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Hello, 2017. You’re a sight for sore eyes.

You’re also, so far, a bit of a mystery. Since I started this blog, I’ve never kicked off a year with less travel on my plate. In a way, it’s thrilling — anything can happen! — and in another it’s a little scary. Can I really let a year pass by without ticking one of my dream trips off my list? For someone who often can’t fall asleep at night because they are so consumed by all the places in the world they still have yet to see, it’s kinda of a panic-inducing thought.

Travel Plans 2017

And yet I find myself quite content, settled back in Koh Tao with a bright and cheery little apartment, a faithful little motorbike and unpacked bag nestled in the corner of my closet. As I do weigh up options for the year, I’m torn as always between revisiting old favorites (oh hello, island I’ve been returning to for seven years and currently living on again) and big bucket list dream trips (oh hey there, diving in Mozambique, which I daydream about constantly yet have no plans to actually make a reality).

Anyway, last year’s post outlining my 2016 travels was fairly accurate — it will be fun to see how this one fares!

January-May // Asia

I state this with a pretty inordinate amount of pride for someone who makes a living as a travel blogger, but at the moment literally only like 14 out of the first 120 days of 2017 will be spent not in my bed here on Koh Tao. I need this for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being I am so backlogged on content here on Alex in Wanderland. I just need to lock myself away and furiously type until I’m caught up writing on all my trips! I’ve already nixed two opportunities to travel to new countries in the first quarter of this year, with this being one of my primary reasons.

So what will I be getting up to?

In January, I will spend just three nights off Koh Tao — a quick trip to Bangkok to see my sister off. (In fact, I’ve already come and gone!) I actually wasn’t planning to leave the island at all as I really just got here in December, but alas, I can’t say no to Olivia — nor can I turn down a weekend in one of my favorite cities in the world. In fact, what started as a fun fantasy over the years solidified on this quick jaunt into a very strong determination to rent an apartment in Bangkok for a month or two someday, and see what it’s like to experience one of my favorite places for longer than just a few days at a time. Maybe in the fall that will come to fruition.

Bangkok

I have some pretty exciting plans at home for the rest of the month, though, like a week-long aerial silks workshop with Flying Trapeze Adventures and all my favorite shows re-starting after their winter hiatuses (don’t judge).

In February, I’ll be taking my “big trip” of this Southeast Asia stretch. First, I’m cobbling together a big crew to take to Wonderfruit, a festival in the Pattaya countryside that I couldn’t be more excited about attending. Between the fanciful stages hosting musicians from around the world, the wonderfeasts by some of Thailand’s top chefs, and the workshops on everything from yoga to living a plastic-free life, I’m not even sure which aspect I’m looking forward to the most.

Wonderfruit(source)

After the festival, Ian and I are off to Penang, Malaysia — Ian has to go to process his Thai work permit, and I’m tagging along for fun (and to reactivate my own visa.) I’ve never been to Penang other than in transit and look forward to exploring the city of Georgetown and hiking in Penang National Park. I’m still fairly bitter that the direct flight to Penang from Koh Samui has been discontinued, but alas, I still want to go. Who knows, we might even tack on a few days in Bangkok in-between!

Penang(source 12, and 3)

In March, I currently have no plans to leave Koh Tao. Gasp! Now that you all convinced me to get PRK surgery I am considering blocking off a week to go to Bangkok and do it then, but I also might also put it off until the fall. Back on Koh Tao, there’s going to be a big new festival that I’m pretty excited about (if you haven’t sensed a theme for the year yet, you will soon!)

In April, I’ll pop over to Koh Samui for a few days to meet a friend and possibly attend Paradise Island Festival. Otherwise I’ll be on Koh Tao enjoying Songkran, Easter, and my last long stretch of stillness for a while.

In May, I have a one last little trip in the works before catching my flight to the US for the summer. It’s all in pencil now but it involves a river cruise, showing Ian around one of my favorite Thai cities, and (duh) more Bangkok. Fingers crossed it all works out!

Ayutthaya(source 12, and 3)

May-August // USA

I’ve fallen into a pattern of spending more and more time back in the US every year, however I have to be frank — our current political climate makes me want to spend less time there than ever before. I’m not being defiant or trying to make a statement. It’s just that my heart literally sinks out of my chest every time I think about home, and unless that starts to fade I don’t know how many consecutive months I can walk around with that heaviness. I’ve never felt more disconnected from the place that made me. I’m adrift. Here’s hoping some peace and clarity find me in this department in 2017.

