Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01 Image 01

Last year when I rolled out my plans for 2014, I said that I wanted to build a life that involved “roughly a third of the year in the US with friends and family, a third of the year in my home away from home of Southeast Asia, and about a third actively exploring new places.” I’m happy to say that I stuck to that plan last year, and I’m all set up to do so again this time around.

One thing that made my heart swell while I wrote this post? How much of 2015 is going to be spent with my nearest and dearest. And while beyond the next two months, little is confirmed and much is up in the air, I’m absolutely tickled by the direction in which this year is heading. It might just be my best one yet.

Travel Plans for 2014

Startin’ in the South

January

I really agonized over how to kick off 2015. But if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know where I ended up. I’m thrilled to be spending a week hanging with my baby sister here in New Orleans — and, bonus! Brooklyn Bestie Zoe and her sister are here too. I love this city.

This weekend, I’m heading straight for a state I’m long overdue to return to — Florida. (And via a free flight, thanks to my stash of Southwest miles!) I adore the Sunshine State and literally could not be more jazzed about this trip, which will involve eighteen days, four cities, five family members, two close friends, and countless hours of sunshine. I’ll be starting with a few days in Orlando using more of my dad’s Disney points — thanks dad! — before heading up to my girl Angie’s hometown of Jacksonville for a few more. Next, I’ll take the train down to Tampa, where I’ll hang out with my aunts for a week — my dad and little sister are even flying in for a few days of fun. Finally, I’ll be joined by Hometown Hottie Michelle, who will copilot our road trip down Route A1A to Miami, where my cousin Eric is based. While I’ve been to Florida dozens of times in my childhood, I’m loving rediscovering it as a traveler. Please feel free to share any travel tips or must-dos for anywhere along the way!

Miami

Swinging Through Central

January-April

I’m bubbling over with excitement for this, and can’t believe I’ve been able to hold out on telling y’all for so long (though let’s face it — I’ve been hinting). Mid January I’ll fly from Miami to Managua (another free flight, this time courtesy of my Aadvantage miles) — Central America here I come! I’ll be relaxing in Nicaragua for about a month before heading to El Salvador for Equilibrio, a new festival being hosted by a group of my closest Brooklyn friends. I’ll be hosting a writing seminar at the festival and look forward to soaking up all kinds of inspiring creative vibes.

Post-festival, I plan to explore El Salvador and Guatemala, or possibly return to Belize or Honduras. Aside from the festival and a week when I’ll be joined by my sister and cousin (who are teachers in different states, but just so happen to have the same spring break!), I’ll be doing this trip spontaneous and solo. I’m fired up to get back to my backpacking roots and go at my own slow pace, to work unselfishly, and to both enjoy and escape the Gringo Trail as needed.

And I’m going to cap this trip off in the most festive of ways — joining my girl Heather for Batabano — basically the Caymanian Carnival — in my old haunt the Cayman Islands! A relatively cheap and direct flight from La Ceiba, Honduras to Grand Cayman makes it the perfect pit stop on the way home.

Central AmericaPhoto via Hannah Watkins

Summer in the States

May-August

I happily plan to continue to my tradition of spending the summer months within North America, soaking up the good weather and traveling domestically to visit loved ones. Nothing is set in stone yet but I’m sure there will be heavy heapings of Albany, New York, and Martha’s Vineyard. Also in the works? Trips to Ithica, Philadelphia, Chicago, Nashville, Seattle, and Newfoundland (finally, a proper trip to Canada!). I’m also hoping to make it to TBEX North America, pending the date and location announcement, and am considering entering the Burning Man ticket lottery again.

It will be a busy four months! And it could have been even more hectic — I scrapped original plans to spend a month in Europe taking advantage of several enticing opportunities. But part of my Burnout Reduction Plan is saying no to even the most tempting offers if it means maintaining my sanity and remaining true to my top priorities — which in this case is dedicating my summers to family and friends.

Martha's Vineyard

Sojourn to Southeast Asia

September-February

You know I can’t function without a flight to Bangkok in my future, right? I’ll be heading back to Thailand in early September and I plan to stay put in the region for about six months. (After which I’ll be popping back to the USA for a family reunion in Key West to celebrate my dad’s retirement and a major milestone birthday — I’ve never nailed down a trip so far ahead in my life, but you’ve got to when you’re juggling fourteen schedules!)

When I think about this time back in Thailand I daydream about happy days based back on Koh Tao, side trips to visit friends on Bali and Gili Trawangan, returning to Yi Peng festival in Chiang Mai, finally discovering Myanmar with my friend Anna, but mostly just large swaths of time sitting still. This is where I recharge. This is my happy place.

