The year 2019 is now over and what an adventure it has been! We travelled across four continents and explored 40 new countries. Here is a short recap of what we’ve been up to on our journey.
The Year 2019 – The Big Recap
TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN JANUARY 2019
We rolled into 2019 in Ghana, Africa. What a place to celebrate the New Year. Accra has some cool bars and is super trendy. People are friendly here and we loved being able to use Uber to get around and check out some highlights of Accra.
Sao Tome and Principe – This is an island nation we knew so little about, yet it won us over instantly. Tropical, lush and green, we explored the island with a rental jeep and found a degustation menu inspired by the local produce. A food experience to remember!
Togo and Benin were explored on public transport (hello shared taxis). From waterfalls, voodoo culture, floating villages to some great local dishes – we enjoyed the diversity in these countries.
Nigeria – Our Nigerian visa turned out to be a huge challenge but we got there in the end. The border crossing was full of adventures and frustration. Lagos is a huge city and we might’ve spent more time trying to get to places than enjoying Lagos, but for a city of 21 million, there will be LOTS of traffic.
Cameroon – From Lagos, we flew into Cameroon (as it wasn’t safe to travel overland) and officially started our journey in the Central Africa region. More visas had to be done, but we also got to chill at the beach and eat some great seafood. Cameroon was a nice surprise.
We liked the city of Yaounde, very green, rainy and had some cool architecture. Douala was busy but we met some great people and Kribi beach definitely helped to recharge our batteries for the next leg of our travels.
TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN FEBRUARY 2019
This month was all about visiting countries in Central Africa! We’re talking about the countries that our mums would rather us not visit…the ones where our travel insurance ‘doesn’t apply’ and governments advise against visiting for any reason at all. However, we’re on a mission to visit every country, so they’re on our travel list to visit.
Central African Republic (CAR) – This was just a brief visit to the capital city, Bangui. This was not only because it’s a total red-zone, but to stay in a hotel with good security, we had to pay the most that we’ve ever paid for a hotel in our lifetime.
Chad – We couch surfed here in the capital, N’Djamena. Our hosts knew that we loved to eat local food, so they showed us the best parts of this city and took us for some fantastic food including fresh fish from the lake and grilled camel meat.
Equatorial Guinea was a weird little country – but we expected as much. The only Spanish speaking country in Africa – obtaining the visa to visit wasn’t an easy task. The capital felt kinda empty…not so many people around. When other travellers are planning how to visit every country in the world, this country always turns up as one of the more difficult nations to visit.
Gabon – A super green little country with tons of potential to be the next up and coming country in Africa. The only thing stopping them is the poor infrastructure. It’s very tough to get around the country, which makes independent travel a challenge.
Republic of Congo – This is the ‘safe’ Congo as people often refer to it and the capital of Brazzaville was cool. Good food, interesting architecture and it was nice to be able to explore the city on foot.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – We had plans to go trekking with mountain gorillas in DRC, but the National park closed because of trouble in that region of the country. We made it across the river from the Republic of Congo to the Democratic Rep of Congo (DRC) on a very interesting ferry ride.
Our arrival in Kinshasa, known as one of the most dangerous cities in the world was ok. Corruption and bribes are a way of life here and the streets of Kinshasa ain’t for the faint-hearted.
Angola – At this point, we’d been sticking ‘post-it’ notes into our passports to try and save pages for this visa. We almost didn’t make it through customs because we didn’t have the required three blank pages in our passports to qualify. With a little negotiation and our best manners, we eventually won over the official.
We stayed with a friend in Luanda, ate very well here and then flew back to Europe.
Suriname – Once again, we travelled overland, this time to the neighbouring country of Suriname. Suriname is a former colony of The Netherlands so people speak Dutch here and the capital city has very Dutch looking buildings. We were shown around by the lovely Lily, who certainly could be an ambassador for Suriname.
Trinidad & Tobago – It was time to hit the Caribbean again and we heard T&T had some amazing street food – hello doubles for lunch! The rain decided to pour down, but we went for an awesome hike to some waterfalls with our friend Clive.
Grenada was our final country in March. It has one of the nicest ports, with its colourful buildings and Azur waters. We joined a food tour of Grenada and it was wonderful. And let’s not forget the beaches – simply incredible.
