My Travel Story So Far

You can think of this as running commentary of my life… I started this post as more of a reminder for myself (because we all know I have to catch up on a million posts – I’m getting there I promise!) but then I thought it could be a really cool guide for you guys. It’s slightly more entertaining than my basic “Where I’ve Been” Page which just lists the different destinations I’ve visited. I’ll add the links to this post as I go and always keep it updated. So, it might just be a little more fun ūüôā

1992 – 2010:

I was born in Durban, a ‘little’ sea-side city in South Africa.¬†

As a child, I was incredibly blessed with parents who took us travelling often. I spent not only one, but two birthdays at Disney World in Orlando, USA. We also travelled to London, Mexico and Mauritius, while travelling around South Africa as much as we could.

2010:

In the beginning of 2010, I moved to Cape Town at barely-eighteen to study Psychology at the University of Cape Town. But, being so homesick, I flew home (to Durban) every three weeks!! I know, the amount of money my Dad spent on flights for me..

In July, my Dad came home one Monday to¬†ask us if we’d all like to go to Phuket for a week, leaving that weekend. My Mom nearly fell off her chair, but my brother and jumped¬†at the opportunity.

2011:

In December, I went on my first ‘friends-only’ holiday to Mozambique. There were 12-14 people in a house we rented for a week and I’m not sure how we all made it out alive. From the photo below, you can tell it was absolutely¬†raucous. But this trip was one of my favourites and I am so glad I went.

I met my partner, Craig, one of the weekends I was back in Durban for my frequent, monthly home-visits. He was an intern at a hospital in Durban, even though he grew up in Cape Town, and we continued a long-distance relationship for a year until he returned to Cape Town.

2012:

In June, my family and I travelled to Italy for a Trafalgar Tour. We visited Rome, Venice, Sorento, Positano, Capri, Lake Como, Bellagio, Milan, Assisi, Florence, Sienna, San Gimignano, Pisa and Verona. We ended the Tour with a week in Tuscany.

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In July,¬†Craig surprised me with a week’s getaway to Mauritius – a common island getaway¬†for South Africans. It was a boozy, tan and chill kind of holiday.

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2013:

In September, my mom, myself and my brother returned to Thailand, but instead went to the other side of the island, to Koh Samui. On our flight there, we stayed over one night in Dubai, and a few nights in Bangkok.

Craig, on the other hand, went to Tomorrowland in Belgium (without me). And yes, I’m still jealous that I didn’t get to experience that with him.

2014:

In 2014, Craig and I had moved in together in an apartment in Cape Town, but had simultaneously started the process of moving to Canada.

In April, we visited Craig’s family vacation home in the Eastern Cape, Grovesnor (South Africa).

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At the end of that year in October, a week before my law exams, we went on a site-visit to Alberta, Canada, to see three potential towns we could move to. Read about some of the process here where I write about my experience about moving abroad.

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Craig and I¬†ended 2014 with a bang, going to England and France in November for a magical two week holiday. We spent a few days in the countryside area, the Cotswolds, with Craig’s uncle and aunt, before continuing onto Paris for ten days.

While in London, we managed to also get tickets to Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios! Butterbeer was a slight let down though..

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In 2014, we completely feel in love with Paris. We stayed at Hotel Secret de Paris and loved it. Highlights include a spontaneous day-trip to Reims to visit champagne houses, an afternoon tea at the George V Four Seasons and a night at Disneyland during the Christmas period Рand it was the best day ever! 

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2015:

In 2015, we traveled back to the Cotswolds (in England) for a week during my varsity break in my final year of law.

We also went on a mini-roadtrip to Knysna and Hermanus, both of which are coastal towns in the Western Cape, South Africa. But all I have to show for it, are to measly Instagram photos, so I guess we’ll have to go back!

Moving out of our apartment together, Craig and I booked a night in at the Taj in Cape Town.

