Highlights of 12 months eight as Digital Nomads


Erin and Simon at Jebel Akhdar, Oman

This month we celebrated eight years of full-time journey! It was an uncommon nomadiversary—we’re again within the UK for 4 months, our longest keep right here since we left and our first full winter.

Final yr we celebrated with a sunny hike up Lion’s Head and a scrumptious meal in Cape City. This yr we drove the size of England within the snow after spending the week within the hospital with a dying relative. Clearly we weren’t within the temper to have fun.

Regardless of its unhappy ending it has been one other superb yr on the street with travels to new international locations (South Africa, Namibia, Oman) and previous favourites (Japan, Bali, Thailand). It was additionally the yr of the street journey as we bought off the crushed monitor by renting a automobile or bike.

We nonetheless relish the liberty of nomadic life whilst we had been prepared for one thing totally different over the winter—the novelty of chilly days and being nearer to household for some time. The fantastic thing about our life-style is that we’ve got that selection.

Right here’s a glance again on the highs of yr eight which took us to eight international locations, largely in Africa and Asia.

South Africa

I lined a lot of our South Africa highlights in last year’s nomadiversary post together with the unbelievable safaris we did and dwelling in Cape City, considered one of our new favorite cities. We completely fell for this beautiful nation and listed here are some extra prime experiences from the start of yr eight.


La Bri harvest on Franschhoek wine tram

Harvest time in Franschhoek

We took a facet journey from Cape City to Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands and it was wonderful! This charming city is among the oldest and most scenic settlements in South Africa and is surrounded by vineyards and craggy mountains.

We vineyard hopped on the enjoyable wine tram, ate at gourmet restaurants, picnicked on a wine property, and loved the surroundings by the pool at our great boutique guesthouse La Providence (considered one of our favorite places to stay in South Africa).

One other spotlight was visiting Babylonstoren, a historic Cape Dutch farm. We toured the magnificent natural gardens, sampled their wines, and ate a beautiful meal at Babel. We will certainly keep at this particular place on our subsequent go to.

A Decadent Birthday Journey

Sunset at Sea Star Cliff Lodge in De Kelders, a special place to stay in South Africa

The view from Sea Star Cliff Lodge in De Kelders

As if our Franschhoek journey wasn’t decadent sufficient, just some weeks later we celebrated my birthday in critical model. First up was an unbelievable 12 course meal with wine pairing at La Colombe, simply exterior Cape City and one of many prime 100 eating places on this planet. It was presumably the most effective meal of our lives and we couldn’t consider we had been there for 4 hours!

Critically, the meals in Cape City is superb—examine our favorite Cape Town restaurants right here.

Simon then organized a shock weekend away to the tiny seaside city of De Kelders. We stayed at Sea Star Cliff Lodge, a beautiful boutique lodge with insane sea views. We spent many of the weekend on the terrace sunbathing, consuming bubbly, watching the sundown, and stargazing.

On our approach again to Cape City we stopped at Betty’s Bay to see penguins and later within the week took a spectacular helicopter ride over the city. What every week!


Street Journey Throughout Namibia

Moon Mountain Lodge at sunset in Namibia

Among the finest locations we stayed in Namibia – Moon Mountain Lodge at sundown.

We had been unhappy to go away South Africa after three months however excited for our subsequent journey—road tripping across Namibia for 2 weeks! It’s a wild, lovely, empty nation and we visited a number of the most distant locations we’ve ever been. We liked the various landscapes, plentiful wildlife, spectacular sunsets, and the pure tranquility.

Seeing Cheetahs and Leopards

A cheetah at Okonjima Nature Reserve, Namibia

A cheetah at Okonjima Nature Reserve

Considered one of our street journey stops was Okonjima Nature Reserve, residence to the Africat Basis which researches, rescues, and rehabilitates huge cats. We did two safari drives and managed to see each cheetahs and leopards. The cheetah safari was particularly thrilling because it’s executed on foot! It was unbelievable to stroll so shut to those uncommon, lovely creatures.

Kayaking with Child Seals

Kayaking with seals in Walvis Bay- a Namibia travel highlight

Simon kayaking with seals!

