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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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)!
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 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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
Barcelona, Tuscany, Wiesbaden, Cambodia, and Mauritius (2013)
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.
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…..
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!).
- The Nomadic Family – Oh the places you will go – Everywhere we have been on the globe
- Travel with Bender – How many countries did we travel in the last 574 days
- World Travel Family – How many countries have you been to
- Wagoners Abroad – No Schengen Visa for Wagoners Abroad
- Renegade Travels – End of Year Review
- RambleCrunch – So, how many countries have we been to?
- Capturing La Vita – Our favorite family spots in Tuscany for 2013
- Great Big Scary World – 2013: Teach, cycle, get arrested, raft, get arrested, start again
- Our Big Fat Travel Adventure – Our 2013 country run-down
Text and photography by: Emiel van den Boomen