Reflection: Looking back so that the view looking forward is even clearer.”
So here we are. The end of 2015 and 2016 is on the horizon. Where did the time go?
2015 was an amazing learning year for me. And an amazing travel year for me. My travel journey during the course of this year is the stuff of many people’s dreams. But I want more. I am striving for bigger and better and higher next year.
Every Year: New State, New Country
One goal I have is that for the next five years, I want to visit one new state and one new country. This year, I accomplished that goal.
My new state: Texas. Dallas, specifically, is an interesting city. It’s fashion conscious (almost to a fault) but the street style is super dope. And that TexMex food was absolutely phenomenal. It changed me; it changed my perception of good queso and upped the ante on amazing tacos. All in all, what I saw of Texas (Dallas) was a win.
I actually double accomplished the second half of my goal. This year I was able to visit two new countries: Panama and Turks & Caicos Islands.
Panama was an awakening experience for me. But there will be more on that below. But the country itself was so diverse that I feel like I need to visit it again. From the U.S. influence because of the Canal to the Afro-Latino history and presence in the country, it was an amazing place to visit. I was able to explore the better part of the country in just one day, and then going on a walking (and foodie) tour of Casco Viejo. It was amazing!
Turks and Caicos was my second country this year. And when I say scenic and relaxing, that is a huge understatement. Huge. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, hands down. The water was the most beautiful shades of blue, and the sand was like walking on powder. It is the perfect Caribbean oasis. Not to mention the drinks were fantastically strong.
So this year is in the books. 2015: New State= Texas. New Countries= Panama, Turks & Caicos.
So where to in 2016? Sound off.
Have an Article Published in a Print Publication
I am so proud of the progress that my blog has made, but this year I really wanted to be printed in a print publication. I wanted to go back to my journalism days, if you will. And I accomplished that goal.
I wrote an article on Southern California spas that appeared in World Bride Magazine. And it was awesome. Such a great feeling to be back in print and I cannot wait to write more for many, many publications.
Travel on a Solo, International, Non-Business Trip
I travel by myself domestically all the time. But until this year, I had never conquered the solo international travel thing. I changed that this year, and doubled down, taking two solo international trips.
This was the most amazing thing I have ever done. I realized this year that I was tired of waiting for other people to travel with me. Tired of the stringing out of the possibility and then not going, even when the destination was determined partly because of those other third parties. So I decided to do it myself.
And the first time I did it myself was for my birthday. It was such an amazing experience. I met new people, connected with friends of friends, and made lasting friendships just from that one trip. I explored a new country, ate, drank, and laughed with others that I had just met. And I still had time to reflect by myself. Read a book. Sit by the pool. It was, quite possibly, the best trip I have ever taken. I learned so much about myself (and others) from that trip, but most importantly, it stirred up something in me. I actually like traveling by myself sometimes. I want to see the world and meet dope people along the way.
This trend continued on my second solo international trip to Vancouver. I connected with a friend of a friend who lives in the city, and we played tourist. We took in the sites, did tours, took photos, and were just generally goofy. It was really refreshing to know how easy and effortless it is to connect with people worldwide. I am still in contact with and buddies with some of these people even now months later.
I highly recommend that everyone, even if just once, try traveling solo. Start domestic if that makes you feel more comfortable. I thought it would be miserable and scary—and it was a little nerve racking—but nowhere in there was it miserable. It was good to have some alone time with myself. After all, if you can’t like yourself, how can you expect someone else to like you?
The Non-Travel Accomplishments
So those are my travel accomplishments. But I also had some fantastic non-travel accomplishments.
This year I launched a line of travel accessories in the BarrisTourista Travel Store. The line consists of six different designs, featuring passport holders, luggage tags, and three designs of tote bags. I am so proud of this line, because I really did design the items with the traveler in mind. There were things I couldn’t find so I made them for myself and others. And that’s an amazing feeling.
Along the same “things I need and cannot find” line, I created two digital products good for both the avid jetsetter and the casual flier alike. These are the Travel Sense & Cents Workbook and the Travel Sense & Cents Budget Sheets. I am visual, and needed a way to visualize my trips in calendar form. So I made it. And the workbook includes budget sheets, trip overview sheets, and goal sheets to fuel your wanderlust.
And lastly, there is the redesign of my travel and foodie blog, BarrisTourista.com (thanks for being here and reading!). This was a labor of love, but I wanted to bring you, my readers, a more user friendly, helpful, fun site on which you could follow me on my travels. I wanted to include diverse perspectives and make great foodie recommendations. I hope you enjoy the redesign and find the site helpful.
What Will I Do Differently in 2016
So what changes will I make in my 2016 travel. As much as I hate to say it… I am going to have to create a budget. I hope to travel quite a bit next year, so I want to make sure that I do it in the most economical (but really have you met me… also luxurious) way possible.
So share with me. What have you learned or accomplished in your 2015 travels? And we will come back in a couple of days with some 2016 goals. Sound off!