Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2015 Highlights

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Au Revoir, 2015! What a year it was, and man, did it whiz past us! (...or does it just feel that way for me because I'm getting older?) Excuse me for being a little sensitive, I celebrated a big birthday this year...

For the past couple of years, I've taken the time to look back at my highlights of each year. This year, for sure, did not disappoint. To refresh my memory, I looked through my Facebook and Instagram photos and I was overwhelmed by all the fantastic things I experienced. I'd love to share some of the high points of my year with you.

Our first wedding anniversary

On February 1st, The Husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. And although we are now nearing our second anniversary already, I still feel like a newlywed, and I'm really not sure if the honeymoon phase will ever fizzle out. I just love this man more and more every single day. 

This year, I also decided to change my last name, which was exciting, but also a pain in the butt when it came to paperwork. Still, I get a major kick out of being called Mrs. Ray.

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Our wedding day, February 1st 2014

Honeymoon in Bali

A year after our wedding, we finally went on our honeymoon. We chose Bali, which turned out to be absolutely stunning, and a place I still find myself daydreaming about. I blogged in detail about our trip, and you can read that post here. I'd love to go back one day, and  see even more of this paradise.

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Chasing waterfalls in Bali

Healthy family

If there's one thing that really frightens me, it's when a loved one isn't healthy. 2015 was a great year for my family, and I can't even explain to you how thankful I am that every single member of my family is now 100% healthy, and living their best life. 

I filled up my passport

I started traveling in 2008, and managed to fill up my passport with stamps from my travels to almost 30 countries. (Of course, being South African, I also had plenty of visas occupying quite a few pages). This year I got a new passport, and I can't wait to fill this one up as well.

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Another adventure awaits

Seeing more of Taiwan

I've lived in Taiwan now for a long time, and this year I really wanted to see more of the island. Even though there are still so many places I want to visit, I still managed to get around this year. The Husband and I went on a hike in an area called Wulai. It was so refreshing to get out of the city and be in nature. It was stunning! I also made a daytrip to Hsinchu, the city where I used to live when I first came to Taiwan, and got to spend some time with old friends. We also took the High Speed Train down to Kaohsiung, a city in the south of Taiwan, for a weekend and to attend a good friend's wedding. (Another highlight!) Other than that, I really enjoyed our hike up Elephant Mountain to watch the stunning sunset over Taipei City.

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Sunset over Taipei (Taken from Elephant Mountain)

ELLE Magazine feature

Posting travel, fashion, food and style pictures on Instagram has become one of my favorite hobbies, and I was over the moon when ELLE Magazine South Africa contacted me about featuring me on their website as their "INSTA Crush". What an honor, and such an exciting experience. You can find the link to my interview and feature here.

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Featured on ELLE Magazine South Africa

A big birthday

This year I celebrated 30 years of life on this beautiful Earth. So far, I really don't feel any different than 29. Reaching this milestone birthday has definitely made me think about my life so far, what I've achieved and what I still want to achieve in the future. The first 30 years of my life have been incredible, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Friends and family visits to Taiwan

Just like last year my brother, sister and friend (whom are all flight attendants for Emirates) have all been able to visit us here in Taipei multiple times. Their layovers fly by (awesome pun intended), but we make the most of it by spending quality time together, laughing, eating and catching up on each other's lives. I love their visits, and look forward to it so much! May there be many more in 2016.

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Catching up with my The Sister

Scandinavia and Russia cruise

After cruising the Mediterranean 3 years ago, The Husband and I have been itching to go on a cruise again. Together with two of our very good friends, we decided to go on a 2-week cruise of Scandinavia and Russia. It was an unforgettable experience! Once again, cruising with Princess Cruises was fantastic, and I still can't believe all the places that we got to see. During our cruise, we got to visit Denmark, Norway, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden. Each of these countries blew me away, and I'm so grateful that we were able to have this experience. You can read all about our cruise here.

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Sailing out of Copenhagen

Four days in Amsterdam

This Summer, I was finally able to cross Amsterdam off my bucket list. I've wanted to visit Holland for so long, as that's where my ancestors are from. We were so lucky to have perfect weather while we were there, so we got to experience everything that Amsterdam has to offer, and even got to spend two days with our friends from Germany who joined us there. You can read all about our time in Amsterdam and Europe here.

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Enjoying the scenery in Amsterdam

Exciting projects and collaborations

Lately, my blog has been taking a backseat to my Instagram. Not that I don't still enjoy blogging, but recently I've been enjoying the photography part more. Instagram has been a great platform for this. Sharing photos are fun, and I enjoy meeting like-minded and creative people from around the world. It has also offered a platform for me to collaborate with some great companies like The Fifth Watches, Byredo TW, Franco Florenzi, Sudio Sweden and many more. I'm so thankful for these companies for reaching out to me, and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store.

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From Russia, with love

I never thought I'd ever get to visit Russia. To me, it may as well be on another planet, and I have always been very curious about it. During our cruise, we got to spend two days in St. Petersburg. It was two loooong, busy days with a jampacked schedule, and we got to see so many interesting places. Learning about Russia's history by visiting the museums and palaces there was surreal. 

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Peterhof, Russia

Actually, this list can go on for ages. 2015 was an incredible year and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for us. We have many exciting trips lined up already, which will literally take us around the world, so it will surely make next year another one for the books.

Now, please share your biggest highlight of 2015 in the comments.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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