It has been a year. There have been some definite ups and downs throughout the year. I have heard a lot of people state that 2016 has been a horrible year, and at moments I have definitely agreed. We lost icons like Prince and Gwen Ifill. Myself, along with a number of friends and colleagues have suffered personal losses of family members.
I personally have had my own ups and downs. I have had travel triumphs, personal losses, and professional gains. It has truly been a roller coaster year. So while it had some low moments, I can’t totally write off 2016. In some ways, it has been one of my best years’ yet. So here is my 2016 Year in Review.
2016 was an epic travel year for me. It ended up being even more dope that I could have imagined at the outset.
I visited eight… yes 8… new countries in 2016.
I started in Martinique, and trust me when I say that it is such a beautiful and picturesque island. I definitely could have stayed longer to actually have some time to relax. We spent so much time seeing all of the sees that I didn’t have much time to just sit and be.
Next up was my 5-country Eurotrip. I hadn’t explored Europe extensively, so I had to go big before I went home. I visited France (Paris), Great Britain (London), the Netherlands (Amsterdam), Denmark (Copenhagen), and Sweden (Stockholm). I wish I had more time because there was just so much to see, but I only had about two weeks, so I had to make it count. If I had more time, I would have definitely spent some of it in Copenhagen, where I had less than a day, and London because, well there is so much to do there but I only had a few days to explore.
Then, in November, I traversed the globe for a trip to Oz and New Zealand. After a 12-hour delay, two unexpected overnights and an international dateline later, I made it. In fact, it was such an amazing trip, I wish I had thought to extend it more than eight nights. I lost a lot of time traveling but it was worth it because I was able to accomplish one of my top bucket list items (see below).
I can’t believe 2016 was so jam-packed and that I was able to experience eight new countries. It was an amazing travel year for sure. So despite having some personal ups and downs, I can at least say that my travels made 2016 magical. For this reason alone, I can’t write off the whole year.
So I have a number of travel goals spread across a few posts. I made some major progress this year.
In my Draw Me a Map post, I accomplished a lot. I made some major progress on my explorations of the eastern hemisphere. My travel map is coming around and looks super dope now. Check it out!
Also, I have the goal of every year visiting both a new country and a new state. So you know about the eight new countries. But this year, for my birthday, I also had the chance to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico, marking off another new state. I actually really like Santa Fe and would definitely go back to this sleepy, little, Southwestern town. The mix between Latin and Native American cultures is fantastic. I loved it. (More Santa Fe posts are coming in the next few weeks).
My other goals are also coming along. I visited another continent (Australia). But in that I also took a spontaneous trip. I got to New Zealand (and in turn Australia) on a glitch fare. One night, around 10:30, I got word that there were tickets from LA to Auckland for $220 round trip. Seriously, how do you pass that up? So I booked then and planned later. And I mean way later. I was so busy with work and other trips that I ended up planning out my trip probably less than a month out and much of it was spontaneous. I have found in my travels that I have become much more “book now, plan later” which is a departure from my usual MO of being a planner. In 2016, I was super last minute with all of my international trips. Next year, I hope to strike a better balance, but if the right deal comes along, trust that I will still sign on for that spontaneous glitch.
That Bucket List Item
So I don’t have an official bucket list (as can be seen in goals post one and two), but there are just a few items that are bucket list for me. I know, contradictory. But this year, I accomplished one item that was so high on my list that I am actually kind of at peace on bucket list items for a minute second.
I snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef.
Earlier this year, when I snagged that $200 flight to Auckland, New Zealand. I immediately knew that there was no way that I was flying literally to the other side of the world and not making it to the Great Barrier Reef. I was going to figure out how to make it happen. Well, I made it.
And it was one of the most epic things I have ever done. I mean, truly, epic. The Reef is dying, so it definitely made me want to make it there even more, not to mention the fact that it is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Stay turned in 2017 for dope Great Barrier Reef coverage, pictures, and even video. It kind of made my year.
So about the blog. That is one thing that I haven’t accomplished and been on top of nearly as much as I want to/need to be in 2016. Sorry about that. Work heated up and the blog cooled down. I was very disappointed because I have truly had so little time to do what I love (write). But that’s changing in 2017. I have so many travels to share with you guys. I have Europe, Australia, New Zealand, plus the dope trips I have planned in 2017. You’ll have to check out my next post on 2017 goals for a sneak peek of what’s in store.
So there you have it. In putting together this post, I realized that 2016 has truly been a year of extremes. Highs and lows. Ups and downs. Epic awesomeness and tragic loss. But through it all, we are still here, and 2017 promises to be even better. I traveled, I saw, I conquered.
Sound off and let me know what you think. And tell me how your 2016 shaped up travel wise and goals for 2017. Who knows, maybe I’ll adapt some of your goals…and maybe I’ll see you there.