Recap of our 2017 - and our plans for 2018!

I know I say this every year, but daymnnn this year has been our best one so far! [Tanbay's words, having not heard what I just wrote: "best year of our life, sounds so lame, we always say that." lol we twins.] We did a lot of things we wanted to do, and didn't do a lot of things we didn't want to do...  and this year has been A LOT about finally finding myself, which has been fun and super confusing sometimes but hey, I love to learn. 

We also met so many cool people this year!!! This is a big deal for us - being two super introverted assholes who are very happy staying at home with each other forever, we've always found it very easy to not meet new people. This year I've discovered the joy in meeting new people and man what people we met!!  

Other than finally finding myself and meeting lots of inspirational people, other highlights include: finally visiting our number 1 bucket-list destination (Tokyo), going completely off the grid in the Philippines, starting kickboxing again for the first time in four years, successfully travelling vegan across three continents and 18 countries and of course becoming semi-famous in Hungary. 

We also worked with a bunch of new brands, hotels and tourism boards, and, for the first time ever, with rail and airlines too. 

The lows were luckily nothing compared to last year's death + loss of friends + near-loss of finger disasters, with the worst things happening this year being: 1) I lost my phone - turned out to be a good thing, 2) I fell out big time with my sister - we made up dw and 3) I trashed my laptop spilling wine on it - but I just got a new one, and it's beautiful. 

ANYWAY, to everyone this year who we met irl or online, and to everyone who followed our blog/YouTube/Instagram THANK YOU!!!! You made this year magical.

And if you're in the mood for a gigantic post about what we did this year, read on: 

January - Sicily, UK, Edmonton, Jasper, San Francisco, LA, Los Angeles 

This year started off with a literal bang as we watched all the fireworks go off along the Sicilian coast (we were up on a hill and had an awesome panoramic view). 

We headed back to the UK via Berlin and broke our 2016 goal of not sleeping in airports... And fuck Berlin was cold after Sicily! 

We had a couple of weeks in the UK and saw best friend Charlotte, some family, and freaked out about all the stuff we had to get for Canada, and couldn't find (we found it). 

My Grandpa took us to Gatwick airport (thank you) and we went on our first ever press trip - to Edmonton and Jasper Canada!

It was an insanely unforgettable trip - Canada really is dope, we flew in a helicopter, went fat biking, learnt how to ski, walked along a frozen canyon and ate the best Mexican food. 

Most notable for me, I finally got over my fear of driving and drove this bad boi:

But man, press trips are tiring! After ten days we were absolutely knackered, and agreed that whilst it was incredible, we should probably only do paid press trips. 

Next up we went to the USA! 

We started off in San Francisco - ahhh we love this city! It's beaut and everything we imagined it to be - and more! We worked with San Francisco travel  and a couple of hotels here and saw all the sights. 

I think part of the reason we loved San Francisco though was because of the people we met/met up with 

Firstly, we finally met Charlie and Luke from Charlie On Travel

These guys were one of our very first online blogging friends, so it was great to finally meet them in real life - we went to a great vegan restaurant and talked about all the British things. 

Next we met the SB Hadley Wilson and dog pizza <3 

Again, another of our online friends that we finally were able to meet irl. He treated us to a delicious lunch, and pizza didn't pee on me which was great.

AND finally we went out for Tacos with my main girls from Big Berry <3 

We met Karina and Mollie in Slovenia last year and I loveee them. 

After San Francisco, we ignored every American's advice not to and took the $5 (9 hour) Megabus ride from San Francisco to LA. 

I was not a massive fan of LA. It rained the whole time and the highlight was doing this:

The low point was being randomly shouted at by a Chewbacca on the walk of fame. Murrica! 

After 24 hours in LA, we took another lovely Megabus to Las Vegas where we picked up by this beast of a limo:

And the driver said he'd never picked up anyone from the Megabus bus-stop before, lol. 

But Las Vegas turned out to be a bit of a flop too. It felt like the kind of place we would have loved ten years ago, but not like it had changed much since then. Think disgusting, old, fat drunk guys leering over prostitutes, smoking indoors and casinos trying to pull you in (obviously). Plus we saw a guy taking heroin at like 10am. Vegas is vile, I like to think of it as the gateway to hell!

But, we'd actually had an amazing offer from a chapel in Vegas - they said they'd sponsor our wedding!!!

Having been engaged since 2013, and with no ideas on how to turn that engagement into a wedding, it felt like the right thing to do.

But we hateedddd Vegas, and after miserably spending the first day looking at awful dresses, we turned to each other and said 'shall we not get married here'

Never have I ever been so glad to not marry Tanbay in my life haha. We will get married eventually, but for now we are very happy with our long engagement, thanks. 

After that, Vegas was a lot more fun and we had the most delicious (vegan) sushi ever from Vegenation. 

After Vegas, we took the $5 bus back to LA, stayed the night, before braving LAX.

