Reflecting on my 2023 Travels

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2023 was a challenging year filled with personal growth. The year started out very low and so I made it my utmost goal throughout the year to prioritize myself, cultivate a wonderful and supportive community around me, and make progress in areas that were important to me. I ended the year the happiest and most at-peace I've been in many years.

I had planned to spend more time at home, but my restless heart continued to push me to travel far and wide. So, rather than stay put, I aimed to focus my travels on the people I cared about dearly, instead of just the destinations themselves.

I began the year with a wintery trip to Switzerland and then got to spend my 27th birthday with my mum in Prague in February. I was in Belgium on a monthly basis for work and it was a joy to get to spend so much in-person time with colleagues this year. In the spring, I spent a month galivanting across Europe, visiting Madrid, Northern Ireland, and roadtripping around Ireland, before stopping in London and Cambridge. I then spent April and May traveling through six countries in the Middle East, joined in Oman by Ina, one of my dear friends from Salzburg, followed by a whirlwind 30 hours at home before a week in Budapest.

I spent an intentionally long summer at home in Salzburg with my lovely friends, my circle growing both bigger and tighter as the hot summer days flew by. One of my best friends, Amelie, moved to New Zealand in August and it has been a joy to relive the country through her eyes. In August, I completed the world-famous Tour du Mont Blanc hike, trekking 165km through three countries with Connor, a friend from Vancouver. I ended up in Morocco in September, but cut the trip short due to the earthquake, returning again in November for a tour around the country. In between, I spent a few days in Hamburg, traveled to Norway with family, and popped up to Amsterdam for a long weekend to catch my parents on their trip to Europe.

This was the year I truly began to become self-aware of what I need, and learned how to meet those needs. I faced some major challenges - professionally, personally, emotionally and physically. I have navigated these months of turmoil with so much light and self-reflection and with many hands to hold along the way, thanks to the exceptional people I get to call friends in my life, as well as the incredible yoga studio I joined in Salzburg, my weekly online therapy sessions and the new relationship I entered into in August and which has done wonders for healing my anxious heart.

I visited 20 countries this year, 12 of them new, connecting with hundreds of people along the way who hold meaning in my life. I celebrated my three-year work anniversary in Europe, having been able to keep my fully remote position that I had initially gotten in Belgium and then taken to Austria as well as on the road to the many other places I've worked from. I continued to run whenever possible, clocking nearly 300 km, and hiking in nearly every country I visited, not to mention the countless walks, bike rides, yoga classes, lake and Almkanal swims, and ski days which I got to enjoy.

I didn't share as much on YouTube this year as new passion projects unfolded and took up much of my creative energy - including the launch of my very own company - and the many experiences I shared on Instagram. This year, I stepped foot on 3 continents, took 40 flights between 22 airports, and stayed at 28 hotels, 6 friends' houses, 16 hostels, 5 airbnbs and 2 night trains all of which saw me spend 157 nights not at home - nearly half of my year! While curled up in the many trains, planes, cars and beds I slept in this year, I read 9 beautiful books.

So with that, here's a summary of everywhere I went in 2023, with my favourite accompanying blog posts for you to peruse alongside:

1. Austria


I started out 2023 solo at home in snowy Salzburg, watching the New Year fireworks over the fortress from the riverbank. Coming off of an epic 2022, I planned to spend more time in Salzburg this year, finding small ways to feel loved and at home. This proved a challenge from the get go and I simultaneously longed for a feeling of adventure. I wanted to foster and develop friendships with new people as well as friends from around the world.

On the first weekend of the year, Mili (who I'd met last year in Istanbul) came to stay in Salzburg for a weekend, who encouraged me to download Bumble BFF to make some new local friends. I met Janna and immediately hit it off, and have since been lucky enough to expand my group of friends through Bumble BFF, a somewhat new form of making friends but one that has served me beautifully.

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Posts to read from my time there:

2. Switzerland


With a work trip to Brussels on the horizon for late January, I took advantage of needing to be on the road again and tacked on a few extra days beforehand with a train journey six hours west to Bern to visit Joaquim, who I'd met (along with Luca and Ann Cathrin) in Porto back in October 2021 and whom I'd always promised to visit, a trip which had yet to materialize. The wintery city entranced me and I worked remotely by day, after which we went for long walks in the winter sunshine and explored the capital of beautiful Switzerland, my first (and certainly not last) time in this country.

