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Digital Nomad Life 2022 in Review

2022 definitely felt like a very different year than 2020 and 2021. Travel started out slowly and we were still quite restricted with where we could travel to, but by summer it was almost like the craziness of the past couple of years had never happened.

I managed to travel A LOT this year and I had a mighty fine time doing it. I felt like myself again. I visited seven countries and 12 states, traveling all over Colombia from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea to the Amazon Rainforest, spending time in a treehouse lodge in Peru, extensively exploring the Galapagos Islands by land and sea, hopping around Central Mexico to waterfalls, beautiful cities, and gorgeous beaches, road-tripping through Western Canada and the Western States of the U.S., popping over to New York City and Philly, and then I returned to my home country of New Zealand for the last seven weeks of the year.

Papamoa Beach

I also continued working events with Toby and we really came into our own this year, managing the glamping at the spectacular Gorge Amphitheater in Washington State. We hope to continue in the same line of work going forward because we both really enjoyed it, although it was very stressful at times.

I was lucky to not have any major lowlights for the year – I got COVID for the first time and felt like shit for a week, I was stressed and anxious over all the crap that is going on in the world right now (shootings, climate change, crazy conspiracy theories, politics, etc), scary flights, more bed bugs, body issues, vehicle issues, stress at work, skin cancer, family drama, and more – not fun but pretty normal stuff.

Frigate birds on Lobos Island

Here’s what my 2022 looked like month by month. But first off – here are a few quick stats:

Countries Visited: 7 – Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, USA, Canada, New Zealand.

States Visited: 12 – Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Texas.

House Sits Completed: 3

Hikes Tackled: 76

Way down from last year because I didn’t hike much at all during my 4.5 months in Latin America, although I did a lot of steps exploring. I did hike a lot when I was in the U.S. and Canada, and since getting back to New Zealand.

Glacier National Park of Canada

What I Spent: $25,118 (not including international flights)

I said last year that I was aiming to spend $25,000 or less for the year and I was pretty much bang on. Not bad considering our splurge Galapagos trip in March and the fact that I was traveling internationally for seven months of the year! I also traveled a lot in the U.S. – pretty much whenever I wasn’t working.

I want to keep my goal around the same for 2023 because I’ve got lots of travel plans and I want to apply for my citizenship.

(To see a more detailed breakdown of each month, check out my monthly round-ups)

Mount Rainier hiking

January: Colombia

I rang in the New Year in Cartagena, Colombia then flew to Medellin after a few days on the Rosario Islands. We spent nearly two weeks in Medellin which was just what I needed to recharge and rest after a very busy end of 2021, and I really enjoyed my time in this cosmopolitan city.

I worked on improving my Spanish a lot during this month as well as writing more. I also rescued a baby squirrel that had fallen out of its nest in a park which was one of the highlights of my life. 

Getsemani art

From Medellin we explored the wild Pacific Coast of Colombia for five days – a definite highlight of our time in the country – then started making our way south, visiting beautiful Guatape, charming Jardin, Manizales – one the coffee region’s biggest cities, and the stunning hot springs at San Vicente.

El Valle waterfall

February: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador

We spent most of the first three weeks of the month in Colombia, traveling through Filandia and Salento in the coffee region, exploring and catching up with Colombian friends in Bogota, returning to one of my favorite places from my last Colombia trip – Villa de Leyva, and flying to the Amazon to see pink dolphins and piranhas in Leticia and Puerto Narino.

Bogota City Center

We also took a boat into Peru from Leticia for three nights to a remote jungle lodge on the Rio Yavari where we did jungle hikes and boat trips to see the flora and fauna of the region.

Amazon boat tour

The last week of the month was spent in what is now one of my absolute favorite places in the world – the Galapagos Islands

We spent it between Santa Cruz and Isabela Island and the highlights included gorgeous beaches, snorkeling with turtles and seahorses, and seeing sea lions, giant tortoises, and marine iguanas. And this was just the beginning!

Giant tortoise

March: Ecuador, Mexico

We spent the first two weeks of March further exploring the incredible Galapagos Islands and it just kept getting better and better. We had a couple more days on Isabela where we took electric bikes to the Wall of Tears and kayaked to see penguins.

Flamingo flock

After a night back on Santa Cruz, we jumped on a boat for an eight-day tour and this was the absolute highlight of our trip despite rough seas and little sleep on the nights we were sailing. We traveled between Genovesa Island, Bartolome Island, Santiago Island, South Plaza Island, Santa Fe Island, San Cristobal Island, Espanola Island, and Floreana Island.