I'd heard that LAX was the worst airport ever, and the security people there try and finger you. They didn't so that was great. 

One last thing about the USA - one of the questions we're asked a lot is "have you ever felt unsafe abroad". And I've got to tell you yes - but not when we were walking around Bangkok at 3am, or in the dessert in Jordan, or in the Philippines, or in Israel, or crazy-animal-central Australia, or Vietnam or Paris or London or anywhere in the world other than the USA. 

In the USA we saw so many crazy people - who seemed super unhinged. I'm not saying never go there, I'm just saying it's ironic, because most of the people who ask me if travel is safe, come from the US, and the USA is the only place I've ever felt unsafe. 

But enough of that, after not being fingered at LAX we took the stupidest flight route ever - 16 hours from LA to Qatar, followed by another 7 hour flight to Bangkok. Lush. 

February - Bangkok

Despite the insane sounding-ness of the route, in reality it wasn't that bad - and actually preferable to many stop-start routes we've done in the past - at least when we sat down we knew we'd be there for a while (plus Qatar airways has some great vegan food). 

We were sooooo happy to be back in Bangkok! And this time we stayed for a whole month. It was awesome. Partly because it's Bangkok, but mostly because we lived in a building with best blogger friend Sabrina from Just One Way Ticket - the blog that made me want to start this blog!

Sabrina is awesome, she's one of the kindest people I've ever met and I'm honoured to be her friend. (Plus she's vegan.) She introduced us to our two favourite Canadians - Karina and April <3, who we also love to bits. She also introduced us to millionaire Johnny from One Step 4 Ward (literally the nicest guy), and Nas from Nas Daily - who has 3.5 million followers,  I'm sure you already know about him. The guy with the 1 minute videos. We were in one! 

We also finally met Flying the Nest:

Two Australian vloggers who we're also in love with. 

Last and certainly least we met Tosh. Tosh is a douche. We don't have a photo with him.

Oh no wait, here's a nice one, where he circled my arm to draw everyone's attention to the fact that my arm is fat:

And thus, #shutuptosh was born.

Other than meeting our heroes, getting a tonne of Thai massages, being bullied by Tosh, exploring an aeroplane graveyard and eating all the food, we had a gigantic break through in Bangkok: our Hungarian videos started to go viral :O we started getting a tonne of messages on Facebook and we thought, damn let's start learning Hungarian. 

It was the best! Oh and also I took this photo of Tanbay:

March - Kuala Lumpur

After one month in Bangkok, we went to Kuala Lumpur with the idea of doing pretty much the same thing - hanging out with friends, getting work done, having a snazzy apartment, experiencing South East Asia etc. 

Unfortunately, we didn't make any effort to make friends, and unlike in Bangkok, friends didn't just come up to us - in fact I had an hard time in Malaysia at first - men are super starey there and it pissed me right off!

I also had my first ever period in ten years (is that too much of a share? Do I care). It was insane!! (I also discovered menstrual cups, menstruators if you don't have one, get one; and non-menstruators - get your menstruators one asap). 

But at the end of the month everything was back to awesome, first we went to the Batu Caves and someone took the best photo of my legs ever:

[This was also the place we saw a monkey jerk itself off, and eat the come which was the worst thing I've ever seen: 

Anyway....... ]

Secondly, we saw Flying the Nest again which was lovely!!

Thirdly, we finally met Kach and Jonathon from Two Monkeys Travel - again blogging friends we've had since the beginning, but never actually met. They're both super lovely, and I'm glad we finally met them

And finally we had THE BEST ANNIVERSARY EVER!!!!!! It was our 11 year, and after 8, 9 and 10 all being flops (8 spent in Sydney airport, 9 spent in Tallinn and 10 spent with food poisoning in the Philippines), we - or rather I - was determined this one would be a good one. And it was the best one!! We stayed at the Sheraton, had massages and the most delicious dinner. Yey. 

April - Bali, Chiang Mai, Laos

From Kuala Lumpur we flew down to Bali and spent a blissful week at the Chillhouse - we biked, we saw the sunset, we did yoga, we saw the temples and rice fields, we went surfing:

I got sunstroke (that was shit).

And we had the most amazing food we've ever had in our whole lives (srsly). 

One week definitely wasn't long enough for Bali - I want to go back and I want to ride a motorcycle there.

We met awesome Instagrammers Peter & Stephanie from Tourist Exclusive and had sunset cocktails together :)

After Bali, we flew up to Chiang Mai to do a house sit!

This was our first house sit in Asia, and it was awesome!!! The dogs and cat were beautiful, and I fell deeply in love with Teddy. The home owners - John and Karn were lovely and kind, we got loads of work done and omg having a kitchen with an oven and tap water that you could drink was the absolute best! [I know that might sound weird if you're from the west, basically we hadn't had those things in months, and they are the best.]