Oh my, kayaking with child seals is among the finest issues we’ve got ever executed! Close to Walvis Bay there’s a colony of tens of hundreds of Cape Fur seals. We solely needed to paddle a brief distance earlier than we had been surrounded by lots of of lovely seal pups. They had been playful and curious, nibbling on our paddles, diving and leaping out and in of the water, and swimming alongside us. It was such a particular expertise.

Climbing Huge Daddy Sand Dune

Running down the Big Daddy Sand Dune at Deadvlei in Namibia

Operating down the Huge Daddy Sand Dune at Deadvlei is a spotlight of Namibia!

One other Namibia highlight was climbing Huge Daddy, one of many world’s tallest sand dunes at Sossusvlei. It actually wasn’t straightforward as we sunk into the sand and the livid wind whipped sand into our faces, however we felt like we’d entered one other, dreamlike world with orange dunes stretching for miles and the stark white salt pan beneath. Plus we bought to run down the facet afterwards!


Residing in Ubud, Bali


Ubud rice fields and Mt Agung at sunrise

The view from our Ubud villa

Ubud is our favorite place to arrange a brief residence. We love the beautiful rice fields, fascinating Hindu tradition (so many temple ceremonies!), scrumptious vegetarian meals, and the convenience of renting a villa with a non-public pool.

We spent 5 months right here over the summer time specializing in work, researching new vegetarian restaurants, doing a lot of yoga, and having fun with the views from our villa. For our anniversary we splurged on a tasting menu on the fancy Ritz Carlton lodge.

Bali Street Journey

Tamblingan Lake on our Bali motorbike road trip

Tamblingan Lake on our Bali bike street journey

Truthfully, we’ve by no means been huge followers of Bali exterior of our Ubud bubble, however our five-day motorbike trip to the north and west of the island modified that. We found simply how beautiful the island is and the way it’s doable to flee the crowds, even in excessive season.

We hiked to waterfalls within the mountains of Munduk, snorkelled at Menjangan Island, and relaxed within the tiny surf city Balian Seaside. Alongside the best way we loved views of beautiful rice terraces, lakes, and jungle ravines from the again of our trusty scooter.



Dressing up as Mario characters and driving a Maricar go-kart is one of the many fun things to do in Tokyo

Us dressing up as Mario characters in Tokyo and driving a Maricar go-kart!

Oh, Japan! It felt so good to be again and our second journey solely confirmed that that is considered one of our favorite international locations.

In 2011 Tokyo didn’t examine to our favorite metropolis Kyoto, however this time we actually loved exploring the enormous metropolis. We liked in search of out its quieter spots, even within the midst of seemingly chaotic neighbourhoods like Shinjuku (our choose for the best area to stay in Tokyo).

We did loopy issues like drive go-karts on the roads dressed as Mario characters and skilled sensory overload on the insane Robot Restaurant and the epic arcades. We additionally loved conventional Japan at temples and with an beautiful 12-course lunch in a serene personal tatami room at Bon.

Japan Prepare Journey

Simon and I at a tea ceremony in Kanazawa

Us at a tea ceremony in Kanazawa

From Tokyo we took off with a 7-day Japan Rail Pass (one of the best ways to discover the nation) for a whirlwind journey to a number of the spots we missed final time. We strolled the forest temples of Nikko, gazed in awe at Mount Fuji at Lake Hakone, soaked in an onsen bathtub, explored the standard picket homes of Takayama, and took part in a tea ceremony in Kanazawa. We liked each minute.

Learn our Japan itinerary for extra particulars. 

Japanese Meals

Fucha ryori dish at Bon vegetarian restaurant Tokyo

One of many 12 programs of our vegan feast at Bon in Tokyo

Japanese meals is so good! Sure, even for vegetarians (with some advance planning). We loved sushi and ramen for the primary time (together with ordering ramen from a merchandising machine!), skilled a 12 course Zen Buddhist vegetarian meal, and ate tempura, soba noodles, okonomiyaki, Japanese curry, divine tofu, and a lot extra.


