My life’s journey: where I’ve been through the years

My life's journey, where I've been through the years - Experiencing the Globe

It’s no secret that I want to go everywhere –that’s why my travel experiences bucket list was created– but since I believe it’s all about the journey, I thought I’d share with you where life has taken me so far… At the end of each year I’ll update this post, so you can easily follow how my wanderlust is being fed, and you can be part of this adventure called Experiencing the Globe : )

In a nutshell (so far…)

Travel experiences from my bucket list: 71/201
UN recognized and observer states: 50/195
Partially recognized states: 2/9
Dependent Territories and overseas regions: 2/48
Travelers’ Century Club (TCC): 58/329
Most Traveled People (MTP): 102/949

Before Experiencing the Globe…

I was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. During my early years, my parents took me mostly to the Lake District in the south of the country. As I grew up, the family trips expanded to other regions in Chile. My first international trip was to Bariloche in our neighbor Argentina, after annoying mom and dad enough to say yes to leave the country. Years later it was a road trip crossing the Andes to Mendoza, east to Buenos Aires and then north all the way up to Iguazu Falls in Brazil. We also visited the Paraguay, and boarded the longest bus ride of my life back to Santiago from Asunción, 36 hours! I don’t have words to express how grateful I am for my amazing parents that fed my developing wanderlust!

When I started Law School the family trips became scarce, since I was spending some of my summers volunteering and doing internships. But there were two fantastic trips: a fascinating few weeks on an archaeological tour of central and southern Mexico, and a cruise from Valparaíso to Buenos Aires, stopping in Ushuaia, the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas and Uruguay, and going around Cape Horn.

Before starting traveling internationally on my own I wanted to see every region in Chile, although I had a few visits to Argentina, Uruguay and Perú in between, and I went back to Brazil for a relaxing time in Salvador da Bahia with a friend from University. When every region of my country was ticked off, it was time for the Caribbean. I visited Colombia, Panama, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Honduras. Then I went back to Mexico. Visiting different beaches in the Caribbean opened my eyes to sustainability. I always had the drive to protect the environment and the wildlife, but seeing how tourism money was mostly going to big resorts while the local communities were struggling made me see that there was a lot to learn on being sustainable beyond caring about the environment.

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After working for years as a legal adviser on Human Rights I moved to London to get a master’s degree in International Relations. My first time living abroad, and my first time in Europe! I quickly started enjoying the advantages of low cost airlines, and jumping into every train my free time allowed me to catch. I explored several towns around England, Scotland and Wales, I had a few long weekend visits to the capitals of Hungary and France with friends, and I signed up for a surprise trip (I paid for it without knowing where it’ll be, the destination was revealed at the airport –so cool!) that took me to Gdańsk and Westerplatte in Poland.

Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest, Hungary - Experiencing the Globe
Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest, Hungary

When I ran out of friends that wanted to travel with me, I embarked on my first solo trip to Italy during the break for the holiday season. I spent 8 days discovering the treasures of Rome and the Vatican City, and I learnt that traveling alone was far away from being lonely, it was a great way to make new friends. I also learnt that slow traveling was amazing –I didn’t have to run through landmarks, I could really immerse on the culture and history, learn a few words of the language, and understand the place better. That trip defined the way I was going to be traveling from then on.

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On my first month break I combined study trips with leisure time and explored parts of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Switzerland, Belgium and The Netherlands. From Moscow I went to Kiev, I adventured into Chernobyl, visited the United Nations’ Peace Palace and several other international organization headquarters in Geneva, stopped in Brussels and Bruges on my way to visit the International Court of Justice and other Tribunals in The Hague, and added a few days at the end of the trip to see the tulip fields in Lisse.

On my second break I tackled Greece, Turkey and Morocco (my first trip to Africa!). I spent a week between Athens and Mykonos, then went to Istanbul where I got to witness Ramadan, and finally I flew to Marrakesh and visited Essaouira too.

