Happy Anniversary to Me

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I made it!

I’m alive! I didn’t die of loneliness, shark attack or fall off Machu Picchu!

A year ago I couldn’t fathom how far I would come in just one year. It’s been incredible.

It also occurred to me that most people have only been reading for the last six months. This is actually great because the site was awful the first six months, I’m lucky that I didn’t lose my own mother during some boring posts.

So thank you for not reading.

While I can’t rewrite history, I can retell my story by sharing the links and the real story along the way.

 

girl on hammock
I took this photo the day I arrived, not the best but shows my excitement.

Mexico

It was an eventful Day 1 with the airline losing my backpack and me realizing there wasn’t as much English in Cancun as I had expected.

The first ten days were incredibly tough and I flip-flopped between being lonely and excited. I was traveling at lightening speed and felt foolish for not knowing Spanish.

I ate street food because it was the easiest to order and I downloaded a bunch of Spanish podcasts started practicing on the buses.

Is Cancun the real Mexico

Where did I sleep last night?

A bowl of awesomeness: sopa de lima

How do I get to Chichen Itza before the tourists?

Must-try street food in the Yucatan

 

Caye Caulker, Belize

Belize

Truth is I came here to chase a boy but it was lame and so was my impression of the country. I fantasized about a Latin experience and everyone spoke English here so I left after a week.

Do not go to Belize City

Have you met Bryan?

 

Tikal, Guatemala

Guatemala

It’s unfair to travel here after Mexico. Mexican food is just too amazing and Guatemalan is just ‘meh’ so I followed my stomach and headed back to Mexico.

When you should get a tour guide

 

Oaxaca Mexico

Mexico – Again

I had such high hopes for Oaxaca and planned to stay a whopping week, but the food was so good I stayed ten days.

In hindsight I needed a month. I was so lonely here. There was no one in my hostel and my Spanish was so weak I could not connect with locals.

Lovely but lonely Oaxaca

Have you met Whatsherface

 

guatemala

Guatemala – Again

This was the first time I met up with a group of girls my age. It was fun and finally I was not alone. I slowly started to let people in and became more outgoing.

Only the lonely

Climbing Pacaya Volcano

The long road to Lanquin

Getting to nirvana before it’s gone

 

honduras

Honduras

One of my least favourite countries.

My ex came to visit and I was disappointed it was so dangerous and wished I could have shared the friendliness of Mexico or the beauty of Honduras.

He was impressed with how much Spanish I had picked up in seven weeks. I had no idea I had learned so much.

Reunited and it feels so good

How to choose a dive shop in Utila

Four things you must eat in Honduras

Photography burnout in Honduras

 

nicaragua

Nicaragua

Although the ex visiting was great it was two worlds colliding and I struggled on which one to be in.

I was slowly turning into an experienced traveler. I knew how the chicken buses worked and could get around on more Spanish.

I stayed with the Balmacedas while staying in Leon and they became my family.  Each night we watched Donde Esta Elisa? with them and was drawn to the stability.

I cried when I left Nicaragua.

The difference ten years makes

Should I have gone to a cock fight?

A tale of two cities: Granada vs. Leon

Five foods not to miss in Nicaragua

Getting robbed in San Juan del Sur

 

Panama

I had to rush through Panama as my family had booked tickets to visit me in Ecuador. I didn’t mind as the country seemed fulled of retirees.

When I look back I have fond memories and I’m worried foreigners will ruin it.

Will it rain in the rain forest during rainy season

When a coffee grower decides to go organic

Why I didn’t see the Panama Canal

 

Colombia

Colombia

After a leisurely sail from Panama to Colombia I arrived in Cartagena and took a series of buses over 72 hours to get to Ecuador. I would never do this again, especially as I learned later it is less expensive to fly.

 

equator

Ecuador

South America was a new beast and I had four days to get comfortable in Ecuador before my mother and sister arrived.

It broke my heart when my sister was robbed her first day.

I wanted them to have a great time and I had to withhold my own fear so I wouldn’t worry them. It was incredible to have them participate in the journey, they jumped in and had so much enthusiasm, even for the food in Ecuador they had never seen before.

Guinea pig also tastes like chicken

Welcome to the jungle

The Otavalo artisan market

Getting steamed in Banos

 

Colombia – Again

After the ex leaving in Honduras I knew to be prepared for the emotional low of my family leaving. I sought solace in Colombia, a country everyone raves about.

It didn’t work.

I hit my six month mark and was miserable. I wanted to go home.

Instead I wrote the 12 things I hate about travel. The comments and support from readers saved me. I realized I wasn’t alone and the blog took a dramatic shift. I started writing about how I felt instead of what I saw.

