Month 56: Travel Summary and Statistics


Sometimes you need a slow, laidback four weeks for once, and that’s exactly what month 56 was for me!

I’d just finished up an intense island-hopping adventure around the South Pacific, and was exhausted, stressed, and ready to hit pause on my travels for a while.

Luckily, I found the perfect two places to do exactly that.

Streets of Oaxaca

I’d originally planned to spend time in Oaxaca back in 2014, when I spent a full six months travelling around Mexico. With an unusually cold snap in the air that winter, though, Dave and I voted for skipping anywhere at altitude and heading straight for the beach.

It was the right decision for us at the time, but man, I’d always regretted not getting to eat my way around that beautiful mountain city.

So from the moment I touched down until the moment I left, I did my best to try as many foods as possible. There was the life-changing chilaquiles sandwich — not exactly authentic Mexican food, I know, but amazing nonetheless.

a chilaquiles sandwich

There was the delicious octopus and avocado tacos from the taco stand across the road from our apartment. Only $1.50 each!

octopus and avocado tacos

And the colourful vegetarian tostado from our local organic market.

vegetarian tostada

I had high hopes for my time in Oaxaca, and spoke eagerly and often about taking a trip out to see the Monte Albán ruins and the Hierve el Agua rock formations. Did I manage to see either of them? Nope!

Sometimes you don’t realise how stressful a situation has been until you stop, and pausing my fast-paced travels in Oaxaca knocked me on my ass. As did the altitude. I spent most of my time in Mexico with various colds and ear/sinus infections, and panting whenever I moved more than a few steps.

But I loved this beautiful city and know I’ll be back soon. The next time, I’ll hopefully be rested, full of energy, and eager to explore!

american food in dallas
But first: a layover in Dallas, where I scouted out the most American meal I could find.

From Oaxaca to Seattle, which is one of my favourite cities, and one I could see myself living in if I had a different passport.

Travel blogging friends Steph and Mike were heading to Japan for a month and asked if we would be interested in dogsitting for their adorable pooch, Leo, while they were gone. I think I took all of about 3 seconds for me to reply with: YES!!!!!!!!!

And then I let Dave know that we would be going to Seattle.

Lauren and Leo

And oh my god, what a fantastic time I had with my new furry friend!

It’s funny, because growing up, I never had any pets, and when I first started travelling I was pretty anti-animals. I’d never spent any time around them, and dogs had always intimidated me.

Slowly, though, I began to discover just how amazing they are, to the point that I now basically want to adopt every single dog I see.

And Leo was the best dog of all.

During my time in Seattle, I got to tuck him into bed every night.

Lauren and Leo

And sometimes we even napped together.

Lauren and Leo

Some days, I confused him by sitting in his bed.

Lauren and Leo

And whenever it rained outside, we snuggled up together on the sofa with blankets.

Lauren and Leo

We grew to become chill-out partners in crime.

Lauren and Leo

So, what did we get up to in Seattle when we weren’t obsessing over Leo? Well, we were staying in the super-cool Capitol Hill area, and spent a lot of time checking out a whole load of restaurants and bars. We also got to hang out with travel blogging friend Jessie for the first time, and my best bud Diana flew out to spend a few days with us.

One highlight from my month was getting to attend my first football match outside of the U.K.! We watched the Seattle Sounders play for a good half an hour until a torrential downpour had us fleeing for shelter, because Seattle. But regardless, it was a fun evening, and I was shocked by how passionate and loud the Sounders fans are!

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Finally, I found the perfect church for someone with a brain like mine.

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And that was my month! It was a fairly slow-paced, relaxed four weeks, with good food, great company, and the best dog in the world.

Travel map for Month 56

Countries visited: 2

Mexico, United States

Places visited: 3

Dallas, Oaxaca, Seattle 

Distance travelled: 2,556 miles

Number of photos taken: 27

Number of photos taken of Leo: 25

Highlight of the Month

Is it really going to be any surprise if I say hanging out with Leo? I fell hard for that dog and love him as if he were my own. Six months on, I still can’t stop talking about how amazing he is, and showing people photos of him, and speaking proudly of all of the good times we shared. I know that’s ridiculous.

Maybe it’s time for me to halt my travels and get a dog?

Lowlight of the Month

Month 56 kicked my immune system to the kerb, which was hugely disappointing. During these four weeks, I battled a seemingly never-ending stream of infections, culminating in several traumatising visits to doctors in Seattle when I developed a bladder infection that was resistant to all but two types of antibiotics.

And it sucked, guys. I freaking love Seattle and I wanted to spend my time eating and drinking my way around the city, going for runs, and hanging out with friends who were in town. While I managed quite a bit of that, I also ended up in pain for a significant chunk of my trip.

