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My favourite photos of my 2018 travels

Annnnnd another year disappears into the rear view mirror!

venice gondola mirror

I took this mirror view in Venice so gondoliers don’t collide with each other!

I didn’t do as much travel in 2018 as I have in some years as I spent more time at home focusing on my online Travel Store. It’s a funny thing about running your own business – or businesses – you can end up with so many plates spinning that at some point you have to make a decision to narrow your focus and hone your energy.

I undertook an online mentoring course this year with Sam Ovens of (he’s astonishing with his business insights by the way). I’m not very far through it (you do it at your own pace), but one thing that resonated with me was when he drew a quick diagram to illustrate that instead of doing nine things with one inch of focus, to be successful you need to do one thing with nine inches of focus. Well I couldn’t pare back to just one thing, but I did deliberately pare down to three things to give them three metaphorical inches of focus each and have seen some good results.  So there’s a little business/life lesson right there!

This year my three prongs of focus have been this blog, my Travel Store and my hosted tours. My training courses, video content for destinations and website design for travel brokers have taken a back seat for now, but they’re still there bubbling away. I’m never short of ideas, it’s filtering them is always my challenge!

So here’s a little summary of where I went in 2018 and the highlights of those destinations in photos (all taken on my iPhone 6) to inspire your travels – which is always my aim 🙂


In February I popped over to Sydney for a travel conference (IMM – International Media Marketplace) and it was great to catch up with good PR and destination marketing friends as well as meet new people running all sorts of tourism operations. While I was there I took a lovely day trip cruise up to Parramatta from Circular Quay and wandered around on a little food tour. The highlight was learning that the Aboriginal word parramatta means where the eels lie – hence the rugby league team Parramatta Eels!

Murals in Parramatta

The pathways in Parramatta tell a story in murals


In March I had a monstrous birthday so my husband and I dashed over to Fiji and stayed at our favourite resort, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort around on the Coral Coast, for a week. It’s become our favourite place for a complete break. We had our own little bure where a happy hour glass of bubbles or bottle of beer was delivered each evening along with a couple of little bites. They have two pools and I had a new book. What more could a girl want?! Oh and four restaurants as well as neighbourhood restaurants down the road that we only discovered at the end of our week.

The highlight was spending my actual birthday at Malamala Beach Club, a tiny island just out from Denarau and run by South Sea Cruises. We’d booked a cabana for ourselves and enjoyed alternating between dips in the gin clear sea, drinking cocktails out of a coconut shell and eating the BEST kokoda (raw fish salad) I had in Fiji. It was so good I got their recipe. You can see the recipe for kokoda in this post >>

Malamala beach club island fiji

I took my iPhone into the sea to get this shot of our cabana at Malamala Beach Club!

Fiji iguana at eco park

Across the road from the Outrigger resort is Kula Wild Adventure Park, an eco park with a flying fox through the trees, a huge waterslide and this little guy! Great for family entertainment for hours.


In September I took a small group of nine fabulous people for a three-week tour of Italy. There were so many highlights so I’ll show you some of my best photos.

Rome – we stayed near Trastevere which meant we could walk to dinner, but organised rides to take us to the highlights of Rome which were the Colosseum and a little known 1st century Roman house found buried under a 4th century church which is only short walk from the Colosseum and which hardly anyone knows about. Read my post about Unexpected things do in Rome here >>

Colosseum Rome

A visit to the Colosseum with a guide is a fascinating must do in Rome

On the way to Orvieto we stopped at the gorgeous hilltop town of Civita di Bagnoregio. It was a bit of a trek to get up to it, but well worth it when we got there – and this was where I reckon I had the best meal in my whole three weeks in Italy!

Walk to hilltop town in Italy

This is the exhausting walk, but oh so worth it!