We honestly considered working on a yacht or boats and sail our way across the Caribbean, but after meeting a girl who was stuck in Grenada doing the same for two months we decided to fly.
Our travels continued in the Caribbean. We loved exploring here! What’s not to love? Beaches, sun, surf and warm weather..a bunch of our favourite things.
St Vincent & the Grenadines – Mountains, lush green landscapes and colourful houses. Our highlight was taking the ferry to the small island of Bequia for the day. Bliss!
St Lucia – We rented a cool little apartment in St Lucia and enjoyed sunny days, home-cooked meals and lots of tropical fruit.
Dominica – We can’t wait to return to this slice of paradise! By far, our favourite island in the Caribbean. Maybe it’s the focus on eco-tourism, the tropical lush surroundings or the fact that this island doesn’t have the hordes of tourists here yet (but that won’t take long) and it felt very chilled.
We could easily have stayed much longer on this very affordable, gorgeous island.
St Kitts & Nevis – St Kitt’s was nice. Beach visits, hiking and relaxing was on the agenda here.
Antigua & Barbuda – We enjoyed Antigua in our little rented car. We packed a lot in the time we spent there. Our Airbnb host was fantastic and we enjoyed some good local food here too.
The Bahamas – White beaches, turquoise water and seafood. We especially enjoyed our Airbnb here, a room in a big old house, complete with rocking chairs and rum on the balcony in the evening.
Cayman Islands – We didn’t have to visit the Caymans, but a friend we hadn’t seen for many years invited us for a relaxing break. This is exactly what we did. Such a great week of swimming, snorkelling, eating out and enjoying time with good friends.
Oh, and Grand Caymans is up there with some of the best beaches in the world.
Jamaica – We saw so much in the time we had here! Our rented car took us everywhere..and we were happy to give it back in one piece…The Jamaicans are crazy drivers! We ate jerk chicken, enjoyed cold beers on the beach, visited Bob Marley’s home in Kingston and enjoyed the mellow nature of the Jamaican people.
TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN MAY 2019
May was a month of milestones for us! We visited our last few remaining countries in the Caribbean and we also got to finally visit Venezuela, our last country left to visit in the Americas.
Dominican Republic – What a beautiful island! This was also one of our favourite countries in the Caribbean. We loved the Spanish vibes in the capital city of Santo Domingo and the beaches and food here were perfect.
Haiti – There is something special about this country, which shares the same island (Hispaniola) with the Dominican Republic…yet these two countries are very different. Find out why in this post.
Once we arrived in Haiti, we felt like we had just been transported back to some countries we’d recently travelled to in West Africa. We spent most of our time in Cap Haitian and the huge fortress here was epic.
Venezuela – Our time in Venezuela was short, but did we pack a lot in. The country is currently unstable and we had travelled here with the help of a guide – you need to know where not to go. The capital city of Caracas blew us away. And even more so, the people of Venezuela.
We managed to see some highlights, but we were most interested to see and learn more about the country and life here. Venezuela has so much to offer for travellers and we certainly will be returning here.
Denmark and Sweden – We returned to Berlin to take a group of tourists on a month-long trip through Scandinavia and Northern Europe. We especially enjoyed returning to Copenhagen in Denmark and Stockholm in Sweden.
These two cities are beautiful and the food and coffee culture is outstanding.
Work, Save, Travel …. REPEAT! This is pretty much the mantra that we’ve both lived by for as long as we can remember. It’s simple…If you want to achieve anything in life, you gotta work for it. And we’re always working towards the opportunity to do more travel :)
Visiting every country in the world costs money..there’s no way around it.
Also – we’re not sponsored to travel. Everywhere you see us travel on this crazy adventure, we’ve paid our own way.
Anyway – Our point here is that in order to keep continuing to pay for this journey, we had to do a little work over the Summer. If you didn’t already know, Marty used to be a Trip Leader and Rach, a chef, for this travel company that run coach tours around Europe.
So…over June, July and August, this is what we did. Here are some highlights from us working in Europe, still one of our favourite continents in the world.
TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN SEPTEMBER 2019
Iceland – This wasn’t a new country to visit for us, but we returned for a relaxing week before heading back to the Middle East/Africa again.