I spent 24 hours in Zurich afterwards and wandered around the old town of one of the world's most liveable - and expensive! - cities before hopping on my flight up to Brussels.

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Posts to read from my time there:

3. Belgium


Stressful work days were followed by evenings with dinners with colleagues and I felt re-energised again.

I lived in Brussels for a year back when I first moved back to Europe; this city will always be one of my homes in the world even if not all the memories are happy ones, and I am grateful for the many opportunities I have to come back and spend time here, each time feeling less and less like I don't belong.

4. Austria II

January - February

Even though I'd only been away for just over a week, it felt like much longer and I was so ready to get back home to my little mountain city. I filled my days with bike rides, long winter runs by the river, skiing and cultivating beautiful friendships at home.

Ann Cathrin, who I'd met in Porto back in October 2021, came to visit me in Salzburg which was instrumental in reminding me of my worth and focusing my energy on a bright year ahead.

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5. Czechia


My 27th birthday came around and, for the seventh year in a row, I spent my birthday in a new country with a weekend trip to Prague, also marking my 50th country visited, a wicked milestone to achieve.

Having had a rough start to the year, my mum flew in from San Francisco to spend the long weekend with me, the first time I'd seen her since our family trip to Ecuador last summer. It was a delight to have a quiet weekend together during which we walked more than 50km, ate plenty of yummy vegan food, took pretty photos of a wintery Prague, visited the largest castle in the world and attended a classical concert on my birthday. I am grateful for her unconditional love and the chance to get away together.

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Posts to read from my time there:

6. Austria III

February - March

After my first few busy months of the year, I spent March at home in my little Salzburg where I focused on building my community, going to weekly yoga classes and for long runs along the river, watching the stars from my balcony, discovering yummy restaurants in the city with new Bumble friends, taking photos of the spring magnolia blossoms, having sleepovers and hosting dinners, going out dancing at my new favourite reggaeton club and squeezing in a few final ski days. It was glorious; I finally feel like Salzburg is becoming home, and for that I am overjoyed. It was a slow, happy and peaceful March, much needed before my upcoming spring adventures.

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Dachstein West

7. Spain

March - April

After another week spent in Brussels for work, I flew down to Madrid, ready to spend some time chasing adventures and freedom again. I checked into a centrally-located hostel where I reunited with Emma and Hayden after nearly five years apart. I met Emma in a German class at university in 2017, and later went to her wedding to Hayden in 2018.

Even though we'd spent so much time apart, we picked up right where we had left off, and spent five sunny days wandering through Madrid, eating our weight in empanadas and patatas bravas. Highlights included a perfect day trip out to Toledo where we stumbled upon a Palm Sunday parade, and a night out of dancing to reggaeton music in the clubs of Madrid.

I waved Emma and Hayden off on a sunny Tuesday afternoon before making my way by metro to the apartment of Carmen and her parents, all of whom, along with her sister Isa, I'd met on board our cruise in the Galápagos last August. I spent a wonderful four days with them, catching up on all sorts of fun and chaos, running around the city taking photos, wandering Carmen's favourite parts of the city, eating delicious home-cooked Spanish food, watching Madrid win the iconic Barcelona-Madrid football game and going dancing until the early hours of the day. It was such a delight to get to experience both the touristy and local sides of Madrid and I am so grateful to have friends across the world.

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Posts to read from my time there:

8. Northern Ireland


From Madrid, I caught a direct flight up to Dublin where I then took a bus from the airport across the northern border to Belfast. I was greeted - surprisingly - with sunshine, and was lucky enough to have that sunshine last for my whole time in Northern Ireland. I spent my first night at a hostel in Belfast before catching a morning train even further north to Coleraine and then a bus all the way along the northern coast to a tiny little hostel in Whitepark Bay, which might have had one of the greatest views from a hostel ever.

Situated perfectly along the Causeway Coastal Drive in Northern Ireland, this was the perfect base to spend my Easter long weekend. I tramped across the countryside, spotting the Giant's Causeway and crossing the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. It was also a joy to meet Gabrielle, a fellow Canadian, who was one of my dormmates. She was on her very first solo backpacking trip ever and so we spent many hours anticipating her travels to come.

I returned a few days later to Belfast, windswept and refreshed from my time on the coast. There, I got to visit the Titanic Museum, a place I've wanted to see for many years. I am fascinated by all things Titanic and have read many books about it, so it was a privilege to finally get to visit the city of the launch of her maiden voyage - and on the exact date of her maiden voyage, 111 years later, at that. The Titanic Museum might have been the best I've ever been to - it was truly world class.

