Truthfully, I thought this post would have been written at the Café del Mar in Cartagena as I watched the sunset over the Atlantic, breathing in the ocean air while enjoying a refreshing beverage. Enjoying a nice quiet moment to myself as I reflect on the last year of travel and then looking forward to another year of adventures. I guess you could say, this time of year would be a personal new year for me. As cliche as it sounds, life threw me a hell of a curveball which sent me straight back to home base instead.
Between work and personal travel, last year was pretty amazing as I got to make my way to a number of different places and learned a lot along the way. Kicking off a new year of travel in the streets of Bairro Alto in Lisboa, I had a gut feeling that it was going to be a pretty epic year. What can I say? I fell in love with solo travel.
In the fall, I made my way to Canada’s west coast and got to spend some time checking out Vancouver and catching up with an old friend. Never really travelling through VanCity, I was loving the mellow vibe and the gorgeous scenery as I cruised along the seawall on a bike. Loved the cute boutiques, cafes and restaurants but I most enjoyed the opportunity to hangout on the beach with a cup of tea. I ended up fracturing my big toe but didn’t let that stop me from continuing on my travels.
In January 2015, I took my “trip of a lifetime” to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador which was really an incredible experience. Having the ability to backpack the Galapagos was awesome, and can honestly say that I can die happy. The experience playing with a wild penguin, free diving lava formations, swimming with sealions, stingrays, sea turtles, puffers, sharks and the various rays in their natural enviornment is amazing. I met amazing people and some of which I still keep in touch with 🙂
Mainland Ecuador is a land of adventure in itself. The people are lovely and helpful, but the different landscapes within hours of each other is pretty impressive. Whether you’re beach bumming in Montañita, checking out the architecture in Cuenca, hanging out in Quito or adventuring in Baños; this is a country that has something for everyone. Heck – I jumped off a sketchy bridge in Baños for $20. I absolutely LOVE Ecuador and have no doubt that I will be back.
One would think that there’s not much of anything to do in South Dakota, but honestly, I am really glad I had the opportunity to spend time there. Custer National Park is absolutely stunning with its scenic views, hiking trails and wildlife roaming free to the point where they are the reason there are traffic delays. Checking out the Wind Caves and hiking some gnarly trails in the Bad Lands.
Even the sweet city of Sioux Falls, SD is a great place to stop to satisfy your inner foodie. I was pleasantly surprised by the great restaurants, cafes and boutiques. Truly, this is a hidden gem for foodies given that Top Chef Dessert winner Chef Chris Hanmer has opened an incredible french pastry shoppe in town. Macarons are amazing.
NYC and the Jersey Shore in early June were a great way to end off my year of travel. NYC rarely disappoints as there is always something new and delicious to eat, things to buy and of course, vino tinto to drink.
The buzz of NYC always gets the blood rushing given I maneuver the metro like a champ and can make my way from one office to another. The smaller blocks, quick walking people and food trucks make it feel like my second home. Although, this time I didn’t get a chance to make my way to the Jimmy @ the James 🙁 Although, I got pretty stellar view from one of my morning meetings and that’s the beauty of NYC.
My time in NJ was definitely incredible as I got to chill out by the beach and I have to say the real Jersey Shore experience was awesome. Cruising on a bike to hang out on a white sand beach, surfing and getting pounded by the waves, relaxing by a firepit in the evening, having my first SUP sesh of the season, boating around the bay, and succumbing to the delish Jersey culinary delights of crumb buns and pork roll sandwiches.
This past year of travel was pretty sweet, and I am very fortunate to have the opportunities to travel. I’ve learned quite a bit of myself over the past year and am looking forward to the experiences that are to come.
As of right now, I’m hoping to travel to Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Argentina and Uruguay.
Let’s be honest, I have no idea what the next year has in store for me, but I’m hoping that it will be another year of travel experiences and opportunities.