Can you believe it’s the end of a decade!?
I still remember the 4th July 2014 like it was yesterday. We were only 19 and 21, and boarding a one way flight to set off to travel the world together indefinitely.
We had almost no money, so our irresponsible first year of travel was quite an interesting journey. To fund our second year of travels we volunteered around Europe in exchange for food and accommodation. In year three of travels we applied for Will’s permanent Australian visa but had to wait abroad for months, so spent this time travelling on a budget and living in Bali. Then during our fourth year on the road we finally moved back to Australia, got engaged, saved up for the next adventure and travelled around South East Asia for a few months.
Every July on our travel-versary we’ve written a round up post sharing all the places we travelled to in that year, including why we went to particular destinations and how we did it. Though since we’re no longer travelling full-time, we’ve decided to start sharing a summary of our adventures at the end of each calendar year instead.
This year I will share what we’ve been up to in the past year and a half after returning home from travelling South East Asia in July last year, and while planning our Dream Destination Wedding this year.
I really enjoy writing round up posts like these, because it’s so nice to look back on an overview of the whole journey every year. It’s like a diary, except public, so if you do read these posts I hope you find some inspiration to take with you on your own adventures…
1. Gold Coast, Australia
Coincidently we celebrated our fourth year travel-versary on a flight back to the Gold Coast, and it felt so right to be coming home with the intention to have a base for a while. We had just booked our dream wedding venue in Bali that was going ahead in 12 months time, and had to start earning money to pay for it.
I got offered my old part-time resort job back and a second job at a Tour Desk in a 5 Star Hotel, which I loved! Will got a full-time job at a car rental company and soon we’d settled in to a nice fully-furnished one bedroom apartment by the beach. Life was great, and we were embracing a work/travel balance.
2. Camping at Mount Warning
While having a base we still wanted to go on adventures during days off so we bought a tent and got into camping. Our birthdays are only two days apart so each year instead of presents we aways go away for a couple of nights to celebrate with an experience. We spend our birthdays on our first proper camping adventure at the bottom of Mount Warning.
We planned on climbing the mountain but the weather wasn’t in our favour so instead we enjoyed a fancy lunch at the famous Mavis’s Kitchen nearby, and went for a drive to Byron Bay to explore the stunning Crystal Castle. Book your Crystal Castle tickets here.
3. Great Barrier Reef Cruise
We’d hoped to go back to the UK for Christmas 2018, but since we were now paying for a destination wedding we had to be more realistic with our budget. We still wanted to have a ‘Christmas holiday’ together so we booked an 8 night all inclusive cruise to the Great Barrier Reef in December. It was amazing!
One of the highlights was the stop at Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays where we took a small plane ride over the Whitsunday Islands and the stunning Heart Reef. Book your Heart Reef Flight here.
We then cruised to Cairns where we had two days. On the first day we hired a car to drive up the scenic coast to Port Douglas and swam at Mossman’s Gorge in the Daintree National Park.
The second day was spent snorkelling and scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef on a full day boat tour. Book your Great Barrier Reef Boat Tour here.
4. Christmas 2018 at Lennox Head, NSW
In October I was offered a full-time opportunity to further my career in the Tourism & Travel industry so I took it. Working in an office meant I had Christmas off with Will so we treated ourselves to a drone, and spent the festive period camping at Lennox Head in New South Wales. Check out the drone footage from the trip below…
5. Sunshine Coast & Melbourne for Friend’s Wedding
I was honoured to be a bridesmaid for one my close friends Steph so in January 2019 I drove to the Sunshine Coast for her Bridal Kitchen Tea Party. Then in February both Will and I flew to Melbourne for her stunning Wedding Day in country Victoria. It was also a good opportunity to catch up with family in Melbourne.
6. Sandy’s Mum Came to Visit on the Gold Coast
My mum hadn’t been over to visit on the Gold Coast since my first month at uni in January 2013, so it was a long overdue tip. She stayed with us for a few days in March and we enjoyed the Gold Coast lifestyle including a day trip to Byron Bay.
7. Queensland Road Trip
Working full-time meant we had to take advantage of Public Holidays as much as possible to go on another trip. We both managed to get a week off over Easter and Anzac Day so we hired a 4-Wheel Drive, threw the tent in the boot and set off on a road trip up North.
We stayed with family on the Sunshine Coast, then continued on to Rainbow Beach, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and making it all the way up to the remote town of Seventeen Seventy, where we went 4WDriving through the National Parks.
It was such an adventure and really brought forth a dream we’ve had together for years, which is to have our own campervan.
