I think I was born to travel. I’ve had travel in my blood from a very early age (well not as early as my kids!). You can trust me. I’ve travelled. I travelled solo in my early twenties, I’ve travelled as a couple and I’ve travelled with kids.
When it comes to travel I’ve been doing it for 20 years! And across 75 countries.
In celebration of visiting my 75th country, 20 years after my very first overseas trip, I’ve put together a post that explains my entire travel history.
We are going to start way back to a time when I was youthful, energetic and 18. (To be honest 2 of those 3 things are still accurate today!) Let’s go back to the very beginning. A very good place to start. Enjoy Explore With Erin’s travel timeline.
My first overseas trip. I was 18 and had just graduated high school. My parents decided they would take all of us to Bali. From Perth, it was only a mere 3.5 hours and considering they had 5 kids, (me the oldest, the youngest 7) it was quite a trip.
I hated the heat and never having experienced a third-world culture before I was shocked. I had no interest in ever visiting again. Little did I know more then 13 years later I would live there for two months on my 8th visit! And by 2017 have visited 16 times and lived there more than once.
The day after my 20th birthday I booked a return open-ended ticket to London. My father is British so I was very pleased to be able to also get a British passport. With my parent’s complete encouragement I left my home in Perth, Australia very naïve and green.
I had a stopover in Hong Kong for one evening. I was so nervous and I will never forget how strange I felt being in a hotel room by myself and wondering now what? I ate McDonald’s, as I wasn’t sure what was safe to eat and set up an organized tour the next day so I could see the sights safely.
Then I arrived in London. It was December. It was freezing. I’d never seen snow in my life, Perth is hot. There is rain and the temp might get down to the 15C in winter, but London was cold.
My Dad had relatives there and they were kind enough to pick me up from the airport and give me a place in their home. A bedroom, which was the size of a closet back home. I managed to get a job at Harrod’s immediately and after 6 days of working retail (never been done before) I packed it in.
I had a friend living in Belgium at the time and she was like “what are you doing?” and I was like “well I just quit my job, I actually have some savings so I don’t need to work”. So she invited me over. You must sit back and imagine how adventurous this is for a green 20-year-old who just moved out of home. I jumped the train from London to Belgium and stayed with my friend for a week.
I believe that trip infused me with confidence. We travelled around Antwerp and saw the most amazing places and I knew I had to get out more. I left her with a renewed mind about what I was going to do when I got back to London.
My trip to London was supposed to be for a 6-month stint, but before I knew it I had moved out of my relative’s house into a home on Finchley Road. The house was huge and each room was set up studio style for the express purpose of girls living and working in London. It cost me 75 pounds a week including amenities.
Those were the days!
From this home, I started temping. Between jobs, I took the time out to see some of Europe. 6 months turned to 7, 8… 9.
I took a tour group to Amsterdam on my own. It was again an exciting thing for me to be going and doing things by myself. I made great friends and loved seeing the birthplace of my Mother.
I made great friends with a girl in London and in July we decided to take a 10 day trip to Italy. We spent 3 nights in Florence, 3 nights in Rome and 3 nights in Sorrento. I will never forget that trip. Being young, single (for the first time since 16), travelling with another young single and just enjoying every moment. It’s so different from travelling with kids or even a partner. Complete freedom to be selfish and do whatever you like, whenever you like. I will never forget that moment I stepped into the Colosseum, it changed my life. Knowing Christians had faced lions for their faith…. It truly impacted me and was a moment in time I will cherish always.
I visited Paris, France. I wasn’t a fan, could have been my English blood. Sure the Eiffel Tower was cool, but the rest to me was kind of like a copycat Italy. I did manage to get out to Versaille and that was absolutely gorgeous. Am a fan of history.
The few visitors I did have in London had me doing the same bus tour all over again, but I really love that tour. We saw Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The Eye, everything and anything. I even remember one day I was hanging out with a good friend and having nothing better to do we decided to jump on a train and go see the Monopoly board…. Those cheap places on the board, certainly are cheap in real life too.
Finally, I was convinced to return home. Winter was coming and I had plans waiting for me back in Australia. So nine months later I moved back.
Newly married, I jumped a plane for our honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand. I stayed in the most amazing resort, Thavorn Beach Village, where the only way to our hotel room was up a cable car. The rooms were set in a cliff overlooking a beach. It was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. I fell in love with Thailand.
2003 – 2006
I did some travel in Australia – Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne. Thought I should get some home turf under my belt while building my own home and getting caught up in a Property Management career.
The house had been built and it was time to do something big. I knew I was ready to have kids so as a last hoorah since “I would never travel again” I booked a 7 week round the world ticket.
First, stop Hawaii. We were so jet lagged, but had arrived in the morning so it was time to just keep going. We stopped at Burger King (Hungry Jacks in Oz) and got a medium meal. It came as a large and we were so excited we knew it to be true – Things are Bigger in America!
3 nights in Hawaii, snorkeling in flooded volcanoes, drinking from coconuts and eating things never tried it was divine.
Then onto Los Angeles. 3 nights in Hollywood, a town with so much contrast. Downtrodden, barred windows until you reach Beverly Hills where all of a sudden the mansions are sitting on cliff faces and celebrities are walking around. We weren’t fans.
