I’ve declared it already: 2016 was the best year ever. Since 2011, I’ve summarized my travel-filled years (see my posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015), but no year has ever come close to 2016 in terms of the amount of travel I’ve been able to fit in. Brace yourselves: this may be a long one!
I’ve seen it all over friend’s Facebook posts, the media, and in conversations with friends: 2016 is the worst. Can it just be over already? Between terrorist attacks, disquieting politics, natural disasters, deaths of public figures, and just about every other nightmare you can imagine, public sentiment toward 2016 is not exactly the fondest.
For me personally, it’s been an insane year. I rang in midnight stranded outside a dark Havana, Cuba bus station after our ride failed to pick us up in time to join New Year’s festivities. This seemed to become a microcosm for the rest of the year: things never went according to plan, and 2016 proved extremely frustrating at times, but it was always, always an intriguing adventure.
Many visitors to Indonesia’s choose Bali as their destination, and, as I found out this March, it’s a remarkable place, well-deserving of its status as Indonesia’s most popular island. However, Indonesia consists of up to 18,306 islands stretching across 3,181 miles/5,120 kilometers, so there is no shortage of idyllic destinations to explore. Looking to explore an alternative Indonesian location away from the throngs of tourists that places like Bali experience year-round? Consider Cianjur.
Traveling through Asia, when it came to accommodations, I was no stranger to variety. One night, I’d be in a bustling backpacker hostel, the next a $3 per night shack with no electricity, and the next a luxurious five-star hotel. Reflecting on the trip now, I can safely say that getting a taste of all types of travel was one of my favorite aspects of the journey.
Needless to say, however, the “treat yo self” nights stood out quite a bit. And, of those nights, the Sherwood Taipei was particularly unforgettable. I recently wrote about my experience at the five-star hotel in Taiwan’s capital, but the wining and dining there was so memorable it deserved a post of its own.
When you imagine a century-old travel guidebook about Spain, you’d expect a cornucopia of picturesque descriptions of the scenery and fascinating explanations of bygone customs. After all, isn’t a travel guide supposed to feature the unmissable highlights a destination has to offer? But in the 1913 Baedeker guide to Spain and Portugal, you’ll find everything but that.
When a friend referred me to a link he had stumbled upon, the full text of this early twentieth century travel guidebook, I stopped everything I was doing to read it, drooling at the thought of a romantically nostalgic perspective on a country I love so deeply… Only to find it was definitely not what I expected.
Studying abroad in Spain, it’s hard not to fall in love with the country. Just as I did, hundreds of students who left their hearts in Spain during college return post-graduation to work as English teaching assistants, thanks to the auxiliares de conversación (or North American Language and Culture Assistants) program. Being back in amazing España is a dream come true, but how does life as an English teacher compare to the study abroad life? If you’re returning to Spain as an auxiliar de conversación, here are a few differences and similarities to expect.
My time in Taipei was all too short, with only four full days to explore Taiwan’s capital. But I made the most of my limited time there, seeing the city’s famed monuments, escaping Taipei to explore some more rural areas, and experiencing three accommodations. Arriving late the first night, I checked into a hostel, which was pristine yet antisocial, a vast change from the other hostels I’ve experienced in Southest Asia. From there, I headed to the Taipei Marriott for two nights, which I reviewed in this post, and, finally, I wrapped up my Taiwanese adventure with a night at the Sherwood Taipei.