From Chiang Mai we took the overnight bus to Laos:

We spent four awesome days in Vientianne, checking out the sites and lazing at the hotel: 

We both liked Laos, there were far fewer tourists there and everything is cheaper. We saw some tourists riding elephants which is wrong, buttt when we saw it happen, we saw it from a distance, and seeing elephants on the horizon next to a river was breath-taking (until we realised people were sat on them). 

May - Bangkok

After Laos, we took the 10 hour train ride down to Bangkok and went straight out with our lovely Bangkok friends. With five free drinks for ladies, needless to say I got completely wankered. 

It was so nice to be back 'home' though and even more fun than the first time round. 

This time round Sabrina and I went out clubbing a lot (clubbing in Bangkok is the best), Tanbay's cousin Ronya came to visit <3 and we met four British YouTubers! Alex and Emma aka the Travel Beans and Kris and Cody from Coshan Uncharted:

We stayed up until four am talking about banter, and it was only slightly ruined by Tosh :D 

June - Tokyo, Cebu, Siargao, Boracay, Dubai

In June, we finally, finally, finally went to our number one bucketlist destination - Tokyo!!!

Tokyo has been at the top of our lists for as long as we can remember, but we always put it off because "it's expensive". Last year, we had a death in the family, and for weeks I had this horrible scare that if Tanbay died, I'd really regret not taking him to Japan.. I know that sounds dumb, but hey yolo and all that.

Also we realised that "it's expensive" hadn't put us off going to other expensive countries like Australia, Iceland and Finland. So this year we said fck it, let's go. 

There are some places we've been to (like the Philippines, Greece and Las Vegas) where we were dying to go, but when we got there it didn't reach our expectations, so we were worried that Japan would be the same. If anything it was 20 times better than we could have imagined, literally every second felt incredible.

So if you're dying to go to Japan, just go already. 

Highlights of our trip included meeting up with our Japanese friend, finding vegan sushi, being filmed for Japanese TV :O, dressing up like Geishas, walking through a bamboo forest, meeting up with our American friend Christine, kids coming up to us wanting photos, seeing this giant hawk, experiencing Asakusa, Akihabara, Shibuya and Harajuku, seeing Mount Fuji and just omg every single moment

I could go on about Japan for years, I've made a start in this blog post: 17 reasons to visit Tokyo

Next we worked with Cebu Pacific, they flew us from Tokyo to the Philippines, around the Philippines and then over to Dubai

We'd visited the Philippines last year, and although we'd had a couple of nice days in Manila, Palawan wasn't the paradise we'd expected it to be. We had a biased view of it because we had food poisoning twice + my phone broke + my card got declined, but still, the lovely Filipino people everyone goes on about were few and far between. 

So we were determined to go back to a different part, and this time fall in love properly. 

First we went to Cebu, and worked with the nicest resort ever. We finally met the nicest Filipinos ever, and everything was perfect - apart from the shitty weather. 

Next we flew over to Siargao, and finally found paradise on earth - the people were the kindest, the beaches were perfect and the weather was lush. 

We spent an incredible week here. We stayed at a place that was right on the beach - literally this was our window:

We (as in I) woke up every morning to take shit photos of the sunrise -

And one evening we saw the most incredible moonrise, which I took an even shitter photo of:

The place we were staying had no hot water, no internet, no cooking facilities, limited electricity - we were constantly sweating and feeling super uncomfortable, and you know what? It was the absolute best! We did so much meditation and 'getting back to basics'. It was the complete opposite of busy high-tech Tokyo, and it felt amazing. 

Even when I lost my phone at the beach, I wasn't phased - life is too short etc. I was so zen it started to get ridiculous. Seriously, it annoyed me how zen I was. 

Every day we ate all our meals at the nicest restaurant:

Where we met best friend Jessie and a bunch of Germans.

The Germans took us round the island and Tanbay became best buds with this guy:

Look how close they are. 

But this paradise is far far from perfect: poverty and corruption are rife in this part of Siargao. One of the big crimes? Sand piracy - sand is stolen from the beach and sold to make cement, and over the years some of the beautiful beaches had lost all their sand. 

Some of the locals were in super bad shape, I even saw a child pulling a brick along as a toy :( it was the sweetest saddest thing ever. 

One thing that had a massive impact on us was the plastic pollution in Siargao. As the Philippines is a bunch of hundreds of islands, each island differs when it comes to plastic removal - some islands have the facilities to recycle it, some have the facilities to dump it. Siargao has neither. So they do various illegal things - one time they filled the river with the plastic waste and then cemented that river over. (The plastic subsequently leaked out into the ocean, and found its way back to the beach.) 

Six months before we'd visited, they'd taken a giant load of plastic out to sea and dumped it. Even though it was six months before, plastic was still arriving on the beach every day:

We spent every afternoon helping to collect the plastic and it was absolutely rank. Plastic is soo evil. And the worst part was, most of the plastic items we were collecting were non-essentials: straws, bottles, lighters, toothbrushes. Pretty much everything we picked up, there is a non-plastic alternative out there. The majority of items were one time use items too, which is even worse. (It's such a waste!) It really made us think about plastic and how shit it is. 

