we witnessed a family-friendly “running of the bulls”, it was adorable and then we headed to Barcelona. We didn’t have long there before we needed to be in Ireland and it was there we said goodbye to my parents and finished our European road trip.
I had always wanted to come to Ireland and it was every bit as beautiful as I imagined. Our one-week stay turned into a month as we toured top to bottom and east to west and then settled in the countryside writing and resting.
From Northern Ireland to London, we managed to fall back in love with the UK. Our 2 weeks in London breezed by and while we enjoyed city life we were happy to be just “vacationing”.
Prague had never been on my bucket-list, but boy were we surprised. It’ s a beautiful city and at every turn it just gets more beautiful. The food was also a favourite of ours. We even celebrated an early Christmas.
November Middle East
United Arab Emirates
Both of us had wanted to visit Dubai for a long time so this was a dream come true. A week in Dubai was not long enough with everything we wanted to do and we will go back.
December to ? Australia
After 19 months we headed back to our starting point in Perth, Western Australia. It was a long way to travel and the journey was filled with anticipation and regret.
December to ? Middle East
Israel / Palestinian Territories
1/4 of our travelling family headed back to Israel in December for an family emergency. Josh will be celebrating Christmas in Behtlehem in the cold, while Erin, Mia & Caius will be bringing in the new year in swweltering heat. We got all bases covered here!
Phew! And there we have it. Our nomadic 19 months abroad. Is this the end? Unquestionably not. We can’t wait to continue our travels with the family, but for now are happy to be somewhat stationary, visiting family and perhaps even see some of our own country that we never knew existed. We hope you stay tuned!
We have made so many friends on this journey and we'd love to introduce you to some of them. They've made their own lists on where they have been, so enjoy:
The Nomadic Family- Oh The Places You'll Go
World Travel Family - How Many Counties Have You Been To
Wagoners Abroad - No Schengen Visa Needed For Wagoners Abroad In 2013
RambleCrunch - How Many Countries Have You Been To
Renegade Travels - End Of Year Review 2013
Act of Travelling - 20 years of travel: the places we have visited
Great Big Scary World - 2013: Teach, Cycle, Get Arrested, Raft, Get Arrested, Start Again
Capturing la Vita - She may not have been all over the world, but she knows Tuscany
Our Big Fat Travel Adventure - Our 2013 Country Run-Down
Want to visualise it?
This map covers more then what we just did this year, this is my whole travel life - all 15 years. This highlights the countries, not the cities. So many areas still to conquer!
Reader Comments..."I respond to every comment by direct private email. I look forward to your feedback" - Josh Bender
Oh this is just amazing. You must be tired. Get some R&R and then head back out. It is in your blood now. Love ya guys and so glad we met you on one of these stops in London!
You've pack so many places into your travels that I don't know how you did it. We manged 7 countries in 6-7 months, and are now having a 6-month break before starting again. We're in Bangkok though, so still feels like I'm away. Hope you don't get 'stuck' in Australia.
What a great list of countries. Your children are very lucky to have such wonderful experiences at such a young age.
erin love. i loooove your adventures. always have. and love learning about how life in australia will treat you. you are magnificent love. love being on this journey with you. hugs, gabi
Wow Erin, what a tour! So many places in what, really, is quite a short time. Thanks for sharing it with me and the world, your blog is a joy. I'm off to re read all your USA road tripping posts now, that will be us soon! Happy Christmas and hope our paths cross some day soon. Alyson x
Erin, you guys have covered some serious territory. Your kids are so incredibly lucky to have seen so much. I love your blog and hope you get back on the road soon. Happy holidays to you! :-)
I loved your story about the hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia…great experience. One of many, what an impressive list. Aren't we lucky?
Wow, that is an impressive itinerary Erin - I feel exhausted just reading it! Can't wait to see what you get up to next year.
What an amazing adventure! Such a gift for your children. Cheers to the next 574 days!
Luckily, when we spent 12 hours in the moscow airport, we were in a new terminal :)
I have a dream to be in Israel during Christmas time! You guys have been EVERYWHERE! Well, almost : )
Wow, it made me dizzy just reading through the list, so it must have been crazier to actually live it! I admire you guys for taking the kids all over the world. Enjoy the well deserved break back in Australia...
Wow!! Not bad, if I do say so myself! You've got more than me, that's for sure!
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