Our Favorite Experiences of 2018

We try to do something interesting whenever we go somewhere. Sometimes we really get it right, but other times…let’s just say we don’t want to talk about those (ok we will but that’s another post). Here are our favorite experiences we had in 2018 in no particular order. I promise this is my last list (for this year)!

Making Soap at Uni Jun in Taipei, Taiwan

This was a fantastic experience. Not only was it fun and we learned some things, but we also were able to remain clean all year long! Hopefully the friends who we saw also thought this was a good thing. Read more about this story.

The Taroko Gorge in Taiwan

We need to write more about our experience at the Taroko Gorge in Taiwan. We spent four days in this amazing part of the country and could have stayed much, much longer. We rented scooters and stayed with the most delightful hosts on a coffee farm nearby. All of that adds up to one of the best times we had in 2018.

Safari - Manyaleti Game Reserve with The Wild Olive Tree Camp guide Patrick

Ok. All of our safaris in South Africa and eSwatini were incredible. But, our first two safaris that we did absolutely stood out. Maybe that’s because it was our first. Maybe it’s because we saw a sleeping pride of lions in the afternoon and then those same lions feasting on a recent buffalo kill the next morning. It was just incredible and I was in awe of the animals and addicted to seeing them each day. I could not get enough.

Bread Making Class near Stellenbosch, South Africa

Who knows how I find some things, sometimes I just think it’s fate that activities or places come onto my radar. And so it was with this bread making class at Bread & Wine on the Moreson Wine Farm near Stellenbosch, South Africa. We spent the morning at this beautiful winery learning how to make four different kinds of bread and then feasted on several of them over lunch. We also sampled some of their amazing wines and just generally spent a great day with our friend S and some dough. We had so much bread when we were done, that we gave some away to the curious folks enjoying lunch at the cafe. We gave the rest to a homeless shelter in Cape Town. That might be the best part of the story.

Yoga in Bali, Indonesia

This one might seem weird because truly we practice asana everyday. But, we set out to have a “yoga retreat” sort of experience in Bali and we did just that. It was absolutely incredible. We went to two different yoga studios and did at least two classes a day and ate the most amazing vegan food I’ve ever had. This was definitely amazing for so many reasons and one of my absolute favorite things we did this past year. Read Zac’s daily diary of our experience in Bali.

Yoga Nidra Class at Devanadi School of Yoga and Wellness, Minneapolis, MN

This was a solo activity for Jill and it was incredible. One of the places I miss most since leaving Minneapolis is Devanadi School of Yoga and Wellness. I was fortunate enough to do my 200hr yoga teacher training here and returned in 2018 to take the Yoga Nidra 1 class there. Yoga immersions are intense, enlightening, hilarious and often super difficult but I love every minute of it. I hope to return again soon for another amazing experience.

Car Camping on the island of Kyushu, Japan

We drove all over Kyushu, Japan in our little car camper (thanks for driving, Zac!) and had an absolutely fantastic time. We overnighted near the beach, used onsen each day to get clean and even had a visit from some Japanese police officers! Special shout out to our friend M in Fukuoka who was instrumental in booking the car camper for us. We did a whole series of nightly dispatches from our camper van you can listen to them and read more about our adventures here.

Workaway at Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm near De Rust, South Africa

We haven’t written much about Workaway and our experiences using the service but we had one of the most amazing times working on a permaculture farm in the Karoo in South Africa. We spent 10 days working on the farm doing odd tasks like shoveling a truck load of cow shit for the compost pile, staking tomatoes, failing miserably at hanging a water reed roof, tearing out insanely well buried poles, seeding and the list goes on. This was truly one of the most incredible places we’ve been and the spirit of the place is imbibed with the enthusiasm for off-grid leaving as lived by the hosts Kathryn and Ross.

Visits with Friends

We are so fortunate to have such amazing friends in our lives. This past year we had several visits from some of our favorite people. We started the year with our friend R spending NYE with us in Portland and then she came back to see us when we were in Norway. Speaking of Norway our newlywed friend J&M planned some time to see us while they were in Scandinavia on their honeymoon! D also came to visit us in Portland and was so determined to get to the coast that she rented an all wheel drive vehicle to handle the snow and ice on the roads. And finally, we met up with Zac’s aunt, cousin and her daughter in Sitges, Spain in the summer. Our year finished off with an incredible journey with our friend S to Cape Town and the Southern Cape. She wanted to get out of her comfort zone and I think we managed that. Thank you all for using your holiday time and money to come see us, it truly means the world.