In Colombia I learned to dance and to love South America. I found new friends, Couchsurfed and the country started to feel like home.

The ethics of being robbed

Are the police always your friend

Why I broke my backpacking rule

How good is airport security in Colombia

 

Ecuador

Ecuador – Again

I planned to whiz through the country but arrived in Cuenca to the largest festival each year. I made amazing friends and ate so much pork.

Eleven authentic Ecuadorian eats

How to watch football like an Ecuadorian

 

Peru

Peru

I cried on the bus, wiping my tears and nose with my scarf and fell asleep from exhaustion. When I woke up I felt strong and independent.

Northern Peru was incredible but my heart was in Ecuador so I went back for Christmas.

My first love affair in Peru

How to make Peruvian ceviche

5 Reasons to visit Northern Peru

 

Ecuador
New Years Eve before we burned our effigies

Ecuador – The third time

I came back for Christmas and stayed a month. It felt like coming home and in the comfort and security of Cuenca I made the toughest decision of my life.

I only left because my visa expired.

Would you buy a $500 turkey. AKA Have you met Andres?

Parades are for suckers, unless you want to change the world

Yellow panties and effigies for New Year’s Eve

 

Girl with axe
With the Hare Krishnas proving I could do manual labour if I really wanted to.

Peru – Again

This time I didn’t cry. I learned to hold on to the memories and be grateful for the experience.

I hung out with the Hare Krishnasworked at a hostel finally realized I hated hiking and got pelted with green paint, likely because I said I hated the Irish.

I don’t know what kind of meat it is but I want to eat it

There’s no pouting at Machu Picchu

A smile saves a solo traveler

 

Chile

The landscape of Northern Chile has really touched me. Here I met Coca who showed me a side of Chile that most people don’t get to see and then I was able to spend my last few days in luxury with Tierra Atacama.

Embarrassed to be Canadian

Photography makes us crazy

The Chilean desert is fattening

When prosperity comes from passion not money

 

I’m excited what the new year has to bring.

It’s amazing that it has taken a year but I finally call myself a writer. Support from the traveling blogging community, emails from strangers, my financial advisor, and childhood friends keep me motivated to push on and do more.

Which is why to celebrate this year of change this week I am going to share the two most difficult posts I’ve ever written:

1) The year I walked away from love.

2) After a year of travel, am I happier?

Incredibly difficult to write but I know they will be rewarding to publish.

I hope you will stick with me for another year.

 

 

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi Ayngelina,

    Your post brought a huge smile to my face! I am so happy to have come across your blog and follow along with your journey. I’ve been inspired by the beautiful and honest photos you’ve taken of these countries. As another solo female traveller who also quit her job about a year ago, I feel connected to your reflections about this crazy and brave adventure you’re on.

    I look forward to your updates this upcoming year!

    – Lily

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Lily, it’s been really wonderful to ‘meet you’ online, I hope we finally end up in the same country soon.

  2. Adrienne @Shenventure says:

    Congrats! I’ve only been following along the last few months, but I’m glad you’re sharing your awesome journey with us. I’m so excited about my own year of adventures! I look forward to your posts…and always appreciate your openness and honesty.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I remember when I was there too reading about others, the anticipation stage is a great place to be so cherish it because then it all gets crazy πŸ™‚

  3. I love, love, LOVE this post! It’s great too look back on your adventures and see how far you’ve come. Has it really been a year?? Craziness. I can remember following your site almost from the beginning! Time sure flies.

    Here’s to a fantastic second year!

    (And I’m looking forward to those posts you mentioned…)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I thought it passed quickly until I started reviewing all the old posts and realized so much had happened. You’ll find the same thing when you hit 1 year.

  4. Woohoo well done to you!

    Been following since the beginning and still reading…. you’re too hard on yourself.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I remember our first conversation, and your first blog design πŸ˜‰

  5. Turkey's For Life says:

    Congratulations Ayngelina. Yet again, I’m shocked by someone announcing a 12 month anniversary (Norbert, most recently). We must have followed your blog for most of that time. Looking forward to the next 12 months on your blog.
    Julia

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much guys, I also saw you Digg’d me recently thanks for all your support.

  6. Congrats, Ayngelina! As everybody around here, can’t wait to read your adventures for next 12 months.

    Javi

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I wrote the next post with you, and others like you, in mind.

      1. Thanks, girl! You’re awesome πŸ™‚

  7. Camels & Chocolate says:

    YAY! Congrats for making it this far!

    I, too, was very “meh” about Honduras (Guatemala, too). Two countries I’ll be fine never going back to…though I’d love to see Panama and Nicaragua!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Sometimes I read other posts and think I was too harsh but it’s unlikely I’ll see Belize and Honduras again.

