My top 5 highlights of 2018

Well, it’s March and I still haven’t done a 2018 highlights post. A little late, you might say, my retort is that a wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he intends to. I am no wizard, but I still intend to publish this post anyway, because 2018 was such a fantastic year. In fact, it will be hard to single out just five highlights!

5) The morning I arrived in Europe

It was a lovely morning when I touched down in Amsterdam

It was a lovely morning when I touched down in Amsterdam

It’s one of those moments I don’t think I’ll ever forget. My first stop was Amsterdam and I still remember the feeling of elation as the plane touched down on Dutch soil. Even after travelling for 30 hours with less than 4 hours of sleep, I was still able to appreciate the beautiful pink haze across the sky as the sun came up. I stopped in the walkway to stare at it out the window and almost cried tears of joy and anticipation for the adventure I was about to embark on. It still gives me tingles when I think about it and it’s not often that I can pinpoint an exact moment of euphoria like that, because my memories tend to be feelings or experiences on the whole.

4) Discovering Great Barrier Island

There are so many fascinating places that I visited last year while in Europe, but I can’t forget about my lovely home country! I was so lucky that my friend Bri took me to her family bach on Great Barrier island for a few days, because it is one of the most beautiful, chill places I’ve been. With so many of our best beaches and holiday spots on the mainland being exposed by social media and more local gems being discovered, it was refreshing to visit somewhere that is still relatively untouched. With plenty of bushland, stunningly clear water, great surf spots and a laid back vibe it was a real treat and I’m glad I got to see it before it becomes more popular for those like me who enjoy going somewhere off the beaten track. Even after all the places I visited in Europe, Great Barrier Island is easily one of the highlights of the year. You’ll definitely hear the locals and regulars complaining about the influx of traffic though!

The sunsets on Great Barrier Island were definitely amongst the highlights of the year for me!

The sunsets on Great Barrier Island were definitely amongst the highlights of the year for me!

This photo sums it up - beach hair, no shoes and views for days!

This photo sums it up - beach hair, no shoes and views for days!

3) My first “influencer trip” with Topdeck and Flight Centre

Another of the highlights was the “influencer trip” I did with Topdeck and Flight Centre NZ

Another of the highlights was the “influencer trip” I did with Topdeck and Flight Centre NZ

OK so as a Kiwi it doesn’t come naturally to me to talk about my accomplishments, but I am really proud that I got to do an “influencer trip” around the Greek Islands with Topdeck and Flight Centre. I don’t want to sell myself short, but I used to work in the FC marketing department, so that’s how I was even on their radar in the first place, but they knew how hard I would work on a project like that to deliver the goods and produce the right kind of content. And I feel like that’s exactly what I did. You can see the final video I made from the trip here or if you check out Flight Centre NZ on Instagram you’ll see the Instagram story I did for them saved to their highlights. The trip was so much fun and it really gave me a taste of how exciting it can be to tell a story for a brand and create content for them.

I got to travel around the Greek Islands while creating content for Topdeck and Flight Centre NZ

I got to travel around the Greek Islands while creating content for Topdeck and Flight Centre NZ

2) Ticking off some of my European wish list items

The colosseum was definitely one of my highlights from 2018!

The colosseum was definitely one of my highlights from 2018!

Before I came on my trip I wrote a European wish list of 30 places I really wanted to visit/things to see or do, and since ticking off a whole lot of things from that list, I’m going to write a whole post with the old list and an updated version of the list. I almost crossed off half the list, there are also five that I came very close to doing and I’m really proud of myself to achieve so much in a few months. I had to laugh that Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue made the list, because anyone who has seen it will be quick to tell you to set your expectations very, very low. Luckily I already knew that when I went!

Europe is home to many places you must see before you die, like the Plitvice National Park in Croatia

Europe is home to many places you must see before you die, like the Plitvice National Park in Croatia

1) The people I met on my travels

Without getting too cheesy or sappy about it, the people I met on the trip are what have made it memorable. There were people I met along the way who I might’ve just hung out with for a day or two and never kept in touch with after, but more often I met people I really enjoyed spending time with and know that I’ll have friends for life. Since I’ve set my base in Aarhus, where I’ve made quite a few friends, I’ve had friends from my travels come to visit me, I’ve been travelling with people I’ve met on my trip and I will go to stay with friends I’ve met in Europe too. The downside to making so many wonderful friends while on the road is that it’s not going to be so easy to keep seeing them in the future, and that really sucks because there are a few in particular that I really clicked with, and wish I would take back to NZ with me one day. But we will always have memories, and who knows when and where our paths will cross in the future.

Bonus highlight: watching my little sister graduate!

2018 highlights bonus sister

Just going to have a proud sister moment because in 2018 my little sister had her graduation! She now has a Bachelor’s degree and I was so excited to watch her don the gown and cap and walk through the streets of Auckland on her big day.