Highlights from an Unforgettable Year

We had so many amazing experiences over the past year that it was almost impossible to distil them down to one, reasonably short list. Looking back over my Instagram and blog photos I was transported back to each moment and it made me want to do the journey all over again! Michael and I sat together today and tried to list the most memorable of those. Here’s our best effort along with a photo for each:


A picnic dinner followed by the most beautiful, warm sunset on Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, CA.


Listening to live country western music at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneer Town after a beautiful day in Joshua Tree National Park. (Marlow falling asleep in my arms – me feeling very grateful for our adventure ahead.)


Casa Lola in Trancoso, Brazil. That house was absolute perfection. The most beautiful place we’ve ever stayed. It was the perfect way to kick-start our year-long adventure.


The amazing food tour in Rio de Janiero with Tom of EatRio. We tried tropical fruits we had never heard of before and couldn’t even pronounce!


Time spent at lovely Casa Zinc and getting to know its talented and friendly creator, Aaron Hojman.


Our day on Martin’s ranch in Uruguay – lunch in his beautiful home, riding horses around his ranch, finding a Rhea egg, watching the sun set behind palm trees and rolling hills.

Thanksgiving at Heidi Lender’s house and meeting all the interesting ex-pats in Garzon, Uruguay. Plus the band (El Cuarteto del Amor) serenading the guests all evening – so good!

eating ice cream in buenos aires

A picnic in the park followed by the most delicious gelado in Buenos Aires with Delfina and Miguel.


Surfing with Ismael in Puertecillo, Chile. Actually all of our days spent with Ismael!

surfing with dolphins

Surfing and swimming with Hector dolphins in Porpoise Bay at the very bottom of the South Island, New Zealand. It was the first sunny day after a week of rain, and the dolphins hung out for hours surfing the waves alongside the kids.


The boat tour in the magnificent Milford Sound, with cascading waterfalls in every direction and a pod of dolphins racing our boat through the sound for a good 10 minutes!

Dressing up with Sophia and India

Camping in the driveway of Rebecca and Ollie Prowie in Napier, New Zealand and getting to know their delightful girls, Sophia and India.

Raglan beach

Camping and surfing in Raglan, New Zealand – such a special little town with a hippie vibe and friendly locals.

boys on boat

Spending the day on a boat in the Sydney Harbour with our friends, Simon and Tahnee and their two kids.

Wentworth Falls walk

Camping and hiking in the Blue Mountains, Australia. The beauty!

Seal Rocks

Three happy, sunny days camping on the beach in Seal Rocks, Australia

picnic lunch

Camping in the charming town of Bellingen, Australia and meeting our camping neighbours Lauren, Michael and their two girls, Lillian and Evelyn.


Our entire month in Byron Bay! Every second of it!!

Tokyo City view

Eating pizza at Savoy in Tokyo. It was the best pizza we’ve ever eaten!

girls at rainbow centre

Spending the day at The Rainbow Centre in Sri Lanka, learning about this wonderful charity and the children they’ve taught and supported over the years.

elephant footprint

Coming to a screeching halt on the road on a dark evening in Sri Lanka with a giant bull elephant in the middle of our path. Terrifying but thrilling – something none of us will ever forget. (I don’t have a photo of this as it was dark and I couldn’t grab my camera. Here’s a photo of an elephant footprint instead.)

marlow holding hands with Jaya

A tuk-tuk drive with Jaya through the jungle outside of Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka. Watching the sun set while elephants walked in the distance.

Our 10-day stay at the Hideaway in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka. With its awesome staff and bohemian vibe we felt at home all week.

walking in zennor

A week with our friends, Kate, Joel, Sophie and Louis in Cornwall, UK. The waves never really appeared but the sunshine did!

girls on the beach

An eventful month in Positano, Italy surrounded by friends from all over the world who came to visit and spend time in this magical place.

pretty evening

The most relaxing week in Provence with our friends, Vanessa, Ceki and their three kids in their beautiful home.

