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20 years of travel: the places we have visited

by Emiel Van Den Boomen

We met each other  in 1993. Ever since that year me and my wife have been traveling. 20 years together equals 20 years of travel. That is our milestone.

It’s that time of year again when we all start to reflect on the past. So did I, thinking about all the fabulous cities and countries we have visited in 2013. That actually triggered me to go back in time a bit further…only to realise that we are so freaking lucky being able to travel the world.

Family in India

I dedicate this post to Travel. The post has become a fun selection of destinations that have made an impact on us. Hopefully you get inspired to visit some of them in 2014!

Make the year 2014 a travelicious one: Happy New Year!

Turkey (1994)

Me and my wife (girlfriend at that time) went on our very first trip. Our first flying-trip! Great memories of our time at the west and south coast of Turkey, with the ancient city of Ephesus as the absolute highlight.

Croatia (1995)

That year we bought our first car and took it on a test drive all the way down to Croatia! Within Europe still a fairly unknown destination, but cities like Porec and Dubrovnik are well worth a visit. Next time we are sure to visit the famous Plitvice lakes.

Japan (1996)

Our first trip outside of Europe. Between 1994 and 1996 I studied Japanese in the Netherlands. When I was offered a temporary job in Japan I immediately accepted and I lived and worked in Japan for 3 months. At the end of those 3 months my wife traveled to Japan by herself and we backpacked for 3 weeks: Kyoto, Osaka, Himeji, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Beppu. People believe Japan is strange, but the country is truly fascinating.

in front of golden temple Kyoto

Cuba, India and Nepal (1998)

Cuba made a big impression on us: the classic cars, the city of Havana and the overall feeling of isolation from the rest of the world. If you can, go and visit! People are so friendly and it’s definitely possible to travel by yourself (just book a rental car). We even managed without speaking a word of Spanish…

Cuba taxi

But little did we know about the impression that India and Nepal would make on us later that year. Agra and the Taj Mahal, Varanasi and the burning ghats, Kathmandu valley and the ancient cities….this has been a trip that we will never forget. Probably this trip laid the foundation for our ‘addiction’ to Asia.

India travel

Vietnam (1999)

Vietnam felt like a special destination. We watched lots of movies about the Vietnam war: now we wanted to experience the country first-hand. Highlight at that time were Hoi-An and the mountain villages around Sapa in the North. The (interesting) people we met (just look at the picture below)!

South of Vietnam travel

Egypt and Peru (2000)

We had fun in Luxor, mainly because we visited the Valley of the Kings on a bike! Yes, all the tourist in big touring cars looked at us like if we were crazy (it was hot!)….and I guess we were, a little bit.

In front of Tomb Tutankhamon

In September Annemarie and I got married!! We picked the country of Peru for our honeymoon. With two backpacks and memories of an emotional and overall fun day, we traveled to the other side of the world. Our itinerary was perfect: from Lima down South all the way to Arequipa. From there we moved East to Puno and North again to Cusco (Machu Picchu). All by local bus, trains and planes. Fabulous, would recommend it without a doubt.

Travel to Peru Cusco Machu Picchu

Brasil (2006)

With two small kids we decided to put our travel plans on hold for a bit. But in 2006 me and my wife got the opportunity to travel to Brasil for a very special reason (read all about this spiritual trip here).  In Rio the views on the Bay from the statue of Christ is thought to be one of the most beautiful ones in the world. With the upcoming World Cup Football and the Olympics Rio is a ‘hot’ destination…

Rio de Janeiro travel

Morocco (2008)

Excited about our first big trip together with our kids. In 2008 we went on a Tour de Maroc: from Ouarzazate to Ait Benhaddou (world-famous kasbah!), Essaouira (the Wind City) and of course Marrakech. For Europeans Morocco is a totally different world only 2-3 hours by plane. I would recommend it to every family willing to travel and experience totally different cultures. What I certainly remember is how our son was so afraid when we rode a camel…luckily he relaxed after 15 minutes or so.

ait ben haddou with kids

Thailand (2009)

That year we dared to take up the challenge to travel to Asia with our kids. Thailand was a superb choice; it’s the best Asian destination for families without a doubt. We traveled South to Kao Sok National Park and the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phanang. And by the way, that year we also fell in love with Bangkok…

Dinner on beach in Thailand

Bali (2010)

On Bali, the ‘Island of the Gods’, we loved the area of Ubud the most: markets, shops, galleries and lots of rice fields. Make sure to visit the Tirta Empul temple, my absolute highlight! This temple shows the real spirit of Asia: people offering to the Gods and bathing in what they believe is holy water.