Baby seal

There were so many highlights but my absolute favorite memories from the tour was the crazy flamingo dance we saw on Floreana, close-up snorkeling with a Galapagos penguin and cute baby sea lions, seeing a turtle building its nest, all the endemic birds on Genovesa, the absolutely stunning beaches of Cerro Brujo and Gardner Bay, and snorkeling with hammerhead sharks.

Cerro Brujo Beach Galapagos

The last few days we spent in the Galapagos were on San Cristobal Island where we visited some local beaches and mostly relaxed and recovered from our incredible boat tour.

After dragging ourselves away from the Galapagos, we spent three days exploring Quito then flew to Mexico City which I instantly fell in love with, especially because the jacarandas were in full bloom. 

Roma Norte in Mexico City

We then traveled to the pretty city of Queretaro for a few nights and rented a car from there to do a five-day road trip between the incredible and under-the-radar waterfalls of Huasteca Potosina. Wow, are they incredible!

The last couple of days of the month we spent in the gorgeous town of San Miguel de Allende.

Minas Viejas Waterfall

April: Mexico

I spent the whole of April in Mexico, traveling from San Miguel de Allende to the hilly city of Guanajuato, exciting Guadalajara, and then over to the Pacific Coast for two wonderful weeks in Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita – both of which I loved very much.

I have adored Mexico since I first visited over a decade ago and I love it more every time I come here.

San Miguel at night

The last few days of the month we were back in Mexico City to explore more and to get ready for my brother-in-law’s and sister-in-law’s wedding in Cholula. Family and friends, including my Dad, started flying in, and we had multiple meetups during our time in the city.

Puerto Vallarta beach

May: Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington

I spent the first ten days of the month wrapping up my time in Mexico and it was a whirlwind of drinking, eating, and socializing in Mexico City and Cholula in the lead-up and at the wedding. I had a couple more days to recover in charming Puebla after then Dad and I flew to Denver.

Polanco in Mexico City

I had planned to stay for a week but Dad and I both got COVID on day five so we booked into a self-contained cabin in Evergreen for five nights to isolate and recover. Luckily I got to catch up with some friends and enjoy my favorite place in the Denver area, Golden, before getting sick.

I still wasn’t feeling great on day six but a late-season storm was rolling in and I didn’t want to get stuck in it as I had to get over to Washington to work, so we hit the road in the RV where we continued self-isolating until testing negative a couple of days later.

Downtown Missoula

Dad and I drove up through Wyoming and across Montana and the Idaho Panhandle over a few days, stopping to look around Little Bighorn National Monument, Livingston, Bozeman, Butte, Missoula, Wallace, and Coeur D’Alene before joining Toby in Washington.

Toby and I were contracted to manage the glamping all summer at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington and he had gone out early to work a pre-season show. 

The Gorge Amphitheater

I worked my first event there – Illenium – over Memorial Day Weekend and then on the last day of the month Dad and I headed to the cute German mountain town of Leavenworth to explore and hike.


June: Washington, Canada

After a couple more days exploring Leavenworth, I headed back to the Gorge to work another three events in a row, escaping to explore Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands, and Seattle during my days off.

Deception Pass

After the last event of the four-week run, there were three weeks with no shows, so Dad and I headed up to Canada to do a road trip.

The last week of the month we spent hiking and exploring the Canadian Rockies with the highlights being the cute town of Rossland, beautiful Nelson in the Kootenay Rockies, the walkthrough hot springs cave at Ainsworth Hot Springs, returning to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, hiking Sulphur Mountain and Johnston Canyon in Banff, and staying at the Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel.

Nelson lakeside

July: Canada, Washington

I spent another two weeks in Canada in July before heading back to work at the Gorge. The first day of the month we celebrated Canada Day in Field at the annual Canada Day water fight which was SO much fun!

Canada Day in Field

From there we spent a week visiting Glacier National Park (the Canadian one), Revelstoke, Shuswap Lake (where I volunteered back in 2013), Pemberton, and Whistler before I dropped Dad at the airport to fly out and I spent a blissful week in my favorite city in the world, Vancouver.

Then it was back to work again for the last three weekends of the month although I managed to fit in a couple of nights in Seattle with my friend Rachel between gigs.

Spanish Banks Beach

August: Washington, Canada

The first eleven days of the month I traveled in Washington and really came to love the state the more I saw of it. I spent a few days hiking and camping in Mount Rainier National Park with Toby and then five days on San Juan Island and Orcas Island with a good friend who was visiting.

Sunset San Juan Island

Then it was back to work for the last three weekends of the month with another cheeky trip to Seattle between events. The last couple of days of the month I spent back in beautiful Vancouver with a quick visit to Bellingham on the way back to the Gorge.