Iceland has to be one of the most stunning places in the world, and we enjoyed it all from the comforts of our rented campervan. We especially loved having our bed in the back and cooking for ourselves along the way.
Syria – This was a week of learning, Syria simply blew our mind. Historical sights, food, culture and people. The country is slowly getting back on its feet and while we were uncertain about visiting at present, the reaction of the Syrian people put us at ease straight away.
When they saw visitors returning they were full of joy as in some way it was a sign of the normal life returning. We will definitely be back to spend more time here.
Comoros – This island nation is up there with some of the least visited countries in the world… We spent a few days here meeting friendly people, taking public buses around the island to check out some pretty beaches and enjoyed French-style cooking.
Yes, we’re still looking back on what was an amazing year of travel for us. Let’s recap our highlights from October 2019.
Mozambique – What a beautiful country! With a coastline stretching almost 2500km long, it’s no secret that we were excited to enjoy the beaches here. We spent most of our time in Tofo Beach, a sleepy little beach town with fantastic surf and gorgeous sunsets.
The food in Mozambique is something to talk about too, it’s really good. Then again, from our travels all over Africa, any country that was a former Portuguese colony has wonderful cuisine.
South Africa – This wasn’t a new country for us, but we were very keen to return. Any excuse to spend more time here before visiting the smaller nations of Eswatini and Lesotho.
We hired a car and explored Kruger National Park on a self-drive adventure – and we loved it! We also got to explore Johannesburg and Soweto.
Eswatini – This tiny country changed its name from Swaziland to Eswatini. We loved our time here and found the people to be very warm and friendly. The landscape is super green here.
Our visit to a cultural village was interesting and we loved seeing a local show of singing and traditional dancing. Eswatini also produces glassware from recycled materials at their superb glass-blowing factory.
Lesotho – A country that is completely landlocked by South Africa is knows as the Kingdom in the Sky, as the entire country sits above 1000 metres.
We missed out on seeing a waterfall due to the dry season but visited Thaba-Bosiu National Monument and the nearby cultural village to learn more about to Basotho people.
TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN NOVEMBER 2019
Uganda – We finally ticked off a major bucket-list experience in November – Trekking with mountains gorillas! Not only was this an awesome experience, but we also loved the natural beauty and people in Uganda too.
Burundi – If you guys were following our adventure, you’ll have noticed that getting our visa for Burundi (in Kigali) wasn’t as easy as we had expected. It took much longer than we had hoped, which in turn cut short our time to spend here before we had to move on.
Burundi was very green, the people were friendly and we had a nice couple of days here.
Pakistan – We did an excellent food tour in Karachi and saw much of the city via rickshaw. The amazing architecture and sights in Lahore were very cool, yet we had to spend more time indoors than we would have preferred due to terrible pollution here at the time of our visit.
We’d like to return to the Northern part of Pakistan in the future to see the mountains and incredible natural beauty. When the weather is warmer and we have more time to explore – it’s definitely on the cards.
TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN DECEMBER 2019
Our final month of 2019 and we got to visit 3 new countries. This means we have visited 40 new countries this year and have now 16 countries left to #visiteverycountry in the world. Bring on 2020.
Yemen – We spent a week exploring Socotra Island – one of the most unique places we’ve ever seen.
Our time was spent camping, hiking, swimming, eating fresh fish, drinking lots of Yemeni tea and immersing ourselves in the culture. The landscapes here are simply surreal.
South Sudan – It was just a brief visit to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. South Sudan is the newest country in the world and most foreigners that come and visit are either diplomats, UN workers or employees of many NGOs.
Slovakia – Christmas was fast approaching and we made the decision to fly back to Slovakia to spend it with Marty’s family. Best decision ever and so nice to enjoy home comforts and home-cooked meals to finish off the year.
There you go! As you can see, 2019 was an absolutely massive year of travel for us. We can’t wait to hit the road again to complete the final 16 countries (Pacific Islands coming up) and to reach our goal of visiting every country in the world.
A coffee lover, history junkie, former tour guide, and endless optimist. The mastermind of logistics and chief navigator for Very Hungry Nomads, two women on an adventure to visit EVERY country in the world. Marty is a social butterfly who describes her life as “just livin’ the dream".