  8. Congratulations!
    I love this idea for a post. Might have to steal it for my up coming two years in two weeks. :0
    Time really does fly, doesn’t it…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s far from an original idea and two years definitely deserves it!

  9. Congrats! And thanks for making it easy for me to go back and make sure I haven’t missed anything. Great idea! Look forward to the next year’s adventures. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Katrina, it should be an eventful year!

  10. Happy anniversary, my favourite Bacon Lady! Wishing you many more years of great food and travel. Great to have met you briefly and I’m looking forward to seeing you again at TBEX. Enjoy the rest of your time in South America~!

  11. congrats on the 1 year for sure! Also, great way to list everything so people could go back and relive the trip!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s always funny because people think I’ve been in South America the whole year but I really loved Mexico and Central America.

  12. Happy Anniversary! What a year it’s been. Congratulations on making it through πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Muchisimas gracias Christine!

  13. Christine says:

    Felicidades! You have so much to be proud of, it’s been wonderful following you and I can’t wait to hear more!

  14. This was actually a really great post to read, because like you mentioned I am one of the readers who has only been ‘hanging around’ for about the last four months or so, so it was great to read about your journey prior to that. I really hope your next year is as rewarding as your first was.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have learned blogging is a growing experience and the beginning was definitely a period of growing pains.

  15. Great post, and congratulations, not only on “surviving” a year of travel, but on the changes it has wrought, and your recognizing of them. Looking forwarding to following you along wherever the road takes you next.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much I definitely feel like I went from surviving to thriving, I hope it continues.

  16. Happy anniversary, Ayngelina. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for you πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      After looking back at this year I wouldn’t dare to predict it!

  17. Christine says:

    Loving all the changes and updates you’ve made on the site–and the food photography, especially, of course! Happy anniversary–well done, lady!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I shudder when I think of that old site, people were so kind to stick it out, especially you. I looked back at some of my first comments and you were there, thanks so much Christine.

  18. Christina Raye says:

    Congratulations! What a year you’ve had! I’ve only been following for the last month as I am new to this online blogging community. Your blog was the very first to inspire me to put my travels in writing as well. More power to you!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Wow thanks so much Christina that means a lot to me. The community has been really wonderful and so supportive, I couldn’t imagine this trip without this blog.

  19. Natalie Medak says:

    Happy Anniversary!!! πŸ™‚

    Congrats on making it one year. I love reading your blog…it lets me live vicariously through you!! Hope you have an even better second year.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Natalie, if you’re around June 25th I’ll be back in Toronto. A friend is having a party for my birthday and would love to see you and Rob.

  20. Katherina says:

    Congrats on your one year anniversary! Checking back the older post, there’s so much difference. Now, I believe, being aloe is not something scary or sad anymore… and you’ve learned to be more open, too! Besides, I’m pretty sure your spanish is almost fluent after one year… which must feel really rewarding!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m surprised at how good my Spanish is. I still have a long way to go but I can now read websites without google translate.

  21. Congratulations! What a milestone. It’s amazing to read how far you’ve come in the last year, the ups, the downs, the good and the bad. Thanks for sharing the journey with us! πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Jillian, as I was writing it I couldn’t believe how much I had done.

  22. Justin Hamlin says:

    Happy Anniversary Ms. Ayngelina πŸ™‚ So far you have come, and yes, you have turned yourself into quite the writer.

    However, if you have learned one thing from this past year, I do hope it is never to talk bad about the Irish.

    We hear these things, it’s like a disturbance in the force. We will get you back. jus’sayin.

    πŸ™‚ Congrats again mija, so happy for you

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Most important lesson I learned this year. From now on I’ll just hate on the Scottish.

  23. First of all, congrats on your year, Ayngelina. I will certainly be following you in the next year to come and can’t wait to see what it brings for you.

    I hope I come across you on my own travels to South America next year (if you’re still about or have returned).

    You’ve certainly gone through a lot this past year. It’s been an incredible journey to read about. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ll be back in the fall so I really hope we cross paths here, it’s a wonderful place.

  24. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    You got me hooked, I ain’t going nowhere! πŸ˜‰

    Nos vemos prontitoooooooo!!!

    PS Congrats on one kick-ass year!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Andi, can’t wait to finally meet you. I’m staying in BsAs for the rest of my time here so we must do lunch.

      In preparation I’m hitting Falabella today. I can’t show up in grotty clothing.

  25. Ayngelina, congratulations on your first year on the road. I’m in complete awe of you and very glad I discovered you and your blog just in time. I look forward to you continuing to share your voice and experiences.