That said, I have three confirmed weddings and one other up in the air, one confirmed festival and a few others on the back burner (wink wink, fellow playa fans!), and lots of family and friends I love dearly and need to catch up with, regardless of what else is happening around us. Here’s a peek:

In May, I’m flying to Florida for the wedding of one of one of my closest high school crew in Sarasota. I’ll also be visiting my girl Angie in Jacksonville, heading to Orlando for a bachelorette weekend I’m planning at Universal Orlando, and hanging with my two favorite aunts in Tampa. I’m obsessed with Florida and would be thrilled if time allowed for me to dip over to Miami to see my cousin Eric, do some diving, or maybe even take that road trip down to Key West I’ve been dreaming of… but allegedly there are only thirty days in this particular month, so we will have to see how flexible the time space continuum ends up being.

Florida(source 12, and 3)

In June, I’m going back to Bonnaroo. Even better? I’m bringing my mom and her boyfriend Miller! The two of them hit it off big time with blogger bestie Kristin this past summer, and we all vowed this would be our year for fulfilling Miller’s dream of making it to ‘Roo. A festival as a family affair? I can’t wait to try it.

In July, I’m going to Maine! This is actually the only new state and/or country I currently have on the docket for the year, which is kind of crazy pants. Another one of my dearest friends from high school is getting hitched in Harpswell, and I’m pining to turn it into an excuse for a full-blown road trip. At an absolute minimum I want to spend a few days in Portland and check out Kennebunkport — and if the calendar shakes out enough days for me, I’ll venture north to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, too!

Maine(source 1, 2, and 3)

In August, I’ll head to Chicago for my cousin Kirsten’s wedding (congratulations to the beautiful bride-to-be!).

Aside from those anchors, the summer is still fuzzy. Here are some maybes: I might be sticking around post-Bonnaroo for a bachelorette party in Nashville. I will most likely be in Martha’s Vineyard the first week of July for family time — and I’m also considering popping over to Nantucket for the Nantucket Yoga Festival! I may have another family wedding in Illinois before the year is out.

And then there’s Nevada. I may return to the playa — Burning Man is still very much on my radar. I may put into action the Nevada road trip I’ve had percolating for the last year or two (I need to see Britney’s revamped show, visit the Seven Magic Mountains art installation and camp in Valley of Fire National Park, stat) so if those came together it would be pretty perfect.

Nevada(source 12, and 3)

Also, some big changes are heading my way and while I’m not ready to discuss them publicly just yet, I might be popping down to Central America for a bit over the summer to let them percolate in private first. More details coming your way soon.

September-December // And beyond…

Nine months down the line is simply too far to predict with too much accuracy where I’ll be. This time last year, I could have never guessed I’d spend these months in the United Kingdom, Hawaii and Jamaica (content coming soon!)

In the last month, as I started to feel the pressure of writing this post and having basically nothing on the horizon — a lot of the above has come together in the last thirty days! — I started to think more about really prioritizing my dream trips rather than just waiting and seeing what the universe throws at me or what’s convenient, as I have fallen into a habit of doing. In fact, I recently started working on actually putting pen to paper and writing a comprehensive travel bucket list, which I may turn into a blog post soon.

So in that spirit, here is a sampling of some of my dream trips that feel feasible for 2017, which I may work on slotting in somewhere from June onward, en route back to my winter basecamp of Thailand.

• Uruguay: I just really want to go here. I don’t know why. I feel like Uruguay is usually an afterthought tacked on to trips to Argentina or Brazil but I’m completely captivated by this little country. Maybe it’s my obsession with tiny nations, maybe it’s my love for their famously humble ex-president, maybe I just like beaches and wine and yoga. Bonus! This would be a new country for me. However, Uruguay’s beach cities and towns have a fairly tiny window of action in December-March, and since I’m in Asia through May this would have to be a December trip.

Uruguay(source 12, and 3)

• Burma, Borneo and/or Brunei: It’s now been eight years since I first began traveling to Southeast Asia, and I regularly marvel that there is still so much I have yet to see. Including both the countries of Burma and Brunei (I still have Timor Leste still to visit as well, but I’m shelving that one for the moment) and the Malaysian state of Borneo. Eventually visiting every country in this region is important to me, and so I hope that either a trip to Burma or a joint trip to Borneo and Brunei is in order for late 2017.

