1 year of traveling: our best adventure yet

After one year of traveling full-time as a couple, we wanted to take a minute to share the moments that made this trip memorable for us.

We said it after the 6-month mark, and we’ll say it again.  Time flies when you’re having fun!  After one year of traveling full-time as a couple, we can tell you that this is the most fun we’ve had ever.  So we wanted to take a little moment and go over the little and big moments that made this trip memorable for us.

We picked out the best highlights from each country we visited.  We never planned the whole list of countries we wanted to visit.  As each month passed, we modified our list a little.  Some countries were musts and we actually made it there.  Others, we had to drop because of timing or visas or surprise visits from friends and family.

In either case, each country we visited taught us something new about its culture, its people and ourselves.

Surprising nature days in Korea

wediditourway Nami Island South Korea
An afternoon stroll on the magical Nami Island, South Korea

Yeah, you probably weren’t expecting that from Korea, but this country is home to crazy beautiful waterfalls, hikes, beaches and mountains.  We actually went to Korea without many expectations, and we were blown away!

On Jeju Island, we chased waterfalls and hiked up Korea’s highest peak, Mount Hallasan.  In Busan, we chilled on the nicest beaches.  In Andong, we watched barrels of hay on fire get thrown down cliffs.  Sure, Seoul was amazing with its temples and skyscrapers, but Korea’s nature is what we will always remember.

High-speed travel in Japan

Japan was a whirlwind, we visited something like 18 cities in 21 days.  This was largely possible thanks to their awesome high speed trains, called Shinkansens.

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Taking a stroll in the park near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan

We were like total children every single time we had the honour of taking the Shinkansen.  This high-speed train connects all major cities in Japan to each other.  It’s the fastest and easiest way to get around.

To be honest, it is the coolest thing ever!  Seats that rotate, comfy chairs, enough leg-room for our friendly giant Derek, clean wagons, and such punctual drivers.  Seriously, what more could you ask for?

Discovering beach life in Australia

Beach life is two-part for us when it comes to Australia.  First, there are the actual beaches of Australia.  Then, there is the underwater world that we finally got to explore.

To us, Australia has the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever been on.  We spent a large percentage of our 8-9 weeks in the land down under working on our tan.  We would jump in the water, battle the mega waves and just chill by the water!

Wediditourway near Bondi beach Sydney Australia
Hanging out near Bondi beach in Sydney, Australia

From the shores of Airlie beach, to the WhitSundays, down through Mooloolaba and Maroochydore, without forgetting the famous Bondi beach in Sydney, and the colourful beach house lined sandy playgrounds of Melbourne.  If you’re a water-baby, Australia is the place for you.  It sure might be the place for us!

Beyond its beaches, we also go a glimpse of the underwater world in Australia.  We had the privilege of discovering the biggest coral reef system in the world.  The Great Barrier Reef spans almost half a billion square kilometres, teaming with life, beauty, and mystery.

The corals weren’t in their best shape, as half of this living organism has died since 2016.  It’s such a shame… but there are steps to be taken that can bring this marvel back to life, things that we strive to do every day of our lives.

We are so grateful that we were able to visit the GBR and still had a great time.  There was still a vast amount of marine life.  Carine saw a turtle, something Derek has been snakebitten towards (he’s never seen one).  We even swam right up to some reef sharks, which sounded a lot scarier than it really was.

Driving a campervan in New Zealand

Roadtrips have always been one of our favourite things to do.  So it’s no surprise that our journey through New Zealand was another of the major highlights of our trip.  Having the freedom to explore this beautiful country on four wheels was amazing.  Going where we wanted, when we wanted, and seeing the beautiful landscape that New Zealand has to offer around each and every corner.

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Looking out at beautiful Wanaka from Roy’s peak, New Zealand

Add to this the relaxation of packing it in for the evening and meeting new people at campgrounds across this marvellous country.  Sitting by a camp fire with a beer or two in hand and sharing our experiences with new people every night was great.

And the stars… the indescribable stars.  You have to see them to believe.  Never have we been so enthralled by balls of gas burning light years away.

Scuba diving in Thailand

One of the great things about this trip is that we learned a new skill together.  We found an activity we are passionate about and can do all around the world.

