An Adventurous 2014: Top 5 Highlights of My Year

What a whirlwind of a year it has been for the Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding the World!

Beginning the year in South America, I spent the first few months of 2014 exploring one amazing continent from sea to summit. I returned home in April to catch up with family and friends and a bit of work for six warm and sunny summer months back in Canada, and then ventured out again on my own on what has been an incredible journey across Madagascar and continental Africa. Although the entire year has been amazing, there are definitely a few major highlights of things I have seen and done:

1. Completing my Dive Masters in the Galapagos Islands

Ashlyn Scuba Diving

A personal and professional goal of mine was achieved right at the beginning of the year as I completed my PADI Scuba Diving Dive Masters course in one of the best places in the world to dive: the Galapagos Islands. A magical set of islands off the coast of Ecuador set the stage for some of the best diving I’ve experienced. From the goofy looking Mola Mola, to dozens of hammerhead sharks, as well as the fun and playful puppies of the underwater world, sea lions, I was in awe at how amazing and diverse these volcanic islands are, both above and below the water.

2. Hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu

Mom and Dad Machu Picchu

Not only did I get to complete this amazing four day trek to the mysterious Inca ruins, but to make it even more special, I got to see the site with my parents who visited me for a few short weeks in Peru. Exploring one of the world’s most amazing feats of architectural and artistic design with the ones I love most was truly extraordinary.

3. Rosalita the Sloth


Sloth

Although I’m picking one specific animal I’ve interacted with along my travels, this actually includes the incredible array of animals and insects I’ve come across. I spent a glorious afternoon with the 8 month old sloth Rosalita, carrying her around the nature preserve in the Amazon while she grinned away at every rub of her head.

As a passionate animal lover, this year I’ve been able to pet baby lions, swim along with whale sharks, watch great white sharks from a cage, and observe a wild spotted baby bear along the Inca trail as well as the endangered black rhino in Swaziland. From African safaris to unexpected encounters, I’ve enjoyed interacting with and watching a wide variety of amazing and wonderful animals.

4. Madagascar


Madagascar

Madagascar officially hits top 3 in my favourite countries I’ve ever visited. It was such a highlight to spend a whole month exploring every corner of this unique and special island that it was an easy choice for my top five things I’ve experienced this year. From scuba diving in tropical waters to trekking through untouched national parks, and of course, the unparalleled friendliness of the locals, Madagascar is definitely a country I plan to return to!

5. The people I’ve met along the way, as well as those who have supported me from home.


Favourite People

I always say that it’s less about the places you see, and more about the people you see those places with, and this year has been no exception. I have met some of the most extraordinary and inspiring people on my travels. They have challenged me, made me think, and influenced the decisions I have made on my travels in positive and exciting ways. My trips wouldn’t be half as wonderful without them.

I also have to mention the incredible support team of family and friends I have at home who are always there to Skype me at a moments notice and welcome me back home with open arms. They make leaving home so difficult but so wonderful to return to.

Although this year seems hard to top, I know there will be some pretty spectacular things coming up for The Lost Girl’s Guide to discover and explore in 2015. I can’t wait to keep sharing it all with you guys!.

From mine to yours, wishing you only the best in 2015. Happy travels!

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