The 10 Year Challenge, but with Travel Destinations

10 year challenge

The 10 year challenge is back in full swing, and I’m game. For reference, here was little 15-year-old Maggie then…

2009 Me | Broke Girl Abroad

And now, dis me…

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Nobody ever believes me when I tell them I’m a natural blonde, but ya know, it’s true. It doesn’t look right at all, but it’s true.

So let’s take this challenge a bit further, shall we? This is a travel blog after all, let’s make this trend travel themed! The 10 year challenge: your favorite trip you went on in 2009, and in 2019.

Or, if you’re like me, and have no record of anything beyond a certain time point, we can cheat and do 2010. I won’t tell.

2009: Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawai'i | Broke Girl Abroad

10 years ago, I was off on a plane to the Big Island of Hawai’i. I left with my dad and brother to visit my aunt and uncle who were living there at the time. Can you imagine? Living in Hawai’i! Such luxury.

My aunt and uncle are cool folks like that. They’ve each got a PhD, so when they’re tired of wherever they’re at, they just find a new amazing place and wait for people to fall over themselves to hire them. It’s sweet living. They’ve spent years on American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, a Navajo Reservation, the Oregon coast, and more.

In 2010, Hawai’i was their paradise of choice, and they had a little house in Kona. So off we went on the longest flight I had been on at that point (six hours). 

The Big Island of Hawai'i | Broke Girl Abroad

We spent two weeks on this gorgeous island, and looking over my pictures, I’d 100% go again. Only now, my aunt and uncle are in Oregon, so I’d have to find my own accommodations and transportation.

At the time, I’m not sure smart phones existed. Maybe they did, but they were so far out of my reach I didn’t even care. I had a flip phone, and it took surprisingly decent pics. They’re not the best, but for the technology at the time, I’m impressed!

Some of these photos I had to guess at. Like, I know what we did, but I don’t have the photographs to prove it. And the quality isn’t stellar. Could be black sand or dried lava. Hard to say, but I gave it my best guess.

Source: i.pinimg.com

One of my fondest memories was at Punaluʻu Beach. It’s a black sand beach created by the lava flow into the ocean. It’s also a great place to turtle spot. I remember seeing a family of seven and naming them after the Weasley kids.

Kona, Hawaii | Broke Girl Abroad

We hiked through ʻAkaka Falls State Park, which has views of some breathtaking waterfalls. 

Kīlauea, Volcanoes National Park | Broke Girl Abroad

Kīlauea was a definite highlight. It’s an active shield volcano that looks equal parts cool and dangerous. You’ll find it in Volcanoes National Park.

Thurston Lava Tubes, Hawai'i | Broke Girl Abroad

While we were there, we also walked through the Thurston Lava Tubes. We… walked through a volcano. The drive there was pretty neat too. It’s marked by tall ferns. I remember feeling like I was in Jurassic Park.

Source: dissolve.com

You can even walk on some of the dried lava flow. I distinctly remember seeing this exact image in person, and losing my mind. I laughed so hard and immediately bought the postcard of it to send to my mom.

Orchid Show, Hawai'i | Broke Girl Abroad

My aunt is hugely into orchids, and Kona isn’t exactly short on them. I know we went to an orchid nursery, I just can’t remember which one. I’m pretty sure it was Akatsuka Orchid Gardens. Either way, very cool.

Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center | Broke Girl Abroad

Both my dad and my brother love the Mauna Loa macadamia nuts. They’re based on the Big Island and… did you know you can go to their Visitor Center? We did.

The Big Island of Hawai'i | Broke Girl Abroad

And snorkeling. So much snorkeling. Mostly near the Captain Cook area, but anywhere we could, we did. When in Hawai’i, you snorkel. It’s the most beautiful, unreal sites you’ll ever see.

I know I’m leaving stuff out. Like, I’m pretty sure we went to Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, and did a lot of scenic drives. We ate at Sam Choy’s every chance we could, because the seafood was out of this world. I also ran my first 5k there, and the scenery was unmatched.

So yeah, definitely going back. Anyone wanna tag along?

The Big Island of Hawai'i | Broke Girl Abroad

2019: Montreal and Quebec City

In terms of my favorite trip of 2019, that’s a tough one. I‘ve made six trips with one left this year, and loved them all. I’m bad at picking favorites. Damn these destinations for all being so wonderful!

I guess I’d have to give the title to my 4th of July adventure to Montreal and Quebec City. It was my first solo trip and I loved every minute of it. I walked through so many incredible museums, saw a massive waterfall and had some of the best food that I’m still dreaming about. I look back on what I did and wouldn’t change a thing.

Montreal Botanical Gardens | Broke Girl Abroad

My first full day in Montreal, I woke up early so I could be first in line for the Botanical Gardens. It was surreal. I had whole areas to myself.

War Flowers exhibit | Broke Girl Abroad

At Château Ramezay, I got to see War Flowers, the temporary exhibition and loved it. It’s hands down the best temporary exhibit I’ve ever seen!

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal | Broke Girl Abroad

Then, of course, the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal took my breath away. I still get wistful when I look at pictures. How gorgeous is this basilica?

Épicerie J.A. Moisan, Quebec City | Broke Girl Abroad

Food wise, in Quebec City I got to dine in North America’s oldest grocery store! I just think that’s so cool.

Rue du Petit-Champlain, Quebec City | Broke Girl Abroad

Just walking through Rue du Petit-Champlain was enough for me. It’s supposedly one of the prettiest streets in North America, and I believe it.

Montmorency Falls | Broke Girl Abroad

I also got to see Montmorency Falls, which is even wider than Niagara Falls and absolutely amazing.

Library Claire-Martin, Quebec City | Broke Girl Abroad

And then there are the cute aspects of Quebec City, like Library Claire-Martin, located in the former St. Matthew’s Anglican Church.

Place Jacques-Cartier, Montreal | Broke Girl Abroad

I’m only scratching the surface, but yeah, I think Montreal and Quebec City are the winners here. But, Costa Rica is next month. Who knows? The #1 may be usurped. 

So now, I’m gonna turn the tables back to you. Let’s do the 10 year challenge: travel edition. Favorite spots in 2009 and 2019! Aaaaaaaaand go!

Tell me your favorite trip of 2009 and 2019 in the comments below!

10 year challenge

Pin this new take on the 10 year challenge!

Safe travels!


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[…] waterfall was an immediate highlight during my time in Costa Rica. It strongly reminded me of ʻAkaka Falls State Park on Hawaiʻi Island. Only in this case, you can walk down, swim underneath the waterfall, and see it […]

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