• Jamaica:  I’ve had a Jamaica road trip on the noggin for a while now. My surprise trip here at the end of 2016 (more on that coming soon!) only made taking a big one feel more urgent. I want to rent a car, hit the open road, and explore the raw, soulful side of this island nation in a way that few get the opportunity to do. Unlike Uruguay, Jamaica is a place I’d be thrilled to travel in the low season, and so summer or fall might be the perfect fit.

Jamaica(source 12, and 3)

• Mexico: There’s a glaring un-scratched swath on my scratch-off travel map, and it’s Mexico. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to wait and really do justice to, but I’m starting to think I just need to start somewhere and dive in there and get hooked so I can keep coming back over and over again. It’s hardly unchartered territory, but The Yucatan Peninsula is calling me pretty loudly. Whale sharks of Holbox… here I come! And yup, this would be another new country to add to the list.

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I have a lot of other dream trips rambling around in my mind — CONTINENT OF AFRICA HI I WANT TO BE IN YOU — but these are the ones that I feel I could realistically tackle right now given my current energy levels and priorities and desires, though clearly, a lot can happen in a year. I think I kind of need a lower-key year in order to get my house in order — lol JK I don’t have a house but it’s a thing people say right? — and get really whipped up into a travel frenzy again for some wild adventures in the future.

When I first began this post I fretted that you all might think it a bit boring. Now that I’ve put it together, I couldn’t be more excited about the year ahead! Festivals, weddings, and so many favorite old places to fall even further in love with.

Love 2017

Okay so now that I’ve dished… what are your travel plans for 2017? Which of these trips are you most excited to virtually come along on?

Looking forward to talking all things travel in the comments!

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128 Comments...
  • Daisy
    January 9 2017

    I recommend going to Borneo for all of the eco-tourism. I’ll be traveling to Borneo next month and will be diving in Sabah and visiting Orangutans and Sun bears in Sandakan. I’m super excited about this trip. I’m also happy to share resources from my itinerary.

    Oh and happy new year!

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Hey Daisy, that would be awesome, please do! Shoot me an email 🙂 And thank you, happy new year to you as well!

  • Kendal
    January 9 2017

    2017 may not end up as extravagantly vagabondish as in past years, but it still seems exhilarating! It’s good to prioritize family and friends, and that definitely seems like a major goal for you this year (aside from festivals, hehe). My 2017 travel plans involve London for 18 days, a semester in Russia, a week in Scotland, the summer visiting friends and family in Germany, a girls’ trip to Belize with my best friend, a volunteer trip in the fall, and, if time and money allows, Israel and Jordan in the winter! Whew. I’ve loved following your adventures and can’t wait to keep reading!
    Kendal recently posted..Travel Plans 2017

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      “Not as extravagantly vagabondish as past years” is the PERFECT way to summarize 2017 for me 🙂 Your plans sound fabulous, excited for you!

  • Ray
    January 9 2017

    Uruguay has also been a fascinating country to me, as well. Beautiful beaches, beautiful architecture, home to the first World Cup tournament, and yet it is the “forgotten country” stuck in between Brazil and Argentina. I really hope you end up there later this year so I can “virtually” tag along!
    Ray recently posted..2016 MLS Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Semi-Final – TFC vs. NYCFC

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Maybe I should make a poll… definitely always curious to know what you all are most excited to read above! One vote for Uruguay!

  • Amy
    January 9 2017

    Though I loved so much of Malaysia, I have to say I think Penang was not only my favorite city of Malaysia, but quite possibly one of my favorite cites I have ever been to! They are known for their amazing street art – I made myself a little scavenger hunt and spent a few hours roaming the city trying to locate nd visit all of the amazing street art! If you have time I highly recommend doing the same! It’s amazing to see the respect the city has for the street art! Enjoy!

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Yes we are definitely planning to do the same! I was looking for an official street art tour (since I do really enjoy the insights behind them) but haven’t found anything, so we will indeed be DIYing. Your comment makes me even more excited!

  • Cate
    January 9 2017

    Looks like a relaxing and rejuvenating travel year! So many festivals!! I am so excited to virtually go to Maine with you- that part of the country is gorgeous. My travel plans for 2017 are: Washington D.C (maybe), Mexico, Malta, Belgium, Peru, and Long Island. I am so excited!! Wishing you the best year of travels.
    Cate recently posted..2016 In 16 Picture (Galleries)

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Wow you’ve got a lot of my favorites in there! I love it! 2017 is going to be a great year!