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We couldn’t be happier than being here at Railey beach in Ao Nang, Thailand

Scuba diving has been one of our favourite things to do on this trip.  We got bitten by the scuba bug in Thailand.  It helps that we saw a whale shark and got to swim naturally with one right before our last dive to get certified.

Beyond learning a new skill together, scuba diving has taught us some great life lessons.  Mainly that in many moments in life, you can just disconnect and focus on the now.  When we scuba, all we need to do is appreciate our surroundings and focus on our breathing.  This is something we can all do when life gets overwhelming.

Discovering technology and culture in Singapore

Singapore is such a unique place in Asia.  It has all the craziness of South East Asia, but it has the refinement and technology like nowhere else on earth.

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Wow, these SuperTrees in Singapore are just amazing

On one end of the spectrum, you have your typical hawker centres, where you can taste foods from the four main cultures in Singapore (Malay, Indian, Chinese and Western) for pennies.  On the other end, you have the marvels around the Marina Bay Sands, with the SuperTrees, the FlowerDome and the Cloud Forest.

With so much to do and see, Singapore was one of our favourite places in South East Asia.  Best of all, it was actually more affordable than we expected, so it was a double-win for us!

Small town living in Vietnam

Vietnam has so much history to share, and the major cities have a very real hustle and bustle vibe to them.  If you are trying to cross the street in either Ho Chi Min or Hanoi, well… good luck!

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Walking around the old town of Hanoi, Vietnam

But what really stuck out to us during our time in Vietnam was the quaint city of Hoi An.  After being on the go for much of the 5 months that lead up this country, we finally stayed put for more than a week in this charming UNESCO World Heritage site.

We made some great friends here, notably our favorite Coloradans, Bre and Daniel, also known as The Love & Adventure.  Though we only briefly met them in Hoi An, we would meet them many more times throughout our time on the road.

Zen vibes in Cambodia

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Stepping back in time at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodia was the epitome of zen for us.  Sure, the Angkor Wat temples are completely insane and sometimes get crowded.  But to be able to walk around these century-old sacred places was just magical.  There are always little nooks where you can find total zen in the chaos.

This is something we learned from our first yoga retreat at Angkor Zen Gardens.  For 4 days, we stayed in a hut, ate delicious vegetarian food and practiced yoga for 4 hours a day.  Basically, we disconnected from the world to better connect with ourselves.  This was the ultimate zen time.

Scooter life in Malaysia

After experiencing scooter-insanity in Vietnam and Thailand, we were happy that our first South East Asia scooter-riding experience was in Langkawi.  For 1 month, we stayed put on a beautiful island to do our Workaway.  This was the first time we had access to a scooter, and needless to say, we took full advantage of it.

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Discovering Langkawi was awesome with our scooter!

Scooter life in Langkawi was the ultimate freedom.  We explored every inch of the beautiful island.  We hopped on and off at every cool spot and just whizzed around this place we called home for 4 weeks.

A traditional Filippino wedding in the Philippines

The Philippines were exciting for two reasons, both of which were that we met up with friends of ours!

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Peaking down before taking the plunge in Bohol, Philippines

First was Derek’s best friend Shawn, who flew into the Philippines for his father’s wedding.  We actually first met up with Shawn in beautiful Vancouver, Canada.  Shawn isn’t exactly a travel type, so the fact that we met up with him halfway across the globe was very exciting.

We got to stay in the small town of Tanjay city, where we were literally the only tourists.  Staying with Shawn’s future step-mother Laura, we were able to get the real Filippino vibe.

After being a part of a traditional Filippino wedding, we then moved to Bohol, and were reunited with our friends Bre and Daniel!  We spent a good two weeks hanging out with them by the sandy shores of Panglao island, working on the blog and enjoying island life.

Food with a great view in Spain

We only had a short time in Spain, but it was a memorable week.  Needless to say that the food and wine were delicious.  If you’ve never had tapas, you need to.  As they say, sharing is caring, and this is what Tapas Life is all about.

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Having a little fun at the science centre in Valencia, Spain

The beaches also took our breath away, whether in Barcelona, Valencia or Málaga.  After days exploring the cities, the beach breaks helped us cool down and disconnect from the city hustle.

But there’s one thing that stood out to us more than anything and that was the stunning architecture in these 3 cities.  From the famous Gaudí structures in Barcelona, to the bay windows, to the modern City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, each city had beautiful architecture.

