I decided that turning 30 was going to be a milestone year (and hopefully decade!) for me so I wanted to start it off big with my first international trip! I've had a passport since 2011, but never had a chance to use it. My trip was only 17 days, but I traveled to 4 countries, 5 different cities, saw, experienced, and tried things I never thought I would in my life! My first stop was Barcelona and boy am I glad that it was. The food, the culture, the architecture, the lifestyle- everything about that city made me fall in love. It was my very first stamp in my passport and will always hold a special place in my heart! Sagrada Familia is an absolute MUST because it is breathtaking and pictures will never do it justice.
Dubrovnik, Croatia was the second destination and the Adriatic Sea is something everyone should see in person. The clarity and color of the water is mesmerizing! I loved learning about the history of Old Town Dubrovnik and Croatia in general during our City Walls tour.
We did a sunset sea kayaking tour and getting to view the water up close was one of my favorite parts. It was only my second time kayaking so there was a lot of resting my arms, but it made some great memories!
Third city was Bali! I was NOT ready for the humidity and our local guide said that it was "nice weather" when we were around (it was 85F and 65% humidity). We climbed Mt. Batur for a sunrise hike and it did not disappoint! The challenging climb at 4am was worth it once we got to the top because that view was so satisfying.
We stopped in Cairns before going to Sydney because we were told snorkeling was better up there. This was my favorite destination because I challenged myself and overcame a huge fear while in Cairns. I don't know how to swim so 4.5' deep pool water freaks me out. However, I wanted to go snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef because I know it's dying and I don't know when the next opportunity to see it would be. Once I had the snorkel gear on and was in the ocean I couldn't breathe and started to have a panick attack. I could feel myself freaking out about to cry and I so badly wanted to get back on the boat. While I was trying to calm myself down, my friend told me to turn around and I saw a sea turtle had just surfaced and went back underwater. I immediately followed it and all my fears were cast aside! I saw amazing fish and coral and even want to snorkel again!
Our final destination was Sydney and we decided to take it easy there. But of course we had to see the iconic Sydney Opera House. We walked there from our AirBnB in Glebe and really enjoyed the stroll through the botanical gardens.
After all those destinations, we were heading back home to the US and had a 15 hour layover in Honolulu! I was trying to extend my travels for as long as possible! I've finally come to understand why people enjoy traveling. It was such an incredible opportunity to experience so many different places and cultures. There's still so much I've yet to discover and I can't wait to see where the future will take me!