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Whitepark Bay

Posts to read from my time there:

9. Ireland


I took a bus back down to Dublin where I spent a few days working from my hostel, having dinner in the city with Janina, a mutual friend of my best friend Janna from back home in Salzburg, and gearing up for my next adventure.

On Friday morning, in unusual bright sunshine, I headed out for a four-day long weekend roadtrip around Ireland with Christophe. We met on a walking tour last summer in Quito and so I'd only spent two hours with him before we decided to go on around the country he's currently living in. All my expectations were surpassed both in the landscapes and in the fact that we had dry weather the whole trip, except for an hour while on the west coast. This never happens in Ireland. It was seriously a delightful trip, and I continue to be in awe of my global reach and friendships.

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Killarney National Park

Posts to read from my time there:

10. England


After our Ireland roadie ended, I flew across to London for a work trip. I was born in London and spent eight of my childhood years living here. While I do retain a strong sense of British-ness, it's certainly no longer enough to pass as a local. I took the tube from Heathrow into the city and used the long underground journey to reminisce. Once I'd checked in at my hotel, I rushed up to Borough Market for dinner with Iza, an ex-colleague of mine from back in Wellington in 2019. It was like no time had passed.

It was also lovely to spend time with colleagues in London, while the highlight of my time in the city was watching Dirty Dancing live on the West End with Emily - my first West End show in many, many years (I saw Lion King back in the early 2000s); it was phenomenal.

I spent the weekend visiting my aunt, uncle and cousin, plus their two dogs, in Cambridge. When travels align, I try to visit them as much as possible and we had a quintessential English weekend wandering the pretty city streets and laughing plenty in the sunshine.

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With Emily at Dirty Dancing on London's West End

11. Austria IV


After my month traipsing across Europe, I was very much looking forward to a few weeks at home. On the 1 May long weekend, a group of friends - which included myself, Janna and her boyfriend Tim, another Bumble friend Amelie and her boyfriend Jonas, as well as Melisa, a university friend of Jonas, and her fiance Denis - undertook our first hike of the season up to Erentrudisalm for Spinatknödel overlooking Salzburg. The seven of us self-titled the group the Salzburg Squad and just like that, the dream of having a group of friends at home in Salzburg had materialized.

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Erentrudisalm Hike, Salzburg

Posts to read from my time there:

12. United Arab Emirates


While I was on the road somewhere in Namibia or Botswana, I decided that my goal for 2023 was to make it out to the Middle East and spend some time exploring the Gulf, a part of the world I'd never visited, nor knew much about aside from the skewed media views. I'd heard some tales of the oppulently wealthy cities, but beyond that my knowledge was limited and I was determined to get out there this year.

And so, before I knew it, I was off again for a few weeks in the Middle East and I genuinely loved it. It surpassed all my expectations and was safe, welcoming and beautiful. It was already coming into the hottest season of the year in the Middle East, with temperatures expected to be in the high 30s and low 40s every day, barely dipping below the mid-20s at night. Combine that with the need to cover your shoulders and knees out of respect for the local culture, I set out on a mission to purchase a few new wardrobe items that covered my skin while being as thin and breathable as possible and, of course, beautiful, for the exquisite landscapes and skylines I hoped to photograph.

I began with a week in the UAE, visiting the Emirates of Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Dubai was a bizarre and somewhat surreal experience, especially my trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, to witness the tall glass and steel buildings rising skyward, marring the desert far beyond the horizon line, itself blurred by dust and sand. I enjoyed my daytrip down to Abu Dhabi, where my tour group and I braved the heat to admire the stunning architecture, especially the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest in the country.

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Posts to read from my time there:

13. Qatar


After my time in the UAE, I took a quick flight from Sharjah up to Doha. Qatar ended up being one of my favourite countries in the Middle East (second only to Oman) and I was thoroughly impressed by the country. I particularly loved my time in Doha, shown to me by someone I work with and with whom it was a privilege and delight to explore.

Doha is clean, safe, futuristic, peaceful, dignified and prosperous. It truly is a city of the future - especially after all the investment for the 2022 FIFA World Cup - and now the city offers world class accommodation, dining, transport options and next level cleanliness and thoughtful investment and design. Things like disabled access to public parks, air conditioned bus stations for the searing desert heat, an electric tram system, exceptionally clean streets, futuristic metro systems and free museums abound. I didn't know what to expect from Doha and I truly loved it.