  26. Gillian @OneGiantStep says:

    Watching you through your journey reminds me, again, that it really is that…a journey. Ups and downs – they all count and all contribute to the experience. Congratulation on a year on the road…I can’t wait to see what you do next! Cheers!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Gillian, I remember being on the other side and reading about all your adventures, well actually I still am πŸ™‚

  27. Difficult posts are always the best! That means you’re taking a risk, being vulnerable, and really opening up. I look forward to reading them!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Two things I haven’t really written about yet but I felt that it was time.

  28. CONGRATULATIONS!!! WOO HOO! Well done on conquering all your fears and re-inventing yourself. You really are an inspirations for other to get out there and do the same. We are in Mexico and on our way down into South America. I will have to look at all your older posts to get some knowledge of all the places you have been and enjoyed. Good luck in the next year of successful blogging πŸ˜‰

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Really looking forward to meeting you guys, ask any questions you may have as I have lots of opinions!

  29. Pete | Hecktic Travels says:

    Congrats on one year Ayngelina. We are loving following you on your adventures and can’t wait for this upcoming year, it should be quite exciting. Gillian above said it best in that your journey reminds us of both the rewards and challenges in the experience of traveling. All the best going forward πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      thanks so much Pedro πŸ™‚ I hope you guys get down here to South America soon, I’ll be waiting!

  30. Beautiful post! I’ve clicked and read, and read and clicked, during the hour that I should have been focusing on homework before heading off to work. It was worth it! Happy anniversary, you’re truly an inspiration. I can’t wait to read your upcoming posts. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I hate to be such a distraction but thanks so much. I hope you like the upcoming posts, maybe I hyped them up too much, oh well too late now!

  31. Graham GlobalGrasshopper says:

    congrats! and what a crazy adventure-packed year you’ve had, phew! πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Tell me about it, I was exhausted writing the post!

  32. Skott and Shawna says:

    We will ABSOLUTELY continue to follow you for the next year.

    Congratulations on your incredible accomplishment! It is funny what you say about your blog being bad in the beginning….I was thinking the other day, “man I hope our posts get better than this.”

    Buy yourself a bottle of champagne on this fine anniversary and enjoy!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Hehe, they get much better, read my Mexico posts, painful!

  33. Awesome, awesome, awesome! Loved reading this post. What a world of adventures this last year has brought for you. I’m looking forward to reading another years worth of bacon magic.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much Matt, looking forward to when you set off as well.

  34. Happy first anniversary! I’ll be celebrating my sixth one soon πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Sixth? wow and you’ve been in really challenging places. I tip my hat to you.

  35. Jilianne @ Cotswolds Cottages says:

    Woooot! Can’t wait for your first post after the anniversary, way to go Ayngelina. I’m very happy for you. congrats! πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much Jilianne, I hope it’s a good one.

  36. Que chevere amigita!! Felicitaciones!!! Soooo glad I got a chance to meet you. I’m so happy that you’ve had such great experiences in your one year of travel. I look forward to meeting you again in the future. Meeting you marked a change in me as well. Here’s to bacon with sugar and peanut butter forever!! Viva Bacon! I send you a huge hug and lots of positive vibes for your continued journey.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I knew we’d be good friends the moment we met, and considering we both love South America I’m sure we’ll see each other again soon.

  37. jamie - cloud people adventures says:

    congrats on making it through a year and pushing on! i think we checked out your blog within the first six months. wasnt going to say anything! ha. rock on!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh no I’m fully aware how bad it was, just happy it’s gotten better.

  38. jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World says:

    Can’t believe it’s been a year and what great adventure you’ve had. It seems that I’ve got a lot to catch up.

    Thanks for all the advices you’ve given me on Twitter/comments and really hope we can meet somewhere in South America. But I guess you’re flying back to Canada soon, eh?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m heading to Canada in June for the Summer but will be back in the Fall, I hope you’re still here.

  39. Congrats!!!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks sista!

  40. i’m still getting to know you and your blog but this is a great introduction! i’ve been to most of the countries you’ve been to, it’ll be nice to see how our experiences differed (or not). happy anniversary!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Nice I’ll check your site out too, need some tips on Buenos Aires!

  41. Cathy Sweeney says:

    Happy Anniversary, Ayngelina! I’ve been enjoying the journey with you. Nice post with the links — I revisited “My first love affair in Peru”.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much Cathy, my first love affair was definitely a good one!

  42. Congrats, Ayngelina! Loving this roundup.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Randy, nice to see no one noticed I didn’t have a photo of myself for Peru and used a license plate instead πŸ™‚

  43. Erin in Costa Rica says:

    WOOHOO!! Happy One Year Ayngelina!!! You sure have come a long way and I’ve enjoyed the privilege of being able to read along through your journey. Cheers!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Erin, it’s bloggers like you that have made it so wonderful.

