Voodoo, Mexicoland and the wurst Christmas – 2015 review

It certainly didn’t seem to hang around long enough to have been 12 months, not 52 weeks, and certainly not 365 days, but 2015 is done and dusted and the new year already starting to fly by.

Voodoo Mexicoland and the wurst Christmas

It certainly didn’t seem to hang around long enough to have been 12 months, not 52 weeks, and certainly not 365 days, but 2015 is done and dusted and the new year already starting to fly by.

It was the year that I decided to share my travel experiences and thoughts with a wider audience than just Tripadvisor, friends and family.

Maybe make a like minded friend or two online and, who knows, maybe even get a couple of people interested in regularly following me around as I explore the world. To that end I came up with a catchy name (in my mind anyway) and started to write about my goal to be Living la Vida Global, or living a global life.

Living and working in a country that offers four weeks annual leave is a huge bonus to those of us whole love to travel, add some long service bonus leave and some days off in lieu for working unpaid overtime and we managed to leave the land Downunder for almost 8 weeks in 2015.

The promise of chowing down on one of the most famous doughnuts in the world, instilled with a little bit of Voodoo, more food trucks than I could shake a kebab stick at, a chance to see some snow and the highest of recommendations from our daughter, the Wandering Donut, made the decision to start our adventure in Portland, Oregon. It was late March and turned out to be a great start to our travelling year.

I don’t regret much when I travel, but our next destination, while still throwing some great memories our way, tarnished my love of my favourite county, Mexico.

We decided on Cancun because we enjoyed our time in Playa del Carmen previously and wanted to see what the hype was about, especially now that our baby was now a teenager and it seemed somehow a little more inviting as a destination. Cancun is also a destination I am asked about regularly in my day job as a Travel Advisor so it would also be handy to see it for myself and get a feel for who should stay where.

After having been I now refer to it as Mexicoland or Cancunland, because it felt much more like another of the Theme Parks so popular throughout the USA, only this one was Mexican themed. There was so little of the charm, history and culture of Mexico that had previously won our hearts that it was almost sad to see. If I want a theme park I will find one, if I want to experience Mexico then I won’t be trying to find it in Cancun again!

Speaking of theme parks, week three of the North American expedition ended with a few days in Disneyland. I have to admit to being a fan of all things Disney. It’s somewhat embarrassing but I cry in Disney movies, and the parks make me feel like a kid again, even if my aging body finds it harder to keep up these days.

So walking in to Radiator Springs was beyond awesome, but then to have a life-sized Lightning McQueen drive by me and start a conversation, well, stick a fork in me, I’m done!

September witnessed the birth of this blog. With our love of living la vida global (the global life), I was excited to find the domain available and the rest is history! So it’s very recent history but none the less, history it is.

For anyone who has grown up in the Southern Hemisphere, listening to Christmas carols extolling the joy of frolicking in the snow or partaking in assorted seasonal beverages and snacks in front of a warming and glorious fire, the dream of having a White Christmas is alive and well.

You see, frolicking on the molten sand at the beach is not much fun, cooking a barbecue because it is too hot to stay in the kitchen gets old fast, and when the only fire is the dwelling threatening and sometimes deadly bushfire which, by the way, is not the place for any type of snack or beverage, gets old really quickly when it happens every year.

2015 was our year to experience the type of Christmas made famous in movies and immortalised in song, the elusive great White Christmas. For the first time we had no young children in our extended family to guilt us in to staying at home and, since this would be the last time the three of us travel together for who knows how long, we made some plans.

We would hit the German Christmas Markets, drinking Gluhwein and eating whatever was on the menu including lots of wurst, as a warm up before spending Christmas in Salzburg, Austria. You see, I had done a lot of research and it seemed Salzburg was one of the most likely places to experience snow on Christmas Day. Then, just to increase our chances even more, I booked us on a horse drawn sleigh ride high in the Austrian Alps. It would be perfect!

Famous last words indeed. Would you believe that 2015 saw Europe experience the hottest December in over 100 years? Not only was there no snow, but it was t-shirt weather for much of the trip. Even the sleigh had to be jacked up to allow travel on wheels across the snowless roads.

