Considering it’s already mid January (seriously?? where does the time go?) we’re a little late on this post, but we really wanted to make sure we got it up. Traveling long term can be a whirlwind. Weeks can feel like days and a whole year can go by quickly. Jumping around to different countries can turn your memories into a big blur. That’s why it’s so important to reflect on your experiences. So here it is! Our favorite moments of 2013:
1. Bird Migration in San Miguel, Mexico
Hands down this was one of the coolest natural events we’ve ever seen in our lives. While visiting a friend in San Miguel de Allende we accompanied her and her mom to a huge meadow above the city. We had been told that the birds had changed their yearly migration pattern and were unexpectedly flying over San Miguel. We waited until just before sundown and suddenly thousands of bird flew into the sky, silhouetted against the fading light. They flew in clusters, weaving themselves in and out of our frame of vision like a perfectly timed dance. It was incredible.
2. Carnival in Veracruz, Mexico
I was our first night in Veracruz and we weren’t sure if we’d made the right choice to come all the way down from Mexico City. We spent the night sleeping on a cold tile floor with nothing but our clothes for cushion. Luckily, we braved the bad sleeping arrangement and stuck it out for Carnival. And it was AMAZING. Drinking, dancing, jumping on floats, partying with new friends until the early morning. Just awesome. An article about this is coming soon!
3. Lazy Beach Days in La Punta
What we wouldn’t give to go back to La Punta for a day and just lounge by the beach. Although we definitely took it for granted, we had it pretty good living in our epic beach house, just two dusty dirt blocks from the ocean.
4. Visiting the Zapatista Community, Oventic
While spending two months in San Cristobal we had the opportunity to learn all about the Zapatistas. This group has long fought the Mexican government for equal rights for indigenous people. Their fight continues, but for now they run their own autonomous governments and schools. We were lucky enough to be able to visit one of their communities to learn more about the movement and photograph their gorgeous murals.
5. Impromptu English Lessons With Local Kids
When we travel we always love to be able to give back to the communities we visit. Sometimes this happens through volunteering with organizations and sometimes it manifests itself more spontaneously. While in San Cristobal we met a group of kids who were eager to learn new English words. Whenever we ran into them in the street we became impromptu English teachers for the afternoon.
6. Semuc Champey
Jules has deemed this worthy of his top 13, even though (or maybe because?) I was visiting home at the time. Either way, this collection of pools surrounded by thick Guatemalan jungle is absolutely stunning.
7. Starting This Site!
Starting our site was definitely a huge highlight of 2013. We weren’t sure what to expect when we started putting up our writing for the world to see, but we couldn’t be happier with it. Although it’s been a lot of work, sharing our stories and photos with everyone has been so gratifying.
8. Nicaraguan Birthday Abroad
Spending a birthday abroad without your friends and family can be tough. Luckily Jules planned an awesome day for my 26th, surprising me with salsa lessons, then taking a tour of my favorite rum factory Flor de Caña. We wrapped it all up with a night of dancing with new hostel friends and a 4 am pool party. So, I can’t really complain.
9. Kicking it on the beach on Little Corn Island
If you don’t know how much we love the Corn Islands by now, well you can check it out here. There is nothing better than spending days lying in a hammock, drinking water fresh from a coconut and having the most incredible beach you’ve ever seen entirely to yourselves.
10. Caribbean island fishing with Elton
Over on Big Corn Island Jules spent his days fishing with local fisherman Elton. They caught Old Wife, Parrot Fish, Snapper and Jules even snagged a shark (that he “calmly” threw back). After a full day of fishing, they brought the fish back for us to fry upand wash down with cheap beer and rum.
11. Hitchhiking with the El Salvadorian gospel church
Easily one of the most random experiences of our trip was hitchhiking with an El Salvadorian gospel church. We were offered a ride with a very friendly local in what we thought was an empty school bus. When we hopped on board we were greeted with loud cheers and clapping. They all welcomed us into the bus with handshakes and hugs and even offered up their road trip snacks. We thought we had hit the hitchhike jackpot and didn’t think it could get any better, until they pulled out dozens of instruments. We spent the next few hours participating in nonstop sing-alongs and posing for group photos.
We can’t choose one particular memory from this country so we’re just going to have to say CUBA, all of it. The whole thing.Get excited for a lot more Cuba posts coming up!
13. The All Inclusive Lifestyle
What better way to wrap a 10 month backpacking trip, living like complete peasants, than an all inclusive resort in Cancun? Hey, we got a good deal on Groupon!