When it comes to who to blame for the plastic waste in the Philippines, you can blame everyone - the locals, the tourists, the government, the corporations (in that order, mainly it's the latter two's fault). There's not really an easy solution here - plastic is cheap, and easy to come by. I'm not going to sit on my privileged high horse and tell people who have literally nothing how to shop, but I am interested in telling big corporations and governments to pull their fingers out and stop being c*nts. This is obviously also not just specific to the Philippines either. 

This problem is in every country and effects (affects??) all of us. It's easier to see it in countries like the Philippines and Indonesia because they don't always have 'proper' ways to 'get rid of' the waste. I'm using quotes because there is no proper way to get rid of plastic. Every single piece of plastic that was ever created is still out there. Which is insane. Only a tiny percentage is recycled and even if it's recycled, it's still around! The best thing you can do is not use any plastic in the first place.  

For us, we're going to try and stop using plastic altogether. I recognise we're in a privileged position of being able to shop around, and have the time and dedication it takes to avoid plastic. I'm not asking that of you. But I do insist you immediately stop using straws. Plz. 

On a happier note, I'm so grateful we went to Siargao, it was life changing. The Philippines truly is one of the most special countries in the world, its beautiful beaches are only outshone by its lovely people. 

Next up we went to Boracay which was pretty much the opposite of Siargao

Where Siargao is semi-undiscovered and definitely underdeveloped, Boracay is tourist-central, hotel and chain restaurant central, clubbing and backpacking central - think McDonalds, Hilton, and everything you hate about the south of Spain. 

Many people had warned us against Boracay (it's ruined, it's too touristy etc) and I'd read a lot of blog posts about how it was a shame that tourists ruined Boracay. But honestly, for every foreign tourist we saw, we saw five Filipino tourists too - you might not want McDonalds and Jollibees, but it seems that the Filipinos do (or at least the ones in Boracay). And really, it's their country, if they want it, let them have it! 

It was a super shock to go from deserted beaches to this though:

We didn't expect to like Boracay, but we ended up loving it. After our spiritual finding ourself back-to-basics Siargao, we swore we'd put an end to commercial Laura and Tanbay. Two minutes on Boracay with internet, hot showers, air-conditioning, comfy beds, massages and five star hotels and we completely forgot about that. 

Well not completely,  Siargao really is the opposite of Boracay in all ways - including the fact that Boracay's beaches are pristine - zero plastic waste. 

I dug a little deeper, as in asked one person, and found out that the hotels pay high taxes for their plastic waste, and are in charge of clearing up their portion of beach from any litter that's been dropped on the ground. This means that a) they're encouraged to go for non-plastic items in the first place (e.g. our hotel room water came in a glass bottle not a plastic one), and b) every morning you would find hotel employees picking up litter from the beach and c) they have proper waste removal in Boracay, no dumping plastic at sea there. 

So yes, in some ways tourists and infrastructure ruined Boracay, but in other ways, like plastic waste ways, it's a blessing. And the sunsets are still to die for:

It also confirmed my suspicions, that whilst it's so important that we as individuals are responsible for our own ethics/footprint etc, ultimately, nothing big changes until laws force it on us. (Which of course usually comes from one or two individuals being responsible enough to push those laws through,, buttt... still):

[It's a side step, but take plastic bags in the UK for the perfect example: in the UK, the majority of people didn't want to use plastic bags at the supermarket, if you asked them they'd say "oh, plastic bags are shit, I don't want to use them, they're bad for the environment", but when it came to it, they'd usually forget their reusable bag at home. 

Then, the government brought in a 5p tax for plastic bags (something Aldi and Lidl had done for years btw). Brits are sooo cheap, most people weren't going to pay for that. 

Thus there was a couple of weeks, of people coming out of Tesco juggling six items, because that reusable bag was still at home, and then boom! Suddenly everyone started remembering their bags. Okay sure, you still get the odd tw*t paying for the plastic bags. But ultimately, my point is this: people want to do the right thing, they really do, mostly, but you have to give them an enforced push in the right direction.]

ANYWAY after two weeks, we left the Philippines, and this time we were finally in love. 

The beaches, the lovely lovely lovely people, the finding yourself, the Philippines really is the most beautiful country and is firmly in our top three of favourites now. 

Cebu Pacific flew us to Dubai for Tanbay's birthday: 

This was our first time in Dubai, and we weren't exactly sure what to expect. We learnt sooo much, good and bad, I still need to write a blog post about it actually. 

For the first two nights we worked with the Shangri-La, and for the last two nights we worked with Grosvenor House. In-between we decided to couchsurf for the first time in three years.

