Here we are at the end of another twelve months. As usual, I have loads to look back on and be thankful for. In case you’ve missed a few posts over the year – I won’t be too cross, promise – here is a round up of MeanderWithMeg’s favourite 2017 travel adventures, plus some of the most shared/commented posts on the blog.
Let’s dive in…
A 2017 Travel Review
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may know that I’ve been semi-nomadic since 2011. This has seen me travel to a fair few countries along the way and spend four years in New Zealand and Australia alone. My second year Down Under came to an end in February 2017 and I said quite an emotional goodbye to my beloved Australia.
Since leaving Australia I’ve been back in the UK setting up my own freelance writer and virtual assistant business (please feel free to take a look – I promise my new website is just as cool as this one!). This has meant that my travels have been pretty minimal since April. However, it’s all about building the bigger picture and focusing on setting up my future to continue to work and travel.
The adventures I’ve had over the past six years have gifted me with oodles of content to share with you. Even if I never stepped foot outside my door again, I could probably sustain this blog for years to come. So don’t worry, there will be plenty more on Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia to come – plus throwbacks from past travels.
Highlights From An Australian Adventure
After two full years of exploring Australia I was sad to come to an end of my time in this remarkable country. I’ve explored the red dirt of the outback and the lush greenery of Tasmania – and everywhere in between. As with most of my favourite experiences Down Under, the stand outs for me over the past year have to be the road trips. In my opinion, road tripping across Australia is one of the best ways to see the multi-faceted beauty of this huge country.
My favourite road trip stories:
- Travelling the Gibb River Road in the Northern Territory
- Why you shouldn’t overlook the Northern Territory when you visit Australia
- Planning a self-drive road trip around Kakadu National Park
- Hiking and gorges in El Questro Wilderness Park
Hiring a car and driving the southwest corner of Western Australia saw me exploring caves, the giant trees of karri forests, windswept coastlines and lighthouses. No trip to the Margaret River region of WA would have been complete without a visit to the wineries and local food producers that are abundant in this area.
- Road tripping in the southwest corner of Western Australia
- Where to go on a Margaret River winery day trip
I’m all for getting off the beaten track and one of my most intriguing spots to visit in the Outback was the legendary town of Coober Pedy. In this unique place, inhabitants live under the ground in dugouts and mine the earth around them for opals. I visited an opal mine and learned about the history of this slightly eccentric place!
- Read all about the underground lifestyle – plus kangaroos! – in Coober Pedy.
Small towns are high on my list to visit in any country as I feel they give you a more genuine look into life there. I spent a few months working in the beautiful Jurien Bay on the West Coast of Australia and loved its soft, white sandy beaches, wildflowers and amazing cave network nearby.
- Here are my top picks of what you can do in Jurien Bay, just two hours north of Perth.
Top Spots In Malaysia and Borneo
I spent several weeks backpacking around Malaysia earlier this year and I absolutely loved it. I blended a mixture of city exploration in Kuala Lumpur and Penang with trips to learn more about the Malaysia wildlife and countryside in the Cameron Highlands and Teman Negara, an ancient national park.
- Here are my top picks of things to do on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia
I’ve barely even started writing about my Malaysian experiences yet, because I just had to share my Borneo highlights with you first. And what highlights they were! If you’re an animal lover like me, you’ll want to head to Borneo immediately because it is simply the most incredible place to see wild animals.
I ticked off a lifetime ambition of mine to see wild orangutans, elephants and many more endemic species.
For an overall roundup of my time in Borneo, check out my guide to planning your ultimate Borneo holiday.
Incredible Places To Visit In Indonesia
Visiting Bali for the second time this year was a lot of fun. I spent a few weeks working at a co-working space in Canggu called Dojo before taking time off to explore parts of the island I didn’t get to in 2015. This included investigating what lay offshore of Bali and I really connected with the laid-back, island vibe of both Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan when I stayed there.
- Here’s a round up of the best things to do on Nusa Ceningan
Popular Posts On Meander With Meg
Two posts this year were stand out successes and were viewed, shared and commented more than any of the others.
I wrote this honest piece about how I felt after coming to the end of several years of almost continual travel. I pondered whether I had put my life ‘on hold’ in order to travel, leaving my career and relationship status vulnerable in the wake of my nomadic lifestyle. Little did I know, this piece struck a chord with many of you and the post was shared in a large Facebook Group called Girls Love Travel.
Do you yearn to travel but your friends don’t share the same enthusiasm? I’ve never let the thought of travelling alone put me off going because I firmly believe that your travel dreams are your own for the making. In this article I wrote about the many ways you can meet people on the road and make new travel friends. Once you start travelling you’ll quickly realise that you’re rarely lonely even if you do choose to travel alone.
Posts That Got You Talking
There were several posts that got you commenting this year, but conversation was stirred up the most by the following three posts:
I am a dreadful, last-minute planner (and sometimes a notorious under-planner). I generally enjoy travel that unfolds as I’m on the road and I’m a sucker for an impromptu road trip. Although it’s inevitable to receive tips and advice from fellow travellers on where to visit, I usually take these with a pinch of salt as I prefer to explore on my own terms. I wrote about my experience at a well-known tourist spot in Bali and how it had left me feeling underwhelmed. It turned out that a lot of you had something to say on the subject of your own bucket lists.
Who says backpacking is for eighteen year olds? I didn’t start travelling until I was 26 and believe that a few extra years made me more confident and a little more worldly from the outset. It would seem like I am not alone in my belief that travel can be enjoyed at any age, as my blog post about travelling at thirty stirred up some conversation.
I wrote this after a friend got in touch to explain how she felt like she was shedding an old skin each time she journey to a new place – and she loved it. I was blown away by her frank admission that she enjoyed the process of presenting whoever she wanted to be to the new people she met in each country she visited. I wrote a piece to explain how I agreed that travel gives you the opportunity to ‘reinvent’ yourself in ways that you may not realise.
Inspiring Fearless Solo Travellers
My aim for this blog is not simply to share some awesome travel stories and destinations with you, but to inspire you to get out there and experience some adventure for yourself.
I know how incredibly daunting this can be, as I’ve done the majority of my travelling solo. This is why I want to offer you practical advice as well as thought provoking pieces to encourage you to plan your own trip.
My top picks on solo travel topics in 2017:
- How will I feel at the end of my solo trip?
- 11 ways you can get ready for your first solo travels (by overcoming your fears!)
- Solo travel inspiration – the happiest countries in the world
- How to prepare for solo travel (when you’ve never travelled by yourself)
- Not letting fear stop you from travelling
- Travel mantras to inspire your adventures
- Packing essentials you shouldn’t leave home without
My First eBook
This year I have been incredibly proud to bring you my first eBook about solo travel. It’s totally free and shares many ideas to help you prepare, plan and travel for the first time.
- Check it out here and download your free copy – Travel Like A Boss – 90 Tips For First Time Solo Travellers
MeanderWithMeg Year In Stats
I published 45 posts on the blog over the year, just missing my goal of one post a week. However, since I was backpacking for several weeks and setting up a business in recent months, I’m pretty chuffed with this effort!
The goal for next year, along with more travelling in 2018 and building my location independent business, is to publish a post each week, a regular MeanderWithMeg newsletter filled with extra bits you won’t find on the blog and more eBooks about solo travel.
I’d love to know what your favourite post was from 2017; did you enjoy hearing about my adventures or find some inspiration in my solo travel blogs? Let me know what you want to see more of in the upcoming months and I’ll be sure to weave more of these types of posts into the 2018 itinerary.
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