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2015 was an epic year of travel for this part-time traveller. Between work and changing jobs, I managed to go on many trips near and far. This year was a bit unusual as I was changing jobs which allowed me to get in an extra trip or two that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to with my vacation time.
I started the year off with a short family trip down to Portland, followed by a long weekend trip to San Francisco and a weekend disconnecting in Tofino. The late spring, early summer months were filled with travel as I went to New York, Boston, Chicago and Milwaukee all within a span of a few weeks. That’s a lot of travel for a part time traveller! Over the summer, I hung out in the Okanagan for a weekend and drove down to Seattle as well. The year culminated with a 12-day adventure around Japan.
I am very aware that I have had a fortunate year which allowed me to see and do so much in the world. I am incredibly grateful for the lifestyle I’ve been able to build allowing me to work while maintaining a life of travel.
The Best of Travel
I’ve had such a good year in travel which leaves me in a fortunate position of trying to decide among the best of all the good. Nevertheless, these are the moments that stand out this year:
Going to Bloghouse 2015
I had such a great time at Bloghouse 2015 where I met some really awesome people doing really interesting things as they travel and blog about it. It was a lot of fun exploring Milwaukee, a city that I otherwise wouldn’t have visited. The highlight was definitely meeting all the people.
Random moments of music
Stumbling upon this quartet in the New York subway just made my day. I love random moments of music, especially when it’s good music like these guys.
Learning how to fly
So this happened today: I learned to fly! #trapeze #circus #flying #conqueringfears
A video posted by Adelina W (@iamadelinaw) on
No not a plane, but on the trapeze! While this isn’t necessarily travel related, I conquered my fears, making it such a highlight of the year, I had to include it. Over the summer, I signed up for a trapeze class with my boyfriend. Over the course of the lesson, I learned how to flip and swing on the trapeze, but nothing prepares you for that first heart dropping moment when you step off the platform for the first time (never mind there being lots of harnesses and a safety net below you). It was such a thrill and I’m really proud of myself for not giving into my fears. I definitely want to do it again at some point!
Spending the day in Nara
While pretty much all of my time in Japan was a highlight for my year, the day spent in Nara was especially so. It was a slower travel day which I thoroughly enjoyed. Wandering around the park with the free roaming deer was a lot of fun. They could be a bit aggressive, especially when you had food to give out, but it was a very unusual experience. Look for a full post about that day shortly.
Solo in Chicago
I haven’t traveled alone in a really long time and spending the day alone in Chicago was amazing. Before getting on the plane, I was a bit apprehensive since I haven’t done any solo travel in a couple of years. Once I arrived and started exploring on my own terms, I wish it could have been longer. I forgot how liberating it was to travel alone. I ate what I wanted to eat, did what I wanted to do and when I wanted a nap, I had a nap. Amazing. As much as I love traveling with my friends and boyfriend, nothing beats wandering around on your own every so often.
The Worst of Travel
Travel isn’t always sunshine and daisies. There are definitely low points to go with all the good. Even the most seasoned of travellers are bound to run into difficulties as you explore new places. Delayed planes. Poor planning. Lost items. It’s all a part of the deal. Here are a few major and silly mistakes I made this year:
Losing $200 USD in Milwaukee
I don’t know if I lost it, it fell out of my bag or someone seized an opportunity and nabbed it out of my bag. Regardless, I was pretty hungover after a night out drinking with the Bloghouse crew and somewhere between putting my bag in storage, going to lunch in the casino and grabbing one last drink with Kate of Adventurous Kate and Cailin of Travel Yourself, my wallet which contained my US sim cards and $200 of cash disappeared. Thankfully, I had separated a little bit of money and my ID in another wallet, so I still had my license and credit cards. That would have been an even bigger headache. Given how much the Canadian dollar has fallen since, it sure would be nice to still have that $200 but in the big scheme of things, it could have been much worse. I’ll just pretend I gambled it away without the actual fun of gambling.
Getting frustrated with family
For the first time in years, I went on a trip with my family and it definitely didn’t go as planned. We were going to New York to see my brother graduate and then up to Boston to play tourist for a bit. I forgot that it just so happened to be Memorial Day weekend in the US and everything was booked up which resulted in us staying far away from the city. I was frustrated being so far from everything. I was frustrated with not being able to go anywhere without a car. I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to do the things I wanted to do. And I took it out on my family who were probably frustrated by all the same things as well. Traveling with parents as an adult is a completely different experience (one that maybe I’ll write about soon with tips, but it’s a touchy subject). That trip was an exercise in patience and definitely was not one of my prouder moments of the year.