I wanted to make sure I saw some of the country outside the futuristic capital city though, too, so I booked a tour of Northern Qatar. It was stifling hot, but I loved my tour with Hamad, my tour guide, who took the time to explain everything and take some really fantastic photos (both of me and the landscapes!). Qatar was truly a stand-out country for me this year.

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Al Zubara Fort

Posts to read from my time there:

14. Kuwait


Kuwait was definitely the hardest country to enter out of the five Gulf nations I visited, the only one which required a physical visa to be completed. Kuwait City is not a very touristy city - in fact, one of the staff at the hotel I stayed at told me their main client base is wealthy locals looking for a staycation, versus international tourists visiting the country.

During my few days in Kuwait, I explored the main market, mosque and museum, with the glittering blue Kuwait Towers being the highlight of my visit, from where you can see the entire city and coast spread out below.

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Kuwait Towers

Posts to read from my time there:

15. Bahrain


After Kuwait, I flew back south along the Gulf to Bahrain, the tiniest country in the region. It's actually the third-smallest in all of Asia, after only the Maldives and Singapore. While it might be small, there's an impressive amount to see in the kingdom. Bahrain sits right next to Qatar; both are protruding land masses off of Saudi Arabia.

My aim was to see as much of it as possible in the one full day I had. As such, I figured my best bet was to book a tour and I got lucky, finding a full day tour of Bahrain that promised to show the best the island nation had to offer. I ended up being the only person on the tour, mostly because the end of May is definitely already getting into low season due to soaring summer temperatures, so my fabulous tour guide and I spent the entire day exploring the kingdom, taking loads of selfies, eating good food, bargaining at the market and visiting the camels.

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Royal Camel Farm

Posts to read from my time there:

16. Oman

May - June

I was beyond excited to be heading to my fifth and final country of my Middle Eastern trip - and I convinced Ina, one of my close (Bumble!) friends from Salzburg, to fly out and join me for this leg of the journey.

It turned out phenomenally. Oman is sitting firmly on the list of my favourite countries - we were blown away by the landscapes, the kindness, the beauty, the food, the world-class snorkeling, the quality of the accommodations, the safety, the peace, the infrastructure... all of it was brilliant. I can HIGHLY recommend a trip through Oman to anyone.

We hiked and swam through the surreal Wadi Shab canyon (in 41-degree heat, no less!), climbed down to swim in the Bimmah Sinkhole, snorkeled the spectacular Daymaniyat Islands, spent a night glamping under the stars in the middle of the Wahiba Sands desert, wandered through Jabreen Castle, bargained at Nizwa Market and visited the Fort and soaked up all that the capital of Muscat has to offer with fort sunsets and long hot beach days.

To this day, Oman is one of the best trips I've experienced.

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Wahiba Sands

Posts to read from my time there:

17. Hungary


A whirlwind 30 hours at home gave me just enough time to unpack, do laundry and repack, before boarding a six-hour train across the country to Budapest, the vibrant capital of Hungary, for a work trip. Having been forecast with a rainy few days, we got exceptionally lucky with sunshine making for gorgeous photos and exploring weather. Ina came and joined me for the weekend and, along with a colleague, we squeezed in as much of this fun city as we could.

Budapest is a beautiful city, home to boisterous bars and clubs, mouthwatering eateries, the Danube River running through the city, famous thermal baths - perfect for a relaxing afternoon, and the Fisherman's Bastion, with arguably the best views of all of Budapest.

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Fisherman's Bastion

Posts to read from my time there:

18. Austria V

June - August

And then, with half the year already under my belt, I was finally - intentionally - at home, and I stayed put there for seven long glorious weeks. With 14 countries already visited this year, I was so excited to spend the summer at home, with people I love, being outdoors as much as possible and not living out of suitcase… at least for now.

My Austrian summer included as much time spent with my friends as possible at cafes and picnics, afternoons spent at the Almkanal or at the many lakes in Salzburg's vicinity, an overnight hike up into the mountains at Tappenkarsee with the Squad and walks along the many bergs of the city. This summer, my circle grew both bigger and tighter as the hot summer days flew by.

Notably in August, one of my best friends, Amelie, moved to New Zealand and it has been a joy to relive the country through her eyes since.