  44. Congrats! I was one of the early readers, and I really look forward to stick around and see what this second year brings.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well thank you for being so patient with me, I hope it’s been worth it!

  45. Congratulation Ayngelina
    You have really been around in South America. Can only imagine how much you have seen and how many great moments you must have had the last year. I really enjoy reading about your experiences in Latin America.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much Thomas, it didn’t feel like much until I started writing the post!

  46. Happy blogiversary! :o)

    Nice post! I love the pace of your travels. You go where you want, when you want. Perfect! Reading (and re-reading) some of your entries makes me want to hit the road again! Happy Spring!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Come visit me here in the Fall, it will be warming up when the Northern Hemisphere starts to get cold.

  47. Ayngelina,
    Congrats on the milestone!!! And what a great post to get caught up on all your travels πŸ™‚
    Be well,
    Phil

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Massive to write but also really satisfying.

  48. Debbie Beardsley says:

    I can tell through this post that you had a great year and you have grown a lot! It is indeed evident.

    Looking back at the impact a goal has had is very interesting. I am looking forward to doing the same when my blog turns 1!

    Congrats and am looking forward to the next adventure.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Looking back at a year was really eye opening, I hope it is for you as well.

  49. Congrats on one year of traveling! Enjoy reading all of your posts and look forward to the next country and place you visit!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Jeremy thanks for all your support this year, it’s been really wonderful.

  50. Matt | ExpertVagabond says:

    Congrats! Looking forward to another great year of stories & reflections from you. πŸ™‚

    Enjoyed reading your older posts too, and seeing the transition.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Matt, I guess proof that we all suck in the beginning.

  51. Wow!! You have quite a following.God bless you on the next leg of your journey.

  52. It is so refreshing to read your blog. I am often engaged in your stories. And while I am not yet traveling, I can still do so living vicariously through you. Perhaps if you end up back in Latin America, and we are there at the same time in the future, I would love to meet in person the woman I have “traveled” with for the last few months. In the meantime, I have so much to do before my year of travel and I imagine you have much to do after one, too. Good luck on your journey home. Congratulations on a remarkable year on the road!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m planning to come back on the fall so if you return I’ll be here and would love to meet.

  53. Wow! What an eventful year it’s been for you Ayngelina! Congratulations! Big Hugs!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much Lois, hopefully we’ll cross paths soon?

  54. Congrats on reaching the one year mark, Ayngelina! It seems like you’ve made every wonderful moment count….good for you!

  55. Globetrottergirls says:

    Stop saying that nobody read your blog in the first 6 months – your blog was one of the first travel blogs we read!! And we loved it, got us really excited for our travels in Mexico & Central America when we were still road tripping through the U.S. We’re looking forward to following another year – and to meeting you in June πŸ™‚ Happy travel anniversary! (Ours is coming up this Friday!)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You girls were too kind to be reading me back then and an early congratulations to yours on Friday!

  56. Congratulations Ayngelina! I’ve so enjoyed following your journey this past year. Your pictures and posts have made my life that much more interesting since I can’t travel that much.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Jeanette, one of the wonderful things about blogging has been ‘meeting’ great people like you!

  57. Congratulations Ayngelina! So happy for you that this has been such a wonderfully changeable and adventurous year (with both highs and lows)! I can’t wait to read about many more years ahead.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Akila, your blog was one of the first that inspired me and still does.

  58. Love this! I think your “12 Things I Hate About Travel” was one of your first posts I read. I definitely need to find some time to go back and catch up on the stuff before that! It’s great to read about yours ups and downs – especially that you present the downs as well since there always will be some downs.

    Your blog has definitely been an inspiration (in part because you’re about the same age as me!) as I plan my own long-term getaway. Keep it up! πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Katie thanks so much. One of the most revealing things about traveling was how many other women our age are doing similar things.

      In Central America the number of solo female travelers in their 30s far outweighed any solo male travelers, I met some really great people.

  59. What an excellent year! I’m glad you didn’t get attacked by a shark too. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Me too, although it would have made for an interesting blog post if I had survived.

  60. Seattle Dredge says:

    I’ll definitely be following you for another year! I’m only sad that it took me so long to find your blog now!

    Today is not the actual day 365 though, is it? I thought it was last week?? Either way–congrats again!

    I think I am going to slowly make my way through all of your old posts.. can’t wait to read everything! :]

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Shh don’t ruin the secret, my blog is technically a bit behind my actual travels to help me manage my time. But with all the amazing comments today it’s made me feel like I’m celebrating it all over again.