Vancouver False Creek

September: Washington, New York, Pennsylvania

I worked the first five days of the month at the annual Gorge Dave Matthews concert then I had 2.5 weeks off which I spent hiking and river tubing in Leavenworth, camping and hiking in Olympic National Park, visiting my friend Dani in New York City, and spending three days in a new to me city (and state) – Philadelphia.

Philly historic street

After coming back to the Gorge to work Jack Johnson, my favorite show of the year, I spent four days exploring the cute Wild West town of Winthrop and the hikes in and around North Cascades National Park which was unfortunately quite smoky from the Washington fires.

Blue Lake in Washington

I returned to the Gorge on the last day of the month to work the last show of the year, Rufus Du Sol.

October: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado

After working and packing the first few days of the month, I hit the road for a solo road trip from Washington to Colorado stopping in Baker City, Boise, Great Basin National Park (just in time for the fall colors!), and Mystic Hot Springs in Utah.

Great Basin National Park

I then spent three days in Telluride during peak colors and it was absolutely spectacular. I think the Colorado fall colors are better than New England because even though it is mostly gold, it is so much more vibrant and the scenery is a lot more dramatic. 

View from Telluride Power House

I did some stunning fall hikes, visited nearby Ouray and Ironton ghost town, and did a 4WD tour to the top of Imogene Pass. I also stayed in the best hostel I have ever stayed at, The Bivvi just outside of Telluride.

After a night in Crested Butte to see a friend, I reunited with Toby in Denver and we moved into a nine-day housesit with two of our favorite dogs that we looked after last year. We mostly just relaxed, worked, saw friends, and watched a lot of movies and TV shows. I also managed to do a couple of Boulder and Golden hikes too.

Boulder Canyon

We had another week-long housesit in Denver after that, a big Halloween party, and then on the last day of the month, we headed up to Estes Park for a couple of nights.

November: Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, New Zealand

We spent a day in Rocky Mountain National Park doing a couple of easy lake hikes then it was back to Denver for a few nights to hang out with family.

From there we headed down to visit my father-in-law in New Mexico for a few days where we visited Los Alamos, Santa Fe, and Ojo Caliente hot springs.

Santa Fe

We then rented a house for the annual family Outlaw Party over my birthday weekend in Leadville and as per usual it was a lot of fun with a fashion show, karaoke, group meals, and hot tub soaks. We then headed back to Denver where I celebrated my 40th birthday further with dinner and drinks with family and friends.

Outlaw Weekend View

And then I flew to New Zealand for the first time in nearly two years. My flight was delayed by 14 hours so I spent a night in Dallas on the way but I eventually got there and I spent the majority of the month between Auckland and Papamoa visiting family and friends, plus quick visits to Rotorua and Hamilton.

View from Mauao

December: New Zealand

I spent the last month of 2022 in New Zealand. It was a rainy one until just before Christmas when the sun finally came out for the rest of the month. 

Cheltenham Beach

I spent three weeks of the month in Auckland, getting outside to hike and swim at the beaches around the city whenever the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. Highlights were seeing the gannet colony at Muriwai, hiking and swimming in Devonport, walking between the Tamaki Drive beaches, walking out to the islands of Mahurangi Regional Park at lowtide, and revisiting Warkworth and Matakana.

Gannet colony in Muriwai

From there I returned to Mum’s in Papamoa for a few days before Christmas and then we headed to Waihi Beach for Christmas with my Step Dad’s family which is always so much fun. I spent five nights there swimming nearly every day, hiking, and doing a day trip to Whangamata and Opoutere.

After a quick stop to see a good friend and her family in Hamilton and a hike to the top of the tallest waterfall on the North Island, I spent the last couple of nights in Auckland, where I rang in the New Year at my best friend’s 40th birthday celebrations at Eagle Bar. It was one of my best New Year’s ever.

Whangamata Beach

And that was my year! It was the most travel-heavy year I have had since 2018 due to being stuck in the U.S. while I waited for my Green Card and then the pandemic. I really enjoyed working at the Gorge this year too.

I have always wanted to run an accommodation business and perhaps set one up of our own in the future so Toby and I managing the Oasis glamping at the Gorge was a very big step in the right direction for this to become a reality.

Oasis at the Gorge

I love writing these recap posts because it makes me look back and reflect on all the incredible things I have accomplished – things I often take for granted. Looking back at 2022 I realize how lucky I am to continue being able to live this life and to find work that I love that fits into it perfectly.

I’m excited to see what 2023 will bring too!

How was your 2022?

If you liked this post, check out my 2021 in review, 2020 in review, 2019 in review, 2018 in review and 2017 in review. 

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