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Travel Memories: The Best and Worst of 2014

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As another year comes to a close its fun to look back and reflect on the good (and the bad!) that came with 2014. Like every other year, I had my fair share of both during my adventures, but thankfully most of the bad have turned into funny stories rather than all around nightmares.

And so, without further ado, here is the list (in no particular order) of my best and worst travel moments in 2014

The Best

Completing my 25 by 25 goal

I announced on January 1st of 2014 that my next adventure would take me back to Europe for several weeks to complete my mission of visiting 25 countries before I turned 25 in June. Not only did I reach that goal, but I exceeded it and have finished the year with a country count of 27. Not too shabby since I boarded my first plane only three years ago!

Getting My Brother’s butt on a plane to Europe

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE solo travel. But sometimes it’s nice to have someone with you- someone you know you’ll get along with anyway. 2014 was the year I finally kicked my little brother’s butt onto a plane and dragged him with me to Europe. We have been to Dominican Republic and NYC together, but Europe was the next big step. After two weeks backpacking through the Netherlands, Scotland, and Ireland, he still thinks I’m crazy for ‘wasting all my money on travel’, but I like to think I corrupted him into a bit of a travel lover too.

if nothing else, he definitely had a good time on St. Patrick's Day

If nothing else, he definitely had a good time on St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrating Paddy’s Day in the Emerald Isle itself

Let’s be honest, I think this is on everyone’s bucket list. And whoever said that St. Patrick ’s Day isn’t a big deal in Ireland; is full of crap. Between the beers drank at the hostel throughout the day, and the pub crawl in our St. Paddy’s day greens at night, we definitely made the most of this infamous Irish celebration.

An Awesome Day in Monaco

When I visited Nice, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be doing a side trip to Monaco. But was I ever surprised when everyone I talked to told me how disappointing it was, and that if I really insisted on going, I didn’t need a full day.

Thankfully, as per the usual, I didn’t listen and went for a full day. It was probably one of the best days I had during my two months in Europe and, although I couldn’t afford much, I would go back in a second.

DSC_0627

Happy girl in Monaco!

Getting some exciting news for 2015

Part of our visit to Ireland was to be reunited with my friends and roommates from when I lived on the Emerald Isle. I thought it would be a fun surprise to visit them, but they ended up surprising me with the news that they were expecting, (a beautiful baby girl born in September). And then, a couple months later, I got the news of their engagement. Spoiler alert: as of September 2015 I’ll be crossing ‘attend an Irish wedding’ off the bucket list!

Reunited with my Irish bests

Reunited with my Irish bests

The Worst

Being sick for weeks, and then getting food poisoning

After catching some mysterious illness in Ireland, I spent three weeks coughing, chocking, and all around dying thanks to what I’m pretty sure ended up being bronchitis. Countless mystery tablets and some really early bedtimes later, I finally managed to get over it in the Baltics (perhaps thanks to Black Balsam?).

Of course things were too good to be true and I went and got food poisoning during a day trip from Venice to Verona. It was definitely an awful day.

Feeling unsafe in Budapest

I was so looking forward to my time in Budapest, especially after hearing nothing but amazing things from my fellow travellers. But sadly, it was not a love affair at all, and I was more than happy to leave when my time was up. I still can’t pinpoint exactly what it was about this city that I didn’t like, but I never felt safe and always had my guard up. But don’t worry Budapest lovers, I haven’t written it off completely. I hope to return one day and have the amazing experience that seemingly everyone else has had in this beautiful city.

Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest

Being harassed on the streets of Riga

Getting lost trying to find your way to your hostel is frustrating. And, when you’re being followed by a car full of young men shouting at you in Latvian; well that’s just straight up shitty. I have zero clue what they were saying to me, all I know is that the Canadian flag on my backpack, a symbol that has previously made me welcome, turned me into an easy target that day. And despite my clear discomfort and the sheer wrongness of the situation, no one around bothered to help me or tell them off. All I can say is thank God for pedestrian only streets; because after a good fifteen minutes of being followed and harassed, that was my only getaway.

One of the worst hangovers…the morning I had a pre-booked a tour to Auschwitz

This might make me an awful human being. Especially after ‘learning’ the hard way with last years’ experience with my tour at the Vatican.

But, let me just say, Polish vodka shots go down really easy. And it doesn’t matter what your intentions are. 1 euro flavoured vodka shots always win when you are in the moment. Thankfully I sobered up pretty quickly on the bus, and was able to get the most out of my time at Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps.

These gates were a death sentence for many

The gates to Auschwitz

Spending an entire day in Dublin Airport

I love airports, but for a normal amount of time. So when I heard my early morning flight from Dublin to Copenhagen was delayed for an hour, it didn’t bother me.  When that hour turned into several, I started to go a little crazy and began to feel like Tom Hanks in the Terminal. More than the boredom though, was the fact that it cut my already short 2 day trip to Copenhagen down to one.