Southeast Asia

So, do you have any tips or tricks for me? Which trip are you most excited to read about?

3-devide-lines
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
136 Comments...
  • KMunoz
    January 2 2015

    Happy New Year, Alex! Sounds like a lot of awesome days are heading your way. I’ll be in Central America at the same time. Do you ever host meetups or anything in places you travel? It would be so cool to connect!

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      I think 2015 will be the year I finally start doing so! Keep an eye on my Instagram and let me know if we’re nearby πŸ™‚

    • Sarah
      January 6 2015

      Same! I plan on being in SEA September – December

  • Caity
    January 2 2015

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting this post and it hasn’t disappointed! I think I’m most looking forward to reading about your Central America adventures. Perhaps because at the moment for me travel in this region is not gonna happen, I am not massively psyched about it…but I am looking forward to you winning me over as you have done in the past (The Philippines, Greece spring to mind!) Happy 2015!

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      Challenge accepted, Caity! So excited to be back in Latin America!

  • Ashley
    January 2 2015

    Such exciting plans! I’m looking forward to reading about your Central America trip- especially Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador. El Salvador isn’t really on my travel radar at the moment, but I have a feeling I’ll be adding it to my wishlist after I read your posts!
    Ashley recently posted..Bringing La Pura Vida Home: A New Year’s Resolution

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      I’m with ya, Ashley! I’m really grateful to Equilibrio for bringing me there already, as its not a place I think I otherwise would have gone for!

  • Karlijn Travels
    January 2 2015

    This sounds like a perfect plan Alex, I’m so excited for you! I’m looking forward to all your posts and photos, have a great 2015!
    Karlijn Travels recently posted..INSPIRATIE Γ©n winactie: β€˜The best place to be today’

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      Thanks so much Karlijn! I can’t wait to share!

  • I always get excited when I see one of your emails in my inbox!! sign of a relatable blog methinks!

    Glad to see you’ll be back i SEA again in 2015 as will I…whoop πŸ™‚ actually I’m moving there πŸ™‚ and then using it as a base to travel more. Definitely need to get to the Philippines this year…not somewhere I thought I saw in your blogroll, are you planning on going there at all?
    Paula Through the Looking Glass recently posted..Travel Southeast Asia on £21 a day

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      Aw, thanks Paula! I actually spend three weeks in the Philippines in 2013 — check out my destinations page for all the posts!

  • Justine
    January 2 2015

    So exciting! I have to say that I’m really excited about your Central America plans. Nicaragua is definitely up there on my favorite-countries list. I loved it there. I never did make it to El Salvador but that’s a major regret and I’m SUPER excited to read about your travels there!! And six whole months in Southeast Asia?! That’s pretty awesome. Happy New Year and here’s to a great year of travel in 2015!
    Justine recently posted..From Backpacker to Expat: A Year in Travel

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      Thanks Justine! Seems people are buzzing about Nicaragua and so am I! Can’t wait to step off that plane.

  • meghan premuda
    January 2 2015

    i literally can’t help but smile and feel a pang of excitement and travel jealousy, in the best way possible. i’m so excited for you and, once again, can’t wait to follow along! let me know when/if you’re in chicago or nashville, would love to meet you!
    meghan premuda recently posted..best of 2014: weddings

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      There’s already been some interest for a reader meetup in Chicago — let’s do it! πŸ˜€ I’d love to get a group together!

      • Holly
        January 12 2015

        I’m TOTALLY in when you make it to Chicago!

  • Leigh
    January 2 2015

    Great timing – I just had a layover in El Salvador, and the short flight (4 hours to ORD) has me intrigued about Central America…looking forward to reading about it! I’ve also heard great things about Nicaragua.

    Vaya Con Dios!
    Leigh recently posted..Who Says New Year’s Resolutions have to be healthy?!

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      I also can’t believe how short my flight from Miami to Managua is! It’s nuts — the world just gets smaller πŸ™‚

  • Erica
    January 2 2015

    Ah these plans sound like perfection. Can’t wait to read about Nicaragua.

    Ps: Tampa! You’ll be in my hometown! you should check out downtown St. Petersburg, it’s an awesome little city πŸ™‚
    Erica recently posted..this is a test 6

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      I love St. Pete! Looking forward to some exciting new adventures in Tampa, as well as just hangin’ with the fam πŸ™‚

  • Joella in Beijing
    January 2 2015

    Excellent plans! Sounds like a great year ahead! We were thinking about Burning Man this year. We’ll be in the US then and my sister and her boyfriend wanted to fly out to the US to travel and they really want to go to Burning Man (they put the idea in my head). I’m not sure though- I’m going to reread your posts from last year and think about it haha! πŸ™‚
    Joella in Beijing recently posted..Beijing Life, Lately

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      Yeah, I think I am going to enter the ticket lottery and just see what happens. If I get them, awesome, if not, it’s a sign I need to try again next year. We’ll see how it goes!

