2018 seems to have absolutely flown by! And here I am starting off 2019 back home in England. In this expat update, I’ll be looking back at some of the highlights of the whole year, as well as looking at the last 4 months in a little more detail!
How long I’ve been living in the USA: 2 years & 5 months
2018 Travel Summary
Countries visited: 5 (USA, UK, Australia, Japan, Turks and Caicos)
US States visited: 8 (Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Florida)
Flights taken: 14…I took my 115th flight on my 30th birthday!
My favourite places/experiences (worldwide) from 2018
- Gold Coast Snow Park – Australia
While in Australia, me and my sister stumbled across this little set up and couldn’t resist having a go! It was hilarious and we kept rewatching the videos over and over again!
- Having a dance party on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – Australia
- Discovering the novelty of Japanese toilets
It’s been a while since I’ve visited somewhere that’s quite culturally different and I absolutely loved my brief intro to Japan! I was a little obsessed with the toilets that play bird and waterfall noises!
- Watching England play in the World Cup with fellow English people in Turks and Caicos!
The World Cup ironically made me feel pretty homesick as it felt like I was the only person in America watching it…let alone following England. For a lot of the games I watched it via FaceTime with my family back home. BUT while I was in Turks and Caicos England were playing, I found a bar that was showing it and there were other English people in there to watch it too! Not many people know this but if England had of made the final I was actually planning to fly home to watch it!
- Going on a ridiculously muddy Easter Egg hunt with my family at Flatford Mill – UK
We had to Google the answers for a kids Easter Egg hunt but hey, needs must when Cadbury’s chocolate is up for grabs!
- Visiting the Sea Turtle Hospital – Marathon, FL
My goodness, I nearly balled my eyes out at the Sea Turtle Hospital but it was so amazing to see the great work they are doing to rescue and release these beautiful animals back into the wild!
My favourite Midwest experiences in 2018
- The Mall of America – Bloomington, MN
- Glamping in a yurt in Clear Lake, IA
- Goat Yoga! Palo, IA
- Watching the racoons on our hotel balcony in Porter, IN
- Off-roading at Silver Lake Sand Dunes, MI when my parents came to visit
- Hanging out with my blogging friends at Red Cedar Lodge, IA
It was so nice to spend a couple of days with ‘my tribe’, hanging out and talking about writing and travelling! A lot of bloggers tend to be friends online but it’s great when you can finally meet up in real life! The Red Cedar Lodge in Charles City, Iowa was a great location for our getaway!
My Top Blog Posts from 2018
Sometimes I can be pretty hard on myself when it comes to my daily/monthly blogging traffic BUT I then clicked on the yearly summary and my traffic has DOUBLED from 2017! So in reality that’s a HUGE achievement! Here are my most read posts from 2018:
A Look at Expat Life in
Sept – Dec
Where I’ve been:
IOWA: Dubuque, Charles City, Sheffield, Hampton
WISCONSIN: Mineral Point, Dickeyville
FLORIDA: Miami, Key West, Marathon, Ramrod Key, Big Pine Key
My English friend and travel buddy, Charlotte, flew to Chicago for the weekend to hang out with me! It was so great to see her again and we spent the whole time talking about travel! And even better, our hotel was above an English pub, WIN!
I went back to Mineral Point Wisconsin for Cornish Fest and got to eat lots of yummy English themed food!
Finally being able to tick driving the Florida Keys off my bucket list! It’s always good to tick off bucket list items and it was so nice to spend a few days in the warm!!
GATWICK DRONE GATE.
Need I say anymore?!?!?! This literally had me crying for days. For once I was confident that the weather wasn’t going to affect my flight out of Chicago…no blizzards or anything due to hit. And then ‘Drone Gate’ happened. Four days before I was due to fly into Gatwick on Norwegian, some bright spark thought it’d be a good idea to ‘toy’ with Gatwick Airport by flying drones around the airport.
Three days before I was due to fly, the runway was shut all day. Two days before flights were still backed up and delayed but the runway was open…and then the drone appeared again. I was crying along in happiness with Ladbaby reaching the UK Christmas number one with a song about Sausage Rolls (YES MATE!!!!) and at the VERY same time the number one song was announced, I got the message that the runway was shut again so was crying with sadness too. Now that’s a really weird feeling!!!
One day before, 2 people had been arrested for it…and then got released…
It almost made me embarrassed to be a drone owner. I love my drone and suddenly felt guilty to be lumped in the ‘drones need to have stricter rules’ blah blah blah. My drone won’t even take off near an airport, the majority of us DO stick to the rules!!
