Yes, late February is a tad late for a post announcing anything to do with 2018. But what can I say, my plans took a little longer than usual this year to start coming together! In fact, I’m still in the thick of confirming loads of these, which does give me a small, minor heart attack every time I think about it, but, well, I did say I wanted to start being more spontaneous in my travels. Right? Right.
This is going to be such an incredible year. Looking back, 2017 was a pretty tame one for me and that’s just fine — it was what I needed at the time. But now, looking forward, I’m ready to shake things up again. Some of the plans in this post excite me, some of them straight up scare me, and most of them are a combination of the two yet to be calibrated. One thing that’s for sure? I’ll be sharing every second of each of these adventures right here — and I hope you’ll join me for them.
January-March: Asia Adventures
In January, I went on my my first trip of the year, a little domestic getaway in Thailand. I spent three nights camping and glamping in Kanchanaburi Province before heading to Bangkok for three nights of an urban fix. Starting the year by getting back to nature was exactly what I needed — I can’t seem to get enough of camping these days.
In February, I have had some seriously exciting stuff happening! My tourist visa extension expired earlier in the month and I had to leave the country to restart my next one. As I loathe the easy option of doing a bus-and-boat bounce to the Burma land border and back that’s popular with expats and long-term travelers (to me it feels like paying to be motion sick for 24 hours) I decided to make a trip out of it I tossed around several options — Sri Lanka, Japan, and Goa were all top contenders.
But then, a pretty enticing invitation landed in my inbox — an influencer campaign at Telunas Resorts, a private island in Indonesia. No wifi, over-water bungalows and ocean as far as the eye can see? Twist my arm! So Ian and I spent three nights in the Riau Islands of Indonesia and three nights in Singapore — which you’re actually going to read about pretty soon! Now that’s my kind of visa run.
As soon as I got back I hopped right into the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course that you guys chose for me on Facebook! I loved taking a few days to enjoy the island I live on underwater — and I can’t wait to share everything I learned. It’s always nice to have an adventure at home.
Right now, I’m heading in for a long-overdue appointment: my PRK eye correction surgery. As some of you know, this has been a long time in the making. It took me a while to accept the disappointment that I wasn’t a candidate for Lasik or ReLex, but once I wrapped my head around the more painful recovery and longer healing of PRK, I realized I still didn’t want to live the rest of my life wearing contacts every day.
So I’m finally doing it! My surgeon advises I should expect to spend at least a week in Bangkok recovering. I can’t wait to write about my first experience with medical tourism. (Watch out, Botox! Just kidding! But not for long!)
In March, I’ll be laying low and recovering from surgery back in Koh Tao, as soon as I get the okay from my doctor to go home. I’m hoping towards the end of the month I’ll be cleared to dive again and can take in a coral propagation course and get some serious practice with my new underwater strobe.
I’m not exactly sure where it’s going to fit in yet, but I’ve been loving exploring Thailand’s National Parks so much lately, I’ve begun planning a pretty epic three-day hop around a few of them in Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces. I get really excited at the thought of being able to write really comprehensive guides, like I did for Khao Yai National Park, that will help other travelers to Thailand explore them too!
April-May: Middle East Exploring
In April, I’ll be dusting off my passport again for an adventure I was so excited I already announced it months ago: The Middle East! I’m so glad I did though because you guys gave me some incredible ideas and insights, and I made a lot of planning decisions based on them.
For example? You convinced me trying to solo backpack through Egypt was only going to end in tears. For reasons of fun, convenience, hassle-avoidance, logistics and beyond, I’ll be joining a group tour through the highlights of ancient Egypt! The tour starts in Cairo to take in the pyramids, sails up the Nile on a felucca (my one non-negotiable of the trip) from Aswan to Luxor, and ends on the Red Sea in Hurghada. More details on which company and which tour coming soon!
Next, I’ll get a taste of independent travel through Egypt as I head to Sinai and the Northern stretch of the Red Sea to take in a mini-liveaboard from Sharm el Sheik, and finish off in the backpacker and scuba diving paradise of Dahab. This is going to be so epic and is really where my heart is focused right now — think camel riding to remote dive spots, spending the night in Bedouin camps, and hiking to the top of Mount Sinai. Due to time constraints, I decided to save the Southern Red Sea and a longer liveaboard for my next trip to Egypt… for this first one, there’s just too much to take in and I just couldn’t seem to tear myself away from land for too long.
In May, I’ll be crossing over into Israel and spending three weeks exploring everywhere from Eilat to the Dead Sea to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv before taking a mini-road trip around North Israel and the Sea of Galilee. I’m trying not to overplan this portion of the trip, and just kind of see where the wind takes me, but I know that I want to explore modern Israel and soak up plenty of sun and sea! I’m just starting to dig into hostel research here, so holler at me with any great ones.