Initially I got a bunch of replies from people in Dubai - all creeps. We almost gave up. But then I heard from Harry - from Hong Kong but living in Dubai, and he's a Minister. Bingo. 

We met Harry in Dubai, and my God he's got the best, poshest, deepest British accent I've ever heard - and he went to school at one of my school's rival schools :O (Cheltenham Boys College) How small is the world? 

Anyway, Harry was the absolute best, he showed us round, and taught us so much about Dubai that we just wouldn't have learned otherwise. Thank you Harry!

As for Tanbay, he had the best birthday ever - we had dinner at the top Indian restaurant in Dubai, stayed in an awesome five-star hotel who gave him balloons, plus I bought him a Macbook. 


It was also Ramadan when we were in Dubai (you can't eat during daylight hours), but weirdly, you can go to the cinema, buy popcorn behind an opaque screen and eat it when the film starts playing. Yey. We saw the Mummy and Wonder Woman. 

Other interesting things about Dubai - the tube is split between male and female (female section is pink). They also have pink cabs for women. 

Anyway, next up we flew from Dubai to Bulgaria. I've always wanted to go to Bulgaria and was bummed we'd only be there for 6 hours before our flight to Budapest. 

I was less bummed on the flight. I don't like to judge a country by the people that are on its flight, and I really don't, but I'm going to tell you this story anyway because it's funny:

It was the most annoying flight I'd ever been on. Behind me I had a seat kicker, in front of me I had a seat pusher-backer, we had a guy to our left eating a McDonalds (puke), and the guy next to him was watching a film on his iPad without headphones - why?? We also had a couple of others having a shit loud conversation. Basically it was a complete assault on all the senses - smell, hearing, seeing (one of them was real ugly), touching. Admittedly, I had a cold and was pmsing, so I wasn't in the best of moods anyway, but by the end of the flight I was prepared to declare war on Bulgaria.

Luckily, I'm not a racist and I don't really have a new-found hatred of Bulgarians - I promise! Please though, everyone, take a second before you do anything on a plane and think "would this annoy Laura?" It probably will, so don't do it. 

ANYWAY. Finally after two long flights and a lot of annoyance - we were back in Budapest!!!!!! 

July - Budapest, Debrecen, Szeged, Eger, Balaton, Germany

We were picked up from the airport from one of my many not-met-in-real-life-but-I-still-love-them friends - Kata!!! 

Kata was originally a Travelling Weasels fan, but quickly became an online best friend when I found out how much she loves dogs. She took us to a dog shelter in Budapest where we walked some lovely dogs:

We stayed for a week in Budapest, and it was sooooo lovely to be back - walking along the wide empty streets, drinking the tap water, enjoying the sunshine without the humidity of Asia. Everything was the best.

And we had a super busy week - we were filmed for Hungarian TV, we were recognised on the street, one fan watched our video and recognised our actual building :O, anddd best of all we did a meet up and finally met some of our Hungarian fans! 

After Budapest we started working with Interrail - we went all across Hungary with them and then up to Scandinavia:

Our first stop in Hungary was Debrecen, we did another meet up here and one super fan, Sandra travelled 8 hours to meet us :O

I did a dumb thing before the meet up though, where I was climbing a tree (as you do), fell, and scratched the shit out of my stomach. I was not in a great mood. 

Then during this second meet-up I felt super shy and introverted. Tanbay was a dream and led the show. I was like meh hopefully no one noticed, but afterwards a fan messaged us to say that Tanbay was great but I seemed a bit out of it :( 

I'm super grateful for that message though, because it kicked my butt into gear for the next meet up. 

Also in Debrecen, we couchsurfed and met the nicest couple ever - Lilla and Emil. They were so nice!!!!! 

Annddd we met Peter Gergely!!! (One of Hungary's top YouTubers):

After Debrecen we went down to Szeged - the sunshine city! It was really sunny. We met another online friend here - Dorá who is also the nicest. 

We did a third meet up here, and I made a big effort and wasn't shy at all. Yey. I also got stung  by a wasp for the first time ever. 

After Szeged we went up to Eger (we did the dumbest route). We had a fourth meet up in Eger which was super nice, and our fans actually showed us round the city. The Eger wine festival was on too which was cool to see.

Then we went across to Balaton to work with Balaton Sound

We never thought of ourselves as festival people, but VIP tickets changed our minds there, plus Balaton Sound is super cool. 

It was so cool to bump into so many fans at Balaton! And best of all we adopted this little German YouTuber called Elias from Elias Limitless

Actually Elias took what is probably my favourite photo of us from the entire year:

We are literally the grossest people ever. 

(I also want to say, I don't ever drink coke, especially not from a plastic bottle, apart from in this one photo here.... we'd been touring for weeks and I was knackered. Please don't disown me, Mum!) 