  • Dominique
    January 9 2017

    Your plans for this year sound great! I’m taking it slow this first half of the year as well. I’ll be going to St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, a “surprise” birthday weekend trip (surprise because I don’t know where I’ll go yet), and to a wedding in Ireland. Other than that I would like to visit all microstates in Europe; and I’d like to go on one big trip. I don’t know where yet, but I hear the lemurs in Madagascar calling out to me. It’s not very likely it will happen this year, but it’s one of the places I’d like to explore as soon as possible. Here’s to an awesome 2017! 🙂
    Dominique recently posted..Iceland – A Three Day South Coast Tour

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Well as a certified lover of all things holiday, I adore the sound of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland! The rest of the year doesn’t sound too shabby either 😉

  • Emma
    January 9 2017

    Good news – May has 31 days 😉 Your point still stands, I’m just being cheeky 😀

    I could have easily been convinced that Wonderfruit was your very own festival! It sounds so you, right down to the name.

    Hope you have a great 2017!
    Emma recently posted..Italy, August 2016 – Florence

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Ha ha — I love when I try to be cheeky and trip and fall on my face instead. And yes, Wonderfruit does sound suspiciously like something I dreamed up! Here’s hoping it fulfills all my wildest dreams!

  • I’m having one of those surprisingly unplanned Q1s, as well, and it’s odd, right? Part of me wants to delight in the time home, while part of me is getting the shakes to just BOOK A FLIGHT OR SEVEN ALREADY.

    Regardless, I’m SUPER excited for you and Miller and Kathryn to come stay this summer! I think we need to get Olivia here, as well!

    Also, totally in for that Jamaica trip if it happens! One of the few major Caribbean isles I’ve yet to visit, as you know, and we could make that our Camels & Chocolate/Alex in Wanderland dive trip for the year!
    Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..City Dog Goes to the Rockies

    • P.S. that aerial silks workshop is GOALS. Wish I were coming to visit during that week!
      Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..City Dog Goes to the Rockies

      • Alex
        January 14 2017

        (Elbows gently to remind you about the yoga festival that I want to be acro partners at…)

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      I love ALL these ideas. So happy to have at least one trip on the books, with I’m sure many more to come!

  • Janice
    January 9 2017

    Never boring Alex, always interesting, informative and full of life 🙂
    I too would love to live in Bangkok for a while. The first time I visited I hated it, the second, I loved it by the third I wanted to try living here. I think it would be such an interesting experience!
    Look forward to finding out more about your trips and business plans. Like finding you on the TUI video. Such a lovely surprise.
    Hope its not to bad now on Koh Tao from the rains.

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      I think a lot of people go through a similar journey with Bangkok! Clearly, I’ve also reached the “live there” stage. Can’t wait to see it become a (albeit brief) reality. And we are hanging in there from the rain… put some photos on the Alex in Wonderland Facebook page.

  • Michelle
    January 9 2017

    You’re going to love Maine! I used to go there every year with my family for vacation. Make sure to stop by ogunquit which isn’t too far from where you’ll be and Perkins Cove. There’s an ice cream place there that is awesome and lots of great restaurant options plus some awesome sightseeing 🙂
    Michelle recently posted..How to apply for a Myanmar Tourist Visa

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Awesome thanks for the tips! I have heard of Ogunquit but not Perkin’s Cove. Will look it up!

  • Jo-Anne the crazy woman
    January 9 2017

    Travel is good, I like to travel and then I like to come home to my own bed
    Jo-Anne the crazy woman recently posted..Leo is now 9

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      I’m enjoying that as well… at least for the first four months of the year!

  • Kate
    January 9 2017

    I’m not a travel blogger, at all, I actually work all the time (in a job I love). But I also can’t sleep sometimes because I want to see so many places. 1) this year I am going to South Africa for two weeks and it’s my only big thing but I couldn’t be more excited. 2) I do find making lists and remembering even if I only do one per year, that someday I’ll look back and have seen a lot of amazing things, makes some of my anxiety subside.

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      I feel ya Kate (and congrats on South Africa amazing!) Someone once advised me to make a “reverse bucket list” of all the amazing things I’ve already done. Really helps when the fear strikes!

  • Such a great line-up of trips & places! But good that you’re spending some time to work in a more stable environment for the first part of the year. Sounds like you need it – just reading your post made me feel jet-lagged! It definitely reaffirmed my belief that being constantly on the move is not something I want for myself. As much as I love travel, for me it’s those weeks in between that really make the travelling part sing.
    Katie @ the tea break project recently posted..Hidden Gem: Trinidad, California

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Lately, I couldn’t agree more. Loving having this “down time” at the moment! (Well, down time in the sense that I’m in one place, though I’m busier with work than ever!

