The Galapagos Islands is undoubtedly one of South America’s top natural highlights, but also one of its most expensive, so what if you don’t have thousands of pounds to spare for the trip? Well, head to Paracas National Reserve in Peru instead. We took a boat trip from Paracas to the Ballestas Islands, known as ‘the poor man’s Galapagos’, for a fraction of the price and saw incredible flocks of birds, sea lions, penguins and rock formations.
I couldn’t conceive of going to Scotland without visiting Loch Ness, the largest and perhaps most famous lake in the UK. So we set out on a two-hour journey from our cottage in the Highlands to cruise the loch and investigate the myths that surround this atmospheric piece of Scotland.
The last stop on our whirlwind tour of  Burma was the famous Lake Inle, where we planned on doing some serious relaxing after a hectic and sometimes trying journey through the country. After paying over the odds for some pretty dodgy accommodation in Burma we splurged on a stay at the Princess Garden hotel at £21 per night, which was just what we needed. There was a pool to cool off in from the fierce Burmese heat, free breakfasts of eggs, fruit and pancakes, a lovely one-eyed brown dog to play with and refreshing afternoon shakes on offer.
Kratie is a small town perched on the banks of the Mekong River about seven hours north of Phnom Penh (10 hours if your bus breaks down); this was our last stop in Cambodia before we headed back into Laos. There’s a sprinkling of guesthouses and restaurants in Kratie, although the food isn’t anywhere near as good as in the other Cambodian towns we visited and there’s also a market complete with pyjama-clad women selling their various wares. What we were really in town for though was the chance to spot some rare Irrawaddy river dolphins.

The entire morning of my birthday was spent on a coach battling through choked roads to Halong Bay.  One thing’s for sure, I never expected to be living this kind of uncertain, transient, exhilarating lifestyle when I turned 30. Like most people, I thought I’d have submitted to societal norms and gotten myself weighed down in responsibility with a mortgage and a steady job by this point. Instead, Andrew and I have only each other and the possessions we carry on our backs and our once plump savings account is now starting to look pretty lean.

After leaving the idyllic beaches in Koh Phangan, we hopped over to neighbouring Koh Tao with my friend Jo for more sunshine and sandy beaches as well as a snorkelling trip that rivalled our experience on the Great Barrier Reef – here’s what we got up to.
For most people, the Thai island Koh Phangan conjures up images of full moon parties, buckets of alcoholic concoctions and beaches crammed with drunken backpackers occasionally attempting stupid feats such as jumping over ropes of fire while inebriated. However, when we visited this summer we found a quiet, clean and peaceful haven – in fact, Koh Phangan turned out to be my favourite Thai island to date, here’s why.
As I sat on the balcony overlooking one of the bays on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand, I thought: this place is amazing; it’s paradise! Crystal clear waters bordered with soft and sandy beaches or incredible rock formations that look as if they have just appeared from hundreds of metres below sea level.
One of the most anticipated stops on our three-week road trip along the East Coast of Australia was Airlie Beach, where we had our sights set on sailing around the famous Whitsunday islands. So, almost as soon as we arrived in Airlie we went on a search for Whitsunday sailing adventures, wandering around the harbour and checking out the beach and swimming lagoon while we were at it.