After finishing my master’s classes I moved to The Hague to attend summer school at the Academy of International Law. During the weekends I explored different cities and towns around The Netherlands, even though Amsterdam was my chosen destination over and over. Then I moved to a small town close to Barcelona in Spain, where I spent most of my time writing my dissertation. During that period, I squeezed in a trip to the small micro nation of Andorra.

When that was done, I went backpacking without a plan and with a super tight budget. This is when I was introduced to Couchsurfing. I traveled around central Spain, where I visited Castrodeza –a tiny village next to Valladolid, the birthplace of my grandparents on my dad’s side, and lovely cities like Segovia, Toledo and, of course, Madrid. Then I flew to Croatia to see Dubrovnik, I quickly visited Montenegro and went back to Croatia to see some of the Adriatic islands and Split, where I met a man that would change my life. From then I crossed to Italy. After a couple of weeks exploring from Naples to Milan, I headed to France to spend my birthday with my heart sister in the Alps, in Chamonix. We had a lovely week hiking, marveling at the mighty mountains, and talking about anything and everything. Then it was time for my first visit to Germany for Oktoberfest in Munich, with a few days in Switzerland in between, where I crossed the country by train, from Geneva to Zurich. This was followed by a few days in the beautiful town of Salzburg in Austria and a return to Italy to wander around Venice.

I wasn’t sure where to go next, but that guy I met in Croatia was deep in my thoughts, and after a month of talking every day I decided it was worth to see if it could go somewhere, so we met in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, halfway between where we both were. Let’s say it went well. So well in fact that I went back to Croatia with him. After a few weeks of seeing more of the country and starting to fall for the guy, I decided I needed to hit the road again. I spent a few weeks around Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, especially in the capital cities of Sarajevo and Belgrade, and then I returned to Croatia. I spent another month with him, when he officially became my boyfriend, but I still had the southern Balkans to visit. So I headed to Montenegro and spent the better part of a month visiting the main sights of Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania.

Saint Aleksandar Nevski Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria - Experiencing the Globe
Saint Aleksandar Nevski Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria

After flying back to London to get my diploma I went to the south of France and the micro state of Monaco, returned to Spain, and then flew to the capital of Austria, Vienna, and went overland to Bratislava in Slovakia, Prague in the Czech Republic, and finished this leg of the trip visiting Dresden and Berlin in Germany. Prague was my grandma’s favorite city in the world, so I could not leave Europe without seeing it. Even though it was in the middle of winter and it was cold as hell, it did not disappoint. I now have a debt to myself to go back when there’s nicer weather to check whether it is, as she said, the most beautiful city in Europe.

After many many months of vagabonding around the Old Continent I went back home to Chile. My boyfriend went to visit several times, and we explore different regions of the country together, with mountains and wine being the main themes when choosing destinations. I stayed for two years, with a month vacation in between, when I headed back to Europe. I went back to Croatia (obviously), and we took a road trip through Slovenia, northern Italy and yet another micro nation, San Marino. I spent a bit of time in France before my return flight, because you can never have enough of Paris.

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On 2018 I moved back to Europe, this time to Split, Croatia –can you guess why? My intercontinental flight went to Paris, so I stayed for a week there, exploring the city beyond the touristy sights. From my new home I returned many times to our neighbors Bosnia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Hungary, and crossed the Adriatic to Italy. By the end of the year, Experiencing the Globe was born…

Year 2019

After welcoming the year in Split, I went on a trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro with my sister and nephew that came to visit us. Next trip was in February to visit my heart sister in Chamonix, in the French Alps, with a stopover in Italy’s wine country, both in the Veneto and the Piedmont regions, courtesy of my boyfriend. Then I embarked in a solo trip of from March to May through Iran (first time in Asia!) and the Caucasus region –one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had!

