Month 55: Travel Summary and Statistics

My monthly summaries are back by popular demand! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue rounding up my travels in this way, so hit the pause button for several months to reevaluate. As it turns out, I missed them! And so did you guys. Stay tuned as I’ll be catching you up on every detail of my recent moves over the next few weeks or so!

Month 55 brought about a blend of some of my favourite ways to travel: solo; on beautiful islands; and stopping moving to get to know a city in depth.

I kicked off the month in beautiful Maupiti, which I chose to visit solely because I’d read it was just like Bora Bora had been in the sixties. I knew I’d be visiting Bora Bora while I was in French Polynesia and wasn’t sure just how damaged by tourism it would be. Seeing Maupiti first would help to give me some idea.

I loved my time on this laidback island and wished I’d had longer to explore. When it came time to get to know the island better, I had just one full day to do so and two options for seeing it: by land, opting to climb the volcano at the centre of the island and then walk the circumference afterwards; or by sea, hopping on a cruise of the lagoon to snorkel with manta rays and gaze at the vibrant coral.

maupiti views

I went with the former because I’d sworn myself off snorkelling trips just a week earlier. I think I made the right decision, but I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of regret when I saw the photos my friends got from their trip. They got to swim with over a dozen manta rays for their hour in the water!

Maupiti views

From Maupiti, I moved on to Raiatea and learned that sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate with your plans.

It rained pretty much constantly while I was on the island, putting to rest any plans I had to climb volcanoes or day trip over to the island of Tahaa, but I found a positive in the thunderstorms and spent my time reading and listening to the rain. It’s always nice to work in an unexpected rest day into your travels!

Raiatea view

After one great island and one not-so-great experience on Raiatea, I had mixed feelings about French Polynesia and wasn’t sure if I liked it or not.

Well, it took mere minutes from me landing in Huahine to realise I love this island territory.

Huahine was everything I wanted from a paradise island: it was affordable, the locals were friendly, there were tons of things to keep you busy, it had a fascinating history, and was home to one of the best beaches I’ve ever been on.

huahine road

And then, the big finale. Visiting Bora Bora on a budget was one of the main inspirations for my trip through the South Pacific, but I was still surprised by how much I loved it.

I thought it would be ruined by tourists, but it wasn’t. I thought it would be insanely expensive, but it wasn’t. I thought it wouldn’t be as pretty as the photos you see of it online, but it was. My only disappointment was that I wasn’t there with Dave! It was definitely a bit weird to be there as a solo traveller.

Bora Bora

I’d originally booked two weeks of island hopping around the Yasawa Islands in Fiji for my next South Pacific country, but decided to cancel my stay at the last minute. I was tired, I was feeling islanded out, I was lonely from so much solo travel time, and knowing that I had so many friends in Mexico, where Dave currently was, helped me pull the trigger.

Sometimes you have to make decisions that favour your happiness over travel, and this was one of those situations where I knew I wouldn’t make the most of Fiji if I tried to stick it out. There’ll always be 2017, when I’ll next be in the region!

Flying over Nadi

After the travel day from hell (five days of travel, three nights spent on cold airport floors, many methods of transportation, and a ear and sinus infection combo), I was back in Mexico and so happy to be there.

My stint in Oaxaca had been a long time coming. Dave and I had originally planned to spend a full month living there when we were last in Mexico, but had cancelled those plans after a particularly cold winter had us craving the beach instead.

We were finally here and we were ready to eat.


I’m not ashamed to confess that I spent the vast majority of the next two weeks eating and drinking my way around the city. Oaxaca made for a perfect base as I attempted to nurse the infections out of me and fight my way back to health. It was incredibly inexpensive, the food was amazing, and the company was even better.

I wasn’t expecting Oaxaca to make it onto my shortlist of places I’d like to live in one day, but it totally does.

The only downside was the altitude, which kicked my ass every single time I walked anywhere!


Onto the statistics for the month!

Month 55 travel map

Countries visited: 4

French Polynesia, Fiji, United States, Mexico

Places visited: 6

Bora Bora, Huahine, Maupiti, Nadi, Oaxaca, Raiatea

Distance travelled: 5483 miles

Number of photos taken: 1012

Highlight of the Month

My day spent cycling around the island of Huahine.

I sometimes have these moments when I travel where everything slots into place. Moments when I cast my mind back to five years ago and remind myself how terrified I was to travel — how I used to sit for hours and daydream about what it would be like and praying that I would have nothing but amazing experiences.

Exploring Huahine was one of those experiences that would have blown my five-years-ago self’s mind. Wobbling along empty roads on a beaten-up bicycle, calling out bonjour! to friendly locals, taking detours to feed some sacred blue-eyed eels, and snapchatting my way around the island without realising I had a giant smear of mud across my face. I felt so free and alive that day, like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Reuniting with Dave in Oaxaca after spending a month apart came in at a close second, though :-)

Lowlight of the Month

No surprises here! I suffered so much on my crazy-long travel day that I wrote a post about it.