To say goodbye to friends and family, we went on a whirlwind weekend visit to both Durban and Johannesburg, a week before Craig left for Canada.

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Craig arrived in Canada in September, while I remained in Cape Town to finish my law degree. I made him an “open when” book to make sure he knew we were all always thinking of him!

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I arrived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in November, two months after Craig had arrived.

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For our first Christmas in Canada, we booked two nights at the Rimrock Resort Hotel (check out my review) in Banff to see the magical mountains. We also got engaged that Christmas!

And spontaneously spent Boxing Day night in Canmore on the way home from Banff after a lunch date at Crazyweed with our friends got a little too wine-heavy. We also happened to stay at an interesting motel that night Рthe only one we could find last-minute during peak season.

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2016:

In April, we went back to South Africa for a chaotic two week holiday in which we celebrated Craig’s 30th, our engagement, and a best friend’s baby shower. We split this holiday between Durban and Cape Town in order to see all our friends and family, but came back exhausted. But in amongst it all, we did get to spend one night at the luxurious Oyster Box – and it has to be my favourite day of the whole trip!

In May, we bought our house, which put travel on the back burner for a while. While it’s mostly empty, we started furnishing some of the house. But I’m pretty much obsessed with home decor now. And if you’ve read my 30 before 30 list, you’ll see that I have high hopes for my decor talent ūüėČ

In June, we went to Calgary for a weekend getaway. We ate our weight in food and watched Shakespeare in the Park. I blogged about our foodie weekend here.

In August, we flew to Vancouver for 24 hours, to get our Schengen visas for our trip to Europe in September. It was such a rushed visit but¬†I’m actually amazed at how much we did. Check out the blog post¬†here.

In September, we went on our two week Eurotrip. The main event and main reason for us travelling to Europe was actually for our friend’s wedding in Potsdam, Germany. But we thought seeing as we were going in that direction, we might as well visit Paris and Amsterdam too. And so we did!

Here’s what we did in our¬†5 days in Paris.¬†

In October, we went to Calgary for a quick overnighter to get our American visas. The struggles of a South African. All these visa runs. One benefit was staying at the Fairmont Palliser.

In December, we took Craig’s mom to Banff for¬†the¬†weekend, and stayed at Juniper Hotel & Bistro.

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2017:

In 2017, I started the year with a new attitude, and an excitement to take on Edmonton as a tourist. I started a weekly series called #YEGweekly to find the best coffee shops, restaurants and sights in the city.

Another thing we did in January, which I had never done before, was visit the Ice Castles in Edmonton. I blogged about it here.

In February, we decided (spontaneously) to head off to Calgary for the night! Again, it was a foodie weekend.¬†Here’s what we did.

In March, we travelled to Winnipeg (Winter-peg), to visit family who were in Canada on business.

End of March, we spontaneously decided to book a quick holiday to Mexico, after finally receiving our Permanent Residency cards! It was amazing! After 7 months of not leaving the country (due to our travel ban waiting for immigration docs) the sunshine, beach and afternoon naps made it all worth it. Here’s a recap of our trip with Sunwing Vacations.

In April we did a lot. Understatement of the year. Check out the blog post round up on April here. 

Three days after¬†arriving back from Mexico, we jetted off to Los Angeles with our friends, Ryan & Teaan! We did SO much in 4 days: Rodeo Drive; Santa Monica Pier; Venice Beach; Universal Studios¬†(Especially, Harry Potter’s Wizarding World)¬†and just about every restaurant in Downtown LA that’s worth the calories.

You can find the¬†blog post on where we ate in Downtown LA, here. They¬†were some of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to.

We did two more quick visits in April: We drove to Calgary and back to fetch Oliver, our little kitten. And then we stayed in Jasper the next weekend for one night as Craig was taking part in the Jasper Sevens Rugby Tournament.

Keep checking back, I’ll be updating this often!

Enough about me now,

Leigh 

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