After a crazy end of the year deciding on whether or not to go to Austria or stay in the Philippines and follow our dream of building a small hotel. It’s been a solid start to 2016 and we found sometime to put together a year’s long of highlights of 2016. Hopefully your 2015 was amazing and hoping your 2016 will be even better!
January- From Guatemala to El Salvador
February- Freeing turtles in Nicaragua
March- Walking into Costa Rica
April- Renting an apartment in Panama’s coffee region
After crossing the border we decided to stop moving for a month and rented a 2 bedroom apartment in Boquete, Panama’s coffee region. We befriend a grandma and her son and learned about life in Panama, coffee, and improved our Spanish. In between visits to our neighbors garden we hiked the region and had dinners with a retired couple who introduced us to house-sitting.
May- Sloths, free-diving, and San Blas islands
Once we finally got out of the highlands of Panama we hit the Caribbean coast and took a free-diving course. Having a fear of open water, Camille tackled those fears by getting down to nearly 20 meters on a single breath.
June- Street art and salsa dancing in Colombia
We got into Colombia and explored the cities of Bogota, Medellin, and Cali. At this point we were looking to travel beyond the original plan of 365 days and thought we would get work in Bogota…. We didn’t. However, Mark got a job offer to work at an international school in Austria.
July- Birding in Ecuador
We spent about a month here before preparing to go to Peru. We hiked around crater lakes on volcanos in Otavalo, went birding in Mindo, toured the capital city of Quito, swung on the swings at the end of the world in Banos, jumped off a bridge, and went whale watching in Puerto Lopez before seeing blue boobies. The day of our 30 hour bus ride from Guanqyuil to Lima we got an email from the Austrian authorities in Peru saying we had to go to our home countries (USA and the Philippines) to get our Austrian visa. We forfeited our bus tickets, changed our flights bound for the states, and made our way back towards Quito.
August- USA, Europe and the Philippines
September- Camille’s birth month backpacking through the Philippines
During this time we went to Siquijor Island and expected beautiful beaches but got hit by Typhoon Jenny. She ruined our vacation dumping rain on us our entire time there but we’ve told ourselves we’ll be back one day!
One other highlight of our month was to meet some of our audience doing travel workshop. This was something we’ve never done and it was great to do some public speaking, share our journey, and empower other people to follow their dreams!
October- December- Getting our own slice of paradise in El Nido
In October we went back to El Nido to finalize a deal that thankfully didn’t go through. We found another property in a better location and at a better price. We hired a lawyer, went through the paperwork, waited for the due diligence to check out, and spent a significant amount of money to purchase dirt and vegetation.
In November we went to Manila and then back to El Nido and started to clear the land and realized some of the challenges we would have with the island life and construction on the island life. In December we hit pause after a week or so doing work then shot back to Manila for the holidays.