My 2013 Travel Adventures

2013 has been a pretty big travel year for me. I’ve visited fourteen different countries including six brand new ones taking my total number of countries to 33. Not bad!

I began the year watching fireworks light up the sky over Edinburgh Castle surrounded by other lovely travel bloggers. We were at the beginning of a whirlwind trip around Scotland seeing all that my beloved country has to offer. Everyone adored their time in Scotland and I was like a proud mother hen showing off the best parts of my country to everyone. Shockingly for Scotland the weather even behaved and we had warm temperatures, no snow and very little rain. Thanks, Mother Nature!
2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES SCOTLAND
2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES SCOTLANDMy next big trip was to Berlin, Germany for a pretty big travel trade show called ITB. It gave me the chance to explore Berlin a little more – a city that I absolutely adore – and meet up with lots of my blogger friends from all corners of the earth.

2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES BERLIN GERMANY

After Berlin I enjoyed some travel around Scotland (which included staying in a castle – just call me Princess Emma!) and England. I adored Brighton and it’s quirky, eclectic atmosphere as well as it’s fun nightlife and laid-back ways.

BRIGHTON PIER 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Then there was a trip to Spain’s Costa del Sol with 11 other ladies for my cousin’s hen party. We had a total blast and it prompted me to write this post about how to survive group travel.

SPAIN COSTA DEL SOL BENALMADENA 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

I then visited three countries in six days - Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. I was exhausted by the end of the trip but saw some adorable places that I’d like to return to with more time to explore.

SLOVENIAN SALT FLATS, 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Beautiful salt flats in Slovenia

PIRAN CROATIA 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

The terracotta roofs of Piran, Croatia

I had only a few days to unpack and repack between that trip and my next – a cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean with Celebrity Cruises. I flew to the beautiful city of Venice and from there I sailed to Dubrovnik, Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Catania in Sicily, Valletta in Malta, Kotor in Montenegro, Split in Croatia and then back to Venice for a glorious two days docked in the city.

KOTOR MONTENEGRO 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Beautiful Kotor, Montenegro. One of my favourites.

POSITANO ITALY 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Beguiling, impossibly beautiful Positano

MALTA 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

In Malta, my 29th country!

I flew home from Venice with just enough time to unpack and repack my battered and well travelled suitcase for a trip to Paris with my dad. I’d never been to Paris before (shocking, I know!) but I fell head over heels in love with the city and am desperate to return and explore more of it.

PARIS FRANCE 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

PARIS FRANCE 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

My favourite wine in a bakery?! No wonder I fell in love with Paris!

This was followed up by some travels throughout the UK and then a fabulous week in Lagos, Portugal with my two best friends. We did little more than lie by the pool, discover some stunning beaches, eat good food, sample some delicious cocktails and just generally enjoy ourselves. It was perfect!

LAGOS PORTUGAL 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

I got to fulfill a travel dream in September when I travelled to India with my mum. She’s wanted to visit the country since she was a teenager and she finally decided to take the plunge, even better that she decided to take me along for the ride! I found India frustrating, challenging, beautiful, inspirational, harrowing and incredible all at once. India really is one of those places that hits you with so many emotions you’re often not sure whether you’re coming or going.

INDIA 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

INDIA SHIMLA 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

SHIMLA INDIA 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

TOY TRAIN INDIA 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Dublin, the next place I visited, was significantly less confusing and culturally shocking than India to say the least. I enjoyed exploring this incredibly walkable city on foot and learning more about the turbulent history of Ireland as a whole. Not to mention the great nights out and world famous Irish craic!

TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN IRELAND 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

The beautiful grounds of Trinity College

STREET ART DUBLIN IRELAND 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Quirky street art in Dublin

My final big trip of 2013 saw me getting on a flight to Hong Kong to embark upon Silversea’s Silver Shadow cruise ship and sail through the South China Sea. We sailed from Hong Kong down through Vietnam and ended our cruise in Singapore.

HONG KONG 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Hong Kong’s incredible skyline

I was stunned by the sheer size of Hong Kong but even more shocked when I did some research on the population crisis in Hong Kong and realised that many people in the city are living in micro-apartments or cages that are only a little bigger than something you would leave your dog in.

I fell in love with Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The people were so incredibly friendly and the city had such an interesting history that I loved learning about. I also loved the mix of old, French influenced buildings standing side by side the modern luxury offices and apartments. A curious juxtaposition.

HO CHI MINH CITY SAIGON VIETNAM 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon

VIETNAM 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Gorgeous views in Nha Trang

NHA TRANG VIETNAM 2013 TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Chillin’ with my homeboy Buddha

2013 has been busy, challenging, wonderful and rewarding. I remember the laughter, the conversations, the tears, the struggles, and all of the interesting and unforgettable people I have been lucky enough to have crossed paths with these past twelve months.

I’m enormously grateful to have been lucky enough to have had the opportunities and experiences I’ve enjoyed within the past twelve months. I know this lifestyle isn’t normal or conventional but it works for me and I hope 2014 brings more of the same. More countries, more cities, more experiences, more adventures and more wonderful people.

Onward, to 2014 and all the adventures it brings!

10 Responses to My 2013 Travel Adventures

  1. Brittany

    Looks like you had a great year full of travel to amazing places. I am looking forward to seeing where you go in 2014!

    • Emma Gray

      Thank you, Brittany! Glad to have you following along :D happy 2014!

  2. Virginia Hodge

    Great year in review Emma. Hope 2014 is just as travel filled :D

    • Emma Gray

      Thanks, Virginia. Happy 2014 to you!

  3. Cheryl

    Starting my weekend reading this post and it is seriously fuelling my wanderlust. You’ve been to some a-mazing places!

  4. Marian

    Here’s to 2014! Can’t wait to see where you get to travel to this year.

  5. Sonia Pacheco

    Wow a cool list of countries. sounds amazing

    • Emma Gray

      Thanks, Sonia. It was a really great year!

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