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I went from Split to Sarajevo, then flew to Istanbul to catch a plane to Tehran, the capital of Iran. After a few days there I explored as much of the country as I could overland. I visited Yazd, Kerman (plus an overnight in the Lut desert, and a day trip to Bam, Rayen castle and Mahan), the Persian Gulf islands of Hormuz and Qeshm, Shiraz (plus a day trip to Persepolis), Isfahan (plus an overnight in the Varzaneh desert), the capital of Irani Kurdistan: Sanandaj (plus a day trip to Palangan), and Tabriz (plus a day trip to Kandovan).

Then I crossed the border to Azerbaijan. I visited the capital city of Baku, and the small settlements and cities of Qobustan, Qabala, Durja, Ismailli, Lahic, Sheki, Kiş and Qakh. Then I headed to Georgia. I spent a few days on the wine region of Kakheti, another couple in the capital, Tbilisi, followed by a few trips around, including an overnight stay in Kazbegi. Then moved westwards to the Svaneti region –my favorite one in Georgia– and finally south to Borjomi and Vardzia. Next step was to cross to Armenia, where I used the capital city of Yerevan as a base to visit Sevan Lake, the Garni Temple, the Geghard Monastery and Khor Virap. Then I ventured into the breakaway territory of Artsakh / Nagorno Karabagh. I visited its capital, Stepanakert, and went back to Armenia to explore its southern corner in Goris, Tatev and Khondzoresk.

Then it was hiking in the Italian Dolomites with friends and boyfriend in June. The summer was split between Croatia and the Baltic countries. I spent two months visiting Helsinki in Finland, Saint Petersburg in Russia, and exploring Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. From the Estonian capital, Tallinn, I explored the Lahemaa National Park, then I headed to Saaremaa, where I spent several days enjoying the peace of Kuressare and sightseeing around the island. I stopped for a couple of days in Parnu before crossing (the non-existing border) to the Latvian capital of Riga, from where I visited the Guaja National Park, Salaspils, Jurmala, Kolka and Mazirbe. Afterwards I went to the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, from where I took a day trip to Trakai, then headed to Siauliai to visit the strangest of sights in the country, the Hill of Crosses, on my way to the Baltic Sea port of Klaipeda, from where I continued to Nida in the Curonian Spit.

After regaining energy for a few days between sand dunes and forests, I visited my third Russian destination, the Kaliningrad oblast, an exclave of the country in territory that use to belong to Germany. I continued to Poland, where I took an overnight train south to Krakow. I got heartbroken visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps, and then I healed my soul between the mountains of the Tatras National Park. Then it was off to Germany to visit friends in Coburg, and to The Netherlands to meet my boyfriend and board a cargo ship that took us around the North Sea.

Konigsberg Cathedral, Kaliningrad oblast, Russia

In October we came back home and spent the rest of the year in Split and around, enjoying being put, and writing about the fantastic trips I had through the year : )

Year 2020

Oh 2020, you horrible, horrible year. You couldn’t have made it any harder for us travelers!

The year started brilliantly meeting my niece in Zagreb in New Year’s Eve day for her first EuroTrip. We spent January and February road tripping around Croatia in winter, visiting the most famous sights of Italy (Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius), some of the capitals of Central Europe (Ljubljana, Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna) and finished her visit in Athens, Greece. I returned home overland, stopping in Meteora and revisiting Albania, just in time for the closure of the borders.

In March I was supposed to be exploring Sicily and climbing Mt Etna. I also had a trip through the -Stan countries, following the Silk Road, planned. I guess there’s no point saying that all that went to hell. Instead, from March on it was mostly sightseeing around my apartment, doing armchair travel, with a few little escapades to the mountains around us when the authorities allowed domestic travel.

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When the cases went down to almost zero, I revisited Dubrovnik (during summer and without crowds!) and discovered the amazing island of Lastovo, which I ended up visiting a few times. Then I dragged my boyfriend out of the couch and we took a couple of road trips, first to Rogoznica, Pag and Nin, and then to Vransko lake, Zadar and Paklenica National Park.