Sleeping under the stars of the Sahara Desert in Morocco

Being two Canadians that have become accustomed to harsh, cold winters, the Sahara desert was the polar opposite of what we are used to.

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We were blown away by the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Going to the desert was a no-brainer when we decided to visit Morocco.  Derek rode a camel, we slept under the stars (a nights sky that almost rivals the New Zealand sky), we frolicked in the sand dunes, and visited Berber tribes living out in some of the world’s harshest conditions.

To say it was hot, well that is obvious.  But we certainly were blown away by 50°C heat and just how much water you need to drink to stay hydrated while there.

Another surprise, the desert has an abundance of water!  We always thought that there was no water in the desert, but in reality that sand dunes of the desert could not be possible without a vast amount of subterranean water.

Country life in France

Imagine being surrounded by the rolling hills in Southern France.  Fields of vines ripening in the hot sun.  Sunflowers as far as the eye can see.  Beautiful century-old churches at the centre of every picturesque town.  Not to mention eating delicious local foods from the weekly markets and drinking wine from the neighbours vineyards.

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We are just going to go get a glass of wine, and maybe some cheese!  Gaillac, France

Our time in France is what you expect every French dream is made of. We will fondly remember this time as the month we had too much to eat and drink, and that we worked insanely hard on the blog.  Basically, it was the perfect mix of chilling and work.

Island hopping in Greece

After spending nearly three months with friends and family, we got a nice 2 weeks of going back to just being the two of us!

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The Greek island of Naxos is just perfect!

We went from Santorini, to Paros, to Naxos, and finally finished our trip of Greece in Athens.

Our time in Santorini gave us beautiful sunsets.  In Paros we spent as much time as we could at the beach.  We discovered the Aegean sea in Naxos, while sailing with Xanemo Sailing.  And Athens gave us all of the sightseeing we could stuff into the two days we spent there.

All in all Greece was amazing, highlighted by the copious amounts of food we ate!

Getting local in Armenia

Since the day we met, Armenia has been on our bucketlist.  Carine is of Armenian descent, so you can guess why it was on our list.  If you know any Armenians, you know how proud they are of their heritage and their country.  It was also an opportunity for her family to finally come see us, after a full year of traveling.  Can you believe that most of them had never been to their homeland?

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Chilling at Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia

From the delicious food, to the beautiful landscape, the warm and generous people to the impressive history of the country, Armenia is a mix of everything we’ve seen so far… well, except the beaches.  A hiker’s paradise, a foodie’s dream come true, a historian’s heaven, a mix of European flair, amazing traditions, low cost of living and comfy standards.

As we’re writing this, we still have a good 3 weeks left here, and so much more to explore. Armenia is probably the best place we could have celebrated our 1-year on the road, mainly because there are always celebrations going on here.

This year was a great reminder for us.  We learned the importance of living in the now, of enjoying every moment we have together.  It also reminded us of how lucky we are to be able to chase our dreams, as we’ve seen so many people just struggling to survive.  It showed us how beautiful our planet is and how important it is to take care of it.

floating through life and enjoying the ocean
A year of floating through life, carefree as can be. Bohol, Philippines

This trip is one of many more we’ll take to explore every corner of this earth.  We’re excited to head back home soon (we do miss our friends and fam), but we’re even more excited to head back out.

Have you ever been on a long-term trip? Tell us about it in the comments, we’re ready for more inspiration!


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The highlights from our 13 months on the road. The amazing experiences we've had after 1 year of traveling. This is our best adventure yet. www.wediditourway.com

How to take couple pics for Instagram

How do we take our pictures for Instagram? We aren’t pros, but take a look at these tips to up your photography game.

Ok, it’s time for us to come clean and finally admit how we take couple pics for our Instagram feed.  This is probably the question we get the most often, after how we’re able to travel full-time.  Most assume we have a professional photographer that travels with us, or that we ask strangers to take our shots for us.  The truth is far from that.

Actually, we take all our shots by ourselves, with help from some very handy gear.  We’re not professional photographers, and we’re not models.  Everything we’ve learned has been self-taught.  We’re nowhere close to being done with our photography journey though, so sit tight, because this is only the beginning.