  61. 1 year again… Wow! Time flies by! Congratulations! It was fun being part of your journey!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Melvin, hereΒ΄s to surviving year two!

  62. I never thought that when you told me you wanted to travel for a year – by yourself – that it would result in such a life changing adventure for you…I was so worried about all that could go wrong that I never realized all the could go right.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I had no idea either, but as you know things always work out the way they should…

  63. Christine says:

    I fell in love with your blog from day 1! You have inspired me to get out there and not be afraid of going after what I really want, no matter how crazy others think I am. A year in Spain here I come. I can’t thank you enough….here’s to another wonderful year. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Christine thanks so much. YouΒ΄ll find on the road people donΒ΄t think you are so crazy.

      I would love a year in Spain, all the tapas….

  64. Big Boys Oven says:

    awesome! you did a fabulous thing in life, so happy for you my dear! hope to see you here in Asia ! πŸ™‚ Big Boys Oven

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh if, rather when, I go back to Asia, you will be the first person I hit up to go out and eat!

  65. Awesome post & congrats on your one year anniversary! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog & seeing you go through some heavy changes & decisions. I’m really looking forward to reading about what comes next!

  66. Lisa Bergren says:

    Happy blogiversary. Fantastic recap–proud of you for sticking with it!

  67. Congrats on a year of adventure – love the round up (I’m going to have to return when I’ve got more time!) Cheers from Canada! πŸ˜‰

  68. I’ve only been in on the party for just under 4 months, but what a stint it has been. I ALWAYS look forward to your take on things Ayngelina, and you are an inspiration to those of us looking to “nomadize” our lives. May you have many more blog birthdays on the road!! πŸ˜‰

    1. Same here…been at the tail end of the party but actually looking forward to your next two posts. Congratulations and can’t wait to read more of Bacon is Magic =)

  69. Wow a year already CONGRATS on that. That is a huge fucking awesome achievement. I love love love you & your blog. I am going to be sticking around a for a long time to come. Keep writing awesome post and keep being you. Cheers to another year of travel!!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Aww thanks Jaime, itΒ΄s been really nice to follow you as you start your adventures as well.

      I loved Central America but I think you may be enjoying it more than I did πŸ˜‰

  70. I’ve been reading your blog for since you first left. I think your a little hard on yourself, you’re older posts aren’t crappy, but you’ve certianly come a long way. Congratulations on reaching the one year milestone on your travels. Wishing you many more years of great travels to come.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You are far too kind, maybe they werenΒ΄t completely awful but I am happy that they have progressed. Thank you so much for sticking with me through it all, it means so much to me.

  71. Happy one year anniversary! It’s an amazing moment, isn’t it? And to think you could have been commuting to work five days a week for all that time. LOL!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Every tough day that I have I think back to that option, although you know 9-5 is really 8-7 or 8.

      Never again.

  72. The NVR Guys says:

    Congratulations on not being attacked by sharks or falling off of Machi Pichu! Somuch to be thankful for.

    Seriously, you should be proud of what you have created and the people you have reached. Here is to many more years of bacony goodness!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well you know Machu Picchu is pretty steep and IΒ΄m a lazy hiker.

      Thanks for all of your support this year itΒ΄s been really so kind.

  73. Congrats on one year – looking forward to following you throughout year two and beyond!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Hopefully I make it to a two year anniversary Β¨:)

  74. Congratulations Ayngelina!

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  75. Lorna - the roamantics says:

    i LOVE how you laid out this post ayngelina! incredible! congratulations on what is obviously such a huge year for personal & professional (this blog!) growth. you know i’m hooked, can’t wait to meet in person, and appreciate all the encouragement you’ve given directly and indirectly. can’t wait to read those 2 new posts and like it or not, i’m going back for the oldies i missed πŸ™‚ felicitaciones!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Lorna thank you so much, it was a bit of a beast to write but also wonderful to reflect on the year.

      And itΒ΄s easy to encourage someone as kind as you, now that you have free flights I fully expect you to come visit in 2012.

  76. Congrats mate, can’t believe its only been a year. So feel’s like you have been gone much much longer.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Really it felt like such a short time and then I wrote the post and thought – holy crow IΒ΄ve done a lot!

  77. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ says:

    In all seriousness (unlike 98% of my comments)… congrats. You’re a great writer with a great personality and you will continue to surround yourself with awesomeness and success. And I will leech off you (opps, sorry there’s the humor again, I just can’t control it). I was sincere for most of the comment right?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You made it through two sentences, thatΒ΄s progress and IΒ΄ll take it.

      1. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ says:

        I win.

        At life.

