My husband and I went on a yearlong honeymoon around the world
It all started with a comment in a bar. In the middle of a conversation about travel, my husband, Mike, turned to me and said, “When I get married I want to travel the world for a year.” (We had only been dating for a month, but I already knew where it was going.) And so the seed was planted.
Cut to four years later he proposed and we started planning our adventure (oh, and a wedding too!). Being a travel writer has certainly helped make the year-long travel fantasy a reality. I didn’t have to show up to an office and could basically define the whole experience as research. My husband decided to take a year off. Between saving for travel, not having to pay our New York apartment rent, and signing up for all kinds of trips – from suitcases to Airbnb gift cards and airline credits – on Zola, the financial side of things. went relatively easily.
One day Mike came home with a white board and two markers: black for the countries we absolutely wanted to go and blue for maybe places. We quickly came to a consensus and I put all of our destinations in a spreadsheet, which became our roadmap for the coming year.
We flew from New York to Lisbon on May 19, 2019, and so began our one-year honeymoon. The trip really started off on a good note as Portugal ended up being one of our favorite places in all of Europe. From Lisbon and Porto to Comporta and Sintra, you really can’t beat the food, wine, warm hospitality, and breathtaking architecture. In addition, it is super affordable. We also fell madly in love with the Spanish cities of Valencia and Palma.
Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bergen, Oslo, there wasn’t a place in Scandinavia that we didn’t love. Oh, and the midnight sun is even more magical than advertised.
The fairytale quality and romance of Prague cannot be overstated. While Berlin is an exuberant, enigmatic, sprawling city that you could come back to a hundred times (I hope you’re so lucky!) And never scratch the surface.
Because of 90/180 Schengen rule (Please Google before planning a long getaway to Europe) We had to cut Greece off and ended up spending over a month in Croatia. Let this be a lesson that sometimes the best-worked out plans that go astray can actually turn into something pretty awesome. Otherwise we wouldn’t have had time to savor the many charms of Rovinj, Motovan, Vrbnik, Zadar, Trogir, Split, Bol, Komiza, Hvar (shout Elizabeth Palace!), Korcula and Dubrovnik.
I studied abroad in Florence so it was amazing to go back with Mike (my parents met us there too) and discover the places that were so dear to me with the people I love the most. Also, it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by the magic of the city when you stay in a suite with a mesmerizing view of the Duomo at the Hotel Savoie in Piazza della Repubblica.
After Italy, we spent a week in Tel Aviv. Not only did we fall in love with the bustling and sizzling seaside town, it was even more fun because two of our dear friends also met us there.
South Africa was another major star. We were won over by the food, culture and natural beauty of Cape Town. Outside the city, the beautiful wine region of Stellenbosh took our breath away. We worked with Scott dunn to plan the most epic safari in Saseka tent camp and it was without a doubt one of the highlights of our trip.
Our first stopover in Asia, Seoul, really set the tone. It’s a vibrant, enigmatic and sprawling metropolis that blends past and present like few other cities. My love for Japan knows no bounds and Tokyo is by far my favorite city in the world. (I cried when we left!) On this trip we also discovered Kanazawa, which in my opinion is an overlooked gem, as well as the delicacies of Osaka. Book a club level room at InterContinental Osaka and thanks later.)
I can’t quite express our enthusiasm for visiting Taipei. The mix of towering skyscrapers, centuries-old traditions and incredible food certainly met our expectations, if not some. We also ventured into the movie town of Jiufen which was remarkable even during a rainstorm.
Not a week goes by without my husband and I talking about our adventures in Vietnam.
Not a week goes by without my husband and I talking about our adventures in Vietnam. We remember devouring crispy bánh xèo and exploring the seafood stalls at Da Nang Night Market, gulping down the most delicious bowls of $ 3 cao lau in Hội An and drinking a Refreshing passion fruit juice to keep cool as the sun hit us in Ho Chi Minh City.
Luang Prabang had the most beautiful light I have ever seen. It may seem like a strange thing to notice, but when you see the morning sun reflecting off the golden temples, it takes your breath away. We volunteered to help teens and young adults practice English at Big Brother Mouse which was one of the most enriching experiences of the trip. Plus, it’s hard to pass up a 60-minute couples massage with aromatherapy oil for $ 30.
We were in Thailand when the news of COVID started to spread across Asia, so Mike and I decided to skip Bangkok and head to Bali four days earlier. I’m so glad we made this difficult decision (but what seemed safer) because our time doing yoga (Radiantly alive offers the best classes and workshops on the planet), eating smoothie bowls and nasi goreng, walking through rice terraces and running in torrential downpours in Ubud is something I will always cherish.
While in Canggu, I followed the increase in COVID cases in Singapore, and as the numbers in Bali remained low (or, at least, that’s what the government was reporting at the time), we have decided to extend our trip by a week. It gave us the opportunity to stay in the dream COMO Uma Canggu and go on a scooter excursion to Uluwatu Temple. We will eventually reach Bangkok and Singapore.
Bondi Beach was our first stop in Australia. Between chic shops, restaurants, the postcard-worthy beach and the coastal walk to Coogee, neither of us felt the need to leave. But, of course, we did and the road trip along the coast was epic. Bryon Bay is another great destination on the Australian part of our travels.
I remember sitting at the bar at Ovolo The Valley in Brisbane when we received an alert that New Zealand had closed its borders. It was supposed to be the next stop on our itinerary. We turned to each other and said half-jokingly, “Well, I guess we’re living in Australia now.” And that’s pretty much what happened: It was in mid-March 2020 and all of a sudden the coronavirus went from epidemic to pandemic status.
Mike is my person and anywhere can feel like home as long as we are together.
We went to Noosa a few days later and booked an Airbnb for the following month. We thought we would see how things would go in April. It’s no secret that Australia, and Queensland in particular, have handled the pandemic very well, which is why we applied for a visa extension and became Temporary Australians. Over the following months, life in our small seaside town remained relatively normal. We were still cautious but decided to do some local travel. We flew to Maleny, a quaint country town about an hour inland, for the weekend and woke up to the sound of cows mooing outside our little cabin.
In August 2020 we went to Harvey Bay and went whale watching, a totally indescribable experience that I cannot recommend highly enough. In September we headed to the Whitsundays for an early babymoon (did I mention I got pregnant in Australia?). If you ever have the chance to fly a helicopter over the Great Barrier Reef, don’t miss it! We ended our stay in Australia with two weeks on the Gold Coast. None of this was planned from the start of our trip, obviously, but I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity to live in Noosa and visit so much of Queensland as a couple.
As odd (and perhaps cheesy) as it sounds, this trip didn’t teach me anything new about our relationship. It just reaffirmed what I already knew to be true: that Mike is my person and that anywhere can feel right at home as long as we’re together.