Our Highlights of 2015

January 18, 2016
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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


The beginning of the year we rang in the New Year at Lake Atitlan, ventured our way further east to visit the Mayan Ruins in Tikal and the adventure filled Lanquin.



After spending a month in Guatemala we made our way further south and stopped in El Salvador for a week before continuing to Nicaragua. For my dirty thirty (30th birthday) we decided had a one week beach trip in El Salvador– surfing, jumping off cliffs, and hitchhiking with the police!

February- Freeing turtles in Nicaragua



This month was full of adventure. We hiked a volcano that would erupt a few weeks later, we freed some turtles on the Pacific coast, and Mark survived dengue. We went over our visa by a day and had to pay a whole $3 USD as a penalty.

March- Walking into Costa Rica

Going in and out of the beach we ended our tour mainly birding seeing more trogons and some other birds.

After being on the go for nearly 9 months we did our first work exchange, volunteering at a bed and breakfast at the entrance to Costa Rica’s highest peak, Chirrpo Mountain. We got into birding, explored the countries beautiful coastline, ran into some of our favorite bloggers Kach and Jon, and searched for animals in one of the world’s most diverse biospheres.

Miguelito with his lovers and our one of our rides for the day

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.

Running full speed

A week later we met Sammie and Dhabi, three toed sloths, that were taken into their a sloth sanctuary by a Ursula and her husband.


Incredibly clear waters

We ended our Panama trip with a few days in the beautiful San Blas islands.

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.

We parked ourselves in the salsa capital of the world for 3 weeks and did a couple of work exchanges in Cali. During the day we worked and at night we danced.

July- Birding in Ecuador

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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


 great to be home in oak harbor with our French bulldog pepper. Love her and miss her. #frenchies #bulldog #travel #home #love #dog #pets #walk #oakharbor #wa #PNW

Long summer days, beautiful forest hikes, fresh Pacific Northwest seafood, baseball games, more sunsets, and then a separation for a few days. Mark ended up going to Austria for two days while I flew to the Philippines. For the first time in nearly 400 days we we’re separated, and on our anniversary. Mark didn’t end up getting his visa in Austria and came to the Philippines a few days later to get more documents for his visa.
At the end of the month, while waiting for our visa we ended up shooting to Puerto Galera for our sister’s birthday! Family travel dates!!!

September- Camille’s birth month backpacking through the Philippines

While we continued to wait for a work visa that would never come we ended up backpacking some of our own backyard. We stopped in Dumaguete City and thought about retiring there given the abundance of food, cheap prices, friendly people, and beautiful islands a short ferry away.

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.


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