Obidos, Portugal

A return to Sintra, Portugal and the amazing home of our friends Marta & Manuel and their adorable family.

21 thoughts on “Highlights from an Unforgettable Year

  1. Oh Courtney, these pictures are so beautiful. I love the one from Byron Bay and the Sri Lanka group photo so much! I’ve loved following along in your journey. It’s so wonderful that you took this year with your family. Making memories that will last a lifetime. Take care. xx

  2. What a wonderful year you have had – I can understand it was hard to write down your highlights, with so many memories and fun And special moments had all over the world and it sounds like it was just wonderful for you all. And now new adventure always (and after reading your news on babyccino it’s sounds like a wonderful adventure – congratulations). I have loved reading about your travels and it has totally inspired me. Love from Scotland emily x

  3. So much growth and love and adventure. I am THRILLED you were able to take up your roots and go on this amazing journey. There are now so many other places on my bucket list, thanks to your stories and pictures. And, there is no better end to this chapter than the news you shared. SO EXCITED for The Adamo Family of…SEVEN. Much love to all of you. Thank you for being so open with all of us and willing to share your findings.

  4. Wow- these photos are captioned beautifully. What an amazing year you have had and wonderful memories that will be cherished forever. x

  5. What an adventure! Please share your thoughts on how yo plan a gap year with kids, please. I would love to visit some of these beautiful places, thanks for sharing, I can’t believe the year is already over!

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  7. Hi Courtney,
    Its been a wonderful blog to follow. Beautiful photos and an inspiring family. And congratulations on baby 5- amazing! Your parents did such a good job installing in you such strong values and sense of family and adventure. Its nice you will also be passing those values down to five more lovely children. One thing on the blog though is why you feel the need not to comment much on the tough times. I know its negative to do so – I guess that’s the answer – but it would make it seem a bit more real to me perhaps and also reassuring!! x

    • Hello and thank you for your kind comment! I wanted to quickly reply on the topic of sharing about the tough times…

      It’s been a struggle to find the time (and decent enough wifi) to get the posts up that have been published here. My goal was to write down the highlights of our travels – the places we visited, the people we met — before any of us forgot anything, and so I have tried to post after everything new we’ve done. I also love sharing travel tips with readers, so I made it a priority to write down as many tips as I could so people could use this as a guide for their own travels.

      I feel like there is enough negative stuff happening in our world that nobody needs to read more of it. I’ve chosen to write about the upsides of travel, the wonderful places we’ve discovered, and the joys of spending a year with my family. Of course there have been grumpy moments, arguments, bad meals, cranky children, and normal low moments of family life. I can assure you were are very normal in this regard! But we’ve also been extremely lucky and there has been no lost luggage, stolen items, or cancelled flights. In the year we’ve been on the road, we have never once felt unsafe or worried about our safety. We’ve never once regretted our decision to take the year off, explore the world and spend this year with our children.

      All in all, it’s been a wonderful experience and this blog is a reflection of that.

      Thanks again for reading and leaving a comment here. x

  8. I just read this and it seems the whole trip was your hightlight, which is just wonderful. That means the whole year was worth it so much and it will be stored in your memorybank forever. Secretly I am hoping to venture out on a world trip one day as well with my familiy, but my spreadsheet obsessed husband will certainly implement certain formulas into the file to demonstrate that we would commit a big financial suicide. So, all I have left at this stage is to dream, but those dreams are beautiful. And who knows, maybe one day, we will travel anyway?

  9. wonderful collection of highlights!And yes, I think I commented this when you were actually there, but its been twenty years since I spent some time in Byron, and it still lingers in my heart and mind. I hope one day to take my children and revisit (and maybe stay a while) at this special place. And that picture with the dolphins in NZ – Just WOW!

  10. I would love to know how you know all these friends in every country! Are these new friends or do you set these trips up months in advance?

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