Forgetting the simplest of things for Japan
Packing for Japan was a bit of a nightmare as I forgot a few important things. I packed poor clothing options for the trip. It ended up being a lot warmer than I anticipated and all the pants I had brought went unused and just took up space in my bag. I forgot to pack an extra SD card for my camera so by the end of the trip I was constantly trying to make room on one card I had.
I had also read that Japan uses the same plugs as North America so my plugs will work without an adaptor. What I didn’t take into account was that a lot of my plugs were three-pronged where there are only two-pronged outlets available in Japan. Cue me going to an electronic store to buy an adaptor. I had even considered bringing my adaptor but, in the end, opted to not take it along. Fail! All this could have been avoided with a bit of proper planning.
Favourite Posts of the Year
In case you missed them, as a wrap-up, here are a few of my favourite posts that I wrote this year:
- A Birthday and How I Came to Live a Life of Travel
- 21 Stunning Photos of Tofino and Surrounding Areas
- 7 Dream Places I Can’t Get Out Of My Head
- Unintentional Brushes with the Law (or What Not To Do When Using Transit in a Foreign Country)
- Who Am I? Searching for My Roots in Hong Kong
Most Popular Posts of the Year
No surprises, that my two most popular posts published this year are lists. Everyone just loves them and I can understand why. They make travel planning a lot easier. Otherwise, my popular posts are dominated with adventures in Hong Kong. Here are your favourites:
- 7 Free Things To Do in Hong Kong
- 7 Free Things To Do in San Francisco
- The Unspoken Rules of Dining Out in Hong Kong
- Visiting the World’s Cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant: Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong
- Quirky Hong Kong: A Visit to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
So there you have it. The best and worst experiences this year through my travels and a roundup of what’s happened on my blog. But where’s the food you may ask? Stay tuned for a post dedicated to all the delicious things I ate this year. Overall, it has been an incredible year and I look forward to the adventures and challenges that 2016 will bring with it.
What have been your highs and lows of 2015? Let me know in the comments below.
This post is linked up to Monday Escapes.
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Mel Hattie says
So good Adelina! Looks like an awesome year. I’m always nervous about traveling with my family as an adult because we have such different travel styles and expectations. The struggle is real.
Thanks Mel! Yep, family travel is an interesting one for sure. Happy new year!
what a great year! Happy New Year! 🙂 keep blogging!
Thanks! And will do 🙂 Happy new year!
Five Adventurers says
Wow, I have just discovered your blog! Sounds like you have been to some great places. I loved Japan, though never made it to Nara. Loved the photo of you learning to fly, my little adventurers would love it! Hope you have a fantastic year of travelling on 2016. #MondayEscapes
Thanks! Definitely, take your little adventurers to a trapeze class if you can find one. There were a few in my class and they all seemed to love it. Hope you have a fantastic 2016 as well!
Bianca @ItsAllBee says
Wow, looks like you have been a busy bee. Love the run down of the year and sorry about your wallet going walkies…I will bet someone had sticky fingers!
Yep, it definitely seems like it 🙁 Oh well. Lesson learned.
Seems like you had a great year! I never have problems traveling with my parents, we have similar styles and we get along well. This year I’ll be traveling to Italy with them, I can’t wait 😀
Lucky! We just have very clearly different styles which makes it so difficult. Hope you have a good trip to Italy!
Pinay Flying High says
I had the exact same feeling when I traveled with The Greek Mister’s family to New York but then I realized that the reason why I was getting frustrated was I am no longer used to traveling with a bunch of people. I want to do things my way and not conform my decisions with others since I have been doing it most of the time while traveling.
One piece of advice, next time you go on a family holiday – go to a beach. City tours aren’t meant for big groups of people traveling together. Hehehe.
Still sounds like a great year for you!
So true! Next time it’ll be one central location and people can just do whatever they want, whenever they want.
It sounds like you had quite the year! Hopefully there will be less bad experiences this year! I’m thinking of doing a solo trip to Chicago this year as well! 🙂
Do it! Chicago is awesome
Sounds like a great year! I loved Bloghouse and meeting you there. Here’s to more adventures in 2016!
Likewise! I hope you have a good year of travel.
Sally@Toddlers on Tour says
My high would be receiving my first comp trip as a result of my blog.
