After a South African safari and a road trip through Ireland, we didn’t think we’d be able to top 2017. But 2018 ended up being our most incredible travel year yet. We visited Asia three times, hiked on a European island that now tops our “favorite destinations in the world” list, and took our first ever stab at working remotely—and we loved it!
In total, we traveled in 6 countries and 8 states, slept in 21 places (not including airplanes!), visited 20 cities, and flew a whopping 73, 455 miles (Sam) and 75,395 (Carrie) on 6 airlines . To say 2018 was epic is an understatement!
Here are some of our 2018 travel highlights:
Sri Lanka (Colombo, Tangalle, Tissmaharama, Nuwara Eliya, Ella)
In February, we hopped on a plane and headed all the way to Sri Lanka where we spent a month working remotely and exploring the beautiful island nation.
Though it’s impossible to choose just one highlight, we especially loved riding a moped through the tea plantations in Ella.
Further Reading: What To Pack for Sri Lanka: One Month in a Carry-On
After a quick two weeks at home, most of which we spent recovering from colds, we headed back to South Asia so we could be in Sam’s college friend Atsen’s wedding. Since Atsen lives in Nagaland, one of the most remote parts of northeastern India, getting to Dimapur required 33 hours of transit on four flights while toting our backpacks and Atsen’s guitar.
The highlight of our five days in India was catching up with old friends and making new ones. We will forever cherish the memory of swing dancing and singing karaoke late into the night at a rooftop restaurant in Dimapur!
Greece (Athens, Sifnos)
After a week at home—during which we both got sick again—we headed out on another adventure, this time to Greece to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. We spent a day sightseeing in Athens before taking a ferry to the island of Sifnos. Though Santorini and Mykonos tend to get all the hype, Sifnos is a fantastic destination that isn’t on most people’s radar. We have friends who live in Greece who hadn’t even heard of it!
By the time we left, Sifnos had become our new favorite destination. A highlight of our time in Greece was taking beautiful hikes each morning through wildflower-covered hills where our only company was the odd donkey or goat. We are already dying to go back!
Traveler’s Rest, SC
Later in the spring, we spent one night at a friend’s house in South Carolina on our way to North Carolina to attend a memorial service for Sam’s grandparents.
Our time in South Carolina was just a quick stopover, but we enjoyed checking out some of the trendy new shops and restaurants popping up in Traveler’s Rest. It has gotten a whole lot more hipster in the five years since I lived in the area!
New Bern, NC
During our brief visit to New Bern, we attended a beautiful memorial service for Sam’s grandparents. In addition to being wonderful parents and grandparents, they were both world travelers who lived in or visited many nations around the globe. It’s no wonder Sam loves traveling so much!
While we were in town for the service, we enjoyed catching up with relatives whom we don’t see very often.
Later that month, we headed to Canada to visit my brother and his family in Victoria, British Columbia. Even though I grew up in Canada, I’d never previously visited Vancouver Island. Sam and I both fell in love with the incredible natural beauty and European-inspired architecture.
Other than seeing family, the highlights of our trip were exploring downtown Victoria and relaxing at the beach near my brother’s house.
Before we visited Texas, I had some preconceived ideas about the Lone Star State. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Dallas is actually a really cool city.
The highlight of our trip was meeting up with my best friend from college and eating some seriously delicious barbecue.
Boston had topped our domestic bucket list for several years, so we used Sam’s 30th birthday as an excuse to spend a jam-packed weekend exploring the city.
Though the whole weekend was fun, our favorite parts were cheering on the Red Sox at Fenway Park and meeting up with Sam’s brother and his wife at Harvard University.
A lowlight? My first bout of morning sickness! I found out I was expecting two weeks before the trip, and on the morning we were scheduled to fly home, I woke up feeling so nauseated I thought I had the stomach flu. Unfortunately, that sickness followed me on every trip for the rest of the year.
Further Reading: The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Boston
I’m cursed when it comes to visiting Nashville. I’ve been sick every time I’ve visited, and the trend continued on this year’s visit.
Thankfully, my sickness subsided long enough for me to enjoy a delicious burger at Pharmacy Burgers.
I have always dreamed of eating deep-dish pizza in Chicago. So when we realized I was going to be just shy of earning elite status on Delta Airlines this year, we decided to turn a mileage run into a super awesome day trip.
Though we had only seven hours in the city, we made the most of our time and managed to hit many of the highlights. My favorite part was eating pizza at Giordano’s and walking along the Chicago River. Chicago is definitely a city we need to visit again.
Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima)
For our last big trip of the year, we headed to a nation both of us have dreamed of visiting for years: Japan! We spent ten days exploring the craziness of Tokyo, riding the bullet train, and eating enough ramen to last a lifetime.
One of the most moving travel experiences we’ve ever had was taking a day trip to Hiroshima and seeing the sight where the atomic bomb dropped.
In October, we returned to Destin, Florida, for my family’s annual vacation. Because most of our trips involve long plane rides and walking 20,000 steps per day through unfamiliar cities, we always enjoy spending a few truly relaxing days at the beach in Florida.
Sadly, the area was experiencing a red tide and causing a lot of respiratory problems, so we ended up leaving early for the second year in a row. We hope to have better luck next year.
For my birthday, I headed to Canada with my mom to spend a week visiting family. Despite battling (yet another) cold, I enjoyed spending time with relatives I hadn’t seen in three years—and getting in one last flight before officially hitting the “no fly” portion of my pregnancy!
The final trip of the year was a quick work retreat to a city about an hour and a half north of us. The venue was beautiful and peaceful, and Carrie enjoyed taking her first pottery class.
Here is a quick recap of our year: