It has been an incredible year.
My dreams of becoming a full-time travel blogger came true and I had some epic adventures. Although based out of Saskatchewan for most of the year, I still managed to travel through 9 countries on 3 continents, sharing the experiences with some very special people along the way. It was difficult to decide, but I’ve chosen my top 10 favourite experiences and moments in 2015.
1. Accepting a blogging position as the 2015 Saskatchewanderer
Early in January 2015 I found myself on board an airplane flying back to Saskatchewan winter from Africa to surprise all my family and friends. I had accepted a one-year position as the Government of Saskatchewan’s 2015 Saskatchewanderer – the official travel blogger and online personality for the province. Little did I know just how amazing my year would be! (If you’re curious to see more about my 2015 adventures in Saskatchewan, visit the website here.)
2. Flying with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds
An opportunity that is more than a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I flew with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in their CT-114 Tutor jets. During the 48 minute flight in the skies of Saskatchewan, my pilot Captain Steven Reed even let me fly the jet – the first airplane I’ve ever flown!
3. Rafting the Zambezi
There is no greater rush than crashing into class V rapids on the Zambezi river between Zambia and Zimbabwe. My adrenaline was pumping like never before during the 4 times I fell out of the raft. It pushed my comfort levels and limits and is an experience I won’t soon forget. (I’m in the front of the raft on the far side in the GIF).
4. Safari in the Serengeti (with my Mom)
In April I returned to Africa with a partner-in-crime at my side. My mom and I flew to Tanzania and Kenya to experience the turquoise waters of Zanzibar, the Seregenti and finished our trip off in Nairobi. On our five day safari we saw everything possible on our tour, including an up-close kill of a wildebeest by three lions. Most importantly though, the trip was extra special because I got to spend time with my mom in her dream destination of Africa. It’s not always about the places you see but the people you see those places with.
An item that’s been on my bucket list since I was a kid, I not only went dogsledding but I harnessed and drove a team of three dogs myself. What made it even more spectacular was rushing through the trees and over the snow-covered lakes in the Boreal forest of Northern Saskatchewan.
6. The Devil’s Pool, Zimbabwe
Before I left Africa back in January, I had the opportunity to sit at the edge of one of the world’s largest waterfalls and peer 106 metres down to the drop below. Only able to do the tour from August to January when the water levels are lower, I caught one of the final tickets before rainy season and gladly dished out $100 US for the opportunity. It was worth every penny!
I’m all about learning new skills and I was able to try snowkiting early on in February. After a fun lesson with Curtis Dorosh from Explore Sports in Regina, SK I was officially hooked and can’t wait to pursue both kitesurfing and snowkiting in the future.
Again, new adventure activities tend to be my favourite and I had a great day learning how to windsurf at Lake Diefenbaker in my home province. Next step is trying this somewhere tropical!
9. Safari in Botswana
Another safari experience made my top 10 list because of the amazing South African family who invited me along on their tour of Chobe National Park in Botswana. Spotting 4 of the big 5 as well as rare animals like the sable, the day spent with the Prinsloo family was one of my highlights during my time in Africa.
10. Disneyland, California
In September I took a four day holiday to California. Surprisingly, I have never really spent time in the US and took advantage of the cheap return airfare. After summiting Mount Baldy and hitting all the tourist hotspots in Los Angeles, the highlight was spending an entire day at Disneyland, even if I was by myself!