  • I’d offer you my Airbnb in Chicago, but that’s the month that I am moving into my car! Ok, technically, I’m going to Switzerland, but giving up my apartment and putting everything in storage…woohoo!

    Mexico…yes, go! I actually went twice this year (Mexico City and Baja) OMG, the food! My mom predicts I’ll be an expat in Mexico by the end of this year and I hope she’s right!
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted..Year in Review: 2016

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Aw, you’re so sweet Leigh thank you! I love your mom’s prediction… and I might not be too long behind you!

  • LC
    January 9 2017

    Hey Alex, that sounds like a lovely balance between travel and a bit of R&R. Good luck with catching up on the backlog of posts – I’m looking forward to reading about travels through the UK and your Hawaiian road trip in particular.
    That Wonderfruit festival also sounds amazing. Do detail everything you learn about plastic-free living and pass it on please… always looking for tips in that area!
    LC recently posted..What I Wish I’d Known Before Visiting Kyrgyzstan

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Absolutely! Your journey so inspires me. A friend of mine is currently working on developing tooth powder that I’m literally giddy to try… can’t wait to ditch the plastic tube!

  • Shailendra @ Taj Mahal
    January 9 2017

    Hello Alex,

    I would suggest including India as well in your itinerary for first half of the year if possible. India is so vivid in colors with a rich cultural heritage, I am sure you will love it.
    Shailendra @ Taj Mahal recently posted..How To Reach Agra

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Hey Shailendra! I don’t think India is on the itinerary for me this year, but perhaps in the future!

  • Samantha
    January 9 2017

    Burma is absolutely amazing! You should definitely try to make it there before tourism really explodes. You can get up close and personal with all of the temples in Bagan and its still relatively cheap to travel around. Plus its stunning!

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Fingers crossed I can squeeze it in this year! If not… 2018 for sure 😉

  • Whitney
    January 9 2017

    Hi Alex,

    That certainly doesnt’ sound like a boring year at all. Self care is important and I for one am excited to read about all your 2016 travels.

    I really related to this “I started to think more about really prioritizing my dream trips rather than just waiting and seeing what the universe throws at me or what’s convenient.”

    I fall into this same trap, which is why I decided that in 2017 I’m finally taking my dream trip to New Zealand. I was always waiting for the most perfect time. Well that time hasn’t come so even though it’s 2 weeks rather than the 2 months of my dreams; I’m making it happen.
    Whitney recently posted..2016: A Year in Review

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      That’s awesome Whitney! Kudos! Yes, that’s how I’ve been with Mexico… oh ho hum I’ll go when I have six months. Well why not just go when I have six DAYS!? It’s not that inaccessible or expensive to get to — I just need to go.

  • Emily
    January 9 2017

    I love this post as I am such a planner! I’m excited to hear more Thailand posts. Debating between Thailand or Croatia for my honeymoon next year, so these sway me in the direction I want it to go ? As for my 2017 travel plans, have Nicaragua, Peru (inca Trail), and Bolivia on the docket. In the US, New York City and Denver will be new cities for me!

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Ah wonderful Emily! I have some posts about Khao Sok coming up soon that would be perfect for a honeymoon! Stay tuned! And what an amazing year… you’ve got some of my favorites ahead.

  • Ijana Loss
    January 9 2017

    These sound like really fun plans! You may be relaxing for the first half of the year but honestly it still seems pretty travel-packed to me! I would love to hear about you going somewhere like Brunei or Borneo, I’ve been wanting to go those places forever and no bloggers have really written about them in awhile.

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Just bought the digital guidebooks 😉 First step towards making it a reality!

  • Ahh, so jealous of all the adventures, even if it isn’t many! I have no plans to leave the US in the next 9 months, which is the longest I’ve been here in years! It’s very weird, but I’m hoping to have all the adventures after next fall! I can’t wait to read about all of yours!

    • Alex
      January 14 2017

      Sometimes I love the anticipation stage almost as much as actually doing the trip 🙂 So I say savor the downtime! I know I’m loving mine.

  • You’e got some great trips coming up this year. Yay!

    I’m very interested in your trips to Jamaica, Burma, Borneo and Brunei!

    I’ve got many plans for this year with many repeat destinations but the ones that I’m really forward to are Croatia, Sweden and Russia. Oh, and I want to fit in a Phd this year too!
    Victoria @The British Berliner recently posted..How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Have it all! But you have to take action to get it!!