TwitterStumbleUponReddit

2014 will always be a year I remember. Not because of the amazing travel, although there certainly was lots of that, but mostly because it was the year that this blog was born. It may seem like a small addition to my life but it has been nothing short of transformational. Not only am I really proud of myself for starting something from scratch and growing it to what it is today but I can already see the impact this little site will have on my life. It is changing the way I travel, the way I experience new countries and new cities, and its opening up doors to amazing opportunities in the future. And for that, I will always be grateful to 2014. 

Besides just being proud of myself, I’m also incredibly grateful to every single one of you, who take the time out of your busy days to keep reading my stories and following my travels. Drink Tea and Travel wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for you! 

On the travel side, 2014 was not the most adventurous year of travel, but it was still one with plenty of trips and amazing experiences. I spent a total of 2 months away from “home” in Brisbane, visiting India, Brazil, and Canada, on top of numerous trips around Australia. So here is a recap of my 5 Best Travel Moments of 2014:

Ringing in the New Year in Goa, India

I have never been a fan of New Years Eve celebrations. In the past, they have always been a bit of a let down. Too much hype and rarely a great outcome. But ringing in the New Year at a massive beach party in Goa was incredible. We started off at a beach club in Anjuna, eventually moving onto the beach itself where the music was loud, the locals were friendly (almost too friendly at times) and the drinks kept flowing all night.

At midnight the sky erupted in a rainbow of colour, sparkling for much longer than the obligatory 10 mins. There is something special about fireworks, especially on New Years and this wasn’t an exception. Shortly after the fireworks were over we were surrounded by lanterns, lit up, and set off by the crowds around us. We joined in the fun lighting our own lantern and sending it off with great wishes for the New Year. We didn’t make it home until early hours in the morning and despite the painful day that followed, I knew that we started 2014 on the right foot! 

New Years celebrations in Goa, India

New Years celebrations in Goa, India. Photo Credit: Flickr CC Ale

Discovering the Love for Wine Regions in Australia

I have always been a fan of good wine and an even bigger fan of good cheese, so it’s not surprise that I absolutely loved exploring some of Australia’s wine regions in 2014. Our trip to Barossa Valley in South Australia and Yarra Valley in Victoria completely changed my perspective on wine travel. I discovered that visiting wine regions wasn’t just for the rich wine snobs, but something that can be just as easily enjoyed by backpackers and budget travelers.

With every winery visit I felt more and more comfortable, and more and more knowledgable. But it wasn’t just the winery visits that landed wine regions on the list of my best travel experience, it was the amazing local produce at places like Maggie Beers in Barossa and Innocent Bystander in Yarra Valley, the breathtaking views of the vineyards, the secluded cozy accommodation, and the feeling of complete bliss and disconnect from the outside word. 

Barossa Valley, South Australia

Barossa Valley, South Australia

Picnic Fare at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop, Barossa Valley

Picnic Fare at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, Barossa Valley

Cider at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop, Barossa Valley

Cider at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, Barossa Valley

In Yarra Valley, Victoria

In Yarra Valley, Victoria

Cellad Door entrance at Coldstream Hills Winery in Yarra Valley

Cellad Door entrance at Coldstream Hills Winery in Yarra Valley

Best Travel Moments of 2014: Admiring the views of Yarra Valley from Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery

Admiring the views of Yarra Valley from Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery

Exploring Queensland National Parks

If a few years ago, you’d told me that exploring National Parks of Australia was going to be on my list of favourite travel experiences of 2014, I would’ve definitely laughed in your face. I was never an avid outdoor adventurer, but this year seems to have changed that. Together with Max, I’ve climbed mountains, trekked through rainforests, spent many starry nights camping, and explored many remote and lesser known corners of Queensland’s hinterland. 

Oksana in Tambourine National Park. Queensland, Australia

Exploring in Tambourine National Park in Queensland, Australia

Camping on Stradbroke Island

We spent many nights camping in National Parks in this tent

Roaming through the rainforest in Maleny, Queensland, Australia

Roaming through the rainforest in Maleny, Queensland, Australia

Behind the Twin Falls in Springbrook National Park

Behind the Twin Falls in Springbrook National Park

Max and I at the top of Mt Warning in January 2014

Max and I at the top of Mt Warning in January 2014

Ferns growing wild along Tanglewood track, Noosa National Park

Ferns growing wild along Tanglewood track, Noosa National Park

Getting Engaged in Byron Bay

If you have been following the blog for a while, you will undoubtedly remember the post about my romantic sunset engagement in Byron Bay. Byron Bay’s beaches, coastal walks, and year round adventures make it one of my favourite places in all of Australia. But our trip to Byron Bay this past August made it THAT much more special! 

Beautiful clear waters in Byron Bay, Australia

Beautiful clear waters in Byron Bay, Australia

Surfers crowd the beach in Byron Bay, New South Wales

Surfers crowd the beach in Byron Bay, New South Wales

Sunset in Byron Bay. With sights like these, how could you not fall in love with Australia

Sunset in Byron Bay, Australia

Perfect weekend away in Byron Bay, August 2014.

Perfect weekend away in Byron Bay, August 2014

Visiting Brazil for the 2014 World Cup 

And of course, the award for the Best Travel Experience of 2014 goes to our trip to the Brazil World Cup. It was a combination of ticking off a huge bucket list item, an opportunity to witness my all time favourite football team take home a much deserved trophy, and an amazing introduction to South America and its culture that landed this trip a top spot on my 2014 travel experiences list. From the cobbled stones in Paraty and the laid back atmosphere on Ilha Grande to the incredible food and nightlife in Rio de Janeiro, there was so much to discover in Brazil and so much still left to see. I know for a fact that this won’t be my last time in this diverse country…

Ilha Grande, Brazil

Ilha Grande, Brazil

Max and I at the France vs Nigeria World Cup game in Brasilia, Brazil

Max and I at the France vs Nigeria World Cup game in Brasilia, Brazil

Bucket list trip: FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Supporting Germany on Copacabana Beach in Rio

FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Supporting Germany on Copacabana Beach in Rio

We traveled to the other side of the world to see the World Cup in Brazil!

We traveled to the other side of the world to see the World Cup in Brazil!

Capacabana Beach during World Cup 2014, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Copacabana Beach during World Cup 2014, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2014 has been a great year, but when it comes to travel it wasn’t always glamorous and amazing. Stay tuned for more! Tomorrow, I’ll be looking back at my Worst Travel Experiences of 2014.

But for now, I’d love to hear some of your best travel experience from 2014. 
Share some of your highlights in the comments section below. 

Enjoyed this post?