Do you dream to one day run away with the person you love – to someday see the world and experience its beauty together?
Our story started in Singapore, where I was a Civil Engineer while Jon, my New Zealander boyfriend, was an English teacher. From the first date, we had great chemistry and it was only a matter of time before we became a couple. During our dates, we’d make it a point to see as much as we could of Singapore. During the course of our relationship, we went to several trips together which included Phuket (Thailand), Koh Rong Samloem (Cambodia), Maldives and El Nido (Philippines). Travel was a shared passion and these short trips drew us closer to each other.
RELATED POST: El Nido, Palawan: Paradise in the Philippines
Jon had always been into backpacking and he had travelled to most of the countries in Southeast Asia before he even moved to Singapore. I always knew that after his teaching contract ended, he planned to travel long-term. However, I didn’t expect that he would eventually invite me to come along with him.
“If you had six months to travel, where would you go?” This was the question Jon asked which helped my decision making. Since I was a kid I always knew I wanted to travel the world. I just never knew how to do it. When I met Jon, my hopes to see the world became bigger and I began to believe that this dream was possible. How can I say no to travelling with the person I love?
It still took me six months to finally decide on travelling long-term with Jon. If it was all a matter of love I would have left everything straight away, but it wasn’t an easy decision. I had some worries if this kind of travelling was something that I would be able to do, considering my Filipino passport. Some people may think it’s just “quit your job and travel” but it’s not. I had to consider my family, career and finances. I had to prepare the visas for USA, New Zealand and Europe. I had to save a lot of money.
On September 29, 2014 I finally joined Jon and started our big trip around the world. After more than one year of our beautiful relationship in Singapore, we were finally off to show our love to the rest of the world. Here are some of the amazing places we visited in our first year of travelling around the world. I hope this first chapter of our story inspires you to take that leap and see the world.
A tough 4 day trek might not be a typically romantic thing to do, but seeing the sunrise over the massive peaks of the Himalayas is pretty special. It is a memorable beginning to our trip, a reminder that we can surpass difficulties together.
READ MORE: Ghorepani-Poonhill-Ghandruk Trek in Himalayas, Nepal
Jon and I spent the weekend with my extended family in Bristol and explored some of West England’s interesting sights like Stonehenge and Bath. A charming old city, Bath is the perfect place to wander around with its medieval architecture and of course, the historic bath houses.
The image of Lake Bled has been included in plenty of “real-life fairy tale” travel lists and it definitely lives up to its claim. The astonishing view fits perfectly for a romantic story and there’s no better way than share this scene with the one you love.
READ MORE: A Fairy tale in Europe: One Week in Slovenia
We instantly fell in love with the impressive scenery in Venice – with its stunning piazzas, magnificent buildings and the embrace of the water canals upon the whole city. No wonder it is considered one of the most romantic cities in Europe!
READ MORE: Romance in Italy: Venice will Make You Believe in True Love
Amalfi Coast, Italy
The colourful cliff-side towns along rocky mountains which beautifully drape down to the clear blue sea of the Amalfi coast is an astonishing sight we will never forget. Explore the many interesting towns in this area with your special someone.
READ MORE: Amalfi Coast: A Romantic Day Trip in Italy
Santorini is a dream destination for a lot of Filipinos and it was definitely one of the most romantic places we’ve been so far. From watching sunsets from stunning clifftop towns to visiting unique beaches, Santorini should definitely be on your bucket-list!
READ MORE: The Contrasting Colours of Santorini: A Dream Destination
Sahara Desert, Morocco
We rode our camels under the setting sun across the orange Erg Chebbi sand dunes of the Sahara desert in Morocco. The desert at sunset was a gorgeous scene fit for a postcard, and celebrating that special moment together was just perfect. It was a very unforgettable moment.
READ MORE: Camping in the Sahara Desert: A 3 Day Tour to the Erg Chebbi Dunes in Morocco
In Sintra, I got the chance to be royalty for a day. I spent my birthday like a princess in the gorgeous fairy tale-like castles and I couldn’t be happier! It’s only an hour train-ride away Lisbon, so make sure to add this to your Europe itinerary!
READ MORE: 5 Days in Portugal: Lisbon, Sintra and Porto
It wouldn’t be a romantic trip around the world around the world without a few days in Paris even if it was in the freezing depths of winter. From the Louvre to the Eiffel tower, Paris is famous for a reason – it’s a beautiful city.
READ MORE: A Weekend of Art and Romance in Paris
Queenstown, New Zealand
Only around 5-hours’ drive from Jon’s hometown, Queenstown is one of the world’s most beautiful towns. It’s famous for adventure sports like bungee-jumping, but you can also just take the time to relax and enjoy the views. Make sure to ride the gondola!
READ MORE: Skyline Gondola: The Best Way to See Queenstown in A Day
We did a 5-day visit to the lovely island of O’ahu, where we enjoyed great American food, snorkelled in Hanauma bay and wandered along the different beaches. We’ll definitely come back to Hawaii to see the other islands.
READ MORE: Backpacking in O’ahu: Snorkelling in Hanauma Bay
Cenotes in the Yucatan, Mexico
One of the highlights of our month-long trip to Mexico is swimming in some of the Yucatan peninsula’s cenotes (swimming holes). Swimming in crystal clear waters enclosed in cave-like stone formations was a truly unique experience.
READ MORE: Mexico’s Best Kept Secret: Amazing Cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula
Semuc Champey, Guatemala
A unique series of crystal clear water pools, Semuc Champey is on one of the best natural wonders we’ve seen in Central America. Also part of the tour is going inside a cave by candle-light. It was pretty exciting so you’ll surely enjoy the moment together.