Residing in Koh Phangan

Zen Beach on Koh Phangan

Zen Seaside on Koh Phangan

Thailand is someplace we used to go to typically because it’s a terrific, reasonably priced digital nomad vacation spot for getting some work executed, nevertheless it had been over three years since our final go to. Slightly than go to our traditional haunts of Chiang Mai and Koh Lanta, we tried someplace totally different.

Koh Phangan is understood for its backpacker events, however we discovered it straightforward to keep away from all that by staying close to the quiet village of Sri Thanu which has extra yoga studios and vegetarian eating places than bars. We rented a cute picket home by the ocean and used the surprisingly good wifi to get some work executed. It was a really quiet life nevertheless it was simply what we would have liked.


Street Journey Round Oman

Nizwa Fort, Oman

Nizwa Fort, Oman

One other street journey to finish 2017! Oman was a brand new nation for us and we spent 10 days exploring this little-visited vacation spot, one of many most secure within the Center East.

We visited beautiful mosques and sandcastle-like forts, hiked up sand dunes and alongside the rim of Oman’s Grand Canyon, swam within the crystal inexperienced waters of wadis, and took lengthy walks on empty seashores.

United Kingdom

A Christmassy Christmas

A Christmassy Harry Potter studio tour

A Christmassy Harry Potter studio tour

After many Christmases overseas we determined to have fun at residence for the second yr in a row. We liked being with family and friends and doing all of the Christmassy issues like wander the festive markets and lights in London, take pleasure in a Christmas afternoon tea, and go to the festive-themed Harry Potter Studio Tour (it’s superb and a should for HP followers!).

Simon additionally recorded a music along with his London band, we scored final minute entrance row seats to the Glengarry Glenross play with Christian Slater, and I took half in my first Park Run.

A Cosy Winter

Wells in Somerset

On our winter journey we found beautiful locations in England like Wells in Somerset

In contrast to final yr we didn’t flee for hotter climes after the New 12 months however stayed in England for the entire winter! As leaving winter behind was one of many causes we left the nation eight years in the past, this was form of odd for us however we found that we actually loved the novelty of the chilly.

We’ve had a collection of housesits in Somerset, Dorset, Lancashire, and Stratford Upon Avon (discovered on Trusted Housesitters). We particularly liked being within the countryside—chilly walks throughout the fields with canine in the course of the day and cosy nights by the hearth. We even had snow!

A spotlight was coaching for my second half marathon (I’m operating the London Landmarks Half on 25th March for Alzheimer’s Society). It seems winter operating is a lot simpler than operating within the tropics! Regardless of falling over on muddy forest trails and operating in subzero temperatures within the snow, I’ve liked each minute of it and may’t await the race (and am just a bit nervous 🙂 ).

Ups and Downs of Our Enterprise

Final yr considered one of our highlights was a major enhance in revenue, most of it passive from affiliate commissions on this web site and our journey price range app Trail Wallet.

Whereas our revenue did enhance barely once more in yr eight, it has been a combined yr business-wise. The worst factor was a lower in our Google visitors to this web site (our major supply of holiday makers). For seven years our visitors elevated annually after which all of the sudden, unexpectedly, it began to say no final yr. It was irritating not having the ability to work out why. Was it as a result of we converted to a safe web site? Or up to date these posts? Have we offended Google someway? Is there simply extra competitors?

We couldn’t determine it out and it was a scary time feeling like our enterprise was slipping away from us.

However we’re feeling extra constructive about it now and our revenue wasn’t affected as a lot as you’d anticipate. Simon completed our new internet design (which I like!), our Google visitors is recovering just a little, and our Pinterest visitors is rising (we employed our first digital assistant to handle it for us final yr). I’ve learnt loads about web optimization and am engaged on updating a lot of our previous posts. We have now hope and realise that that is simply the character of the enterprise.

We have now tons to look ahead to in yr 9—a return to our beloved Italy, exploring some new European locations, and Simon is lastly engaged on his dream of making an adventure game.

As at all times, thanks on your help as loyal readers and cheerleaders of Path Pockets and The Carry-On Traveller ebook.

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