Tirta Empul temple Bali

New York and Ibiza (2011)

In May we had the best time in the city of New York.  Our kids loved it, also because they recognized so many places from movies and TV shows. We enjoyed our trip to the Statue of Liberty, our bike trip to Brooklyn and the night view on top of the Empire State Building. NYC is truly the city of diversity.

NYC with kids

We thought Ibiza was a destination only for people who want to party. Yes, the island does have a true party scene, but also great beaches and enough places to enjoy local Spanish life. Most funny thing was the time we celebrated the sunset together with a whole bunch of hippies. We were told they actually do this every Sunday.

Travel Ibiza

Ghent, Berlin, India and Thailand (2012)

A great year with city trips to Berlin and Ghent. Highlight was our 6-week travel to India and Thailand. We never traveled that long but all went fine….at the end we even would have loved to stay a bit longer. We were honestly a bit scared about taking our kids to India. But we are glad we did and the trip made an impression on all of us as you can imagine.

Traffic New Delhi

After India we traveled to Bangkok and further onwards to Chiang Mai. Sukothai (on the way to Chiang Mai) is wonderful and again a tip for traveling families (make sure to rent some bikes to see al the ancient temples!).

Looking up in temple Sukhothai

Barcelona, Tuscany, Wiesbaden, Cambodia, and Mauritius (2013)

For sure 2013 can be called a travelicious year. Barcelona in winter and Tuscany in Spring. And we still remember our surprising visit to the German city of Wiesbaden.

View on houses in Lucca anfiteatro

In Summer we returned to our favorite part of the world: Asia. Many of you know about the horrible (and quite recent) history of Cambodia, so we felt quite special to travel there with our kids. The Killing Fields was one of those places you visit and never forget.

Killing fields with kids

I had to leave my family back home when I went on a (blog) trip to Mauritius. I can assure you: this is Paradise on earth! My wife was so jealous…..

Le Saint Geran Mauritius hotel


Feel free to contact me if you have questions about any of the destinations, especially when you fancy a trip with your family. In 2014 I want to continue providing you with travel inspiration beyond the guidebooks. I hope it is again going to be a travelicious year!

And now for a bonus! Some of my fellow travel bloggers also compiled a list of places they have visited. Just check out these posts to (1) get inspiration for your upcoming travels and (2) get excited about travel blogging (and if you really are, join us!). Where can a family travel?

  1. The Nomadic Family – Oh the places you will go – Everywhere we have been on the globe
  2. Travel with Bender – How many countries did we travel in the last 574 days
  3. World Travel Family – How many countries have you been to?
  4. Wagoners Abroad – No Schengen Visa for Wagoners Abroad
  5. Renegade Travels – End of Year Review
  6. Great Big Scary World – 2013: Teach, cycle, get arrested, raft, get arrested, start again
  7. Our Big Fat Travel Adventure – Our 2013 country run-down

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Vietnam Travel March 19, 2020 - 11:53

It is great that you have visited Vietnam, but I think after 20 years, Vietnam has been very different with a lot of changes. If you have a chance, you should come back here.

world travel family January 14, 2017 - 12:35

Hey, I just got a pingback from this one, I guess you must have fixed a broken link or something. It’s like taking a walk down memory lane returning to these posts. We’ve done SO much since. Hope you’re still travelling Emiel!

Emiel Van Den Boomen January 14, 2017 - 14:04

Hi Alyson! Great hearing from you again. I indeed fix some broken links (after doing a big redesign of the blog lots has changed). We are indeed traveling, although not that much. Once or twice a year where our last trip to South Africa was truly the trip of a life time. Hope you are doing great!

kallisue February 21, 2014 - 12:18

What beautiful photos! Hope to run into you one day!

capturinglavita January 16, 2014 - 20:30

What an amazing 20 years! You two are so blessed to have found each other. I can see that your photographic eye has always been there! Lovely to follow along with your beautiful photos. Cheers to an adventure filled 2014!

Emiel van den Boomen January 23, 2014 - 02:27

Thanks a lot Laurel! Hope we meet and raise our glass IRL again soon.

