Our Around the World Trip on Instagram 2015 Edition 

The story is simple. We met, fell in love and decided to travel around the world. I can understand why some people prefer to travel solo, but I prefer to share a journey and all experiences with my boyfriend Michael. A photographer and a blogger traveling around the world in flashpacker style creating beautiful memories. Here are our personal highlights on Instagram from each month, including our time when we were preparing for our big trip. The pictures are not selected by likes, they are selected because we loved that specific experience. Enjoy! 

Angkor Wat, Cambodia © Melanie Klien www.mafambani.com

January

I took this picture just after New Years and it was still quite unreal that we would leave Austria to travel around as much as we want to. The view is very close from my house in my hometown Hohenems, Austria. The walk was peaceful and the light was very special that day. 

One of our many hikes we did before we left. We had to save a lot of money, so we did lots of outdoor activities which cost nothing. Compared to other countries, you don't need any guide to hike mountains where we live. In this picture, I am enjoying the view over foggy Vorarlberg. 

February 

In this picture, we only had 28 days left and it all became quite real. One afternoon I went for a walk with my mum and our dog. I tried to take it all in as much as possible, the sun, the snow, our conversation, knowing I would miss all of that once I would be gone. Look at that view! 

Before we planned our big trip, we would have been probably out in a bar with friends or gone to the movies or out for dinner. Just before we left we rather spent our nights at home or doing a walk. In this picture Michael went out to do some night shots to capture the milky way. 

March

We left Austria for our trip around the world on March 12th. Until that point, there was so much to organize. I had to say goodbye over and over again, to family, friends, co-workers, and everyone along the way. I knew, this time, would be different than any other time I left only for 6 months. My family's dog Shila knew, what was about to happen. She stayed close, I saw the sadness in her eyes.  I miss her every single day. 

We sold our stuff on flea markets, we put the rest into boxes, filled up my room at my mum's house, put the rest in Michael's parents house, we packed our bags and here we were, waiting at Munich airport. Somehow ready for the adventure, somehow with no plan what we were about to do. It was becoming real, we left Austria and we were about to travel for as long as we wanted to. Hello, adventure! 

April

Back in 2011, I was a volunteer in a village called Massaca, Mozambique. I taught English, computer skills, helped with homework, I played with the kids, I laughed, danced and had a good time with them. Mozambique will always stay in my heart. From that time on, I collected money to help the center (school fees, clothing, school material,etc.) It was a special moment coming back to the center and being able to help. Once again, thanks to each and every one of you who gave me toys, clothes or more importantly, money. The sister who is in charge of the center still  has some of the money. 

If you're in doubt: The money you donate will reach the center 100%. I worked there and I trust all sisters there. These kids have nothing, most of them lost their parents, some of their parents have AIDS, some kids have AIDS, they need medicine and a good treatment. If you want to help, please contact me (melanie@mafambani.com).

Definitely, a highlight of April was our trip to Kruger Park, South Africa. We stayed in Marloth Park where the animals roam around freely. It's breath-taking to watch lions, zebras, giraffes and elephants roaming around. It's one of the best things I have ever seen. 

After Kruger Park, we rented a car and drove along Garden route. I loved to drive around with no plans. It was a beautiful, scenic route. Although it was quite cold already in May, we enjoyed it a lot. We could  have stopped every ten minutes to take another great shot. The landscape is amazing. 

We had such great experiences in South Africa. We met many locals through Couchsurfing, went on a hike, drove around Cape Town with Nico, a fantastic photographer, and got invited to a classical Braii on Freedom's Day. One day before my birthday, we went wine tasting out of Cape Town to Constantia Glen where we met a friend of Michael who works there. The food and the wine are delicious. Plan to stay there a few hours. The view is stunning, the staff is lovely and you'll have a great time, promise! 

May

A few days layover in Seychelles included a trip to several beaches as well as a dive to discover the underwater world. It was the first time I saw a shark! If you have the possibility to dive in Seychelles, do so! 

Our next stop was Dubai for three days to meet up with friends. Here's a typical view if you look up to the sky. It's quite an unreal world. I still don't know what I should think about this city. 

Next was Abu Dhabi for almost a week where we applied for our Indian visa and stayed with an Austrian family through Couchsurfing. Of course, we went and saw the Grand Mosque (and fell in love with it). We spent several hours there and it was absolutely worth it. Our host Tom took us with him to the Yas Marina Circuit which you usually only see in TV during the Formula 1 races. We were surprised to hear that once a week you can get a bike for free and cycle around. Well, it was hot in the beginning. I am talking really, really hot. But, after a while, it cooled down and it was such a great experience to cycle along with the people of Abu Dhabi. 

June

May and beginning of June we had our big adventure ahead of us: INDIA. We met our Indian friend Anuj and some of his friends and had a great start in Mumbai. One of the big highlights for us was Hampi. It's difficult to describe this magical place where you can explore one temple after the other. Maybe you shouldn't do it in the hottest time of the year like we did. With many bottles of water and a Tuk Tuk driver, and sweaty clothes we still did it and we don't regret it at all. 