There were a couple of other challenges to deal with this month, too: getting sick with so many infections meant that I spent much of my time in Oaxaca feeling dizzy and in pain and I was sad that I didn’t get to explore Raiatea due to bad weather, but they were mild downsides in the grand scheme of things.

Incident of the Month

It has to be having my guesthouse owner in Maupiti lose my booking! When I rocked up to the jetty on the main island and discovered nobody waiting for me, I started to get nervous but remained optimistic. Half an hour later, I wasn’t feeling quite so confident.

When a local spotted me looking lost and called my guesthouse for me, I thought that everything was going to be okay. Not so fast! My guesthouse owner greeted me with the horrifying news that she’d lost my booking and was fully booked during my stay.

Fortunately, these things have a way of working themselves out, and due to my original guesthouse’s incompetence, I scored a stay at a much nicer place for a far cheaper price than they usually charge. After a stressful morning, it was a pretty great consolation prize.

Travel map for Month 56

My Next Steps

After such a fast-paced trip around the South Pacific, I’m relieved to now have a full month to recover in Oaxaca. The next two weeks will be delightfully low-key, spent lingering over long lunches with travel blogging friends, attempting to eat my entire body weight in tacos, sampling the many different mezcals the city has to offer, recovering from my various ailments, and catching up on blog work.

But, as always when we’re in Mexico, I suspect we’ll most likely spend all of our time eating.

After Oaxaca, it’ll be time for a change of scene once again, as Dave and I hope on a plane to our beloved Pacific Northwest for a month of housesitting in Seattle for friends. Given that I have an obsession with all things dog, I can’t wait to have a full four weeks spent cuddling their amazing dog, Leo!


  1. September 10, 2016

    Awesome! I love the wrap ups! Thanks for bringing them back.

  2. oh wow! great places!

  3. September 11, 2016

    Oh! I’m loving your posts about the Pacific and I’m sad they’ve ended – for now as you mentioned going to Fiji next year! When I have a longer holiday lined up I’d like to go there and combine it with New Zealand!

  4. Charlotte
    September 12, 2016

    Hi Lauren, just wanted to say your blog is back to being the blog I fell in love with and helped inspire me to quit my job, leave my anxieties behind, and travel. I love that the blog posts are regular again, as I check every day. The monthly summaries are great to put a whole month of travel into perspective and include great tips and good ideas of budget. Keep doing what you’re doing! Charlotte x

  5. September 12, 2016

    Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for the wonderful travel summary. I highly impressed watching your amazing photos included here. Each one is captured well and perfect in look. Thank you very much for sharing such incredible set of quality images with us. I was so excited to know about more about the places which is in image.

    Your Instagram photo is looking so cute and captured behind the beautiful beach. Looks amazing with nice dress. I got amazed to know that you have visited four countries withing a month about 5483 miles. It’s really miraculous.

    thanks for sharing your beautiful moment visiting these places, with us.

    I’m waiting a post on your next travel.
    – Ravi.

  6. September 13, 2016

    I love these posts so I’m so glad that they’re back!
    I adored following along on your South Pacific trip, as that is where I most want to travel in the world, so seeing all of your photos was a total dream!

    Enjoy Mexico & Seattle! I’m a tad jealous that you’ll be dog sitting. I live in Vancouver with no pets. I recently went to visit my parents who have 2 cats and a dog, and was in animal heaven :)

  7. September 13, 2016

    That pic with the pure blue waters, is that of Bora Bora? Looks incredible! Great to hear how much you loved Oaxaca. We weren’t expecting much but it blew us away and we ended up spending a happy couple of weeks there, munching crickets and overindulging in way too much crema de mezcal.

    • September 19, 2016

      Yes, that’s bora Bora! :-)

      And oh man, I definitely developed a love of all things mezcal in Oaxaca!

  8. Ronaldo César
    September 14, 2016

    Very Very beautiful pics.. Congrats…

  9. September 16, 2016

    Glad to find your blog! Very informative and I am impressed by your previous post on 2015 travel budget. I am not sure if I can follow it, since we love scuba diving, and that will add quickly on the cost! :D :D

    I will follow your journey and wish you a great travel!

  10. Rosemarie Driscoll
    September 19, 2016

    Such a whirlpool of activities you got from your travels! Hope you’ll have a better luck on your next adventures! Looking forward to it!

  11. September 26, 2016

    Wow, the water really looks amazing on most of those photos. I don’t think that I have seen such a blue color on the water anywhere where I have been :)

  12. Tiago
    September 26, 2016

    I love your Summary and Statistics. travel is the best thing to do.
    I enjoy your free spirit.

  13. Ashna Sharma
    October 1, 2016

    Hi Lauren , Your post is interesting and very helpful for me as a traveler every time I am searching new travel ideas. Thank you so much and keep it up.

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