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Posts to read from my time there:

19. Germany


Okay, so I didn't spend the entire summer at home - I actually popped up to Munich for a weekend in early August with Ina to go to The Weeknd concert and explore this neighbouring city for the first time. The concert was electrifying, and the city was fun to explore the next day, even if it rained off and on for much of the day.

That Saturday also marked the first day I met my now-boyfriend for the first time. What a joy that has turned out to be.

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Posts to read from my time there:

20. Switzerland II


After my first visit to Switzerland at the beginning of the year in the cold snow, I was desperate for a summer trip to the country, hoping to see some of the most spectacular views in Europe. I certainly didn't expect the opportunity to come so fast, and, albeit delayed by a few days due to food poisoning, I got to spend 24 hours in Lauterbrunnen, perhaps one of the most idyllic towns of them all.

I was there to meet up with Connor before we headed off to the complete the world famous Tour du Mont Blanc hike. Lauterbrunnen is a famous little mountain town in central Switzerland, nestled in the middle of the Swiss Alps and home to some of the world's most photogenic view points. The village itself is quaint to wander, and it's the perfect base for loads of hiking trails in the near vicinity. With our schedule needing us to be in southern France the next day to start our TMB hike, we didn't get to do any hiking in this part of Switzerland... but I'll be back!

Of course, as with many places in Switzerland, you come here for the exquisite views that make for some of the most idyllic photos. We spent our time running around the little town, taking as many pictures as we could, our jaws dropping around every corner. I remember getting off the train in Lauterbrunnen and just being absolutely in awe of the view - it felt like stepping into a little postcard, especially with the famous waterfall tumbling down the cliffside.

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Posts to read from my time there:

21. Tour du Mont Blanc: France, Switzerland, Italy


Something that brings me a lot of joy and happiness is pushing my body and discovering the most incredible experiences available in this world. To keep pushing my limits, both physically and mentally, with the opportunity to capture some of the world's most surreal places and feel the feeling of being on top of the world. That's what I want to spend the rest of my life doing: chasing that feeling.

So I suppose that's why, when Connor reached out in May to ask if I wanted to hike the TMB this summer, one of the world's greatest long distance multi-day hikes, I wholeheartedly said yes!

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 165km hiking loop around Mont Blanc, with nearly 9km of elevation gain into the sky, through 3 countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. You can go as fast or as slow as you want, staying in your choice of the many refuges (mountain huts) along the way at night. I know people who've done the whole loop in three days, and others who take it slow and go for two weeks. Connor, a friend and fellow hiker from Vancouver, and I planned a nine-day trek on the TMB.

Ultimately, the TMB was a journey that pushed my body, drained my energy, but refilled my mental clarity and strength, reminding me that I can do just about anything I set my mind to.

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Monte Bianco, Italy

Posts to read from my time there:

22. Austria VI


Then, it was back to Austria for the final hurrah of the summer before an autumn of more travels awaited me. One of the best days of September was with Sonja (another Bumble friend!), with whom I undertook a very Austrian activity and tackled what we call an "after work" which is basically just a sweet way of saying let's go on an afternoon hike after work in the final hours of daylight and celebrate being done with the workday by detoxing in the mountains!

This has been a beautiful few months of summer, full of friendship, good food, plenty of physical movement - yoga, running, bike rides, icy cold swims and hikes, and intense summer mountain weather with heat waves and rainstorms alike. An after work in the mountains of Salzburg was the perfect way to round off my last weekend at home for the summer.

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Untersberg Hike, Salzburg

Posts to read from my time there:

23. Morocco


I was intending to spend just shy of three weeks in Morocco, exploring the whole country, starting with a long weekend in the beautiful city of Marrakech with Emily, a dear friend of mine.

But the day I landed, Friday 8 September, was the day that a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the High Atlas Mountains, the impact of which was felt across the country, and recorded as the worst in Moroccan history.

So, while much of our plans were changed, and we spent most of our weekend wandering through the Medina of Marrakech, taking in the aftermath for ourselves, we still made the most of our time in this resilient and vibrant city. I planned to come back as soon as I could to support and experience all Morocco has to offer, although I felt, in the immediate time period following the tragedy, and having lived through it myself, that I wanted to give the Moroccans time and space to grieve and begin to rebuild.

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Riad Dar Beldia, Marrakech

Posts to read from my time there:

24. Germany II & Austria VII

September - October

I returned early from Morocco and spent time with my boyfriend both in Germany and Austria. Trying to readjust after experiencing the earthquake and to fill my days with restoration and beauty, we spent one of the weekends I was meant to be in Morocco on a long day roadie down to the southern border of Germany to visit lakes and gorges and just be outside under the autumn sun.

