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2017 was a year of change and a year of growing up. It seems like so many life-changing things happened in the span of these 365 days. First I lost my job, then I got engaged! Then I went on a solo “soul searching” trip across Japan and when I came back home I quickly found a job. Shortly after, my partner and I found, purchased and then moved into an apartment within the span of 6 short weeks! And now, we just spend the first holiday season complete with Christmas tree and new holiday traditions in our own place. There were lots of ups and downs throughout the year, but I’m definitely ending the year on a high and looking forward to what 2018 brings.
In 2017, because of my lay off from work, I managed to travel a surprising 50 days of the year with a trip to Japan and South Korea, one to India and two smaller jaunts to the Canadian cities of Victoria and Calgary. With all that travel, here are some of my favourite and not so favourite, but definitely memorable travel moments of this year:
The Best of Travel in 2017
Traveling solo across Japan
I’ve written a bit about my decision to go venturing on my own and some of the key things I learned along the way. Now that it’s been over half a year since I took the journey, I look back it as one of the highlights of my year. Having no one to rely on but myself, navigating in a foreign country, forcing myself to be social and make new friends – they were all learning experiences and things that I’m proud of for accomplishing.
Reconnecting with friends
My trip to India was primarily prompted by the wedding of a dear friend of mine that I met while living in Budapest and as a result of that, my closest girlfriends from that time all descended on Chennai. It was so amazing to have all of us again in the same room. Sure we all looked a little bit older, became a little wiser, but essentially we were all the same people. Despite getting sick (more about that below), it was still so amazing to be able to reconnect with all of them. I’m really looking forward to seeing them again in a couple months when it comes time for my own wedding.
Driving alone to see the dinosaurs
I absolutely detest driving, especially in places I haven’t been before, and actively try to avoid it whenever I can. But when it came to my work trip to Calgary, I knew I had to seize the opportunity and go see the dinosaurs and hoodoos in nearby Drumheller, Alberta. I’ve always been fascinated by dinosaurs and I had seen and heard so much about the area, but I had never been, even as a kid. I was so proud of myself for facing my fear head on and driving 3 hours alone round trip to make something happen for myself. The scenery, dinosaurs and hoodoos were wonderful and I’m so glad I made the effort.
The Worst of Travel in 2017
Getting sick in India
I don’t know what it was that set me off, but I felt it coming on over the course of a day. I tried to ignore it and to keep on going, but when I started feeling faint and nauseous, I knew all I needed was rest and lots of it – and a bathroom. I had taken Dukoral, which claims to provide up to 3 months of protection from travellers’ diarrhea, prior to my trip to India so I wonder if it was helpful at all in reducing symptoms or would there have been the same feeling regardless? In any case, I stayed holed up in my hotel room for the better part of 3 days, not eating very much. Even when I didn’t have to run to the toilet every couple of minutes, I still couldn’t really stomach anything and the scent of food made me feel ill. Needless to say, my stomach was really happy to leave.
Korea was not fun
There’s a reason why I haven’t written too much about my time in Korea on this blog. It’s because I really don’t have the fondest memories there. I struggled the whole time. Between the really foreign language, the way too spicy foods and the cold, I really just couldn’t enjoy myself fully. I was incredibly grateful to have been with my partner in crime, but South Korea really isn’t for me. (Or maybe I shouldn’t go in winter?)
Losing my phone in Japan
I’m not completely sure how it happened. One moment it was in my bag and the next it had disappeared. I couldn’t remember if I had left it at a tourist information stall or maybe if it fell out. The Japanese workers at the information stall were incredibly helpful, but they didn’t have it. I filed a police report in hopes of getting it back from a well-meaning Japanese citizen, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. I think it fell out of my bag as I was getting my camera. I remember hearing a clatter of it hitting the ground, but when I was looking for what made that noise, I didn’t see my phone. It seems like I’m forever losing my things when I travel (I even did it last year) so it’s really been a goal of mine to not in the future.
30 Travel and Life Lessons from 30 Years of Life – Who doesn’t love a good life lesson post? Plus, this year was a milestone year as I hit the big 3-0.
150 Awesome Things to See, Do and Taste in Canada – With some help from other travel bloggers, I put together this mega post of awesome things to do in Canada to celebrate Canada’s 150th year. It
Reflections From a Month in Asia – My solo adventure around Japan and then heading to South Korea with my partner was a huge opportunity for learning and growth. I shared some of that in this post.
Most Popular Posts of the Year
One of my favourite photos from my visit to the Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. These ladies in their hanbok are stopping to snap a shot of the throne hall, also known as Geunjeongjeon Hall. This is where the king formally granted audiences, handled state affairs, met with foreign visitors and held celebrations. While a throne hall has been in this location since 1395, the original was burnt during the Japanese occupation in 1592. The one that you see today dates back to 1867 during the reconstruction of the palace.
The most widely shared and visited posts written in 2017:
7 Free Things To Do in Berlin – My first post of the year ended up being one of my most popular post of the year, but who doesn’t like a listicle of free things?!
Best Things To Do Along the Oregon Coast– I’m glad my love for the Oregon Coast is being shared widely.
Hakone Free Pass: Is it Worth It? – A surprise appearance! At least to me as it was just an offhand post. Since this resonated with so many people, I’m going to be creating more of these types of posts in 2018.
48 Must-Have Travel Gadgets and Accessories As Recommended By Travel Bloggers – My holiday gift guide this year where I asked other travel bloggers what their favourite item in their bag is. A very useful post!
Journey Through the Japanese Alps – A 6 Day Itinerary – My time exploring the Japanese Alps was so amazing and I’ve loved sharing all about it.
So there you have it. A look back at the year 2017 through my travels. It’s had its lows and it’s has a ton of highs. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for me!
What has been your best and worst in travel in 2017?