Wow, 2017 is already over! We’ve had a really fun (and busy!) year, and now that we’ve reached the end, we wanted to take a moment and look back at all the adventures we’ve had, and share some of our highlights with you guys.
Over the year we’ve visited 13 countries, spanning from Japan to the USA to France. It’s been a fun ride! Hopefully some of our adventures, photos and posts will help inspire your travels in the coming months. Without further ado, let’s take a look back at our year.
Our 2017 in Travel
January – Barcelona & Skiing in the Spanish Pyrenees
We started the year with a trip to Spain, where we first spent a few days exploring Barcelona – always a pleasure.
After that we hit up the Spanish Pyrenees where I went skiing, and Jess researched all the things you can do at a ski resort if you don’t ski. Which, it turns out, is quite a lot.
We also explored the medieval villages and beautiful scenery of the Spanish Pyrenees, which is well worth a visit. After that excitement we headed back to Scotland where we explored locally before our next big overseas adventure, to:
March – Iceland
Iceland had been on my bucket list forever, and I can’t believe that as a photographer who loves landscapes, it took me so long to actually get there.
This was definitely one of my favourite trips of the year. The photography opportunities in Iceland are just epic, and we spent much of our time just ogling the gorgeous landscapes. Because we visited Iceland in winter, we weren’t able to go everywhere we wanted, but we’re hoping to head back that way in 2018 to explore even more!
April – Turkey to Italy
In April we headed to Turkey, where I was speaking at a travel conference. We also took a bit of time to explore Istanbul and Antalya.
Then, rather than heading straight back to the UK, we thought it would be fun to take an overland trip from Turkey to Italy!
We did this by train, with stops in Bulgaria, Romania, Vienna, Rome, & Pisa.
Visiting Rila Monastery in Bulgaria was a definite highlight, and we spent just enough time in Romania to make us realise it was a country we definitely need to explore more. From there it was on to Austria – we both loved our two days in Vienna – a first for both of us. We finished that trip off with three days in Rome, a city that we could never get tired of, however many times we visit!
May – North Coast 500 & Glasgow, Scotland
May saw us exploring a bit closer to our current home in Edinburgh. Our first adventure had us visiting Glasgow, which, rather embarrassingly, neither of us had explored in depth despite it being so close.
We visited for a number of days, on a trip that covered both Glasgow and Loch Lomond, and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. If you’re looking for a city to visit in the UK that has a great deal to offer but not too many tourists, add Glasgow to your list.
After Glasgow we took to the road and hit the epic North Coast 500 driving route. This is a 500 mile route that loops around Scotland’s north coast, starting and finishing in Inverness.
We took around a week to do the full route, with a bit of time in Inverness on the way. We found the best photography locations on the NC500, struggled to pick our highlights, and did a lot of research to figure out the best accommodation along the way.
If you’re thinking about driving this road, and you totally should if you come to Scotland, take a look at our ultimate guide to planning a North Coast 500 road trip to get you started!
June – USA
In June we headed across to the USA, sailing on board the Queen Mary 2 from Southampton in the UK to New York, USA.
This was the same ship that we had gotten married on two years previously, so it was lovely to revisit and relive those memories. Plus, no internet for eight days was very relaxing! We also had a quick stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for our only port day.
We then spent a few days catching up with friends and sight-seeing in New York City before heading to Jess’s home state of Ohio.
Here, we caught up with Jess’s family, and headed out on a three week road trip of the state. We saw a great deal, including some of Ohio’s most beautiful waterfalls, Amish County, The Wilds safari park and one of the USA’s best theme parks! A busy few weeks for sure.
July – London
Following our US trip it was back to the UK, where we spent a week in London staying with friends and researching a number of posts. Jess and I always love visiting London, and summer is a fantastic time to visit – even if it is a little more crowded than at other times!
From that trip we put together our idea of the perfect six day London itinerary, which we added to our one and two day London itineraries. We also put together this guide to all the top Harry Potter locations in London – a must read for fans of the books and films!
August – Bristol
August saw us continuing to enjoy the British summer, with a trip to the city of Bristol in the south-west of England. We visited for a week with two goals in mind – one, to see everything we possibly could, and two, to visit the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Europe’s largest annual balloon fiesta.