Now, here’s the sad news: I realized pretty quickly that my original plan of visiting Egypt, Israel and Jordan was unrealistic give my time constraints. I preferred to deep dive into two rather than do a whistle-stop tour of all three (and knew I’d be much less likely to go back and explore further if I’d already seen the highlights), and so for the pure logistical reasons of it makes most sense to fly into Egypt and fly out of Israel and I can travel overland between the two, Jordan got axed — but only for now. I know, I know, it’s a bummer — but I’m always happiest when I spend more time in less places.
The upshot? I realized it was only $100 more in flights to add a two-day stop in Kuwait en route to Egypt. What the heck — when else am I going to go to Kuwait? And it seems twenty-four hours is the perfect amount of time to take it this little city state. So I’m strongly considering hitting up three Middle Eastern countries after all — just a slightly different itinerary than I originally anticipated! If any of you have been to Kuwait, hit me with your advice in the comments.
June-August: Home in Each Hemisphere
In June, I’m heading back to the East Coast for a long-awaited adventure — my 200 hour yoga teacher training! After much reflection and research, I’ve decided to do the training with Y7 Studio, a hip hop hot yoga studio in New York and Los Angeles that I’m obsessed with.
It’s not the most traditional choice, but their classes really set me on fire, and having this certification will open up a world of opportunities to share my favorite unique styles of yoga as I travel, and open up a world of other specialty certifications only open to those with a basic yoga or fitness background (Pound Fit and Buti Yoga trainings, here I come!)
Due to both the cost of the training itself and finding housing in New York City, this is a huge investment and one that I hesitated so many times over making. But as my mom texted me one night while I was once again crunching the numbers and trying to figure out if I could justify something like this, “follow your dreams, sweetie.”
(And if you or anyone you know in New York needs a responsible subletter for the month of June…you know who to email.)
In July, the month is still being sketched out, but after a weekend in Martha’s Vineyard with my family, Ian and I are planning to reunite in New Orleans. While I’ve been several times, I’m still excited to go see it through fresh eyes with Ian, who’s been rating it as his most anticipated American city for quite some time, and is heading there for a bachelor party.
After, I’m bringing Ian to Florida! My dad is a Disney Vacation Club member, as you all now know, so I’m also crossing my fingers that we can arrange a little family reunion in Orlando, and then Ian and I are heading to Miami. I’ve visited Miami twice but I still feel like I have SO much to explore, especially Little Havana and Wynwood. And Ian’s the perfect person to explore them with. I must admit, I’ve been very tempted to scrap this chilled out USA-exploring and head to Mexico or Jamaica instead, but I have a feeling I’ll be craving some family and familiarity and down-time by this point. We’ll see.
One thing that’s set in stone? I’m super excited to announce that I’ll finally be heading to The Florida Keys, my most anticipated Sunshine State destination! I’ll be there for three nights for my friend Ashlee’s mermaid-tastic Bachelorette Party (seriously, I’m going to Mermaid School… again) and will probably book a few extra nights to scuba dive and explore Key West solo once the festivities are over. I’ll definitely be spending some time exploring the other Keys on my way back to Miami — including a possible stay in an underwater hotel — so leave me your best tips for the whole strip!
In August, I’ll be heading back to Thailand for most of the month. Normally I don’t like to bounce back and forth across the globe so much but I’ll make an exception to be a bridesmaid in my friend Suze’s wedding and attend Tao Festival!
Also, and this is something that’s pretty nail-biting to announce, I’m in the process of planning my first ever Wanderland Women’s Dive and Yoga Retreat for August on Koh Tao. Can you hear my squee-ing with excitement through my laptop? I hope you guys will be as pumped about this as I am — if you already are, make sure you’re on my mailing list to be among the first to get the official announcement (sign-up forms are in the sidebar and below!)
September-December: Home and Who Knows!
In September, after what I hope will be a relaxing Labor Day on Martha’s Vineyard, it’s wedding and conference time! I have a wedding in New Hampshire, a wedding in Long Island, and anywhere from one to three travel conferences (the guarantee is TravelCon in Austin, Texas, where I’ll be speaking on monetizing my blog — and ticking a new state off my list!)
I’m also considering adding a shorter Wanderland Retreat over a long weekend in September or October on another island close to my heart, Martha’s Vineyard! Stay tuned for more info on the intimate Wanderland Yoga and Photography Retreat I’m hoping to bring to life here.
After that? It’s all up in the air! I definitely will need to get out to California at some point to see my dad and dog, so that’s probably where I’ll head in October, and I’ve promised my family I’m spending the holidays at home this year after a four year hiatus. Obviously, this far out, details are super sketchy, but I’d love to make dog-friendly trips to both Santa Barbara and Big Bear. Oh! And one of my childhood best friends just announced a move to Atlanta, where I’ve been long overdue for a visit — so I’d like to fit that in over the fall as well.
And well — that’s what I’ve got so far! But it’s kind of a good start, no?
Believe it or not, I actually already have a few big bucket list trips sealed on the calendar for 2019 — but I think I’ll wait till next year’s post to reveal those 😉 Well, I told you guys I was ready to really travel again — let’s do this!
Tell me, which of these plans are you most excited to read about? I always get excited to know you all are excited about a trip!
And more importantly, what do YOU have planned for 2018?