At the end of the trip, we went and saw Taj Mahal. We spent one month in India and to be honest, this country is really challenging. Even within a day, you can experience all kind of emotions. From absolute happiness to the saddest as one can be. There are so many people everywhere and the poverty we experienced is shocking. People sleep everywhere, at work, on the street, in their Tuk Tuks and there are beggars everywhere. Some days I could handle it while on others I couldn't and I just wanted to lock myself into our hotel room. On other days, we met the most amazing families who wanted to take pictures with us, who were polite and respectful. We definitely saw a lot of facets and it's not possible to describe India. I have mixed feeling about this country. It's been an incredible experience, for sure. But is the country incredible? Well, it all depends on your experience, on the people you meet and on the places you go. I can't say don't go there. I can't say it's dangerous. Also, I won't tell you should go there. It's up to you. If you go, you'll experience a world that I am sure doesn't exist anywhere else. If you're ready, go and you'll understand. This post might help you to prepare yourself. 

July

We spent a few weeks in Sri Lanka, mostly in Arugam Bay. Michael did lots of surfing, I also tried a few sessions, I wrote my book and started to focus more on yoga. One of the highlights was the train ride to Ella. Most scenic train ride EVER. 

I really enjoyed the beaches but what I loved about Sri Lanka was the diversity it offered. I enjoyed the hikes around Ella a lot. What I will always remember were the many dogs we met in Sri Lanka. Every day I met the same again at the beach, sat down with them, gave them some love and they were snuggling with me. This little fellow stayed with us for an entire hike and we named him Carlos and I would have loved to keep him. During our Sri Lanka time I bought lots and lots of dog food and fed so many street dogs. 

August 

On the 4th of August we were in the plane to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We spent a few days there in a lovely Airbnb apartment (*Sign up and receive an 18 € voucher)

We did what people do after they spent a long time on the island. We worked a bit, got haircuts, did some shopping and explored the city. 

After a stop in historical Malacca, we took a boat to Tioman island. Here got our Advanced Open Water certificate. For the first time we dived down to 30 meters, explored wrecks and spent a lot of time under the water. This was the sunset right in front of our little house. One of the reasons why I loved our stay on Tioman so much was that there was not much to do, which makes relaxing even easier. I loved our jungle hike to the other side of the island as well. 

September

Off to another adventure: BORNEO! Wow, where should I begin? We went on a river cruise along the Kinabatangan river to watch wildlife, we saw Orangutans and sun bears in  sanctuaries during our stay in Sepilok, and also hiked Mount Kinabalu. 

We made it. What an exhausting but rewarding hike up to the highest mountain of Malaysia. We were not able to hike to the top due to the earthquake in June. Still, it was worth it as we saw several different kinds of landscapes on the way up. It was quite a challenge to hike up the many stairs. It was our first time to be above 3,000 meters. 

October

At the end of September, we left for Thailand to meet up with friends again on Koh Samui. In between we visited Koh Phangan and Koh Tao where we celebrated Michael's birthday. We spent his birthday diving, then took a boat to Nang Yuan to relax at the beach and walked up to the top to see this view. 

On the 8th of October my flight took off to Bali. I spent the first week there on my own, Michael visited his friend in another part of Indonesia. My amazing yoga teacher journey started and I was so happy for the decision I took. I learned a lot about myself during this time, deepened my yoga practice and met amazing, inspiring and loving people. Especially the time after the course was great because I sticked with my meditation routine, I did lots of breathing techniques and yoga was a big part of my daily life. 

November

Michael and I decided quite quickly, that we would stay longer in Bali. He enjoyed the surf in Canggu, we both did yoga and had a good time. The happiest day in Bali was this one. During our ceremony we all said what we were grateful for and what we enjoyed the most. There were lots of tears, lots of realizations, we all got a bit closer to ourselves and lots of hugs on that day.

A romantic night spent together at Single Fin Bar. Good music, a great, deep conversation, amazing view over the ocean, watching the sky changing its color, that's all you need. It was pure magic. It was like watching a perfect scene in a movie but this time, it was us in the movie. 

December

The end of the year came faster than we thought. We went on a short trip to Cambodia where we saw Angkor and spent a few days in Siem Reap before we left to explore Battambang. 

Cambodia didn't make me feel happy at all. It's a poor country with a horrible past but still, the country itself is beautiful and so are its people. I met so many people with a lovely charm. I will never forget their laughters, their cute smiles and how open they are. I could connect with them so well. I can't wait to come back. 

After a few days in Bangkok, we are now in Chiang Mai where we also spent Christmas. I'll soon let you know what that looked like. Now, we're spending the days in a co-working space, getting some work done and exploring the mountains around Chiang Mai. After New Year's we'll head to Pai for a couple of days. 

What's next? 

After Pai, we're leaving Chiang Mai on the 8th and fly to Hong Kong! We're both really excited to see the city. On the 12th we're leaving Asia, can you believe it? You can guess where our next destination is or you'll find out in a few days. 

 

Follow us on Instagram: 

 

Michael (Nussbaumer Photography) 

See all of his pictures on his website. Prints are available now, just contact him. 

 

Melanie (Mafambani) 

 

Hope you enjoyed our trip throughout this year. Where did you travel this year? Are you also on Instagram? Leave me your name in the comments, I will follow you!