With autumn came a spike in the cases, which meant more staying in. After a few months of nothing, I decided to finish the year on a happy note. After a PCR test and 3 days of 4 different flights and endless time transiting at airports, I arrived in Chile! I surprised my mom for Christmas and finished the year among my lovely family <3

→ This is an ongoing journey, so I’ll continue adding to this post at the end of each year. Make sure to come back for updates : )

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By Coni from Experiencing the Globe

20 thoughts on “My life’s journey: where I’ve been through the years”

    1. Actually, I’m missing plenty! Scandinavia, Portugal, Belarus, Malta, Cyprus… But next will probably be somewhere in the Middle East or Central Asia, as was planned for 2020 🙂

  1. Hiya, I loved reading your post. Thanks for sharing! Can I ask you a question? How do you cope with solo traveling? I read you said you love it, but doesn’t it get lonely or scary? I’d like to try going somewhere on my own, but I’m not sure I’ll have much fun

    1. Charlie, first of all, don’t feel any pressure, solo traveling is not everyone’s cup of tea. With that said, if you want to try it, go somewhere friendly. I can’t recommend Italy more. As for loneliness, I think it depends on your mood. I’m a bit of an introvert, but I want to make new friends when I travel, so I make an effort to talk to strangers. Most of the time people are happy to talk to me too, so it’s not hard. Stay in hostels, or go to local hangouts, that makes it easier to start. As for it being scary, I don’t think it’s too different than being with someone. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t look lost, don’t be out alone in the dark… pretty much pay attention to the same concerns you’d have at home. Hope this helped, but don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions, or if you want to chat more 🙂

  2. Local tourism was the best part of traveling in 2020. We were forced to discover our own backyards, and everyone got surprised by how many amazing things we all have so close. I have to say I’m jealous of Dubrovnik without crowds, that was really a once in a lifetime opportunity. Here in the US the National Parks looked that way, and it was great. Hope 2021 brings back our freedom, so we can choose where we want to explore.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Olivia! We all tend to think we need an exotic destination to enjoy our travels, while our own backyard is full of treasures! I’m happy I got to be in Croatia during the pandemic, specially in between the waves, so I managed to safely squeeze in a few trips. Still, it’ll be great to know the pandemic is under control and life can be lived without fear and restrictions. Here’s hoping for a fantastic 2021 for us all!

  3. It’s so great to see you managed to find silver linings in 2020. I enjoyed reading about your travels, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what’s next. Maybe we’ll meet somewhere around the globe!

    1. We’ll see what 2021 brings, but I’m aiming at Asia. Fingers crossed it will happen! I’m updating my whereabouts in Instagram, so let’s connect over there to see if we can meet 🙂

  4. I started reading thinking that you’d be another person just counting countries, but it’s great to see how much time you give to explore each place you visit. I spend a few hours just jumping through your posts, and I loved your style. I subscribed and I’ll be looking forward to what comes next. Oh, and to hopefully meet you somewhere in the world!

    1. Awww! Thanks so much for your words, Tina! Hope many more adventures come soon, and to meet you somewhere in this crazy world we love to explore!

  5. Hey, your blog is very interesting and I love to follow every step of your adventures. I know 2020 won’t have many of those, but keep us posted on your plans for 2021!

    1. Thanks, Michael! Indeed 2020 has been a more homey year, but I wholeheartedly hope that 2021 will be full of adventures -and for sure I’ll keep writing about them!

  6. It’s really nice to read about your journey, but can you also share your future plans? It would be great to see if we can meet somewhere to grab a drink and share travel stories

    1. That’s a really good idea, Kristen! At the moment I don’t have any specific plans because 2020, but as soon as I have any I’ll share them here and in social media. Hope we get to grab that drink soon! 🙂

  7. Wow!!!! I am really amazed with your life story. Already loved you blog, but it’s cool to read a more in-depth post to get inspo to try to catch up with you

    1. That’s such a sweet comment! I share a lot of personal stuff here exactly with the purpose of inspire others to travel more, so it’s always heartwarming to see when someone gets inspired ❤️ Hope we meet somewhere around the world and we can add one more place to the list together!

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