Happy New Year and recap of 2014

I hope all of you have had a great start of the New Year. I celebrated the New Year in Ghana, where I was also celebrating last year. Between the two celebrations, a lot has happened though, and it has been a good and exciting year for me with lots of changes.

The first five months of 2014, I was living in Bolgatanga, a small city in the northern parts of Ghana, close to the border of Burkina Faso. Moving from Accra to a small town, living in a family house in a village environment was a big change, but as soon as I managed to adapt to the hot and dry weather I loved it! I There are not much going on in Bolgatanga compared to Accra, but I loved the quiet village life, and having time to live life in my own pace, falling asleep when I was tired and waking naturally instead of adapting to the alarm clock. Walking to the market was an experience every time, and I learned to cook new food and learned to take the time to meditate and day dream when I was washing all my clothes by hand. In the evenings, I shared food and beer with friends, and I did my best to conduct my online journalism studies. I got some great insight as I was writing my articles from life in Ghana, and I managed my exam quite well.

Soe Bolgatanga - village life

Local food - gare with oil and hot pepper

After a year in Ghana reality was calling though, my bank account was empty and it was time to make some money again. Before I moved to Ghana I had worked as a scientist in research for more than 10 years, but my love for writing and online publishing made me change direction. I was lucky this time, and my effort of blogging, writing and doing social media for years paid off: I got a short contract as a web editor and communications adviser at my old work place. The short contract turned into extension, and I´m still there.

Moving back to Norway was hard
Every time I come back from long travels I struggle to settle down, but this time it was worse than ever. I loved my new job and the opportunity to be a web editor for a large website, and I learned many new skills. I loved to meet my family and friends, and it was somewhat peaceful to come back to my old apartment and my two lovely cats. Still, I was not able to settle and be happy. I know for sure part of the problem was that I had to leave my boyfriend for the last nine months in Ghana, and that was difficult. However, the travel bug is a killer when you have to go home, and the urge of traveling is overwhelming.

By time, it calms down though, and I got back into normal life.

Press trip to Egypt
In October, I got a chance to join a press trip to Egypt, and I finally got a chance to see the pyramids and enjoy meze by the Nile and to taste the local´s favorite falafel. All though the trip was bad planned from the organizers, I had a great experience of Egypt, and the best experience was diving for the first time in the Red Sea. I always loved water, and to be able to go deeper under water and see the beautiful corals and be surrounded by the water was an amazing experience.

mercure_meze

I also got the chance to see Egypt as a local, just the way I like it! I have a friend who lives in Cairo, I met her when she was doing her Ph. D. in Norway. She and her family showed me around their local area, and made me taste my way through falafel, local salads, and he typical Egyptian sweets. The day I had with her and her family makes me want to go back to Egypt, to explore more on my own.

Nordic Nomads
Another exciting aspect of the press trip was the opportunity to meet other Norwegian travel bloggers. Through all the years I have been blogging, I have connected with bloggers through international networks. During the time in Egypt we were five bloggers who decided to go together to build a network for professional travel bloggers, -writers, and –photographers owning their own publishing platform. The website for Nordic Nomads will be launched January 8th, just before the annual travel fair in Oslo.

First time in Berlin
This year I also visited Berlin for the very first time. I stumbled upon some cheap tickets, I found a great place to stay through AirBnB, and I was lucky enough to hit the weekend of the 25 years anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. Berlin was packed with people, and along the former course of the Berlin Wall a new temporary Berlin Wall was built with thousands of illuminated balloons. What I enjoyed most with Berlin was actually the great selection of vegetarian and vegan food, and I went on a vegan food tour with vegantoursberlin.com to find the hidden gems of vegan food and explore some food markets.

vegan food tour berlin

Berlin fall of the wall

Back to Ghana
I was planning to stay in Norway and celebrate the holiday with my family this year, but last minute I changed my plan…. My fantastic boss managed to give me three weeks’ vacation on short notice, and I booked my ticket to go back to Ghana for the holiday!

back to local life in bolga

It was great to come back to spend time with my boyfriend, and to catch up with friends and family. I´m stuffing myself with banku and groundnut soup, kelewele, bofroot and fresh fruits. Despite catching the worst cold I had in years, spending half a day in hospital to get treatment, and spent most of the new year coughing and sleeping, I am not recovering and getting ready to enjoy my last week in Accra!

2015
For the moment, I have not made any travel plans for 2015. However, I´m hoping to catch up with some old friends around the world, to attend a few blogger conferences and to explore at least two new destinations during 2015.

What is your best travel tips for 2015? Please help me to get an idea of some exciting destinations!

About the Author Elin

I´m an Oslo based web publisher with passion for communication, travel and a green lifestyle. When I travel, I prefer to go slow, sustainable, and “live like a local”. Why slow? It is about challenging the cult of speed, and to enjoy the small things in life and to live in the present.

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