  78. Congrats on your 1-year!

  79. PS – thanks for the GREAT summary… I missed some posts and Im’ doing some serious catch up! But at least I have the premise. We miss you very much!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Tell Christine she’s working you too hard and you need at least an hour a week to read and comment on my blog.

  80. Cheryl Howard says:

    CONGRATS! It’s been wonderful reading about your journey, not to mention very inspiring.

    Can’t wait to read about your upcoming adventures. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Cheryl, I do hope you’re still around when I’m back in Toronto.

      1. Cheryl Howard says:

        I think I may miss you. πŸ™

        I’m leaving for Berlin on May 31.

        I hope we do get to meet somewhere on the road one day! Visit Europe sometime. πŸ˜‰

  81. Wow, what an incredible journey! What experiences and memories you made and still are making. Nobody can take that away from you, ever! Whishing you an other travellicious year and to me more fabulous posts to read.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Fida, I can’t imagine the next year being better than the last but we’ll see!

  82. Happy Anniversary! Great post. I love your writings, your honesty, and your adventurous spirit. I’m fairly new to your blog, so this is a great way to catch up on things I’ve missed. Wishing you the best of what life has to offer! I look forward to reading all about it. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Tia, you know I never thought of myself as adventurous but I guess leaving to travel actually does make me adventurous, ha.

      1. It does! πŸ™‚ I know plenty of people who want to travel but won’t actually take that step because it’s too “scary”. You’re like Indiana Jones!! hehe

  83. Wow, what an incredible year you’ve had. So nice to see the highlights in one post. I didn’t like Belize either, it’s the only country I haven’t liked in Central America. Congrats on your success!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If I had gone on a week long holiday it probably would have been great in the way that a one-week all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic is great, but you wouldn’t want more time there either.

  84. Felicitaciones!

    One year of travel… I can’t start to imagine it, but keep on going, I love to read about your adventures. You are inspiring!

    I’m curious about you chasing a boy in Belize haha

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Eugenie I have to keep some thing for my diary! But seriously, I learned early on don’t chase boys to foreign countries, or anywhere really.

  85. Your blog has been such a great recent discovery for me – I really enjoyed this overview and can’t wait to see what you have in store!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Mara, hopefully it continues to improve.

  86. Congratulations and happy anniversary! My, how much you’ve experienced. Love all the photos of you along the way, showing various emotion in your face. Can’t wait to read those two upcoming posts. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Except for Peru, I went 3 weeks without a single photo!

  87. Hey now! I was there during the first 6 months and I think you need to give yourself a little more credit in regards to writing (even though I look back at my first 6 and cringe)!

    I am so glad to be following you on your life changing adventure. Hopefully we will run into each other some time!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh we are definitely meeting up when you hit South America, I’ll still be here.

  88. Congrats Ayngelina!!! Love scrolling through the amazing pics from over the year! Looking forward to what is to come πŸ˜‰

  89. Nomadic Chick says:

    Congrats, honey! I remember when you first started out the blog, not sure where it would take you.

    You’ve had an amazing, roller coaster ride. I look forward to more!

    Cheers to solo women. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      what an understatement, who would have thought we’d be where we are today

  90. Remonty Ε‚azienek says:

    I just stumbled your page. Beautiful pictures. I wish one day visit South America. Thank you for sharing these pictures.

  91. Congrats on one year!!! Amazing photos for an amazing year. πŸ™‚ Good luck with you travels and keep blogging! Love reading it!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much Nicole.

  92. The Nomadic Pinoy says:

    What a year of travel indeed! You must have shed tears of joy going through your posts, reliving again each moment and then realizing there’s more to come. Here’s to another year! Congratulations!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So much more to come, hopefully more food, less being robbed!

  93. Craig Makepeace says:

    Well done on the one year of travel and writing. I believe life is all about creating great memories, and obviously you have so far. Did you celebrate with a nice bottle of Chilean wine or something?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ve been having nice bottles of Chilean wine every day, need to cut back on that habit!

      1. Craig Makepeace says:

        Sounds good. Personally, I would find other ways to save money πŸ™‚

        Keep up the great work…

  94. Bluegreen Kirk says:

    I am so happy and jealous at the same time. You have been more places and seen more in one year than I have in almost 20 years. I need to step it up this year.

  95. Congratulations, Ayngelina! I can’t believe it’s only been a year–feels like you’ve been doing this forever. You certainly have managed to squeeze a lot of experiences in over one year. Makes me feel like a slacker.

  96. Loved this post! So much excitement and adventure in one year πŸ™‚

  97. Happy Anniversary to you!! Many of your posts have been full of great information as I am on the Colombia/Ecuador path right now! So proud of your year on the road!

