My firsts of 2018

With another year coming to an end, it’s time for a list of the things in 2018 I did for the first time. It’s a pretty big list of which I’m happy. Let me know in the comments below what your firsts of the year are!

Places I’ve visited for the first time in 2018

As you could see in my goals of 2018 blog post, I had set my mind on visiting two new countries this year. That goal was a big success in my opinion.

Countries visited for the first time in 2018

Going around Malta by boat

So, instead of two new countries, I visited 5 new ones. Actually 6, but I don’t count Zambia in this list. I only was there for 5 hours sitting at the top of the Victoria Falls.

  • Malta: with the tourism board of Malta, I did a tour of the beautiful island in 5 days. I can honestly say I fell in love with this tiny piece of land. A must visit in my opinion!
  • Botswana: I did a tour of two weeks around the county. Visiting Maun, the Okavango, Savuti, and Moremi in Chobe, and the Makgadikgadi salt pans.
  • South Africa: At the start of my Botswana tour, I did a quick city trip in Johannesburg. Visiting the city and the Soweto area.
  • Zimbabwe: At the end of the trip around Botswana, we did a stop of a couple of days in Victoria Falls. The perfect place to relax after a whole lot of adventure.
  • Latvia: With my girlfriend, I did a city trip to Riga. A beautiful city, that I can recommend to anyone loving the Baltic architectural style.

Cities /regions visited for the first time in 2018

Me and Hamza enjoying Madrid
  • Madrid: I’ve been to Spain multiple times already, but Madrid seemed to always slip past me.
  • Gelderland: A nice and nature rich region in the Netherlands. Perfect for a bit of hiking.
  • Ameland, Vlieland, and Terschelling: A couple of the Wad Sea Islands I got to visit for the first time.
  • Strasbourg: A little city in the North of France. I did my yearly road trip with my best buds there. Unfortunately, I was sick for a big part of the trip. So I’ll have to do a re-do soon.
  • Rheinland Pfalz: A road trip in Germany. For me this was the ideal trip to make during the autumn.

Things I did for the first time in 2018

Erica enjoying Disneyland

It’s not all about just going to places for the first time. Some things I did in places I know really good. I just didn’t do the things yet.

  • Beer tasting: I’ve done a lot of beer drinking already, I just never had someone explain to me how to actually taste it properly.
  • Road tripping with srprs.me: Srprs.me is one of those super fun agencies to book a trip with. As the name suggests, it’s always a surprise. This was the first time I did the road trip with them.
  • Organizing a photo meet-up: I organized one with a friend. The turn-up wasn’t so great, but we had fun doing it anyway.
  • Shooting a full wedding day: My friends got married, so naturally, I did their photography. It was the first time doing it for me. I am happy I got to be an important aspect of their big day.
  • Waterskiing: On Malta, I had the option to try and do waterskiing. Trying is an important word here. I didn’t manage to really do it properly. I blame it on the waves.
  • Flight simulator: With my dad and siblings we booked a session in one of Schiphol’s flight simulators. I actually managed to take-off and land my airplane without too much damage.
  • In a magazine: Thanks to my ambassadorship for Huawei, I was able to do an interview about smartphone photography in a big Belgian magazine: De Morgen.
  • Being sunstroke: I already talked about being sick in Strasbourg. It was a sunstroke, and the first one I ever had. I still secretly blame the cheese Hamza bought.
  • Disneyland roller coasters: I’ve been to Disneyland before, but only as a little kid. My sibling got to ride the rollercoasters, but I was too small. Finally, I did get my dose of Disney rollercoasters. And it was a lot of fun!
  • Sleeping in a Yurt: A dream for a long time. I wish it would be in Mongolia, but a Yurt in Arras, France is more than enough too. Let’s call it practise for the time I actually get to go to Mongolia.
  • Driving a Land Rover Defender: I’ve driven many cars before, even a Land Rover Discovery, but the Defender was due to happen. So I’m happy I got to take it on a road trip through Rheinland-Pfalz.
  • Flying a helicopter: I didn’t control the helicopter, but in the Okavango Delta I got the chance to fly one. It was awesome seeing the elephants, hippos and other animals from the air.
  • Being scared in an airplane: I’m normally pretty comfortable in an airplane. Even when it hits turbulence. But in a recent flight, I felt like we dropped quite a bit. Since I’ve been fearing to feel the same event again.
  • Rafting: Getting a chance to white water raft on the Zambezi river, I had to do it. First I was a bit hesitant, as it sounds quite dangerous. In the end, though, I enjoyed it so much. A real must-do in Victoria Falls.

Animal encounters I had for the first time in 2019

The first leopard I saw in my life
  • Eating moose: In Riga, I saw it standing on the menu, so obviously, I had to try it. It’s okay, but not something I would crave for.
  • Eating zebra: same as with the moose, it’s a great meat for steak. Omnomnom.
  • Getting chased by a hippo: A bit of a surprise to me. A lot of adrenaline. Would not really recommend to do it again.
  • Completing the Big 5: with leopard and buffalo as the final two. I already saw elephant, rhino, and lion in Namibia three years ago. So I was more than happy to see these two animals. I even saw them a couple of times.

First time seeing these animals: leopard, cheetah, African wild dog, aardvark (but it was roadkill), vervet monkey, hippo, roan antelope, sable antelope, African buffalo, sitatunga, waterbuck, banded mongoose, secretarybird, African fish eagle, and loads of birds.

So what did you do for the first time this year? Let me know in the comments below!

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