Throw in the wonderful end to the year, New Year’s Eve in Paris in an apartment on Montmartre hill and a stunning view across the city to watch the fireworks and the trip should have ended in glorious fashion. Except the fireworks had all been cancelled due to the heightened security after the tragic attacks a few weeks earlier.

So almost eight weeks of travelling and a new blog. Even with the plans being beaten and left in a dark alley I have to say one thing, every minute was better than staying back at home.

No matter what happens we love living la vida global. How about you?

19 COMMENTS

  1. I am interested to hear your comments on Cancun. David and I have tossed up whether to go to Mexico for a few years now but the safety aspect has put us off a bit. I realise that plenty of people travel there in perfect safety but D wants to hire a car and drive ourselves which worries me a bit. Chichen Itza, which I gather is not far from Cancun is top of my list of places to see.

    • I have driven in quite a few countries now Lyn, including a day trip from Cancun to Xel Ha and I felt perfectly safe for that drive. I would also have been comfortable with the drive to Chichen Itza but we did a bus tour for that. Sure there are some parts of Mexico I would not drive but the Yucatan seems quite safe all around.
      Mexico is probably safer than the USA unless you get near the border. We have been four times now and I would return without hesitation.
      By the way, I thought Teotihuacan ruins near Mexico City were way better than Chichen Itza, at least I got to climb the pyramids there!

  2. Great year of travels!! Once our little ones are older we want to go to Disneyland. I think it will be a great family trip 🙂
    For the hot weather during Xmas, I didn’t mind as I don’t have so much warm maternity clothes 😉

    • I think you should wait until the kids are 5 or 6 before going to Disney Shere, otherwise they won’t really remember any of it. As for warm maternity clothes, you can always warm up with blankets but it is not always possible to cool down in the heat, especially when you are pregnant and uncomfortable!

  3. It was so much fun to read about your 2015 adventures. Congratulations with starting the blog. It seems to be going well, right? Sorry about your experience with Cancun. However, sadly, it’s a plight of many formerly glorious destinations: too much advertisement and questionable taste recently made them less desirable.

    • Thanks for the congrats Elena. I thought I was doing OK until I just read how many followers some of the other new bloggers already have. Tourism will usually kill the beauty and authenticity of a place eventually, it’s just the nature of the beast unfortunately.

  4. Yeah, I’m with you on Cancun. Don’t get me wrong, I love the place, but feel it’s more like going to Florida (albeit, with some ancient ruins) than Mexico. It has beautiful stretches of relaxing beach, and quite the nightlife (if that’s what you’re after). But you’re right – If you’re looking for quintessential Mexico, don’t book a trip to Cancun. By the way, I think it’s a catchy name, too! 🙂 #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Thanks for commenting Rob. It’s a shame that a lot of people never get to experience Mexico beyond Cancun or Tijuana. They are certainly missing out on a lot.

  5. What an exciting year you had! Salzburg just looks beautiful, would love to visit their one day! Also a shame about Cancun, not the first time I have heard about the lack of Mexican culture there!

    • Thanks for reading Sam. Cancun is fine if you want the All Inclusive Beach Party vibe but it’s a bit like Tijuana. Mexico that was designed just for tourists with little of the real country left to find. And definitely visit Austria, we did Salzburg and Innsbruck and both were stunning.

  6. Christmas in Salzburg?! I’m so jealous. It’s incredible how fast the year can fly by; it’s already February :o. Hope you have another great year of travels though!

    • It was certainly a beautiful place to be Cameron but it’s so frustrating to see photos from just a few weeks after we left that has snow right through the city.

  7. What a great 8 weeks you had! I’m from the UK originally and used to run hotels in the European Alps in winter so know the joys of a proper white xmas – i’m sorry it didn’t work out for you! Christmas never feels like Christmas now I’m in Australia! And I share your love for Disney (I worked for the mouse for 6 months back in 2008!) – the characters still make me smile and I love the photo’s from the rides! Great post and thanks for sharing the year that began it all!

    Happy Travels
    -Vicki
    http://www.maketimetoseetheworld.com

    • Thanks Vicki, now i’m back in Australia I have to work out a way to wear my dorky Christmas jumper in July without looking more stupid than usual.

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