At Balaton Sound, we also slept in a kind of barn thing with a door that flew open in the night (great), and I had a semi fight with an Irish guy: Balaton Sound asked me to 'play fight' with this guy for the end of year round up video. They then said action, and I was expecting a play fight, so was shocked when he hit me semi hard. Then, I swear to God I don't remember thinking or anything, I just started beating into this guy with a blow up ice cream. The footage is hilarious, there's one point where he surrenders and I just keep going.  Lol don't hit me people please, I can't control myself. 

Anywayyy he was fine. 

We also took one of my other favourite photos of the year at Balaton:

These guys were Slovenian, and were not in the mood for me to interview them. I love how this looks like a bad porno.

After the craziness that was Balaton, we headed back to Budapest for one night, and stayed in the lushest hotel ever - the Corinthia. 

We also met another one of my online best friends - Henrik. Henrik was a super star and helped us fix our camera :O he is literally the nicest.

After Budapest, we took the train up to Tanbay's family near Bremen. It took like 12 hours. 

It was sooo lovely to be with Tanbay's Familie for a week, my favourite part was when Tanbay and his sister Sam were arguing about who was going to be the other sister (Shira Lee)'s manager in her model career. And Shira Lee was just sat with me like "I don't want to be a model". And Tanbay and Sam were just shhing her. It was the cutest thing ever.

August - Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, England/Germany

After Bremen, we jumped straight back on our Interrail passes and spent two nights in each of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo. 

Copenhagen was our favourite, partly because it's the most interesting of the three and partly because a fan recognised us AND THEY WEREN'T EVEN HUNGARIAN. 

We really want to go back and explore Scandinavia properly, but for now it was nice just to get a taster (even if we didn't see Alexander Scarsgrad). 

From Oslo, I flew to England and Tanbay flew to Germany!!! This was the first time we've been apart in four years (literally in four years we've barely spent an hour apart and definitely never a night). It was a. big. deal. 

But we had limited time so we did it to see more of our respective families.

For the first week I felt like I was missing a leg and called Tanbay all the time. Then I got over it and had the best time - it turns out that whilst my friends and family love Tanbay, they feel more comfortable having a heart-to-heart with me one-on-one for some reason, man I had some great heart-to-hearts! 

I hung out a bunch with my sister Emily, and even went to her house party and met her nice uni friends. 

I went down to Bristol and had the best time I can remember ever with best friends Flo and Charlotte. We stayed up until 4am acting like girls at a sleepover - Charlotte sang into my foot and omg it was the best. 

I went into Gloucester and met up with Amy and Beth who I haven't seen since high school (ish). It was so nice to reconnect. Amy is really into the no-plastic stuff and is my no-plastic guru, she's super well travelled so it's great to chat about that. Beth is a proper grown up and still as lovely as she was when she was 11. Ahhhhh. 

I also had the nicest time with my mum and John. It was my mum's birthday and we went and did a house sit in Stroud. My aunt and uncle came round for a meal and everything was so nice!

It was great to see my dad and to finally meet Jenny! Who is a great cook. 

We had a great evening hanging out with my baby sister. 

September - Budapest

Reunited with Budapest was one thing, but being reunited there with Tanbay after three weeks was an even better thing. We moved back into the apartment we'd stayed in last summer and got back to work - anddddd we started Hungarian lessons!

We started learning Hungarian with Zsuzsi - the best Hungarian teacher in Budapest. Within one lesson we learnt more with her than we'd learnt from six months 'teaching' ourselves. We quickly also learnt that I am a mucchhhh better school student than Tanbay.

Like this should be no surprise, Tanbay always hated school and left at 17. I always loved school, was pretty much always the teacher's pet (apart from during my 'rebel' phase), and I just love order and learning and homework.

Still, it was crazy to see this different side of each other - we are lucky we never went to school or uni together because we would have hated each other haha. 

I celebrated my birthday in Budapest and had the best birthday ever! We worked with a nice hotel, we went to my favourite restaurant, and in the evening we went out with a mixture of friends, fans and bloggers. Including Janet!!! Kata V, Kata T, andd Sandra:

Sandra quickly became my best Hungarian friend <3 she buys me beer and teaches me all the swear words. LOVE HER. 

Janet stayed in Budapest for a while and we went and did some sight seeing!! 

We went to a vegan protest in Budapest in September too with Kinga! 

I got really into my new blog at this point. Having spent a year being vegan, I finally got sick of all the dumb comments and put my foot down, and made this dramatic status:

Becoming vegan was a big decision, staying vegan was an adjustment (especially whilst travelling), I get it, but now I'm fully into it there is literally no excuse you can tell me that's valid for you to not be vegan. 

If I can do it travelling full-time, you can do it anywhere. If you want me to help you take steps to become vegan I am so totally open and will bend over backwards to help you. But if you're just looking for a discussion about whether veganism is right or not, or if you're looking for me to tell you it's okay to not be vegan, look somewhere else because I'm not interested. 

