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101 Days Away: The Recap

101 Days Away: The Recap

In a span of 101 days I traveled to 10 countries on 5 continents. Today I am sharing a recap of the journey.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro 13

I wanted to go to those bucket list destinations that weren’t in line with places that my husband or sister wanted to visit. I wanted to do things that would challenge me and I wanted to learn about different cultures. I wanted to go to places that I have never heard of people going. I was a little nervous, but ready for an adventure. 

Peru 28

I climbed Machu Picchu Mountain and Mount Kilimanjaro. I went on safaris in the Serengeti, the Amazon, and the jungles of Nepal. I visited Angkor Wat, the Duomo, and the Sydney Opera House. I biked through rice paddies in Vietnam and through vineyards in Italy and New Zealand. I kayaked with dolphins and canoed with river otters. I met koalas, kangaroos, elephants, and monkeys. I met the most incredible people from all over the world and I am still in touch with some of them. I learned more than I can put into words.

I wrote about the trip in a long series of blog posts, but I wanted to summarize everything here and link to all of the individual blog posts.

Peru 24

Stop 1: Peru

Table of Contents

The trip kicked off in Peru! I went to Machu Picchu, toured ancient Inca sites in the Sacred Valley, and then went to the Amazon rainforest. I loved getting to see Inca sites and then going to the rainforest, I got to see two different sides of the country.

Peru 62
Read the blog posts: Hello from Peru, Machu Picchu Travel Guide, What to do in the Sacred Valley, A Trip to the Amazon Rainforest

Listen to the podcast:

What to do in Auckland

Stop 2: New Zealand

I started in Auckland, explored Waiheke Island which is known for its beaches and vineyards, went to Hobbiton, then flew to the South Island to see Queenstown! Waiheke was one of the highlights of the trip – I was ready to buy a vineyard and stay forever (you know, except for the small details that I can’t afford a vineyard and all of my family would be an ocean away).

What to do in Auckland
Read the blog posts: Hello from New Zealand, What to do in Auckland, What to do in Queenstown

Listen to the podcasts:

Australia 12

Stop 3: Australia

I arrived in Australia at the end of April, the start of their fall, and the weather was sunny and in the 70s everyday. Connections on Instagram highly suggested Byron Bay (as did a couple I met in Queenstown) so I went! I kept all of my plans loose enough so that I could take advantage of recommendations that I got along the way. After a few days on the beach, I went to Sydney and Melbourne.

Australia 47
Read the blog posts: Hello from Australia, What to do in Byron Bay, What to do in Melbourne, What to do in Sydney

Listen to the podcast:

Vietnam 61

Stop 4: Vietnam

I spent two days in Ho Chi Minh and then met up with a guide and biked along the Mekong River Delta. It was about 95 degrees everyday, but luckily the terrain was very flat and easy. We biked about 35-45 miles a day, ending at the border of Cambodia where I could take a river ferry to Phnom Penh. We biked through tiny towns where the roads are too narrow for cars and visited floating markets. It was just me and the guide and I felt like I really got to experience Vietnamese culture away from the typical touristy spots.

Vietnam 20
Read the blog posts: Hello from Melbourne and Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh and Biking Through the Mekong River Delta

Listen to the podcast:

Cambodia 22

Stop 5: Cambodia

I arrived in Phnom Penh on a 20 seat ferry in the middle of a thunderstorm. I divided my time in Cambodia between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. I found Phnom Penh crowded and hard to navigate and definitely preferred Siem Reap and getting to see Angkor Wat and the many other temples in the area.

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Read the blog posts: Hello from Cambodia, Angkor Wat Travel Guide, What to do in Phnom Penh, What to do in Siem Reap

Listen to the podcast:

Nepal 3

Stop 6: Nepal

I visited all seven of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley, these sites are all in royal squares that date back to the 1700 and 1800s. I had wanted to see the Himalayas, but they were shy and hid behind clouds during my visit. After a few days in Kathmandu I took a bus south to Chitwan, a jungle preserve where I saw rhinos.

Boudhanath 2
Read the blog posts: Hello from Nepal, What to do in the Kathmandu Valley,  A Jungle Safari in Chitwan

Listen to the podcast:

Positano 8

Stop 7: Italy

I spent 26 days in Italy, the longest of all the destinations. There were a few reasons behind this. First, I love Italy! Secondly, I wanted to give myself extra time in Italy in case I needed any sort of medical treatment, I was very fearful that I would come down with food poisoing in Asia (and I did, three times, but luckily it was only minor). 

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First I went to Sardinia where I joined a press trip to learn about Pecorino Romano. Then I spend a week exploring Sardinia on my own, going to the coastal cities of Cagliari and Oblia. Next, I spent a week in Florence, where I had studied in college, and spent time in the Amalfi Coast and in Chieti, the town my great-grandmother was from.

Capri 13
Read the blog posts: Hello from Sardinia, What to do in Sardinia, Sardinian Food, Hello from Florence, What to do in Florence, What to do in the Amalfi Coast, Hello from the Amalfi Coast and Chieti
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro 11

Stop 8: Tanzania

I went to Tanzania to seek adventure, and I found it. First I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, a task that took 5 days and involved staying in huts along the way. After saying farewell to the mountain, I went on a safari in the Serengeti. Most of the experience was incredible and I got to spend so much time in nature, yet the tour company I booked my tour through was nothing short of a disaster

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Read the blog posts: Hello from Mount Kilimanjaro, Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kilimanjaro Packing List, Serengeti Safari

Listen to the podcast:

Sintra Pena Palace 2

Stop 9: Portugal

When I was planning the trip I told my sister that I would meet her anywhere, she just need to pick a place. She chose Portugal, and then Charles decided to join us, which made sense considering that the three of us needed to be at a wedding in London the following week. Kelly and I met up in Lisbon, and then went to Porto. We met up with Charles in Cascais and together we all went to Sintra and Portimão.

Lisbon 2
Read the blog posts: Hello from the Serengeti and Portugal, What to do in Porto, Portugal Itinerary

What to do in Hampstead The Spaniards Inn 2

Stop 10: England

After 9 days in Portugal, the three of us flew to London so that we could attend our cousin’s wedding. We spent the first weekend celebrating with family, and then Kelly left and Charles and I spent time wandering through London neighborhoods we hadn’t spent much time in. We also took a sidetrip to Oxfordshire for two nights. It was a great way to relax and end the trip.

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Read the blog posts: Hello from London, What to do in Covent Garden, What to do in Hampstead, Hello from the English Countryside

And here is some information on what I packed:

Packing for a Trip Around the World
Everything I Packed for a Trip Around the World, The Best and Worst Things I Packed, What I Wore on a Trip Around the World

All in all I went to over 35 different cities and took 28 separate flights, plus a few bus rides and ferries to get around. I was on the go a lot, but I didn’t mind, plus, I was able to use the downtime to catch up on work.

Taking a big trip like this was a bit daunting, but I am so glad that I did it. So many of my travel dreams came to life during my 101-day journey and it is an experience that I will cherish forever.

thekittchen