3 nights in Anaheim. 3 days of just Disneyland. Having grown up in Australia, our amusement parks in Sydney/Perth could not compare. We loved every minute from 9 am to midnight every day. Had to buy new shoes for that trek.
3 nights in San Diego. The zoo, sea world, what a magnificent place. We fell in love with San Diego. It was a lot like Perth, but the shops were open late and on Sundays! We listed it as a place to come back. Plus while here we took a quick trip to Tijuana, Mexico.
We trained it back to the airport and made our way to Las Vegas. 3 nights in Vegas was not enough, but we crammed everything in: magic shows, Cirque De Solai, hotel viewing and buffet eating. Some of the best buffets we ever had. We also managed a trip out to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, an experience I will never forget. No matter what man-made attractions you visit, there is nothing on earth that can compare to God’s natural attractions, wow. We will come back.
From Vegas to New York. We were blessed to have cousins offer us a place to stay in the amazing, but expensive city of New York. Finally, 7 nights in one place and there was so much to see. Our hosts were so generous with their time and we made firm friends that I still contact regularly to this day, they became family.
During our stay in New York, we visited the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Broadway, etc. we also managed to jump a small flight to Canada & Niagra Falls for the day. Again God outdid any man-made attraction we had seen. We took the Maid of the Mist right to the fall and stood dripping wet in awe of this beauty.
Moving from New York to Washington DC for an overnight blur of seeing the White House, Capitol, etc. Those hop on hop off buses are the best!
Next, we flew out of Washington and headed to London for a quick visit with my Italy travel buddy and a review of the historic places. It was wet and rainy and well, disappointing.
From London, we flew to Munich. My late Father-In-Law was an American basketball player who lived in Australia and played for the Boomers in the Munich Olympics so it was incredible to see part of that history. We travelled to Neuschwanstein and fell in love with the castle.
We also decided to take a train trip to Switzerland for the day and loved the day we spent in Zurich. Again we had a friend in Germany who took us in and we are forever in his debt.
From Germany we had a flight to Israel, however, there was an 8-hour stopover in Madrid, so we left our bags in the locker and made the most of our day in Madrid, before hopping back on the plane to Tel Aviv.
We stayed near Haifa and travelled around a lot of the country. We visited bucket list items; Jerasulem with its quarters and the Dome and the Wall, the Dead Sea and it’s renewing mud, Haifa, Jaffa, Caesarea, etc. To walk the same streets as Jesus is unforgettable, to see history as old as the Bible was a footprint on my heart I will never forget.
Finally, our 2 weeks in Israel came to an end and it was time to go back to real life. To go forward you have to go back, so the journey home took a long time. Israel to London, London to Singapore, Singapore to Perth. Home.
Sydney & Singapore (including a side trip to Bintan, Indonesia) with my 9-month-old baby. She won a competition and was voted one of the 5 cutest babies in Australia so they paid for us to go to Sydney and stay for the photoshoot, etc. Then after that, we had plans for Singapore, I absolutely fell in love with Singapore – gorgeous destination and added a mini holiday to Bintan after Singapore.
Bali again. Before the birth of my son.
My son was now 1 and happy to stay with Grandmother so we made 4 trips this year – 2 with the kids, 2 without.
April – Singapore, no kids.
July – a wedding in Bali with all my family, including kids.
October – a wedding anniversary to Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi, no kids.
December – a 10-night cruise from Sydney to the South Pacific: Vanuatu, New Caledonia, etc.
It was during this cruise that we realized we had spent a lot of time in 2011 out of Australia and it was so expensive to keep coming back to Australia. It was so far from everything. It wasn’t like London where you could jump across to Europe at any time. It’s not like America where every state is different and unique and has amazing things to do and see…. And well wouldn’t it be good just to not come back for a while?…
May 2012 the kids and I set off with a one-way ticket to Bali. I had planned 6 months in Asia and then to return to Australia. However, the 6 months went so well we decided to keep going and travelled across the pond over to the US.
Our nomadic journey continued throughout the US and Central America, before flying to the Middle East and returning home in time for Christmas and my brother’s wedding.
USA – Puerto Rico
We spent 3 months back in Australia. The kids attended school and I started selling off our belongings to hit the road again. We left around April on a press trip to Malta, followed by 15 days in Greece. From there we had no idea where to go. The cheapest ticket out of Greece was to Bulgaria and from there we were invited to Poland. We spent the rest of the year making our way around Europe.
After Christmas, we headed home again to say hi and hello to everyone before jetting off to the US. We obtained a 6-month tourist visa as we planned on spending a few years road-tripping America and Canada.
We finished our road trip and set up a 2 month base in Mexico and Canada. Before finally deciding in December it was time to head home again. Of course, on the way was a stop in Bali. The best place to adjust to time zone changes.
Our circumstances changed in January and we stopped nomadic travel. As suddenly and as abruptly as it started. Nomad no more. We made a home in Melbourne, but I managed to still get to Bali twice this year and take several trips to Perth.
Still living in Melbourne, my partner and I took a 2-week vacation to Vietnam in April with a layover in KL. This was my 75th country! We have more plans this year so this post isn’t finished yet. Stay tuned!
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