We also spent a day at the Naturhotel Forsthofgut waldSPA in the mountains of Austria. With vibrantly coloured leaves and crisp morning air, I was craving an escape to a place where I could clear my head and unwind, and to allow the new season to fully arrive. With multiple indoor and outdoor facilities, including saunas, hot pools, red light, steam rooms, nap roms and of course, the famous outdoor natural pool with that impressive mountain backdrop, the whole thing felt impeccably designed to soothe and calm those who visit. It was the perfect place to think and reflect.

A weekend trip to Hamburg in northern Germany, where my mum spent time living in her youth and where she brought me to visit many times as a child, was a wonderful opportunity to visit old friends and reacquaint myself with the city.

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Naturhotel Forsthofgut

Posts to read from my time there:

25. Norway


For my 60th country, we flew to Norway, beginning with a long weekend in the Nordic capital of Oslo. Somehow, we had managed to time the trip to Oslo with the gorgeous end of the vibrant colours of autumn and the first snowfall of the winter season. Oslo is located in southern Norway, on the coast of the North Sea, neighbouring Sweden. Oslo is a wonderful destination year-round, with the heat of summer making this coastal spot a cool delight and a great starting point for hiking, while in winter, coziness descends on the city, with kanelboller and floating saunas to entice visitors to the cool Scandivanian air.

The second stop of our beautiful week in Norway saw us board a plane from Oslo and fly two hours northward, stepping foot - for the very first time in my life - in the Arctic Circle. We landed in Tromsø, along with my aunt, uncle and cousin who we met up with in Oslo as they traveled up from London, for a four-day adventure seeing as much as we could up north. Tromsø is a well-known northern Norwegian destination, with hiking, wild animals and exquisite landscapes.

The final stop was to the little island of Sommarøy, part of the municipality of greater Tromsø. In summer, Sommarøy is an excellent place to experience the midnight sun but in winter, it's a totally different experience as the sun is only up for a few short hours, hanging low in the sky, casting a gorgeous golden glow across everything it touches and long shadows, plus the chance to see one of the world's most magical phenomenons: the aurora borealis (the northern lights).

In Sommarøy, I got to undertake my very first hotel partnership which was a huge milestone for me in my creative professional journey.

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Northern Lights

Posts to read from my time there:

26. Netherlands


It had been nine months since I saw my mum (in Prague, in February) and 15 since I saw my dad (in Quito, last August). They live out in California and so, with me being based in Europe and traveling much of the time, getting to all be in the same place at the same time is a pretty rare and special occasion - the last time it was all three of us was in the Galápagos off the coast of Ecuador...!

My parents were in the Netherlands and Germany for a few weeks to visit family and dear friends (I'm half-Dutch, half-German), and so my boyfriend and I jumped at the occasion to take the long overnight journey by night train from Munich to Amsterdam (direct, but with delays both ways, of course).

We spent three days together in the surprisingly sunny Dutch capital, where the final bursts of autumnal colour were on full display, the coffee was excellent and the first signs of Christmas could be felt in the air. The last time I was in Amsterdam was nearly a decade ago, when I was spending a university summer living and working in Europe. We spent our weekend wandering the idyllic streets spotting the instantly-recognizable homes of Amsterdam, indulging in delicious brunch and cafes, and boarded an afternoon cruise through the iconic canals of the city.

It was heartwarming to get to introduce my boyfriend and my parents to each other, and to get to experience this important city together.

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Red Light District, Amsterdam

Posts to read from my time there:

27. Morocco II

November - December

After the September trip had been cut short, I returned to Morocco in late November to complete the three-week trip I had initially planned.

While the country itself is absolutely beautiful - the trip was a struggle, yet again. Many things went wrong including forgetting to pack half the things I needed which delayed my flight out, catching a Norovirus, my luggage breaking twice, getting an ear infection, having my second flight home canceled due to a snowstorm, my luggage not arriving for nearly a month after I got home...

After a week in Marrakech, I took the train a few hours west to Casablanca, the largest city in the country, where I met up with my travel group with whom I’d be exploring the country. We boarded our mini van which would be our mode of transport for the next nine days. We toured the varied landscapes of Morocco, including Chefchaouen, the blue city and the Pearl of Morocco; a hike and a swim up to Akchour Falls; Volubilis, a UNESCO site preserving the ancient Roman capital of the Kingdom of Mauritania; Fès, home to the world’s oldest Medina; and rock-climbing and hiking in Todra Gorge of the Amazigh peoples.

