2016 Travel Recap

It’s that time of year again. Snow is falling, wine is flowing and everyone wants to know why I am still single and where the hell I am going next! Instead of focusing on the future, since most of my posts going forward are going to be focused on Australia, I thought I would do a little reminiscing about 2016.

This was a rough year for me in a lot of ways, but it was also one of the best years of my life. I rang in the New Year with my best friend, and a lot of alcohol. I spent the first few months of the year patiently waiting to announce to Amazon that I was quitting to travel SE Asia.

2016 Travel Review

The Great Southwest Road Trip


While I was waiting to tell my manager my end date, I had a lot of free time on my hands and I ended up planning this intense road trip through the Southwest US. It covered everything from Las Vegas, to the Grand Canyon, to Zion National Park, to Bryce Canyon, and back up to Seattle. No one thought it was possible but my best friend Katy and I did it in 5 days. There may have been stimulants involved.

Great Southwest Road Trip

Bryce Canyon, Utah

On April 1st, I left my job and packed everything I owned into a storage locker and handed off the keys to my friend Taylor. After saying goodbyes to family and friends, my friend Chris and I boarded a flight bound for Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Thailand in photos

Koh Lipe, Thailand

Over the course of 5 weeks, Chris and I meandered through Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia ending his stint on my trip in Bali. Thailand will always hold a special place in my heart because that was my first country I visited in Asia and it was also where I got scuba certified.

Thailand in photos

Koh Lipe, Thailand

Koh Lipe, where I completed my certification, was the most beautiful island I have ever seen and I vowed to myself that I would be back there as soon as possible.

Singapore

After Chris left, I needed some me time so I headed to Singapore for some R&R. I spent 6 days basically hibernating in a capsule hostel, surviving only on soup and dumplings. Don’t think I am complaining, because I’m not. Singapore was awesome, super clean and modernized. They have decent Wifi, so that was exciting after spending the previous month struggling for a connection. However, the only downside to Singapore was that it was a lot more expensive than Indonesia, where I had come from and that was a bit of a shock.

Coron, Philippines

After my short stint in Singapore, I headed to Cebu, Philippines to meet up with my friend Jessica. We spent the next fourteen days island hopping around Palawan, splitting our time between El Nido and Coron. We ended our time in the Philippines back on the main island of Luzon in a resort outside Tagaytay.

Boarding the plane to head home after three months in Asia was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, and not simply because my total transit time was expected to be 38 hours. No, I simply couldn’t imagine going back to the fast paced life in the states after my downtime in Asia. I openly wept in the airport on two separate instances during this travel day.

After finally getting back to Seattle, I spent two weeks with my friend Mahvish and her new puppy, trying to enjoy my last summer in Seattle before heading off to Israel.

Brooklyn, New York

Since my flight to Israel was out of New York, I decided to plan an extended layover in the Big Apple since I had never been there before. I spent four days exploring and sweating my ass off in the city before meeting up with my tour group for Israel.

Masada, Israel

Israel was an emotionally overwhelming experience for me. I went with a program called Birthright and my provider was Israel Experts. If you haven’t heard of it, it provides free trips to Israel for people with Jewish heritage. Anyways, I bonded closely with a group of girls on my trip, learned so much about Jewish and Israeli culture, explored a beautifully diverse country and remembered those who came before us. Overall, it was probably the most moving experience I have had while traveling so far.

Blue Lagoon, Cyprus

After my ten days in Israel came to an end, I boarded a short flight to Cyprus for an additional 10 days of road tripping around the island. I didn’t know much about Cyprus before visiting and it was an incredibly interesting story to learn. I met some great girls from Belgium and spent a couple days touring around with them, before heading off to the North to explore the Turkish side of the island, which I ended up preferring. I got to dive in the North as well which was a great experience, though pretty cold.

After I returned from Israel and Cyprus, I emptied out my storage locker and drove the five hours across the state back to my hometown of Spokane, WA. When I left Spokane seven years prior, I had vowed to myself that I would never return. Foot, meet mouth. Anyways, I moved in with my best friend Katy to save up some money *free rent* and prepare to move to Australia!

Banff, Alberta, Canada

As soon as I got home, Katy decided we needed to finish the road trip we started planning back in February and head north to Alberta, Canada. We spent 4 days in Banff and Jasper National Parks, hiking, camping and exploring the beautiful wilderness.

Osaka Castle, Japan

My last big trip of the year was to Japan with my friend Tanya in the end of September. We spent 10 days exploring Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. We stayed in a traditional Japanese Ryokan, which is a hotel built around a hot spring and bathed naked in a pretty large group of women. It was really empowering and beautiful. We ate so much incredible ramen, I don’t think my life will ever be the same. I even got a tattoo from an artist that spoke 0 words of English. It was a great end to an amazing year full of emotions.

2016 Travel Recap

Countries:

  • United States
  • Thailand
  • Cambodia
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Singapore
  • The Philippines
  • Israel
  • Cyprus
  • Canada
  • Japan

Cities:

  • Seattle, WA
  • Spokane, WA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Page, AZ
  • St. George, UT
  • Bryce, UT
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Pai, Thailand
  • Ao Nang, Thailand
  • Krabi, Thailand
  • Koh Kradan, Thailand
  • Koh Lipe, Thailand
  • Ton Sai, Thailand
  • Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Tanah Rata, Malaysia
  • Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
  • Canguu, Bali Indonesia
  • Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
  • Gili Air, Indonesia
  • Singapore
  • Cebu City, Philippines
  • El Nido, Philippines
  • Coron, Philippines
  • Haifa, Israel
  • Zefat, Israel
  • Golan Heights, Israel
  • Jerusalem, Israel
  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Larnaca, Cyprus
  • Limassol, Cyprus
  • Kyrenia, Cyprus
  • Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Banff, Alberta
  • Jasper, Alberta
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Hakone, Japan
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Osaka, Japan

Where was your favorite place that you traveled in 2016? Where do you hope to travel in 2017? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

B

 

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