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A Year of Travel: A Romantic Journey around the World

Mismatched Passports - Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel

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.

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Maldives

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - El Nido Philippines

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.

Himalayas, Nepal

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Ghorepani Poonhill Trek Himalayas Nepal

Bath, England

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.

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Bath England

Bled, Slovenia

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


Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Fairytale Europe Bled Slovenia

Venice, Italy

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Venice Italy

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Amalfi Coast Italy

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Amalfi Coast Italy Tourist

Santorini, Greece

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Santorini Greece

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Santorini Greece Couple

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Sahara Desert Morocco

Sintra, Portugal

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Sintra Portugal

Paris, France

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Paris France

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Queenstown New Zealand

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Queenstown New Zealand Skyline Gondola

Hawaii, USA

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Hanauma Bay Oahu Hawaii

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Mexico Yucatan Cenotes

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Semuc Champey Guatemala

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Semuc Champey Guatemala Pools

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


Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Big Corn Island Nicaragua

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - San Blas Islands Panama

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Kuna Yala San Blas Islands Panama

Barichara, 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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Barichara 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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Amazon Ecuador

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Amazon Ecuador Tour

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Laguna 69 Peru

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Laguna 69 Peru Hike

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

Romantic Journey around the World - Couple Travel - Machu Picchu Peru

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.

About the author

Gia Kristel Algie

Currently based in New Zealand, Gia grew up in Manila, lived in Singapore for three years and travelled the world for nearly two years. From watching sunsets to hiking mountains, she loves the outdoors. She enjoys living in big cities but takes pleasure staying in quaint, small towns. An aspiring photographer and budding writer, she is the voice behind Mismatched Passports, a travel blog dedicated to the journey around the world with her husband, Jon.


  • 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 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.

    • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

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