2018 is already here and that means that it’s time to reflect on the past 12 months of 2017! In the year of 2017, I’ve visited 14 countries and every one has given me many memorable experiences. Some of those moments have stuck in my head (and heart) more than others.
As for my favourite new places in 2017, I wrote about that in an earlier post. This one will focus on those single special moments, where I felt an extra sense of happiness. The momens that made the travel year of 2017 extra special.
2017 has been pretty great, despite not travelling as much as in 2016 because of my full-time studies. I’ve experienced a lot and it has been hard to narrow it down to this list of 10 beautiful moments. But here they are – my favourite travel moments of 2017:
Experiencing the incredible hospitality of the Iranian people
I’ve raved about it often, and I’ll do it again – Iran! In hindsight, I loved Iran so much more than I actually thought I did when I was there (had sort of a similar experience with Tajikistan).
One of the main reasons for loving Iran so much were the incredible hospitable people that Steve and I met while we were travelling through the country in January.
In Bandar Abbas, a local girl paid for our taxi without us knowing after we asked for her help to find the ferry terminal. That was such a lovely random gesture.
In Kandovan, a local elderly man invited us into his charming troglodyte house to drink sugary tea with him. We couldn’t communicate in any language, but we understood each other on a deeper level – it’s all about connection, you guys. I even got to borrow his hat!
And on Qeshm Island, we ran into a family while exploring the Star Valley, and they immidiately invited us to stay with them in their family home in Esfahan! How incredible is that? I’m telling you, that wouldn’t happen in most countries.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Everywhere we went, Iranians welcomed us with smiles, offered us help and asked to take selfies with us! Definitely one of the kindest countries I’ve ever been to.
Standing above Persepolis – A wonder of the ancient world
Ever since I was born (seriously, that is what it feels like), I’ve dreamt about seeing Persepolis, one of the most magnificent and well-preserved archaeological sites in the world!
I went there on a tour from Shiraz with three friends and spent over an hour exploring literally every corner, before making it up to the top of a hill to this spectacular view of the entire place. It was such a special experience.
Sliding down the highest mountain on Hestur after a 30 kilometre hike
Have you ever slid down a mountain before? It’s SO MUCH FUN!
When my friend Poul Magni and I were finishing up our epic 8,5-hour hike on the island of Hestur, we slid all the way down from the top of the highest mountain on the island!
We actually had no other choice, as it was too steep to walk down. In the beginning, it was a pain, but then we found a technique and it suddenly became all fun and games!
Watching the sunset and sunrise over Grand Canyon
There really is no place like Grand Canyon, so of course Amanda and I had to include it on our USA roadtrip itinerary in August.
After watching a most beautiful sunset over the canyon, we spent the night in our rental car in a parking lot and then got up really early to watch the sunrise! So we got to see two of my favourite phenomenons at one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. If only the total solar eclipse had been visible there as well!
Experiencing the hospitality of the American people
USA, like Iran, is a country with residents that are known for their hospitality – despite the two countries massive differences they have this great thing in common!
Amanda and I also got to experience some of that hospitality when we roadtripped through the United States on the Route 66 in August. In Barstow, we met a lovely family at a bar, who offered us to stay at their house for the night instead of us spending the night in our rental car!
And when we got to Oklahoma City, my friend Alex, who I’d met on a mountain in South Korea back in 2016, invited us in for a few days of relaxation and local experiences!
A day with the Amish in Illinois
Oh, how do I describe this beautiful day in just a few sentences? We had the experience of a lifetime!
While Amanda and I were driving around southern Illinois looking for a perfect spot to watch the upcoming total solar eclipse, we came across several Amish buggies! We decided to follow them and ended up at their church, where we waited for a few hours trying to gather courage to ask if we could join them, before two men finally came out and invited us in!!! We spent the rest of the day with them, listening in on their church service, singing carols, talking about everything and nothing and eating a delicious dinner!
For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in the Amish and their unusual lifestyle, so meeting the Amish was a dream come true for me.
You can read the rest of our lovely experience with the Amish here.
Watching the total solar eclipse in Illinois
In 2015, one of my highlights of the travel year was watching the total solar eclipse on the Faroe Islands. In 2016, watching the total solar eclipse on Pulau Belitung in Indonesia was also a huge highlight of the year!
And in 2017, watching my third total solar eclipse in Makanda, USA, was definitely also a highlight! Amanda was right there with me, which made the experience even more special – also because she cried! It was so cute, and I completely understand, as it is the most overwhelming experience ever.
A bike ride through the oldest forest in Europe
When I travelled to Belarus in October, I went all over the country, and I also visited the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, which is part of Europe’s oldest forest, and a UNESCO World Heritage sight. The forest can also be explored from the Polish side, which is very popular with tourists, but hardly any tourists make their way to the Belarusian side!
I spent a few hours biking through the forest, trying to spot wildlife and just enjoying life in nature! It was a great day!
The jaw-dropping view of the frozen Lake Toftavatn
This was probably my favourite moment on the November trip to the Faroe Islands.
Solveig and I had actually planned to go to the north of Eysturoy to climb the highest mountain in the country that day, but due to a few mishaps, we ended up going to the south of the island instead.
I knew of a lake that lies just outsite the town of Runavík and I thought it would be an okay alternative to the mountain. Solveig and I were both pretty bummed about missing out on the mountain, but that was all forgotten when we stepped out of the car and looked out at the view beneath us.
Lake Toftavatn was frozen! It was the most magical sight, we had found our true winter wonderland.
In general, visiting the Faroe Islands with Solveig was a beautiful experience, probably my favourite one to date in the country!
Visiting my family in England before Christmas
After some lovely days attending a conference in Wales, I headed to Thetford in England to spend a few days with the English side of my family, whom I hadn’t seen for 2,5 years! It had been way too long, but it was lovely to spend some quality time with everyone – and also to explore Thetford again.
I love that little town and I love my English family so much. I definitely need to go there more often, hopefully starting with a wedding this summer!
2017 was a great travel year full of happy experiences and fun adventures! There are so many other moments that I could’ve mentioned in this post, but I had to narrow it down somehow!
In a few days, I will be writing about the opposite of this post, my worst experiences of 2017, so stay tuned for some funny stories!