The low would be my husband getting an ear infection a week before flying out for our annual family holiday and so could not join us for the first week – lesson learnt never underestimate how long an ear infections takes to heal.
Sounds like you had them both last year. A comp trip is a major achievement. And yikes! It’s always the little things you don’t think about that have the biggest effects.
Ruth - Tanama Tales says
Awesome! You had such a great year! I am making a point of visiting more cities on the West and more National park. I am planning a two weeks trip too. So, I am expecting a year full of travels. i am sure you can say the same.
Sounds like you have quite the travel year planned! Where are you headed during your two week trip? May you get to see and do everything you have planned 🙂
Rachel G says
We were in Hong Kong this year, too! We actually took two trips with my parents this year, one to Cambodia and one to Singapore. It really is a different feeling, but both of those trips went really smoothly. I think it was good that both of those trips were places my Dad had been to many times before, so we felt comfortable just leaving the itinerary completely in his hands. In my experience, trips start to go bad when two or more different people try to take charge of the itinerary. 😛
Wow, I’m not sure I could handle 2 trips with the family. Agree that fighting over itinerary is a recipe for disaster. In my case, it’s mostly a difference in travel style and trying to figure out how we work now.
Cathy (MummyTravels) says
What a great year – I love all these New Year round-ups. And 12 days in Japan must have been amazing, it’s such a fascinating country. I love the sound of the trapeze too (and can empathize about some of the frustrations of travelling with family, I do enjoy going solo a lot!) #mondayescapes
Clare Thomson (Suitcases and Sandcastles) says
You’ve had such an amazing travel year! I was really impressed with Seattle when I visited years ago and have always fancied going to Portland, thinking there would be a similar feel to it. I really like that you’ve written about the lows as well as the highs. We all have them!
Portland is wonderful. Hopefully, you get a chance to go check it out. Very similar to Seattle but somehow more relaxed.
Claire at Tin Box Traveller says
What a great round up and twist on the ‘ this is what I did last year post’. I’ve forgotten to pack travel adaptors before – what a nightmare. I now have a draw full of them at home! Travelling with family can have it’s awkward moments – I feel your pain! Happy new year and I hope you have an amazing 2016 #MondayEscapes
Thanks Claire! Usually I’m quite good at remembering adaptors but you mess up every so often 🙂
Tanja (the Red phone box travels) says
It looks like you’ve had a great year! # monday escapes
Gina Caro says
Sorry to hear that you lost all that money. That is one thing that scares me about travelling; being stuck in a foreign country with no money EEK! Looks like you had a great year of travel though despite that #MondayEscapes
I get that as a reoccurring nightmare as well. Definitely not fun to realize you have no money.
I love reading year round ups like this! I’m glad that nothing truly bad happened this past year, though I can definitely emphasize about traveling with family and the frustrations! I hope the trip still ended up being fun though! And I can’t wait to see the pictures of the deer at Nara, and of course the post about the food!!! I also had to end up putting my food roundup in another post, as food always deserves its own, hehe.
Also, I’m glad that we finally got to meet this year! Looking forward to following along with you on another year of travels. 🙂
I’m really glad that we were able to make our itineraries work in Japan too 🙂 Looking forward to seeing what you get up to in 2016!
Corey with fifi + hop says
The title of your post caught my attention – traveling is not always daisies and sunshine and many people have a misconception about us travel bloggers! Looks like you had a fabulous year – I’m just dying to go to Japan. Hopefully in the next couple of years. #MondayEscapes
Yep, I think it’s just as important to talk about the bad along with the good. Though writing about it is definitely harder! I hope you get a chance to go to Japan – it’s such a wonderful place.
Packing my Suitcase says
I loooved your post! It gave me some ideas to this end of the year’s post 😀
You had such an amazing year! Awesome that you got to go to Hong Kong and Japan, both are high on my bucket list!
I also had some fails of my own, which also included poor packing! Sorry that you lost $200, good that you had your other wallet, this is a great idea!!
I hope 2016 will be even more awesome for you!!
Happy travels and thank you for linking up with #MondayEscapes 🙂
Thanks! I hope you have a fantastic 2016 as well!
Hi Adelina, I love that you are traveling while having a home base and job in Vancouver. I also live and work in Vancouver. I live in North Van. I have just started a travel blogging. My blog is about a month old! Go check it out. Maybe we could connect one day and go on a day trip. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for reading and commenting Kara! Always fantastic to meet up with locals 🙂