Like we can totally still be friends and everything, but let's definitely not go to a meat/dairy centric restaurant okay. And yes I do judge you for not being vegan. I know it's stupid, because I wasn't vegan in 2015, and all the reasons you're not vegan now were the reasons I wasn't vegan then, but like once you're woke you can't get unwoke yo. And I'm not going to lie to you and tell you I'm not disappointed in you. This is getting so personal lol, I hope the person I'm directing it to is reading it. Kisses. 

That negativity aside, a few people have now told me that they've become vegan through my gentle  encouragement (aka forcing), and that's like the biggest compliment I've ever received. That's pretty much what I want to do. So thank you. 

Okay, I've gone off track again... what else did we do in Budapest?

We had an awesome night out with Chilli and Scot!

Chilli is one of my best friends from Sixth Form, I hadn't seen her in years and years but it was soo good to catch up <3 and to meet Scot!

We also got filmed again for Hungarian TV

And one of the biggest Hungarian YouTubers - Pamkutya gave us a massive shout out:

October - Budapest

We loved Budapest so much, we stayed for another month (actually in the end we ending up staying for three)! 

In October, we met Timi, who took the nicest photos of us ever:

Timi is also the nicest, and went on a pita-bread-pocket adventure with me (lol don't ask). Timi is one of my best Hungarian friends and I love her. 

We also got recognised a bunch in Budapest - about twice a week which is a lot considering we never go out. Our favourite recognition was this one:

Sent to us on Instagram (lol)

In October we also met awesome Hungarian YouTubers Chill es Luu!

I think October was when I fell out with my sister, at the time it was horrible, but we've made up now  so it's fine, anddd because of the fall out my dad and I were able to fix an underlying issue that had been lurking between us which we didn't even realise was there until we sorted it. Again this is getting way too personal, but I'm assuming no one's going to read down until this point. Dear Dad, I love you, you're my rock. 

Okay back to the less serious stuff - I also started working with TopFoxx!

November - Jerusaelm, Tel Aviv, Nazareth, Petra, Budapest

In November I was starting to get the Traveller's Itch again, so we flew down to Tel Aviv to explore two new countries with Abraham Tours - Israel and Jordan.

A few people were anti us going to Israel. I'm a big believer in seeing it for myself + I also think that every government is shit, and if I didn't go to countries where I didn't like the government then I'd go to literally zero countries. Okay maybe Canada. But I wouldn't be able to go to Malaysia or the Philippines or Indonesia or the USA, or UAE, or the UK, or Germany or even Iceland (their government is actively encouraging the erasing of Down's Syndrome, which I don't like.)

Anyway, we went to see for ourselves and learnt a lot. Mainly that we still don't really get it. 

Politics aside, Israel is a beautiful, fascinating country with some awesome people in it. We met up with my second cousin and her husband - they are the nicest! And took us out for a delicious vegan meal. Israel is sooo good when it comes to vegan food, I get why some people call it the vegan capital of the world. 

We saw the sunrise at Masada, the spot where Jesus 'walked on water', a real live Kibbutz, Tel Aviv, floated in the Dead Sea and so much more!

We went overland from Jordan to Israel. Jordan is so completely different to Israel in pretty much every way, but I still liked it a lot. I liked it loads more than UAE, Malaysia and Turkey (other Muslim countries we've been to). I got a LOT of "will you marry me", "you're so beautiful", "are you looking for a husband" bla bla bla, but somehow it wasn't really in a rude way. I mean it was kind of rude, but it wasn't threatening. 

We went to Petra and it was even more incredible than we'd imagined. 

I mean aside from the fact it's gorgeous and old and incredible and bla bla, we were excited about the weather, why? Because it's less hot than it looks!! When we were told we'd be spending four hours at Petra, outside in the 35 degree celcius heat, I was like lol no thanks. 

But it's a dry heat there anddd the mountains shade you from the bad stuff. No sunstrokes or sunburns for us there. Yey. 

We also met Canadian YouTuber Noah from Polyphonic! He once again confirmed that Canadians are awesome. 

The border crossing from Jordan to Israel was less cool, we crossed through the West Bank and it was horrible, I'm not going to go into it now but yea, pretty much the worst crossing ever. 

We flew from Israel to Budapest and started getting ready for Christmas

December - Budapest

Firstly, we got back to Budapest at 1am on Sunday, and normally with AirBnB you can't check in until like 3pm. So massive thank you to our lovely landlord Robert for letting us check-in at 1am and massive thank you to our best friend and neighbour Joshua for giving us the key. 

I forgot to mention Joshua before - we are best friends, because he heard me having a tantrum through the wall, and so came over and asked me if I wanted to come round for a cup of tea. It's like the nicest thing that ever happened. 

Anyway, the first thing I did after getting back to Budapest was buy some boxing gloves and sign up to a kickboxing class!!

I've been kickboxing since I was 13, but haven't done it for the last four years because of travel. This month I went back and omg I love it so much I could die. Or rather other people will die. Haha not really.

