A quick two-week jaunt chosen for climate and campability, the hike was meant to be little more than a brief return to nature in the middle of a three-month Eurortip. Instead it turned out to be — literally and without exaggeration — my most life-changing trip yet.

Two weeks of driving a tiny rental hatchback places where tiny rental hatchbacks shouldn’t go, wild camping in the middle-of-nowherest places I’ve ever been, living with a forever sun, and stalking puffins. As hype as that may sound, it barely scratches the surface of the amazingness of this trip.

After realizing that archipelagos aren’t the most conducive to road trips, I decided to try my hand somewhere a little more biker-friendly, Vietnam. Riding Vietnam is a bikepacker rite of passage, and the three weeks I spent traveling from Hanoi to Saigon were some of the best I’ve spent on the road.

Yet another couple of firsts—my first long motorcycle road trip (a two week  ride from Cebu to Manila and back), and my first Philippine road trip in general. Definitely not enough time to truly appreciate it, but a good reconnaissance mission for the larger ride to one day follow.

At only two weeks, my second adventure was considerably shorter than the first. But it was no less memorable, as it was my first time solo wild camping. And in the Scottish Highlands, no less.

Not one to ease into things gently, my very first bout of solo travel was a 500-mile hike across Spain. And it was fantastic. Stunning scenery, great people, amazing food … I can’t think of a better deep end to jump into.