We’ve still to write up our experiences on the balloon fiesta (although if you follow us on social media you’ll have seen we had an amazing time!), but I have put together a couple of posts on Bristol – a guide to two days in Bristol as well as an overview of Bristol’s street art – world famous, thanks to Bristol being the home of Banksy.
We can highly recommend Bristol (and do, as part of our two week UK itinerary) – it’s a beautiful city, with something for everyone, from the aforementioned street art to excellent dining to cultural attractions. We could even see ourselves living here at some point in the future!
September – Isle of Wight, France
With summer starting to wind to an end, we headed south on a six week road trip. Our first stop was the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England near Southampton. We visited friends who have recently opened a fantastic restaurant on the island (you’ll see my photos and Jess on their website!), and then spent two days exploring the Isle of Wight.
Jess in particular was fascinated by the islands connection with one of Britain’s former monarchs, and we did a lot of research so she could put together the definitive guide to Queen Victoria sites on the Isle of Wight.
We also had fabulous afternoon tea, learnt about the history of British rocketry, walked on beaches, and wandered 12th century castle ruins. Seriously, you need to add the Isle of Wight to your UK itinerary!
After the Isle of Wight we took the ferry to France, where we embarked on a month long trip.
We started in the north, visiting sights such as Dunkirk, before heading to Paris for a week. Paris is absolutely one of our favourite cities, and we always love to visit for as long as we can. In this case, we spent Jess’s birthday, which we celebrated with afternoon tea at the Ritz. Which was jolly nice.
We also took a lot of photos, visited Versailles (my first time, Jess’s third), ate spectacular Parisian cuisine, went to museums and, well, had a fabulous time. From that I put together a guide to how to spend two days in Paris, which should make for good reading for anyone planning a trip. We also have a full review of the Paris Pass, to help you save money, and a guide to choosing the perfect Seine river cruise, amongst other posts.
After Paris we headed to the Loire Valley, a stunning part of France that is filled with gorgeous castles. We spent a lot of time here doing fairly comprehensive research into all these Chateaus, and will soon be publishing a guide to all those. So stay tuned for that in the New Year.
Finally, we finished off our time in France visiting my family, before we headed north and crossed the channel to Ireland!
October – Ireland & Japan
Yes, October has us visiting Ireland, which was Jess’s first visit to the country. Our main reason for visiting was that I was speaking at a travel conference in Killarney, but we did take advantage of the trip to spend a little bit of time exploring both Dublin and parts of Northern Ireland.
Most of our time was however taken up at the conference, and we had to return to the UK as we’d been invited out to Japan by Holland America, to experience a part of their Grand Asia and Pacific World Voyage – not something we wanted to miss out on!
That trip was a lot of fun, even if the weather was against us, and Jess and I loved being pampered by the staff on board the MS Amsterdam. You can read all about our adventure cruising with Holland America here.
October was also the month our facebook page hit a million followers, which was a significant milestone for us! Thanks to everyone who likes us on facebook and follows our adventures there – if you’re not following along yet, you can join the fun here.
November & December – Back in Scotland
After all that travel we were quite exhausted, and decided to stay at home and catch up on some work. We did pop down to London for a week to attend the World Travel market and visit with friends, but other than that, we pretty much enjoyed putting our feet up at home a bit.
My last trip of the year was entirely photography focused – I popped up to the Isle of Skye to get some shots for my guide to the best photography locations on the Isle of Skye. The weather was very much against me (and Jess sensibly stayed at home in the warm!), but I think I got some photos that make the effort worth it. Take a look and let me know what you think.
What’s ahead in 2018?
2018 is shaping up to be a good year! We have a lot of plans, although the only scheduled trip right now is to the Seychelles. We are hoping to visit (and re-visit) a number of our favourite countries though, with possible trips to Iceland, Spain, the United States, and Ireland on the cards – so stick around and follow us on social media for all of that.
We’re also going to be launching a new look and feel on the site that should make it faster to load and easier to find everything you need, something we’re really excited about!
We also wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for following along on our adventures. Your support means so much, and means we get to keep on living the life we love – travelling the world, taking pictures of it, and sharing our stories.
Thank you so much from both of us, and have an awesome 2018, wherever in the world you are, and whatever you get up to!