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Posts to read from my time there:

28. Austria VIII


I returned from Morocco to a snowy Germany and then back home to Salzburg for a quiet week resetting after a wild year. My luggage didn't make it back home until 29 December... nearly a month later!

Winter and Christmastime is one of the loveliest times of year, and Vienna, Austria's romantic capital city - and usually on top of the list of the world's most liveable cities - is one of the most famous Christmastime destinations in Europe. I was in Réunion for Christmas last year, and I spent the holidays hiking and working on my tan on the beach.

In Vienna, the Christkindlmarkts are in abundance, the lights are brightly lit all throughout the city streets, the punsch is hot and flowing, the golden hours are extra special and the food tastes even yummier and fresher at this time of year.

One of my dearest friends, Ann Cathrin, has lived in Vienna for a few years now. We don't get to spend that much time together, with Vienna and Salzburg being a four-hour train ride apart, and us both being busy young women and oft-abroad, but we do make it a priority to see each other at least a few times each year. I had seen her for skiing earlier this year, and it was a perfect full-circle ending to the year to spend a Christmassy day together in her home city, along with my boyfriend.

This has been the year of true friendships.

jana meerman vienna austria christmas christkindlmarkt (25)

Wiener Christkindlmarkt, Vienna

Posts to read from my time there:

29. Germany III


And then the year came peacefully to a close. I spent the holidays with my boyfriend and his friends and family partaking in many of their German traditions that were so similar to the German upbringing I had had - I felt very much at home, at peace and comfortable. Snow fell occasionally, but we didn't get a White Christmas.

Instead, I got delicious food, wonderful memories, a chance to go ice skating twice and develop new traditions. We helped my best friend Janna and her boyfriend Tim move into their new flat, decorated a home-baked gingerbread house, watched Christmas films and rang in the new year at a glittery NYE celebration.

jana meerman christmas candles germany
jana meerman germany snow christmas

In summary, I think the word I would use to describe my 2023 is together. I built an incredible community of friends in Europe, entered a beautiful new relationship, spent lots of time with colleagues and family and focused my time on people who build me up. I built so many foundations this year, personally and professionally, and in 2024, I can't wait to see what this will lead to, and where in the world I will end up.

And, before you go, check out my 20192020, 2021 and 2022 travel round-ups, too.

Jana Meerman

Hi! I’m Jana, a British-Dutch-Canadian with a dream of seeing every country in the world. I am a storyteller, photographer and adventurer passionate about documenting and sharing my travels.

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook



  1. C
    30 March 2024 / 9:25 am

    Hi Jana, I just recently found your blog and I’ve been reading back through some of your older posts. I really love these types of travel recaps and wish more bloggers still did them!

    However, I do have a question for you if you’re comfortable sharing. You have an apartment in Salzburg that I assume you pay rent on, but you also spend the better part of each year traveling away from home. How are you able to pay for rent on your apartment and travel so much – is it just the income from your remote job?

    I ask because I gave up my apartment 1.5 years ago in a HCOL city to travel full-time. I couldn’t justify paying rent and being gone as much as I wanted to be, although I miss having a home base and ideally I’d love to live somewhere permanently but travel 6+ months out of the year.

    • Jana Meerman
      30 March 2024 / 11:12 am

      Hi C! Thank you for finding my blog and taking the time to read through it. That alone means a lot 🙂

      Yes, so I work full time at a 100% remote job, which allows me to also do the bulk of my traveling while working at the same time. My income from that pays all my bills and traveling, and what I earn from Jana Meerman Co. goes into my savings. I’ve also started to, very excitedly, break into the world of hotel collaborations which helps to offset some of my travel costs.

      I lucked out with a very affordable apartment – it’s a small little studio and my bills are incredibly manageable. I used to live in Vancouver, Canada and paid twice as much… Salzburg is a small, peaceful city and the perfect mountain homebase to come to between trips, keep my belongings and not have to permanently live out of a suitcase!

      Some says it’s luck, but I worked really hard to design my life in this way – an affordable flat, a great job, full-time pay, fully remote, Jana Meerman Co. and this blog… it’s all possible. Hope useful 🙂

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