I am currently in Sevilla, Spain getting ready to celebrate the new year in just a matter of hours. Before the year is officially over, I wanted to take a brief look back at 2015 and the awesome adventures I was able to have.
As those closest to me know, traveling is something I prioritize over many things in my life and because I have dedicated time to learning how to work the system, I have been lucky enough to experience so many wonderful places and adventures this year. I sometimes feel guilty because I get to travel as much as I do, but the truth is that it's a lot of hard work (and sleepless nights) and although I have a job that took me to China four times this year (which means I earned miles and hotel points that I could use later), I've done the rest myself. I spend a lot of time and money on traveling and learning how to get cheap or free tickets and if everyone else did the same, they could too.
In 2015, I
Vancouver, British Columbia
In late January, we spent a weekend in Vancouver, which is something that has become our yearly tradition. I love Vancouver and each time I visit, I love it even more. We didn't do much other than wander around and eat good food, but we did make it up to see the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which is definitely worth the quick trip from downtown.
We found a killer deal on Alaska Air flights to Maui on Black Friday 2014, so we jumped on it and spent a long weekend in Maui at the Andaz in Wailea. It was such a dreamy place to stay and was my first time in Maui. Needless to say, I feel completely in love with the island.
We did another weekend trip at the beginning of the month to Seattle, which is a place I have visited many times, but usually to see family. We lucked out and caught Seattle on one of the first sunny and warm weekends of 2015 and caught up with some friends.
Hong Kong and Shanghai, China
I took my first business trip of the year in March to Hong Kong and China and had a free day in Hong Kong. Since it was my third time to the city, I didn't have a lot I wanted to do, but I did make it out to the flower market, the bird market, and the goldfish market, which were all incredibly interesting to see.
New York, NY
Another weekend trip in April, this time to New York. Visiting New York is another yearly tradition we've started and we always try to catch up with friends and eat as much as possible.
I spent another two weeks in China at the end of April, where I had the misfortune of ending up in the ER. It was an interesting experience to say the least, but one I hope I won't have to ever repeat!
We found an amazing deal on tickets to Copenhagen over Memorial Day Weekend, so we had to take advantage of them! We took a fourth day off and flew all the way to Denmark for a brief 2.5 day stay, but we loved every minute of it. I instantly fell in love with the vibrant colors and historic nature of Copenhagen and know this won't be my last visit.
Lake Tahoe, NV
On a whim, we booked a night in Tahoe one weekend and headed up on a Saturday morning. Neither Chris or I had spent much time there even though it's a short 4 hour drive from San Francisco and we loved the crystal clear water and relaxed vibe.
Since we were gearing up for a busy July, we actually never left town at all in June.
For our biggest and longest trip of the year, we decided to spend two weeks in Iceland and Norway. Iceland was our first stop and we instantly knew we hadn't planned enough time in the amazing country. We packed in as much as we could in 2.5 days and definitely plan to get back there in the future.
Chris has family in Norway, so we first stopped in Bergen and then spent time with his family in Oslo. After a couple of days, we headed to the far north to the Lofoten Islands, which I had actually seen a picture of on Instagram and begged Chris to add to our itinerary. Needless to say, Norway did not disappoint in terms of dramatic views and amazing scenery, but the food left a bit to be desired as far as I was concerned.
Immediately after returning home from Norway, I headed to China for the rest of July. In total, I think I spent about 4 days in July at home, which was a bit rough for my stomach.
We returned to Canada in August for a 3 day weekend to attend a wedding for one of Chris' friends. The wedding was beautiful and I got to meet a lot of Chris' friends from college. I enjoyed Toronto more than I thought I would, but I'm still a Vancouver girl at heart. ;)
We found another pretty good deal for Labor Day Weekend in Maui and headed back to do some of the things we missed at the beginning of the year. This time we stayed on the other side of the island and ventured to the top of Haleakalā to watch the sun set. It was definitely a nice getaway.
I made my final trip of the year at the end of September to China and had one day off while there. A colleague and I headed out to the edge of Shanghai to see Zhujiajiao, a traditional style village complete with all the sights and smells you would expect from old China.
Our final trip to Canada of 2015 was to Ottawa. It was my first time visiting the city Chris grew up in and although it was getting quite cold, it was wonderful to meet more of Chris' friends and family and enjoy Canadian Thanksgiving in the country's capital.
I spent several days in Houston for a work conference and got to see a few friends, which was nice.
New York, NY
We headed back to New York for a second time in 2015 and spent time with friends and enjoyed the fall colors.
The weekend after we flew all the way to New York and back, we flew to Orlando for an epic Disney challenge. We managed to make it to all four Disney World parks in one day (and rode at least 2, but as many as 5 rides in each park). It was awesome and exhausting all at the same time.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Many months in the making, we finally headed to Dubai over Thanksgiving and had the most amazing experience. We flew and slept in luxury and although our bank accounts were significantly lighter after the trip, the long weekend in Dubai was something I will never forget. We managed to visit a waterpark on an artificial island shaped like a palm tree, dune buggy and sand board in the middle of the desert, have high tea in the highest restaurant in the world, and stay in the world's only seven star hotel. It was pretty incredible.
I had been wanting to visit Savannah for a long time and we finally made it happen in early december. We took another weekend trip and had the best time wandering around the city's gorgeous manicured squares and delighted in seeing the stately mansions surrounding them.
I finally headed home to Arizona to spend Christmas with family and was able to take a quick visit to Sedona with my mom while I was home. It was a much needed break from a busy year.
About three weeks before the end of the year, I insisted that we book something for the week between Christmas and New Year's. I knew that work would be slow and I would regret not taking advantage of the time, so the best deal we could find was flights in and out of Madrid, Spain. We chose to take a train down to Sevilla for a couple of days and will end our trip exploring Madrid after the new year. Sevilla is a gorgeous city with about a billion orange trees and we most enjoyed the Plaza de España and the Alcázar, which has the most amazing tile work I have ever seen.
2015 was truly an incredible year and I have no doubt that 2016 has a lot of amazing things in store as well.
Happy New Year!
Just a twenty-something with a full-time job and a full-time obsession with traveling. It's best to LiveTraveled.