I remember being younger and wanting so badly to be a grown-up. Well, now I am and I think that gives me permission to use phrases like, “wow, time really does fly”.
This year has been the most exciting, travel filled and positive year of my life. I packed up everything in Australia, put it in a backpack and landed in Milan, Italy, where I have been working as an Au Pair since February. During this time I have travelled a lot across Europe, learnt a new language, made new friends and fallen in love. It’s been super wild!
I worked my butt off to say the least. I worked two jobs and saved all my money for the fast approaching move to Italy. I spent 5 days in hospital, that really sucked, and then, I had a party. Here I said, “bye friends, see you in a year”. I packed all my stuff in a backpack and well… the exciting stuff begins in February.
After 24 hours of flying, I landed in Rome on the 2nd of February. It was really cold, it was even snowing, I couldn’t believe I was seeing snow for the first time in my life. I then made my way over to Tuscany where I began working as an au pair for a really horrible family. Read that story here . After one week working for this terrible family I found myself in Milan.
I started au pairing for a really nice family. We went to the mountains together and everything started to fall into place in my new life. I made new friends, partied in Milan, at least once a week and planned to go to Rome in March.
This was a really good month, I really started to feel as if i was exactly where I needed to be. I started off the month by meeting this Italian boy, Lorenzo. We have kinda been inseparable since then. I started my Italian language course and spent two mornings a week studying Italian. Half way through the month, a group of my new friends and I went to Rome. It was pretty awesome, one of my friends threw up at the ancient forum. That was wild!
Right at the start of the month there was Easter. A pretty cool day but for the first time, I didn’t stay in bed eating copious amounts of chocolate. I went with Lorenzo and his family to eat a giant Italian lunch at their property outside of Milan. It was really amazing to be apart of a typical Italian Easter.
I got a new tattoo.
A night out partying led to us stealing a street sign, don’t question this one, just agree.
In April, it started to get warmer. I was becoming really close with my host family and also with Lorenzo. I spent a week in Sardinia (the small island off the coast of Italy) with my host family. It was beautiful and something I had always dreamed about visiting.
I finished my language school after two months of studying Italian. Then, Lorenzo and I were off on our first trip together. We spent the weekend in Venice and it was really interesting. Also really expensive, I didn’t like Venice that much but the company and experience we had was amazing.
The weekend after Venice, I was off to Barcelona with one of my good friends. We had an awesome weekend and met some really great people. There was a man who kept us awake all night because of his snoring, that was super annoying. We ate amazing tapas, drank sangria and visited monuments like, the Sagrada Familia.
At the beginning of June I spent a lot of time with my friends here, the weather was beautiful and we had many picnics in the park. I said goodbye to a lot of people because I was going travelling and they were either going home or travelling too.
On the 12th of June, I started my three month European summer vacation. It was also my dads birthday so we celebrated in Amsterdam. We spent a few days in Amsterdam visiting the main sites, eating amazing pancakes and wondering around. This city quickly became one of my favorites in Europe.
We came to Milan where I introduced my family to my life here. They met Lorenzo, his family and my host family. I took a train, said goodbye to Lorenzo because I wasn’t going to be seeing him for the next two months. I cried a lot. But, I arrived in Verona and then Venice where I spend some quality time with my parents.
Next, we took a ridiculously expensive flight to Santorini, Greece. It was beautiful, I spent my time laying in the sun, driving around the island and again, eating amazing food. It was super relaxing.
At the end of June, we returned back to Italy. This time we were in Florence and I just so happened to bump into Lorenzo. Okay so, it was totally planned when we realized we absolutely couldn’t stay apart for two months. We ate typical food from the region which is something I will never forget, the meat in Florence is incredible. Not to mention the wine.
Roma, we came and conquered, not really but, we did pick up my sister and headed down the Amalfi Coast. Something you absolutely should add to your bucket list. I saw the ancient site of Pompeii (yes I am a giant history nerd and may have shed a tear or two), travelled the coast by car, ate seafood and relaxed.
Then, we were back in Rome, by this time it was my fourth time in Rome. Yet, every street, every piazza is like a new world.
I spent quality time with my dad before he returned home and us three girls were off to Paris. A place we always dreamed of visiting together. We spent a week there and it was just incredible. We did things that I will remember for as long as I don’t have Alzheimers. We spent a day at Disney Land and ate dinner at the Eiffel Tower, these were the two highlights for me but you can read more here.
After Paris, we took an 11 hour train ride back to Milan where it was extremely hot. So we planned another escape to Lake Como. Here was kind of the last hurrah of the trip. The two months travelling with my family was over and they were off to Australia. It was an incredible experience, I saw amazing places and I am so lucky to have spent this time with my family.
I was now back with Lorenzo and on the 1st of August at 4am, I was off on my next adventure but this time it was with him. We hired a camper van (#vanlife) as well as surf boards and headed off to surf the coast of Portugal. We faced many challenges on this trip but we overcame them together and this really strengthened our relationship. You can read about Portugal here.
After two weeks of crazy surf adventures we were back in Italy with Lorenzo’s family on the eastern coast of Marche. I am really grateful for this time with his family where I got to experience the summer holidays Italian style.
By this point I am absolutely broke. My three months of travel had come to an end and it was time to get back into routine.
I turned 20 at the start of the month and Lorenzo and Eloise organised a giant surprise dinner for my birthday. My Italian host family also organised a seafood lunch with all of the family. I felt really special, which was so nice.
I made a lot more friends, drank a lot and really enjoyed the last part of the warmer weather.
At the end of September I went to Nice, France with a group of friends. I highly recommend visiting Nice and Monaco.
I began language classes again, went to see Pouya live (fan girl moment) and at the end of the month, we had a Halloween party. This month was kind of slow but nice in the fact that I was into the routine of daily life here in Milan.
At the beginning of November I planned a surprise weekend away in Verona with Lorenzo, I made little clues and gave them to him every week leading up to the trip. It was a beautiful weekend, we ate amazing food, walked around exploring the little city and enjoyed quality time together. Read about our trip here.
I also went to the soccer with some Italy friends, Fede and Marco. It was a really cool experience to be with the locals cheering for Milan Inter. Soccer is something that almost every Italian is passionate about so it was really an amazing atmosphere and experience to have.
On the 1st of December I was in Berlin with my friends. It was my first time visiting Germany and I have to say, it was pretty impressive. I caught up with my friend Max there, we saw a ton of monuments, visited the Christmas markets and partied. But you can read about that here.
I then went to Amsterdam again for the last weekend I would spend with my dear friend and fellow Aussie, Eloise. It was super cold but, as beautiful as it was in June. It’s a crazy cool city.
Now tomorrow is Christmas day and the year has come to an end but what a year it has been.
What was the highlight of your 2018?