  98. Trans-Americas Journey says:

    To a great year of living well documented on this blog. Two fairly fabulous achievements. We will keep following you hear and we hope The Bacon and our Trans-Americas Journey intersect in Latin America at some point.

  99. Happy one year and to many many more!! πŸ™‚

  100. Roy | cruisesurfingz says:

    Happy anniversary AB! Interesting to see how you’ve developed over the year.

  101. I just discovered your blog and can’t wait to read all your posts. You’re inspiring! I recently quit my job and am seriously considering taking a trip similar to this one. Though I’d work my way north from Chile…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I hate to say that some countries are better than others but do check out Northern Chile and I LOVED Ecuador and Colombia is amazing. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me.

  102. joshywashington says:

    I am so glad I found your blog Ayngelina. Happy 1 year! kinda crazy huh? Everything that can happen in a year, all the miles you can covered, meet you meet…Today I rise a glass to you my friend. I hope the next year of travels is more inspiring and life affirming than the last!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Aww thanks Josh, looking forward to meeting you in June!

  103. Yay! Congrats! Happy 1 year and I loved your recap!

  104. I really enjoyed reading this and getting a re-cap on your amazing year! I started reading when you were heading to Colombia…seems like yesterday!

    I think my favorite posts have been when you’ve talked about your feelings, when you’ve opened up.

    And, strangely, the one about the $500 turkey…that one has always stayed with me!

    Thanks for sharing your story. You inspire so many people.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It does seem like yesterday, that was when I hit my 6 month wall, things got much easier afterwards.

      The $500 turkey is probably one of my most important posts, when I started to realize the fine line of haggling.

  105. As a new reader to your blog I wasn’t sure where to start. Reading every post would take ages to get through, so this review of your year was the perfect way for me to catch up with your travels thus far. Wishing you all the best in your future adventures, wherever they may take you!

    Laura

  106. Ella | The Office Escape says:

    I wish I had known this blog from the start. It should’ve been awesome following your daily adventures (even the boring ones). Your blog just inspired me to do the same thing although, its going to be more difficult for me since I already have a family with 2 kids. Although my husband doesnt have to worry about work since we’re both virtual assistants. It would be great to have kids experience the same thing like you did, different folks, different strokes. Congratulations on your first year. Looking forward to read more of your adventures

  107. DTravelsRound says:

    I love this post! I am so happy for your one-year mark. It isn’t always easy, but it is always an experience. Thank you for continuing to share your stories!!

  108. Hey, congratulations for your first traveling anniversary! I hope the second year will be as eventful as the first one πŸ™‚

  109. Not sure how the heck I missed this post, but it about made me teary!! Congrats, girl. You’ve definitely come a long way.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Who knew things would change so much!

  110. I just ran into your blog and I wished I had seen it sooner. I’m a soon-to-be solo female traveler and its nice to see there are girls out there who have done it and survived lol! I’m sorry to see Honduras was one of your least favorite countries :/. Im from there and know it to have a lot to offer. hopefully someday you’ll give it another shot! πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ll be back in Central America so perhaps it will be time to give it another shot.

  111. Beautiful pictures! Looks like you had an amazing journey and hopefully many more adventures to come!

  112. As i searched for South American travel blogs i was sad – although not so surprised – to find about a million male travelers and very few single females. I have been living for about 6 months in Colombia myself and an looking forward to a summer of adventure and travel throughout the contenent. As a single girl myself, what advise can you give me for my upcoming adventure? Thats a broad topic i know but i’ve got to start somewhere! Thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      There are a few of us but for some reason South America still has an intimidating reputation. The funny thing is that I think in many ways I was safer as a solo female traveler, a lot of people looked out for me in a way that perhaps they would not have done if I had been in a couple.

      I loved Cali, if you go stay at Tostaky and say hi to everyone for me. Also please please couchsurf while in Colombia. The community is amazing. A lot of people love Medellin, I was luke warm about it but I didn’t stay long.

      If you need some Colombia blogs for inspiration let me know as I know people still there who are more than happy to meet up with travelers.

  113. Hi Ayngelina, wow, this is an amazing blog post, your writing style is brilliant – I think it is great that you write about your feelings rather than just what you see along the way! Its a great inspiration! Take care! xx

  114. Hi, I discovered your blog yesterday and forced myself to go to bed at 2.30am lol, I am back this morning reading through your posts but must force myself to get ready to drop my daughter to school and force myself to work (I work from home). Excellent posts, very inspirational. Thanks for sharing. Just wanted to say Hi and well done on discovering what the world as to offer and living your dream πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thank you, that’s so kind of you to write.

  115. Wow congratulations! This is a great inspiration and I wish I can do this. Thanks for this posts, must of took me awhile to read all this ahah!

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