So there we have it, the top best and worst of 2015. I hope your year was more good than bad, and I wish you the best in 2015! Here’s to another year of crazy stories and (mis)adventures!

fireworks

19 thoughts on “Travel Memories: The Best and Worst of 2014

  1. Dave Cole

    It sounds like the highs of your 2014 travel really outweigh the lows – hitting 25+ countries at your young age is quite the accomplishment! I’ve found that we North Americans can bear some unnecessary harassment on our trips, but I think that the positive influence on tourism in many places is what really matters in the end. Here’s to a 2015 full of fun!

  2. Lauren

    Congrats on all of your travels and traveling to more than 25 countries! That’s quite impressive. I don’t even know how many countries I’ve visited – never bothered to tally them all up, but maybe I should. It’s amazing how many countries in Europe you’ve been able to visit – I hope to travel to as many as you someday! Gotta start somewhere though….can’t wait until we go to Italy in May! Getting a little bit of a later start than you (I’m 32) but better late than never 🙂 Happy New Year to you!

  3. Valerie

    What a year! Congrats on breaking your goal of visiting 25 countries before turning 25 🙂 I turned 25 this year too (2 weeks ago) and my country count is, well, a lot less than yours! My first time on a plane was 3 years ago as well, so I don’t have too much of an excuse. Food poisoning while travelling is the absolute worst! One of the worst nights of my life was when I got food poisoning in Uganda. I spent the entire night throwing up, but what made it worse was the monsoon rains and the fact that my tent was absolutely flooded and sleep bag soaked. Thankfully as time passes its much easier to look back on the bad times and laugh 🙂

    1. Hannah Logan Post author

      Thanks! And Happy belated birthday to you! As for the numbers, I don’t think they matter too much as long as you get some travel in there 😉 Your food poisoning story sounds like an absolute nightmare! Thank god we can look back and laugh eh?

  4. Katie @WorldWideVegetarian.com

    What a year you have had! I am glad you made it to your goal. I spent a night at the Dublin airport once because I was being cheap, and it sucked, what a boring airport. I know what you mean about Budapest. I had very high expectations going in, and don’t get me wrong I enjoyed my time there and loved the city, but I did feel uneasy during certain parts of the trip, and I didn’t feel like I liked the scene as much as my fellow travelers. I know people who love that city and keep going back, but I think I have had enough there, for now at least. What are you travel plans for 2015?
    Katie

    1. Hannah Logan Post author

      Haha Katie maybe we need to go back to Budapest with Steph! Although it is a little comforting to hear I’m not the only one…so I’m not completely crazy!
      Still ironing out 2015…planning quite a bit though so when I figure it out will absolutely announce it. I would love to meet some other bloggers if our schedules on the road match up!

  5. Tim

    Not too much is worse than being sick while traveling. Some would say it is the best time because you don’t have to be anywhere but as we travelers know, we have too much to do. There is always something to see and experience. There is no time for sickness while traveling. Glad you got over it Hannah 🙂

  6. Stephanie Mayo

    First off, as someone who fell in love with Budapest I’m sorry to hear of your bad experience but am inspired by your openness to try again. Here’s to a travel filled year full of adventures, inspiring tales and journeys as well as smiles! Hope to see you in Ottawa next year!!

  7. antonette - we12travel

    Despite the not so good things, overall it sounds like a great year for travel. Yay for kicking your brothers ass onto a plane and tag along. My brother hasn’t been anywhere for years, he prefers to play games behind his pc, but I’d love to travel with him one day… HAPPY NEW YEAR and hopefully 2015 will bring you lots of amazing adventures! xoxo

  8. Kate

    I’m glad you’ve shared the lows of this year too. Its a shame you had intimidating experiences in a couple of places but don’t let that put you off forever. I was stuck in Brisbane during the floods a few years ago and had a rough time but I went back and lived there for a few months and loved it.
    2014 sounds like it was a lot of accomplishments for you. 25 countries by 25 is pretty awesome and probably gave you an even bigger list of places to go now. I hope 2015 is a great year for you personally and as a traveller!

    1. Hannah Logan Post author

      Thank you Kate 🙂 I think intimidating experiences will always be a part of travel, but thankfully the good outshone the bad. I wish you the best in 2015 as well!

  9. Jessica (Barcelona Blonde)

    Happy New Year! It sounds like you had quite the year of adventures. I can’t believe you only started traveling a few years ago!

    Sorry to hear about the Budapest thing. I’ve actually heard that from quite a few people, but it looks so beautiful at the same time.

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