My 2017 has seen me at home in Ireland for the longest period of time since 2013. Even though I have been home for a while I still managed to travel to six new countries and attend quite a few fun music festivals in Ireland and abroad.
It’s the time of year when people review their year and I’m no different. It’s a great excuse to check out your progress and also things that you can improve in the future. I got my passport, restarted this blog, made some money online along with a host of other things. Let’s see what I did month to month.
After months of waiting, I finally saw the return of my passport. It had taken over three months, far longer than the four weeks I had initially expected, but there are worse places to be stuck in than Mexico I suppose. Having spent the guts of six weeks in San Cristobal, I decided to make one last trip to Puerto Escondido a beachside town. Upon my arrival, I was informed my passport was back in San Cristobal, a 12-hour return bus ride. I decided to relax for a few days and then make my way back to San Cristobal.
One of my friends from Mexico had travelled down to Xela in Guatemala. I decided to go there too as it would be quiet and a good place to learn some Spanish. You can read more about that here.
I studied in Xela until mid-February with some small trips to Lake Atitlan and some other locations around Guatemala. I then used the final two weeks to visit Antigua where I climbed a Volcano and went to an insane party and afterwards to Semuc Champey and the ruins of Tikal. Guatemala is a stunning country but with some extremely uncomfortable transport. My last few days of February would see me on flights from Guatemala back to Mexico and down to Colombia with some final issues regarding onward travel to Colombia. Mexico really wanted me to stay.
The start of March would see me land in Bogota, Colombia. A little colder than expected I spent about a week here taking in some walking tours, checking out Graffiti, political buildings and some of the nightlife. I also got to meet an old friend and party in a mansion with him so that was pretty fun. A quick flight to Cartagena allowed me to see the old city, it was nice but pricey and full of hookers which can be a little distracting. I moved on from here to Taganga where I stayed for a few days to pick up my advanced diving certificate.
Santa Marta followed where I and another friend from Mexico celebrated Saint Patrick’s day. Here we saw the home where Simon Bolivar died which was pretty impressive. Then we drove to the mountains to visit Minca a beautiful little town perched in the mountains overlooking Santa Marta. We spent a few days here recovering and making plans for our journey to Medellin.
Following a flight to Medellin, we checked out its close connection to the infamous Pablo Escobar. We rode on numerous cable cars which are hugely important to the cities recent progress and searched for some other markets and partying locations within the city. Close by is the town of Guatape a stunning location with some incredible scenery created by a manmade lake. Along with this amazing scenery is the opportunity to paintball in one of Pablo Escobar’s homes. Something we couldn’t really resist. It was fun but a little painful.
Salento and Cali finished up my final days in Colombia with about 10 days spent between them. Salento is another beautiful area with a stunning coffee industry and some tall trees that are pretty famous. Cali, of course, has the fastest salsa in the world so I gave that a brief go.
Ecuador saw the emergence of another hiccup in my travel plans as my primary bank card was set to expire and I decided to volunteer in a hostel in Quito while it came. Forgetting the postal system isn’t amazing, there was little sign of my card after three weeks. I was also getting a little tired of being on the move all the time and with my earlier problems, I decided it was time to call it quits as the fun was gone out of the adventure at least at that moment.
Before that, though I had to visit the Galapagos islands. It was one of the main reasons for the trip and very high on my bucket list. I spent six days exploring the incredible islands and they made my return home a lot easier to handle as I’d completed one of my main goals. Ecuador probably would have been much better if my mood hadn’t been so negative at the time. Besides Quito I visited the surf town of Montanita, seeing as I don’t surf it was a waste of time now that I look back.
This month saw me finish up in Ecuador and make my way to Peru where I spent a few days with a friend while I waited for a flight home. I spent a few days in Lima checking out the food, architecture and oddly enough cricket. I’m definitely looking forward to going back to Peru in the upcoming year.
My last stop was a quick visit to Toronto in Canada. I was barely there a day though, so I may wait for a better opportunity to write about Canada. I believe I arrived home to Ireland around the 11th of May.I purchased a laptop and clothes within a week of being home and got rid of the small amount of stuff I had with me for the past few months. New clothes and my own bed were pretty nice.
I attended my first Irish festival in years in this month and started saving again for my next trip although I had no idea where it would be. I kept pretty quite mainly catching up with old friends and settling into life at home. Although I had been home the previous summer I worked in Dublin for most of it and didn’t make much of an effort as I was leaving again, this time I wasn’t sure of my plans.
The rest of the summer months were pretty similar to June with festivals every few weeks. I got this blog up and running after a lot of trial and error and started doing some content writing as a way of finally making some money online. This has been ok for a small amount of extra money, but with work and life getting in the way, I haven’t been able to make a proper go of it and I find some of the content writing incredibly boring to work on.
This month started with my nephew’s christening and then much of the same as the previous months although I and my sister started to make plans for South America in October. I was pretty happy as I hadn’t really settled into being at home and I was looking forward to not being a delivery driver anymore, I’m a pretty awful driver.
This was the month I quit my job as I decided I needed a few weeks off before me and my sister left for South America. After some discussion though my sister and I choose to stay in Irland until after Christmas.
Having been retired for a full week I asked for my job back, I could have stayed looking for something else but knowing that I was going to leave, that would have been a little pointless. I also started a course in Digital marketing this month which I should hopefully finish in the upcoming few weeks. It’s been ok, but it took me a while to get used to studying again.
Having decided to stay in Ireland I thought I should make some use of my time and attend a blogging conference called Tbex. It was being held in Ireland so it made sense to go. I don’t think I learned a whole lot, but I met a bunch of cool people and we had fun. I also attended ADE in Amsterdam a huge music event, it was after this I took a break from blogging mainly so I could study and because I was tired trying to do so many different things online at the same time. Plus it doesn’t make me any money yet.
More study, my birthday and a small bit of travel. Looking into November I got the blues as I was still finding it hard to settle back into Ireland even after so long. To cheer myself up I booked flights too. Having friends in different countries is a great motivator to travel.
We checked out Gothenburg, ate some moose I also booked my flights to South America with a small bit of Portugal thrown in.
Finally this month. After my trip to Sweden and booking flights away, I probably became the most content with being at home. My first Christmas in five years has been nice. I’ve seen tons of friends and family and hopefully, I can pass my upcoming exams in January. In two weeks I get to retire from being a delivery driver, which is good news for everyone I think.
All in all my 2017 has ended much better than I expected, so 2018 should be starting right. Following February I don’t really have any plans but Portugal and Brazil should keep me occupied until then.