8. Hens & Bucks Party
Even though not travel related, my Hen’s Party in May was definitely one of the highlights of the year. I never intended on having a Hen’s Party because we were having such a small wedding, but I’d made many new girlfriends at my new workplace who insisted we should have a party. So we hired a luxury sailing catamaran and had a nautical boat party, which was so much fun. Will also went out with a few friends that same evening for a Bucks Night. Without planning to we’d all met up in a bar afterwards and had the best time.
9. Getting Legally Married on the Gold Coast
A few days after our Hen’s & Bucks party, and a week before flying to Bali for our Bali Wedding, we got ‘legally married’ at a registry office on the Gold Coast with two witnesses present. (Long story short we had to do the legalities in Australia to be able to get married on a beach in Bali).
To celebrate we had lunch afterwards with a couple of family members in a fancy restaurant at Marina Mirage, followed by treating ourselves to a night at the 5 Star Sheraton Mirage Resort.
10. Family Holiday in Bali
The plan was to get married in the middle of a holiday, and we did just that. We spent the first week on a holiday with Will’s family who had travelled from the UK, exploring Seminyak, Canggu and Ubud.
11. Our Dream Destination Wedding
On 15th June 2019 we exchanged our personal vows on a gorgeous beach in Nusa Dua Bali, and officially became Mr. & Mrs. Reading. The actual Wedding Day was absolutely magical, better than we ever imagined in our wildest dreams. It was literally like a fairytale. See all our favourite Wedding Photos and read about all the details here.
12. Honeymoon in Uluwatu
We had so many exotic ideas for our honeymoon, though in the end we decided to keep it simple and stay on the island. The thought of having to travel didn’t seem too enticing as we wanted to eliminate any stress so that the transition would be easy. We booked a very great value holiday package through Luxury Escapes and stayed in the gorgeous 5 Star Raddison Blu Hotel in Uluwatu for a week.
We had planned to go on a few day trips in the area during this time but after such an intense week, all we felt like doing was relaxing in the hotel and it was the BEST.
13. Camping at Mount Warning (again)
In August we went on another weekend camping trip to Mount Warning, to the same campsite we’d really enjoyed staying at previously; Mount Warning Rainforest Park. This time we actually climbed Mount Warning, which is a lot harder than it looks but very rewarding to get to the top.
14. Buying Our Dream Campervan
It was hard to come back to reality after living out a dream in Bali, but we managed to settle in to married life and start thinking about our next big goal to work towards. We’d been talking about getting our own campervan ‘one day’ for almost 6 years. Literally since our first time travelling together in January 2014, when we rented a campervan to drive down the East Coast of Australia.
We’d decided on exactly the camper we wanted and asked our families to contribute money to our van goals as a wedding gift. We had some savings but nowhere near enough compared to what we thought we’d need to buy our dream van. We started doing some research without any intention to actually buy until mid 2020, but then we found a deal that was too hard to resist and we made an impulse purchase.
It was like a blank canvas on the inside and also needed some work done to it mechanically, but we fell in love and are so happy! We’ve name our 4WD Mitsubishi Delica Campervan ‘Delta,’ you can follow Delta’s journey from conversion to adventures around Australia on Instagram: @delta.the.delica.
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First things first we’ve ripped out 3 seats and part of the carpet so far. Leaving two seats in the back for now in case we have extra passengers before we’ve decided on the design. Taking it to a Delica specialist next week for a full mechanical service and to make sure some little things are in good nick 🛠 #vanlife #delica #campervanconversion #vanlifediaries #4x4van
15. Will’s Mum Came To Visit in Australia
In October, Will’s mum came over to Australia to stay with us for a couple of weeks. We took her to the Sunshine Coast for a few days where we stayed with family, and also treated her to an overnight road trip to Byron Bay for her 60th, where we stayed in a cute AirBnB cabin in the Hinterland. Get $70 off your AirBnB stay here.
16. First Overnight Van Trip to Mount Tamborine
After spending hours on our van conversion we’d surprisingly had majority of the build finished by November, so could go on an overnight van trip to test out the bed for the first time. We chose to camp at Mount Tamborine, as we’d never camped there before and enjoyed the little touristy town there, along with the nice themed restaurants in the area, before settling in to an evening campfire at Thunderbird Park.
In the past couple of months we’ve done so much to the van project, which I’ll be sharing in a blog post soon. As I write this we are just days away from having it completely finished and ready to set off on her first big road trip in 2020. We cannot wait!
If you’ve been following the journey, thank you so much for being here. We wish you a very Happy New Year and decade full of ADVENTURE…
Have you been to any of the places mentioned in this post? Leave us a comment below…
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