I began writing a year in review post in 2016. It has slowly become the thing I look forward to the most at the end of each blogging year. Writing these reviews each year has also sort of given me the motivation to keep exploring. It’s been exciting reading posts from 2016, 2017 and 2018 and seeing how my travel patterns and destinations have changed over the years.

At the end of 2018, I wrote a list of 10 places I was hoping to visit in 2019. I wound up visiting just one of the places on the list (twice!). So, I don’t feel too bad :). For the coming year, I’ll maintain the same list and see how much of it I can cover in 2020.

This year, I got to travel on a number of sponsored trips and Travel with a Pen also got featured in a few news outlets and travel blogs. I’m going to limit this post to purely travel highlights, so without further ado, here they are – My travel highlights for the year 2019…

My 2019 Travel Review…

Loft Apartments Lakowe Lakes


Mark moved to Lagos to be with me in December. As a result, we spent all of December and January enjoying being in each other’s company and exploring the city life of Lagos more. In February, I began my travel year with a sponsored visit to Lakowe Lakes Golf and Country Estate, courtesy FilmoRealty Naija Nomads was my plug and we got to spend a weekend hanging out a few friends from the Nigerian tourism scene.

Lakowe Lakes Bridge If you missed the post about this weekend rendezvous, you can catch up here.

Also in February, I joined Unravelling Nigeria on a culture tour at Casa Nomads. Here, we learned about the art of basket weaving and I gained a new sense of appreciation for the craft.

If you missed the post about the art of basket weaving class, you can catch up here.


In April, Mark and I spent a day at the beach at La Campagne Tropicana. After several years of boycotting this establishment due to poor customer services, I visited again. Luckily, this visit was much better than my first. We had a great time here, with the only downside being the traffic on the way back home.

La Campagne Tropicana beach resort La Campagne Tropicana Lagos

May & June

May kicked off a series of work trips for me. At the beginning of the month, I got the opportunity to travel to Pointe-Noire, Congo-Brazzaville for a week. I was there for a short time but I got a free weekend to explore a little.

Pointe-Noire Beach

If you missed the post about my visit to Pointe-Noire, you can catch up here.

After I got back from my trip to Congo-Brazzaville, I jumped on a plane with Mark to New York. There, we kicked off a 3 week-long trip in the US. If I had to pick one trip that defined the year for me, this would be it. In 3 weeks, we visited 5 US states, starting in New York and ending with a road trip across California.

Turo California TWAP

If you missed the uploaded posts about our trip to the US, you can find them here. In addition, I wrote an extensive guide to the process of applying for the  US visa as a Nigerian citizen living in Nigeria. You can find that here.


In July, Mark and I revisited Benin Republic. This made it the 4th year in a row visiting our West African neighbours. I am always excited to visit Benin Republic. Each trip has given me incredible memories and this last one gave me one to remember for a lifetime.

Lagos to Cotonou Road Trip 2019 - Bab's Dock

If you missed the uploaded posts about our trip to Benin, you can find them here.


In October, while Mark travelled to India, I went on my most epic work trip to date. In 2 weeks, I visited London, Houston and Dubai. It was a crazy itinerary until we got to Dubai. There, I had a few days to relax and explore the city leisurely.

Lagos to Dubai Travel

I wrote about my itinerary in Dubai (and Abu Dhabi). If you missed that, you can catch up here.


Mark and I got invited to spend a weekend at the Lilygate Hotel in November. This staycation was very much appreciated and we had a fairly good time hanging out at the hotel. I wrote a detailed review of our stay in this post. Please check it out and let me know your thoughts. The Lilygate hotel also has regular fun activities going on. You can find some of them in the post or you can follow their IG page to get updated.



I ended my travel year in Cape Town, where I spent 2 weeks training a few clients. I haven’t written about this trip yet. However, it’ll be one of my first posts in the coming year. If you’re curious about Cape Town, I visited a few years ago and have several posts on my blog about suggestions on what to do while you’re there. Check out the South African tag for inspiration…

Cape Town Travel

That’s a wrap from Travel with a Pen for 2019! Last year when I did a recap, I prayed for pleasant surprises all year long in 2019 and boy, did I get those! So I’m going to do the same this year. I’m praying for more pleasant surprises and opportunities for you and me – all year long and I am looking forward to interacting more with you all in the coming year.

Never Stop Exploring!

I love to hear from you, Leave a comment here!


  1. What a lovely year you’ve had! Best wishes for 2020.

  2. Wow Amarachi, what a year you’ve had! I really love the photo of you on the beach with the picnic box. I can’t believe you came to London. I hope you enjoyed your trip!

    I hope 2020 brings you more wonderful trips.


    • Thanks Madeline. I was in London and before I could blink, I was out! I hope to visit again and stay longer.

      I wish a wonderful year ahead!

  3. Aww I love reading these posts and you’re one of my fave bloggers!!!. What a year you’ve had and congratulations on everything. And I can’t ignore that Mark moved to Lagos to be with you! What a wow! Here’s to pleasant surprises in 2020 and beyond!!! and Thank YOU for agreeing to kickstart travfessionals this year!!!

    • Thanks Dee! I’ve absolutely enjoyed following all your adventures too. Still raising shoulders because I was the first Travfessionals! haha. When we have our alumni party, I want to be seated at the highest table!

      I wish you a wonderful year and more wins in 2020!

  4. Wow! I loved seeing 2019 through your page! Amen to pleasant surprises 😉

  5. Wow you must have clocked over 50,000 kms during the year. Didn’t you find the almost monthly travels tiring? Do you miss Nigerian food when you are out for long.

    During the year I visited Senegal, Dubai and Canada – 3 continents – which I documented in a Travel Diary (findpenguins.com) maybe one day I will compile them and start a travel blog.

    Well done. So where do you plan to visit in 2020?

    PS: Do you know of any travellers whatsapp group for networking with fellow travellers?

    • I specifically loved your trip to Benin Republic, the resort was serene and quite affordable. Also, I think it would have been nice if you visited Ouidah to pet some snakes.
      You had a great year Amarachi, keep exploring.

      • Hey Eromonsele, thanks for following my blog this year and your comments. Looking forward to reading about yours next year…

        PS: I’ve actually been to Ouidah. Travelled there during my first trip to Benin 🙂

    • Hi Ron, this year, I didn’t really travel every month. I think I did that in 2016 though and I’m going to try to do that this year 🙂

      As for Nigerian foods, I do. But I’m usually only away for a couple of weeks, so I don’t have to crave it for too long.

      Just now finding out about findpenguins.com. Seems like a great travel app. For 2020, I’m probably going to do a West or East African tour but we’ll see. Where do you plan on visiting?

      Re: Travel whatsapp group, I’m not sure of any. I think you can try checking out groups on couchsurfing or even Instagram.

      • For 2020 I am looking at visiting Mauritius as part of my African Odyssey. I have decided to focus on English speaking African countries after my communication challenge in Senegal. Lovely, rejuvenating trip but I wasn’t able to make friends.

  6. Awesome read! Very inspiring too. You visited quite a number of countries this year. Have an awesome and better 2020. Regards to Mark.