Then on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas Day) I had a temperature of 101 and spent the rest of the following week laying on the sofa doing absolutely nothing!
After that rant, I am also fed up of there not being petrol/gas stations near car rental drop offs! It’s often cheaper to return the car with a full tank but do you think there are gas stations anywhere nearby?!??! NOPE! For example in Australia we HAD to fill up within 5 MILES of the drop off location so we were watching the GPS waiting for our ‘destination’ to get closer.
Now Budget Miami doesn’t have an address for the car park where you have to return the car, they just give you the airport address…and do you think our route went by a petrol station?!?! No it didn’t. I was very close to smashing up the car trying to find a way to a petrol station before getting filtered off up the return ramp and being forced to pay $11 a gallon. Ain’t gonna happen MATE.
Books I’ve Been Reading
I’ve read quite a lot in the last few months thanks to Kindle Unlimited giving me a free trial but 2 books that really stood out were:
‘Operation Ironman’ and ‘Free Country’ by George Mahood
I absolutely LOVE George’s books, he writes with such great humour! I’d heard of these titles for a while but hadn’t given them a chance because they focus on cycling and entering an Ironman competition and I didn’t think they’d be my usual type of travel genre that I’d go for, but they were great! (I know I know never judge a book by its cover!)
As someone that has taken part in 5k runs and random races I could relate to some of the things he was saying about race day experiences and felt like I was right there with him! For example, when strangers cheer you on it really does gives you a boost!
I know when I did my 5k IN A BLIZZARD back in April and the commentator said “well done Kylie!” over the loud speaker as I crossed the finish line, I wanted to burst out crying as I was so happy I had completed the race!
Total books read in 2018: 45
What I’ve Been Watching
(NBC) A fiction series all about a flight that goes missing for 5 years on the way back from Jamaica. The passengers all start seeing/hearing things and they have to deal with coming back to a world which is 5 years ‘ahead’ and they hadn’t aged a day while the plane was ‘missing’.
Crikey! It’s The Irwin’s
(Animal Planet) I was a huge fan of ‘The Crocodile Hunter’, I’ve visited Australia Zoo twice and now the Irwin’s are back with a new show all about animal conservation and their life at the zoo. At first I was able to watch it online but now it’s been locked so I’ve been having to watch it through FaceTime as my mum watches it too!
Apps I’m Loving
So my iPod now tells me how much screen time I’ve totalled in a week. I will say that I do use the internet on my laptop, my iPod and my phone so it’s not completely accurate. I was happy that my education time (Duolingo) was almost level with my game time…that was until I downloaded WOODY PUZZLE. It’s such a simple concept, having to slot together blocks a bit like a free style Tetris. Apparently that type of game is meant to be good for problem solving and brain power so I’ll keep telling myself that!
This one isn’t a blog/written collaboration, but I was interviewed by Danielle (a long time blogging friend of mine) for her podcast, ‘The Thought Card’! I’m episode 12…you can search for it on podcast apps or through this link! Episode 12: Life as an Emigrating Wife Living in the USA with Kylie Neuhaus
The Best Things To Do In Slovenia – My Wanderlust
Best Travel Cameras in 2018 Recommended by Top Bloggers – DIY Travel HQ
Traveller’s Favourite Travel Songs – A Mary Road
The Best Tourist Seaside Towns of Britain UK – Live Less Ordinary
8 Great Places to Visit In Central England – One Trip At A Time
Walkable Cities In Asia – Wander Lush
13 Midwest Travel Hotspots – Bright Lights of America
Best Luxury Honeymoon Destinations – Nomadic Chica
World’s Cutest Travel Companions – Up & At Em
Unique Las Vegas – We At The Sea
Favorite Caribbean Islands – Gypsy With A Day Job
Adventurous Things To Do In Sydney – Sydney Expert
What’s Coming Up Next?
2019 started in England! I’ll be going home for a WEEKEND in March to go and see my favourite band ‘Busted’, playing in London. Crazy. But expat needs must! I’ve never missed an arena tour and don’t plan on starting now!
So far the only thing booked for summer, is a week in Wales with my parents and Sister! I’m not sure of time frames yet, but I’m looking at spending a big chunk in Europe once the school holidays arrive! I’ve really got it in my head that I want to go back to Bosnia and finally tick Sarajevo off my bucket list. If Mostar is anything to go by, I know I won’t be disappointed!
I’d also like to get to Tallinn (Estonia) and Finland, 2 new countries for me. I’m considering a few other UK trips, such as Bath and Bristol which I have also not visited before, but we shall see!
Have a great 2019 everyone! Do you have any trips planned yet?!
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