Before you say anything, let me first admit that I am all too aware that it’s the middle of the month – ergo this should really be titled What I’m Getting Up To In The Next 2 Weeks.
I apologize for the late preview post but my brain was determined to stay on vacation well into the New Year and as I’m a naturally kind person, I let it delude itself into thinking that procrastination was perfectly acceptable. Which it is – until procrastination turns into lateness. Which it did.
So I’ll just shrug my shoulders, cop to my laissez faire attitude and hope you’ll forgive me.
How is it that December only ended 13 days ago yet it feels as if months have passed between now and then?
December was a hectic time for me as my travels were a little more fast paced than I typically prefer. I bounced from London to Venice to Budapest to Florida and back to New York just in time to spend New Year’s Eve with college friends I hadn’t seen in years.
Since moving to NYC, this was the first holiday season I’ve spent away from Manhattan which was equal parts sucky and epically awesome. I hated missing the holiday parties and my yearly date with my BFF Chad but on the flip side, there’s nothing like experiencing cultural traditions anytime of year, but especially over Christmas.
Highlights from my December travels include:
- London: Ice skating for the first time at the National History Museum; exploring the lesser-know riverbank neighborhood of Richmond; and partaking in British holiday traditions with locals – which you can read more about in my post 6 Ways to be Completely British In London This Christmas.
- Venice: attending a black-tie masquerade ball and accidentally attending the Gondola Awards Ceremony on the island of Burano (post on this coming next week). For more on this trip read Finding Venetian Culture in Venice.
- Budapest: stocking up on gifts at the endless (and less crowded) Christmas markets, drinking palinka with a Hungarian local, and visiting the ruin bars during the day when the farmers market replaces the party revelers. More on Budapest coming in the next two weeks.
- Florida: spending Christmas Day in my hometown with close family and friends.
I also wrote a more detailed year end wrap-up on my top 15 travel experiences in 2015. You can check that out here.
What’s Coming Up in January and the Rest of 2016?
January is a down month for me – in part because I didn’t take my normal travel break over December.
I’ve mainly been relaxing, catching up on the terrible TV shows I’m addicted too, going out with friends, and cuddling with my roommate’s new puppy. The coming weeks will be spent exploring this constantly changing city, writing about last months adventures, and planning out my 2016 travels which are already starting to take shape.
This year has massive potential to blow recent years out of the water – a feat not so easily surmountable. Not only am I expecting to revisit some of my favorite cities, but I also have new European destinations on my radar, many planned trips through my own country, and arrangements to travel to 2 completely new regions I thought I wouldn’t be able to see for another 3 or 4 years.
February – Central America
Luckily I don’t have to wait long before jetting off to one of the two aforementioned destinations. Despite growing up in the United States, I’ve somehow managed to completely miss out on the countries of Central America. Wanting to remedy this depressing situation, I booked a February flight to Guatemala a mere 22 minutes ago.
Where exactly I’ll be staying and what I’ll be doing remains to be seen but I’m sure more details will unfold over the next couple of weeks. After taking it easy this month, I’ll be ready for some adventure so don’t be surprised if I end up hiking and camping on a 13,000 foot volcano!
April – The Middle East
As for new region number 2 – I’M GOING TO THE MIDDLE EAST!! This is something I have been drooling over and dreaming about for months. I never thought in a million years I’d be able to do this anytime in the near future – mainly because of scheduling conflicts, the costs involved, and the distance.
Then an opportunity came that I never saw coming – most of which came about through Lady Luck. Well, her and my childhood best friend.
In my monthly newsletter (if you’re not signed up but want to be, you can do so here) I mentioned my plans to visit Montenegro. You see, my friend had been selected for a work trip in the Middle East and the original plan was for her to finish off the trip, meet her husband for a romantic getaway in Greece, and then meet me in the Balkans for a bestie reunion.
But a few days ago she found out her husband was no longer able to go over to Greece. This
awfully sad wonderful (sorry Jere) development resulted in the best text I’ve ever received: “what if we scrapped Montenegro, have you come over earlier than planned to meet me in the Middle East, and then we travel around here for a couple of weeks?”
More details will be divulged over the next 2 months but for now I’ll reveal that the journey starts April 16th and we’ll be visiting 2 different Middle Eastern countries!
The Rest of the Year – Europe and the USA
Europe and the US won’t be left off this year’s itinerary.
London is basically my second home so there will be more than one trip over to their side of the pond in 2016. The first of which will most likely come in May and will include a jaunt somewhere in Scotland as I recently made a promise to visit once a year for the rest of my life due to an indescribable attachment to its landscape and its people.
Though my trip to Montenegro was cancelled, I still have hopes that I can visit the Balkans later in the year. Macedonia is on my radar as well so we’ll see how everything plays out after the summer.
Personally, 2016 is also the year of weddings – none of which are in Manhattan (and none of which are mine). You can guarantee I’ll being taking advantage of the travel opportunities they present. I’m currently slated for extended stays in Los Angeles, Key West, the Catskill Mountains, Carmel-by-the-sea, and the panhandle of Florida for my own brother’s wedding.
Blog News and Announcements
#52WeeksofTravel Instagram Series
2016 designated the start of my latest Instagram series – #52WeeksofTravel. Every Monday, I’ll choose a specific destination to be featured throughout the week and I’ll post one image per weekday that will consist of insta-worthy scenery, cultural experiences, recommendations, off-the-beaten path spots, and more for that city/country/region/etc. Week 1 featured Iceland and Week 2 is currently showcasing highlights from Venice. You can follow along here.
A New Website Design
Ok so I know my website design is probably the most blah thing that’s out on the inter-webs but I am first and foremost a writer. I am so completely helpless when it comes to anything web related and don’t even get me started on graphic design. It’s just not my strong suit nor is it an interest of mine. I just want to travel and write about travel. I want to share my experiences and tips and hopefully inspire others to get out and see the world. Unfortunately though, both marketing and design play a very important role in the blogging world.
So I’m putting on my big girl panties (or rather my spanks thanks to all the extra holiday weight I’m carrying around) and trying to make an effort to create a more pleasurable user experience.
I’m only in the initial phase so it won’t be complete for a few months but I am very excited about the new project – especially when it comes to my ideas for the Destination pages. So please bear with me through this process.
I can’t wait to share the end results with you!
What are your plans for January and the rest of 2016? Share in the comments below!
Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?
Taking on the classic “round-the-world” route, the next Travel Dispatch journey kicks off Nov 15 as I travel east to west, looping the globe over a period of 12 months with $25,000. Now’s your chance to get in on it from the very beginning!