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Having fun taking our pics!  This one is from Dilijan in Armenia

So here are the best tips we want share with you to take some good couples pictures.  Hopefully, they help you take some awesome IG pics as well (or just good pictures during your travels).  After all, these memories will last you a lifetime, and it’s pretty cool to share the stunning things you see with loved ones too.

Find some inspiration

There are tons of great accounts out there that will help inspire you on how to take pictures.  If you’re looking for poses, you can check out other couple or wedding photographer accounts.  If you’re looking for fashion shots, editing style, or framing, you can find it all on Instagram or Pinterest.  Just be respectful of other people’s art.  Getting inspired is fine, but never copy.  That’s just not cool.

Here are some of our favourite travel couples that inspire us every day:

@wanderersandwarriors:  We met these guys a while back in Singapore and they are so fun, approachable and genuine.  You can see their light shine through their pictures.

Charlie and Lauren from @wanderersandwarriors

@mariefeandjakesnow:  These two look so sweet, so kind and they work so hard to make the world a better place.  Their feed is beyond stunning.  More on them later!

Marie and Jake from @mariefeandjakesnow

@theloveandadventure:  Another couple we were lucky enough to meet and travel with (3 countries and counting).  They’re easy-going, adventurous and kind.  Plus, they go to awesome off-the-beaten-path locations.

Brie and Daniel from @theloveandadventure

@travelingfortwo:  These guys are fun-loving, easy-going and super relatable.  We love how they don’t even look like they try to take good pics, they just do!

Marla and Joel from @travelingfortwo

@lezseetheworld:  Fellow Canucks, and all-around awesome couple.  These two are super sweet and their pics are so lovey!

Kaitlin and Steph from @lezseetheworld

Get a camera with a timer or wifi

The gear you use will help you immensely.  Our camera has a timer function that allows us to set it, get into position then snaps up to 10 pictures of us.  Sometimes, we use our phone as a remote (and viewfinder) because our camera has wifi capabilities.

If you’re just getting started, we highly recommend our camera, the Canon EOS 1300D.  It’s great to learn the ropes and perfect your skills.

Use a tripod

Yes, this is the big trick, our big secret weapon.  Get yourself a good, sturdy tripod.  This has been our greatest investment and purchase yet.  Thanks for the advice Wanderers and Warriors.  You can’t rely on others to take the pictures you want, especially if you’re shooting in Manual mode.  Trust us, do yourself a favour, and get a tripod.  It will help your art so much!

Act natural

Sure, it’s a bit weird to pose in front of a camera on a tripod.  Sure, people will stare.  But ignore them and do your thing.  We used to feel super awkward, but now, we just act natural.  Our biggest tip is just to have fun with it.

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We started shooting and she decided to steal my ice cream. Can’t get more natural than that!

Use the best light

Sure, you can pretty much change anything with Lightroom and Photoshop, but give yourself a good start.  Make sure you shoot when the light is the best and softest, aka Golden Hour.

If you love sunrise, then you’re in luck, because that’s a good time to shoot.  If you’re like us and like to sleep, then you’re also in luck, because you have golden hour before sunset too.

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Taking advantage of the soft golden lighting at sunrise, at the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines

If you’re shooting outside of those hours, when the sun is the harshest, make sure you underexpose your pictures so the sun doesn’t “burn” any pixels.  Yeah, we may have learned this the hard way.

Overexposed picture from the waterfalls in Negros Oriental, Philippines
Where is Derek’s foot? The sun “burned” the pixels in this overexposed shot

Use Lightroom

Ok, this is another secret lifesaver/game-changer.  Get yourself a Lightroom account, pay the $15USD per month, and turn any picture into art.  Seriously.

Lightroom has helped us up our game so much.  You can change anything from the exposure of the shot, to the colours (hue, saturation and luminance), the angle of the shot, whatever.  You can get rid of things (or people) too.  It takes some learning to master it, and we’re no masters… yet.  We’re getting there!

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The magic of Lightroom brought the colours of the sunset to life

Little editing tip (also a photography tip): Always, ALWAYS shoot in RAW.  You will capture so much more details in your pics and editing will be easier.

And if you want to make things even easier, we recommend buying presets.  They automatically turn your pictures into the style you want.  Our favourites come these 2 accounts:

Never stop learning/evolving

From your photography style to your editing skills, there are tons of tools out there to help you out.  Like we said, we’ve learned all our skills by ourselves, but with the help of some great teachers.