It was this month that confirmed it was time for me to end my full-time travels. The stress and exhaustion was making me seriously unwell and I knew it wasn’t going to improve unless I made a serious change in my life. My failing health was a huge sign that this lifestyle wasn’t working for me anymore.

Incident of the Month

I’ve racked my brains and I really can’t think of anything that happened this month, which is definitely a first for me!

My Next Steps

Month 57 travel map

I’ve got a much more exciting month coming up next!

After finishing up the remainder of my stint in Seattle, I’m jetting over to the U.S. South to begin a music-themed road trip with my family. On the cards are visits to New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, and Miami!

And then, a flight to Lisbon, where I’m planning on spending a month, or maybe longer.

We’ll see how I like it ;-)

16 Comments

  1. Brooklyn Murtaugh
    October 4, 2016
    Reply

    I grew up having animals and my family still has them, but living on my own in Vancouver I’m not allowed animals. Whenever I get to spend time with animals it is the best. Leo looks adorable!

    • October 5, 2016
      Reply

      I’ve looked at housesitting before, and it’s been more for getting to look after animals than actually saving money on accommodation!

  2. Sarah K
    October 4, 2016
    Reply

    So many great food photos! I shouldn’t have read this while hungry, haha!

    • October 5, 2016
      Reply

      Ha, Mexican food is the best! :-)

  3. Aurélie
    October 4, 2016
    Reply

    Who told you chilaquiles are not Mexican?!?! La torta de chilaquiles as they call what you had is the perfect breakfast on a lazy Sunday ;-) did you like them? They are my favorite Mexican food ;-)

    • October 4, 2016
      Reply

      Oh, it wasn’t the chilaquiles, but the fact that they were in a sandwich. I’ve never seen them served like that about from this one very hipster restaurant that was full of tourists, haha.

      And I loved them! My two favourite things put together :-)

  4. Kevin Thompson
    October 4, 2016
    Reply

    Twisted Root has some of the best burgers in Texas!! Great choice! Also, Seattle is basically the best American city and my wife and I have talked about moving there constantly.

    • October 5, 2016
      Reply

      Oh, awesome! I definitely wasn’t aware of that when we chose to eat there! :-)

  5. Rachel
    October 4, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    I’ve been following and reading your uplifting and, at times, honestly raw posts for quite some time now.
    I’ve recently moved to Seattle to finish my degree program at Seattle University and have to say that this fabulous city has completely captured my heart! Next time you vislt, you should take a water taxi into West Seattle and check out Alki Beach. I love living here! The sunsets are absolutely breathtaking!
    Hope you’re on your way to better health soon!

    • October 5, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks for the recommendation, Rachel! :-) I will definitely check it out when I’m next in Seattle.

      Doing much better health-wise now, thank you!

  6. Dominique
    October 4, 2016
    Reply

    Blue Moon beer! I missed that! I used to drink that a lot when I lived in Edinburgh :) The pictures of the dog and you are hilarious! You might not have taken many pictures that month, but the ones you did take were worth it :)

    • October 5, 2016
      Reply

      I definitely spent a significant chunk of my time in Seattle just playing with Leo, haha :-)

  7. NotoriousAPP
    October 5, 2016
    Reply

    A music trip in the South with no stop in Austin?

    • October 5, 2016
      Reply

      I’ve already been to Austin! I wanted to spend time in some new places on this trip :-)

  8. Paddy
    May 2, 2017
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    Great blog. We are planning a trip to Mexico in September/October with our two kids (aged 6,8 and pretty experienced travellers). I am interested in your perspective of Oaxaca v Guanajuarto in terms of a destination with kids. I went to Guanajuarto years ago and loved it. How did Sayulita compare with Tulum, I’ve heard a lot of reports of illness in Sayulita and it sounds like you had a similar experience. Have you made it to Puerto Escondido at all? Valladolid sounds great too. Thanks again for a great blog.

    • May 6, 2017
      Reply

      Hi Patrick!

      I personally preferred Guanajuato because it’s a lot prettier and there’s tons of hikes you can do, and just walking around the city is so much fun. But Oaxaca does have the much better food. Although I was pretty bored in Oaxaca, as there didn’t seem to be as much to do there. So, pros and cons, but I’m sure you wouldn’t regret whichever destination you chose!

      As for the beaches, I haven’t been to Puerto Escondido, and have only spent a few hours at the ruins in Tulum. I will say that all of my friends who live in Tulum are now leaving, as the beach is being eroded and all of the beachfront hotels have been shut down, so it’s not as nice a place as it used to be. Oh, and I’m a pretty sickly person and get sick everywhere I go, so don’t use that as a deciding factor not to go to Sayulita! I was hanging out with 10+ people for the time I was living there and nobody else got sick. You would need to take precautions against dengue there, though, as it’s very common.

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