Assisi was another highlight and we stopped here on our way to Siena with a guide who talked us through the significance of this hilltop town, home of Saint Francis the patron saint of animals and ecology. He was born into a wealthy cloth making family but much to his father’s horror, he shunned the family business to become a friar, deacon and preacher. He founded the men’s Order of Friars Minor and the women’s Order of Saint Clare. He is buried here in what was once a humble grave but now has one of the most elaborate cathedrals on top of him.

View of Assisi

I can’t help but wonder what Saint Francis would have made of all this

Siena was our stop for three nights and this restaurant was where we had dinner for two of those nights. Our hotel was in a former convent just to the right – literally 20 steps away!

Dinner in Siena

How about this for pizza with a view!

Siena archways

The photo above with the tables is through this archway and up to the right. A photo op around every corner in Siena!

Florence was another three night stop and we were staying just a few steps from the famous Duomo (which I climbed to the roof of!) I do love this city. We walked over the Ponte Vecchio Bridge and I took so many photos, but these two were selected.

Florence street and duomo

The amazing view from the door of our hotel in Florence

Florence sunset on river

If I’d had a better camera this shot would have been epic! But I’m happy enough with the pink sunset colouring the Arno River under the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence

Cinque Terre is just so picturesque. It means five villages and we stayed in Monterosso and visited the others. You could easily have a week here as you can just take the train or the ferry to potter along and visit each village. Only the truly fit (and mad) attempted to walk them! Read my post about where we stayed and how we got around here >>

Monterosso al Mare Cinque Terre

The beach at Monterosso al Mare right in front of our hotel

Manarola Cinque Terre

Ok so I did lift the colours in this pic of Manarola, but it really is such a cute Cinque Terre town too! Great for some shopping and eating.

Venice is a city you need to stop and stare at for a while. It’s a maze of alleys and canals and if you see something you like in one of the shops you should get it immediately because the chances of you finding it again are slim! Read my post about how to spend three days in Venice here >>

Burano Italy

Take a day trip to Murano and Burano for glass and lace and a lovely lunch with a glass of Prosecco!

Milan surprised me. I could imagine living here. Well perhaps a few years ago. It had a London feel to it (where I did live for five years) but we only stayed for a night in one of the more trendy, bohemian neighbourhoods with some great restaurants and one of the few canals that run through the city.

Milan canal

This is Milan of a late afternoon



I spent a whistle stop six days visiting Shanghai and Xi’an in November. The highlight for me in Shanghai was the xiaolongbao, a style of dumpling that is so delicious and delicate. It has a meat filling and then soup so that you have to bite it carefully to slurp the broth up lest the boiling liquid squirt up your left nostril (I know this from experience).

Shanghai’s Bund, the waterfront boulevard along the Huangpu River, is the spot to visit for a stroll, people watching and the rooftop bars in the evening when all the lights are on. The impressively shaped skyscrapers on one side weren’t even started 25 years ago – it was farmland then! The shopping in Shanghai is also really great and I got multifocal glasses made for $85 in half an hour.

Shanghai river

The weather was drizzly when I went on a little cruise along the river so I played with the colours using several iPhone apps!

Then I flew up to Xi’an for three days to visit the astonishing Terracotta Warriors. It’s breathtaking to believe they were made over 2,000 years ago and only discovered in the 1970s buried underground. You can read my post about visiting Xi’an here >>

In fact I loved my visit to China so much I’ve put an epic tour together to take a small group there next year starting in Beijing to see the Great Wall, then Xi’an, and Chengdu to see the pandas, then a three-night cruise on the Yangtze River and finishing with an amazing shopping tour (and dumpling eating) in Shanghai. You read about my China tour here >>

Terracotta warrior archer and child

I just love this photo! This is an archer warrior and is over 2,000 years old. He still has a little colour on his back, but the little boy staring through the glass I love the most.

So that was my 2018 in photographic review! I’d love to hear about the places you went in 2018 or what’s on your list for 2019.

If you want some tips for how to take great photos on your iPhone, read my post here >>

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!