We constantly search on YouTube for photography tips and editing tricks.  We want our art to evolve with time.  You can see how we used to shoot vs how we shoot now, the change is shocking.  We’re going to keep growing and learning.

Little photography tip:  Make sure you know how to shoot in Manual mode. It will take your pictures to the next level.

Be mindful of others

Sure, we say to ignore others, but we’re talking about ignoring their funny looks and laughs.  Yes, they will laugh and stare.  Or cheer, like the time Derek picked me up in front of a crowd!  Whatever happens, be mindful of others.  Don’t take too much time in front of a popular spot.  Don’t push people out of the way.  Don’t yell at them (yeah, we’ve seen it happen).  Just be cool, wait your turn, do your thing and move on.

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We waited for 15 minutes to take this shot in front of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We did 10 quick snaps and were out of there in under a minute.

Never disrespect

This is a no-brainer for us.  Don’t break the rules.  Don’t take pictures of others without their consent.  Don’t change your outfit in a religious place to look sexier for the likes.  If you bring props, take them back with you (please don’t litter).  Don’t shoot on people’s properties without their approval.

Treat the places you’re in and the people you’re around with respect.  Don’t forget, you’re not just representing yourself, you’re representing all Instagram couples and content creators.  Don’t give the community a bad rep!

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We asked a security guard for permission before shooting with our tripod in Hassan 2 Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Don’t just do it for the ‘Gram

This is key.  Don’t ever, EVER, do things just for the ‘gram.  Don’t chase the likes or follows by doing anything dangerous.  Don’t go take pictures of places only because they’re the cool spots for Instagram.  Don’t get into arguments together because of pictures.  Don’t do things that don’t make you happy.  And no matter what, never take pictures if you’re not in a good mood.  Because it will show.

So if you’re not both in the mood to take pics, just don’t do it.  And if you need other tips on how to travel as a couple, you can read more about it here.

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Having fun during our shoots and making sure we don’t actually kill each other

Invest in good photography equipment

Okay, so you can get yourself some really expensive gear and shoot in automatic, or get yourself some decent gear and learn the ropes before you upgrade.  This will totally depend on how much you want to invest from the get-go, and how much you’re willing to learn.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’re comfortable using the gear you have.

So here is some of the gear we use, and what we wish we had (Yeah, we’ll be upgrading as soon as we have an income).

gear

Here is what we use:

Cameras

Canon EOS 1300D:  Great starter DSLR camera, tons of great functions, shoots videos in HD and has wifi capabilities.

GOPRO Session 4:  Great for underwater video and shots.  It’s small, light and compact.  The only small downside is that you don’t see what you’re shooting, unless you use your phone as a screen.

Gear

GoPro accessories kit: It has everything you need to use your GoPro in all sorts of ways.  Great value for what you get.

Benro tripod: We love this thing.  It helps us shoot in pretty much all conditions, at different heights.  It’s light and portable.

Macbook Pro Retina 13 inch:  Light, powerful, beautiful, you will need one to edit your pictures and give them that extra little umph!

Toshiba 2TB external hard drive:  Because when you take this many pictures, you’ll need the extra storage.  Cloud based storage is great, but you don’t always have a good internet connection.

Aukey battery pack:  This thing is our lifesaver.  Whenever we’re running low on juice (for our camera or our phones), this little guy saves the day.

Next items to add to our arsenal:

DJI Mavic: We have serious drone envy when we see epic drone shots.  If we were to do this again, we would totally splurge and get one of these.  Yes, this will be the first thing we get when we have an income.

GoPro Dome: This takes stunning half underwater/out-of-water shots.

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Good times getting lost in Chefchaouen, Morocco, and snapping pics along the way

So there you have it!  Our top tips for taking nice couple pics.  Our biggest advice is that no matter what you do, have fun!  Enjoy the process and don’t be scared to grow and learn.  Just enjoy the ride.  Laugh, be silly and stay in love.

We’d love to hear if you have any other tips for taking good couples pictures. Feel free to share them in the comments below.


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We put a lot of time and effort into the content we create.  Please like, comment and share, every action on your part helps us out tremendously and is very much appreciated.

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How to take couple pictures for Instagram. The best tips, tricks and gear we use to take our pictures www.wediditourway.com