I was worried after four years I'd have forgotten everything, luckily kickboxing is just like riding a bicycle. Some of my techniques were a bit rusty, but my flexibility is still on point (thanks yoga). 

Most awesome of all, I was super happy to see that my endurance and strength are five times better than they were back in the day when I was training full time. Why? Veganism. Like it has got to be because of being vegan. I haven't exercised that much in the past four years, and now after kickboxing, instead of feeling like I'm going to die, I feel super exhilarated and like I want to go for a jog.

Okay enough of the vegan preaching. What else did we do in December?

Best friend Chloë from high school came to visit! It was so much fun :D we saw the sights, went to the baths, went to the bars, andddd I got recognised twice in front of her which made me feel super cool. 

I'm so grateful that we've been friends for all these years, because I really like Chloë and enjoy telling her literally everything. 

I took Chloë back to the airport, waited around for four hours (lol) and surprised my mum at the airport! My mum stayed for a week and it was so nice to see her. We also went to the baths and the bars, saw the sights, went on two wine tours and I treated us to a Thai massage.  This was the first Thai massage I've had outside of Asia and I was a bit nervous it would be shit. IT WAS EXCELLENT. The only difference was the price.. but even that was cheaper than it would have been in the UK (in case you were wondering - Thailand: £5/hour, Budapest: £25/hour, UK: like £60/hour). 

The only bummer that happened, was I was cooking (drunk) and my laptop was balanced precariously on the microwave. It fell, hit a bottle of wine on its way down, hit the floor, and the bottle smashed on top of it :(

My mum left on the 19th and I took my laptop to the laptop guy. I was so glad to be in Hungary!! The laptop repair guy David super kindly saved my data for me anddd bought the laptop screen off me (everything else was fucked).

Then I went to get a new Macbook - they were cheaper in Hungary but the keyboard was Hungarian. I didn't care about that, but Tanbay asked about and they changed it to a British one free of charge!!!

So thank you Hungary times four times xx

It was shit that my laptop broke, but now I have an awesome new laptop and I'm really grateful for that. 

Tanbay and I had a super quiet Christmas, we watched all the Christmas films and ate the mince pies Chloë brought us over. I also made an avocado rose which I'm super proud of lol. 

New Year's is just about to happen, I went out yesterday with Sandra to a lesbian party. It was great, but I am super hungover today, so hopefully I won't get drunk tonight and will start 2018 right! 

Plans for 2018
2017 really was our favourite year ever, we made friends, found ourselves, had a bunch of adventures and loads more things I've probably already forgotten which is annoying.

2018 I want to stop eating sugar, salt and oil (just to further annoy everyone). 

We also want to limit our plastic intake. It's super hard to do this when travelling and whilst being vegan anddd trying to eat organic... like why are the organic bananas always in plastic? But I want to stop making excuses and start making solutions. So yea. 

I also want to limit our flying as much as possible. I hate flying and I hate how bad it is for the environment. 

We already have a flight booked from Budapest to the UK in the middle of January, so I can't say we'll be flight free... 

Also we'll defo be heading from London to Budapest at the beginning of March.. and I looked at going overland - it's £100+ each and takes three days. When I compare that to £25 each and 2.5 hours with Ryanair.... Tanbay will be making us fly for sure.

BUT AFTER THAT!!! Who knows. We'll be in Budapest for about three months (so March until June). We've got a house sit in Germany at the beginning of August and Raj's wedding!!! in Amsterdam at the end of August, so for now our plan is: Budapest until June, hopefully go and see a couple of Romanias/Ukraines/Bosnia and Herzegovnia/Polands, probably go back to Budapest, spend a few nights in Prague/Berlin or maybe longer (I'm tempted by a month in Berlin in the summer). Before the house sit in Germany in August. Whatever happens, I want it to be overland only!! I mean, let's see how long that lasts.. I'm also keeping an eye on flights to Morocco and Egypt so yea...

After Amsterdam I think we will most probably fly (lol sorry) to India before spending the end of the year in Thailand.

Anyway, the goal of next year is actually to travel a lot less than the last couple of years - I've enjoyed every minute of it but mann I'm tired!!!! We've loved semi-settling in Bangkok/Budapest, making a circle of dope friends, exercising right and eating properly, learning Hungarian - it seems like a cop out, but we want to be travelling way more sustainably, we want to start making a real difference in the world somehow, and we don't care what you think. xx 

Lol jokes, of course we care what you think, and we actually want to know what your plans are for next year and whether or not we can be a part of them :D So let us know!! 

If you read all the way to the bottom of this post (or even if you just scrolled straight down) THANK YOU!!!! I generally write these yearly round-ups for me, so I can remember what I did/how I felt/how annoying I was in that year. I'm kind of shocked, but touched that people want to read them, and I'm grateful, so let me know what I can do to make your day! 

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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