Gabi January 5, 2014 - 22:42

love this post and the photos. you are a talented photographer. and i totally agree with manfred, how young are you kids? you guys look amazing. travel has done you good. your children are lucky to have such a travel-spirited pair of adventurers leading them around the globe. gabi

Emiel van den Boomen January 8, 2014 - 21:30

Thank you so much Gabi. Travel has done us great…I love that. Next time let’s talk about your kids as well; your travels will turn them into fabulous and open-minded human beings. You are doing such a great job as a (nomadic) family!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go- Everywhere We’ve Been on the Globe- Amazing Photo Essay for this RTW Family Travel Blog | The Nomadic Family Travel Blog January 5, 2014 - 13:55

[…] Emiel at Act of Traveling- 20 Years of Travel- The Places We Have Visited […]

Andre December 27, 2013 - 09:58

Wow! what a travel journey of 20 years you have and it seems that you enjoyed your tour to the fullest. I loved these photographs and thanks so much for sharing your travel stories.

Emiel van den Boomen January 7, 2014 - 22:05

Thanks for leaving a comment Andre! We are still enjoying to the fullest!

Lady Lilith Bloodcrave December 25, 2013 - 04:04

Wow. You have really made it all around. It looks like you covered most of the map. Have a happy holiday.

Emiel van den Boomen December 26, 2013 - 21:41

Thanks for your comment and wishing you a great holiday as well!

How Many Countries Have You Been To? - worldtravelfamily.com December 24, 2013 - 06:45

[…] Emiel of Act of Travelling […]

Travel With Bender December 22, 2013 - 08:55

Wow I’d love to see this on a map, you guys are taking over the world. Merry Christmas & Happy 2014 travels! 😀

Emiel van den Boomen December 26, 2013 - 21:40

Haha, thanks! It took us a couple of years. This post indeed was one of those moments where you realize how lucky you are to have been to so many different places…

Andrew Wyatt December 22, 2013 - 04:50

What an impressive travel history! Many of the places you mention we hope to travel to during the next couple of years.

Emiel van den Boomen December 26, 2013 - 21:38

Thanks Andrew! What country or city would you like to visit the most?

Tracey - Life Changing Year December 21, 2013 - 14:17

Wow. What a cool roundup. You’ve been travelling for so long and have been so many interesting places!

Emiel van den Boomen December 21, 2013 - 23:41

And the great news is Tracey, we have absolutely no plans to stop traveling! 🙂

Tracey - Life Changing Year December 22, 2013 - 13:19

Awesome. We might get a visit from you yet!

Emiel van den Boomen December 26, 2013 - 21:32

We will call you whenever we make it to Australia! 🙂

Tracey - Life Changing Year December 30, 2013 - 13:25

lol…If it’s not in the next 23 days you might need to adjust that to Malaysia!

Jamie Bowlby-Whiting December 21, 2013 - 13:23

What a great list of places and what wonderful experiences for your children. I really love both the photos from 1998.

Emiel van den Boomen December 21, 2013 - 23:40

Thanks Jamie. 1998 was indeed a very cool travel year!

The Travel Hack December 21, 2013 - 12:33

Wow, what a fantastic 20 years of travel! Do you have a favourite place?

Emiel van den Boomen December 21, 2013 - 23:39

Our favorite place? That must be India…it’s so colorful, unbelievable, funny, chaotic and much more!

Manfred December 20, 2013 - 17:38

You guys don’t look too young to have been traveling for 20 years! It must be what keeps you so young. Great photos.

Emiel van den Boomen December 21, 2013 - 23:38

Haha, thanks Manfred!

How Many Countries Have We Been To? | RambleCrunch | RambleCrunch December 20, 2013 - 16:51

[…] Emiel at Act of Traveling […]

Heidi Wagoner December 20, 2013 - 16:47

Thanks for sharing this Emiel. As usual your photos are great and love reading your stories. Can’t wait to explore Asia next year and one day South America.

Emiel van den Boomen December 21, 2013 - 23:36

You will love Asia Heidi!! Thanks.

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No Schengen Visa For Wagoners Abroad In 2013! | Wagoners AbroadWagoners Abroad December 20, 2013 - 16:05

[…] Emiel at Act of Traveling – 20 years of travel: the places we have visited […]


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