The year two-thousand sixteen has been a doozie. Let's look back and see what happened.
Through 2016, I have had the same full-time position sales position with a non-profit hostel chain. I've stayed in the same apartment two suburbs out from Boston (Somerville, MA). I've stayed single; though I did go on a load of good/great/bad/boring dates throughout the year.
Travel's Impact on my 2016:
Looking back... I did WAY more than I thought! Spent a lot of time tired and yearning for my own bed, but I put in quite a few miles this past year!
I got to know Boston a little better.
Throughout the year, I pushed myslef to get get a little more intamate with the city. Some highlights include: visiting the Harbor Islands, a private Fenway tour, and taking a few of my days off to explore neighborhoods I had never been before. I was also lucky enough to host some of my Korea-era friends in Boston for a long weekend in January. [Read a bit more about Boston here!]
I flew west to San Diego.
In February I made my first trip to SoCal. I had set a goal to spend no more than $200 total while there, and nailed that budget! [Read more about my time in San Diego here!]
Houston made me appreciate coffee culture.
Houston was a weird, random choice made based on a JetBlue sale. Though it won't go down as a favorite location (partially because I could not find good coffee), it certainly had some really cool things going on (um, hello NASA!) [Read more about my Houston trip here!]
We exported our parents.
For their 30th wedding anniversary, my siblings and I went in on a trip to Ireland for my parents. We knew it was something that they wanted to do, but would never prioritize it over taking care of stuff for us. The best part about it was that we were able to book them into Ashford Castle in County Cork - a place where both my mother's parents and father's parents had stayed in the past!
I didn't resist the urge to return to the island.
I made some pretty cool friends in Nicaragua back in 2015, and had friends who were travelling through in May, so I took some time off and combined two reunions into one!
Someone called me an "expert."
In June, I co-led a workshop on travelling to Korea with a Korean colleague. It was pretty darn cool to be considered well-versed enough to teach on the subject!
I blushed like an idiot at the US-Canada border.
I drove north from Boston through Vermont on my way to Brockville, ON - and though I would usually cross from NY directly into Ontario, I needed to make a stop in Lancaster, ON so it made more sense to cross into Quebec. Holy HOT French-Canadian border guard.
I sweat my bum off in New York City.
My sister moved to (just outside) NYC in January and I was finally able to visit- one very hot weekend in June. I followed a few fellow bloggers' tips on cheap eats/activities and even got a special view of the Flatiron Building... from inside the Flatiorn Building!
I fell deeper in love with Ontario while celebrating... love.
I flew up to Toronto for a bachelorette party, but was fortunate enough to spend the first night outside the city in this cool place called Burlington. I had a great time with the bridal party and then I got to hang with some other Korea friends! [Read more about my time in Toronto here!]
I celebrated liberty on July 4 and then partied on the Liberte on July 6.
My uncle's brother owns a schooner and does really cool tours from Falmouth (Cape Cod) around Martha's Vineyard. My parents knew I wanted to find something special to ring in my 30th birthday and surprised me with an afternoon sail.
I was sufficiently creeped out in Salem, MA.
Salem is almost like a real-life Halloweentown. Though the home of the Salem Witch Trials is a year-round destination, the place really comes alive (well, undead maybe) in the fall. [Read more about my time in Salem here!]
I was stunned by the maturity in Scotland.
I mean... signs that read "To Let" would be obvious targets for American teens. NOT ONE of them had cheeky little "i" scribbled in between. The rest of my time in Scotland was just as mystifying and magical.
Crumpets became my new obsession in England.
Why they haven't become a national sensation in the US is an utter mystery to me. In Leeds... I ate crumpets. In London... I ate crumpets. In Essex... I ate these little chocolate cookie things that I am basically dying because I can't get them here. My crumpet tally was no fewer than 10 in the 7 days in England. I did other cool things, too.
I didn't have a typical tourist visit to Amsterdam.
I ate pie and walked around and took pictures. It rained pretty heavily on my first morning, but after a quick wardrobe change, I took on the sunny afternoon and did some hardcore exploring.
I made intentional choices to see some travel friends.
The Korea reunion in January, the multiple trips to Canada, the all-too-short island vacation, and a quick drink in Boston with a new friend I met on that tiny little island.... all little things that helped get me through the year. Boston can be a difficult place to find people who love, or even understand, the travel obsession.... so importing friends or exporting myself has become a huge coping mechanism for me.
I cried at a concert. Ok, I cried at two.
Not travel-related, but a massively huge dream came true for me in June. I've been deeply in love with the band Thrice since 2003. Not only are they talented musicians, but very smart lyricists (I could go on, but I'll stop). They "took a break" while I was in Korea and I was devestated that I would never get to see them live. Well, they had a reunion tour, and in June they passed through Boston. I bought myself one ticket and went and had a rad fncking time. They have a couple songs that I find particularly inspirational, and when one came on.... I got so excited.... that I cried a little. I cried.... by myself... at a post-hardcore punk show. I'm so hip and with it. Oh, and then my uncle had 2 extra tickets to the Billy Joel concert at Fenway, and my Mom and I were able to go. And I cried at that, too - again, because I was so excited and happy to be there.
I felt very lucky.
There were a few times over the course of the year where it really struck me how lucky I was to have such a wide network of friends from both regular travels and living in Korea. Nicaragua, for instance: not only was I returning to a place I loved, but I was also meeting up with two of my favorite people, while also reuniting with the fabulous friends I made that live on the island. Like, how surreal is that?! However, the "I'm really lucky" feeling was most pronounced when I was standing under some massive tree on a golf course in Prescott, ON rehearsing for my friend's wedding. It was a real "wow" moment to stand in the bridesmaid line and realize that if not for travel, I would not have been there, and would not have those wonderful, life-changing friendships. Ugh, scary to think about!
So even though 2016 was, ermmmm, globally eventful, and I certainly had my own personal ups and downs.... looking back, there was still a lot to be grateful for!
- What great memories did 2016 give you?
- Did you travel somewhere new? OR return to an old favorite?
- Did you visit somewhere new? Or explore your own area a little more in-depth?
- Were there any big "a-ha!" moments this year?