With most of my life still stretching out ahead of me, I have to say that I’m thrilled with how much travel I’ve been able to accomplish so far. However, the world is massive, and the more I see, the more I want to see. Fortunately, I’ll be taking off on a huge trip in just over a month, which will allow me to tour many of the destinations I’ve been dreaming of for years – the current plan could have me seeing over 25 new countries by the end of 2016!
Oh the amazing things I’ve seen so far! Ollantaytambo, Peru in 2011
While there are plenty of ideas that I’m actively working toward or that should be easy enough to accomplish within the next few years, here are a few of my more grandiose travel dreams that I fantasize about experiencing at least once in my life.
Truth be told, I’m not sure if Zagreb, Croatia would have ever made it on my radar had it not been for an inexpensive and convenient flight from Madrid to launch our Balkan adventures. But oh am I glad that it did.
St. Mark’s Church in Zagreb
The Balkan Peninsula is a fascinating region to visit today because of its recent troubled history. Most of us grew up watching the area plagued with war and perhaps never would have believed that the Balkans would soon become a hotbed of tourism and resorts. Not surprisingly, from the end of the Croatian War of Independence until today, the number of annual tourists in Croatia has grown 442%, and talking to any backpacker in Europe, it’s clear just how popular it’s become.
Christmas may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still work on our wishlists the future! Whether you’re dreaming of travel or jetsetting around the world, there’s no shortage of nifty and useful travel gifts for you. After previously sharing my Christmas gift guide for adventurers and another for those on the go, I’ve narrowed down my newest picks: here are the latest and greatest travel gifts I’m drooling over these days.
Taking my new Pins to Kill leggings for a spin at Sydney’s Coogee Beach
Traveling the Balkans in the summer of 2013 ruined my life forever.
Two summers ago, I set out to make the most of my final months in Europe, not knowing yet where I would be heading next but aware that this would be my last opportunity for a while to take Europe by storm.
Swimming in Hvar, Croatia
I had been able to travel extensively throughout the continent during my years of studying and then teaching in Spain, but there were still far too many parts of Europe that I had yet to discover. In the months leading up to the end of my time as an English teacher, my vague idea to see Eastern Europe secured a travel buddy (then two more), became a more developed plan, and then eventually turned into a thorough itinerary for exploring much of the Balkan Peninsula over a period of five weeks.
Living overseas, one of the things I miss most about living in my hometown of Los Angeles is the buzz of the entertainment industry. Over the years, I’ve attended talk show tapings, been a seat filler at major award shows, wandered down from my UCLA dorm room to spot celebrities at red carpet movie premieres, and stopped to watch film sets I’ve accidentally stumbled across.
Attending the Juno premiere in Westwood in 2007. (Jason Bateman! Allison Janney! Michael Cera! Rainn Wilson! All up close and personal)
In September 2013, after two years of teaching English in Spain and with the future wide open, I made the massive decision to move to Sydney. It was originally intended to be a three to six month working holiday, during which I would pad up my resume with a contract role, see Australia, travel nearby regions, and then head home to the U.S. to start the rest of my life.
But things didn’t go exactly according to plan. I found myself gradually settling into Sydney life and loving my job, and soon my company was asking me to stay long term and sponsoring me for a visa. Next thing I knew, “three months” in Australia had turned into over two years, with no plan to leave.
Another year in the books already! Just a few days into 2016, I’m going to make a bold prediction: this will be one of the best years of my life, on account of a big travel announcement I’ll save for an upcoming post. That said, 2015 was also quite the year. Though it didn’t take me to as many destinations as other years have (see my recaps of 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014), I marked my second anniversary of moving to Australia and continued exploring the country and beyond. Here are my travel highlights from 2015.
Wrapping up 2015 in Trinidad, Cuba
There’s no better way to see a city than being shown around by a local, so imagine my luck when I learned my sister would be spending her summer living in Geneva, Switzerland. I shared our first day’s adventure last week, in which we took a cable car to the top of nearby Mont Saleve, France for magnificent views. The second day of the trip, however, had two primary missions: touring the United Nations and watching the Swiss national soccer team take on Cyprus in a World Cup qualifying match.
Flags on flags on flags at the UN