READ MORE: Semuc Champey: A Not So Off the Beaten Track Destination in Guatemala
The Corn Islands, Nicaragua
Jon and I aren’t rich and we usually travel on a budget. We wanted to stay on a Caribbean island and we were lucky to find the Corn Islands, a pair of cheap, backpacker islands off the coast of Nicaragua. There are no vehicles on Little Corn Island, so we spent our time walking from beach to beach and dining in seafront restaurants. The best part? Our sea view hotel only costs $25 a night!
READ MORE: The Caribbean on a Budget: Little Corn Island
San Blas Islands, Panama
Our travels around Central America ended in the beautiful San Blas Islands. Jon and I went on a 4-day island to island boat trip from Panama to Colombia. It was an incredible experience with the stunning islands, the good people we have met and the adventurous journey by speed boat to another continent!
READ MORE: San Blas Islands: Island Hopping from Panama to Colombia
Barichara, our favourite town in Colombia, is a charming colonial town that will easily fit in a Spanish telenovela. There isn’t much to do in this sleepy old town but you will enjoy the tranquillity of the place. Make sure to also visit its small neighbouring town, Guane.
READ MORE: 12 Top Places to See in Colombia
The Amazon, Ecuador
Who doesn’t dream to see the Amazon? We stayed in the Cuyabeno Reserve, a portion of the Amazon in Ecuador and got the chance to see the immense beauty of the Amazon rainforest and the great variety of animals that live there. It’s such a memorable experience you’d want to share as a couple.
READ MORE: 4 Day Amazon Tour at the Cuyabeno Reserve, Ecuador
Laguna 69, Peru
Snow-capped mountains create a dreamy setting for the turquoise blue water of Laguna 69. We have never seen anything that beautiful! The trek is a bit challenging but you’ll find every gasp for air is worth it. As our guides say, it’s paradise.
READ MORE: Day Hike to Laguna 69, A Beautiful Glacial Lake in Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru
We celebrated our first year of travel in South America’s most famous archaeological site, Machu Picchu. There is nothing like spending the day exploring one of the wonders of the world. It just feels so much more special when you get to share a special place with the one you truly care about. Machu Picchu was our third Wonder of the World (after the Coliseum, Italy and Chichen Itza, Mexico). It was astounding!
READ MORE: Exploring the Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu
On September 30, 2015, Jon and I will celebrate our first year of travel around the world. Together, we have travelled to 31 countries in 5 continents. We are currently in Peru and will slowly make our way to Patagonia in Chile and Argentina. It has been a wonderful journey so far. Together we celebrated the happy moments and in difficult times, we held onto each other. We are grateful that we can experience these amazing places we’ve seen together.
There will be a time when you get the chance to live your dreams. Don’t miss that chance. We once dreamt of travelling around the world, and it is great that we finally got to realize that dream. I hope that you may be inspired to follow your dreams of travel no matter the limitations that seem to be in the way. Make time to do the things that make you happy and enjoy the special moments with the people you love.
Do you want to travel around the world? What place are you most excited to visit? Let us know.
Hi Gia! You have a very inspiring story to tell. Would love to hear more of how you could possibly afford to travel long term? I need some tips as I am planning to start my long-term travel on the 1st quarter of 2016. Cheers!
Thanks Beatrice! I worked as a civil engineer in Singapore and saved most of the money for travel from there. I had a separate travel fund even before I had plans for a long term trip. Save at least 50% of your salary a month then subtract expenses and the rest is float money to add to the 50% or to use for other stuff.
You guys are so great! To visit as many countries together! I am sure your love has strengthened during travel. I want to visit the exotic country this year. Want to create a trip map and go to Indonesia.
Hi Paul! Thanks for the compliment. Jon and I truly had a great time travelling together. The love has definitely strengthened!
Indonesia sounds good! Jon has been to a few places, you can check his blog jonistravelling.com for some tips on backpacking in Indonesia.
you guys covered a lot of ground in a year! I’m impressed. I only managed 3 countries in the same time, ha ha. You look as happy and in love as every. I dream of travelling with my special other one day 🙂
Thank you Crystal! We did what we could! Haha. There is no right way to travel in a year. I’m sure you had a blast in your 3 countries.
We really enjoyed the first year of travel. It definitely brought Jon and I closer. If you get the chance, I recommend travelling with your special someone. It’s a completely different way of travelling.
You are an inspiration. Wow.. I would like to read more of your travels. Happy 1 year traveling 🙂
Thank you Karla! I really appreciate it. I had a look at your blog recently. Are you based in Hong Kong? I’ve been twice, it’s a beautiful city. Jon and I are heading there after South America
Truly inspiring guys, we are currently saving up to head off and travel around the world together for as long as we possibly can and it is reading all about people just like yourselves that gave us that inspiration in the first place and the belief that we can do it too!
Thanks Nic! I’m sure you’ll get there soon! It’s a really fun experience! Let us know when you’re heading out and if you need any tips! Cheers!
You guys really been every where! I enjoy reading these kind of articles where couples travel together. Stay in love! <3
Thanks Marie Charie! Nearly! We did our best, there is so much more to see. It has been an amazing trip so far! Cheers!
What a fantastic journey! And you have seen so many beautiful places in only one year! Have you written a blog post or something similar about your complete travel itinerary, e.g. how many days you spent where? That would be a good inspiration!
Thanks Tatiana! I’ll do that post at the end of our trip. Cheers!
Gia and Jon hats off to your wonderful trip planning and sharing that info 👍🏾 Seems like we have the same passion me too an avid traveler just got back from a 14 country European trip. By the way your travel pictures were stunning what camera do you use. Happy traveling! King Tut
Thanks! We use a Canon DSLR and a GoPro for most of our photos.