  • Joella in Beijing
    January 2 2015

    PS- I meant to say I will most look forward to reading your posts about Myanmar if you do get there. I was there last Christmas and I LOVED it. We only got to Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake which I’m sure you already heard about as those are 3 or the 4 main places people go. But I honestly loved it so much. I recommend you take the boat from Mandalay down to Bagan. It takes about 9 hours and you can just sit outside and relax and enjoy the scenery. Let me know if you need any info on that. Oh and you can fly direct to Mandalay from Bangkok πŸ™‚
    Joella in Beijing recently posted..Beijing Life, Lately

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      That sounds lovely and I will definitely hit you up once we get to the planning stages! We’ve only been talking about making this happen for, oh, two years, so it’s about time!

  • Erin
    January 2 2015

    I’ve been so excited for this post! Sounds like an amazing year – looking forward to reading all about it!!

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      Aw, thank you Erin! I’ve been SO looking forward to pressing publish πŸ™‚

  • Steve
    January 2 2015

    Looks like 2015 is going to be a packed fun year. I look forward to reading about it. Have a happy new year.
    Steve recently posted..Five Things To Do In 2015

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      Happy New Year to you too, Steve!

  • Leah
    January 2 2015

    Is it weird that when I read this, it sounds like not a lot of destinations? I mean, for any normal human being it’s an absolute shitload of travel, but for you it’s like WHOA six months in one place!?

    I’m happy to see you spending lots of time in the places you love most. I wish I knew what those places were for me so I could more accurately plan out my year…I enjoy being in one place much more than hardcore backpacking these days, but there isn’t one place yet that I feel compelled to return to again and again. Although I am prematurely sad about leaving Medellin in March, so maybe I will be returning here sooner than I think. Vamos a ver…
    Leah recently posted..Month in Review: December 2014

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      You’ll find them πŸ™‚ Who knows… maybe Spain will be one! And yeah, what can I say, this moving slow thing has been addictive. I’ve been really flirting with the idea of parking it on the beach in San Juan Del Sur for my entire 3+ weeks in Nicaragua. We’ll see if my itchy feet can manage that!

  • Alex
    January 2 2015

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting to hear about your 2015 plans! This sounds like a fantastic year. I’ve been unsure about where to spend the second part of my year, knowing only that I’d be in Edinburgh, my happy place, for the first few months. Your plan to spend 1/3 in your favorite place, 1/3 with your friends and family, and 1/3 exploring feels very balanced though. I’ll definitely consider it moving forward. Good luck and have a great year – I can’t wait to read about it!
    Alex recently posted..Novel Recommendations: The Holiday Special

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      It really if the perfect balance for me to aim for. Of course every year leans a little differently but I think this basic structure keeps me sane!

  • Diane
    January 2 2015

    Happy New Year! Sounds like an awesome 2015 ahead. Excited to follow your adventures. Keep up the great work!
    Diane recently posted..The 1 thing that will sabotage your fitness goals every time (but only if you let it)

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      Thanks Diane! Can’t wait to see what the next twelve months has in store.

  • Amanda
    January 2 2015

    Sounds amazing! I owe you an email πŸ™‚

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      I love my inbox right now — half a dozen emails in a row with destinations from this post in the subject line!

  • Laura
    January 2 2015

    Happy New Year! Congrats on sticking to your goal of splitting your year in 2014 and doing the same for 2015… that’s really quite an accomplishment. I’ve really been wanting to explore more of Central America lately… can’t wait to see what you get up to!
    Laura recently posted..2014 Year in Review

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      Central America is my second favorite region in the world to travel… after Southeast Asia πŸ™‚ So happy 2015 includes both!

  • Elizabeth
    January 2 2015

    I plan on visiting Central America in the summer as a graduation trip so I’m very excited to read about your time there πŸ™‚

    Happy new year!

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      What an awesome idea for a graduation trip, Elizabeth! If you want to do a little research now, I have archives from Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras up already!

  • Rachel of Hippie in Heels
    January 2 2015

    great plans! I miss making big yearly plans like this.
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted..This is India! 31

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      I bet you have lots of fun trips planned around India πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie
    January 2 2015

    What another exciting year ahead of you! I am most excited to read about your central america trips. Guatemala sounds incredible!
    Stephanie recently posted..How to Travel When Working Full-Time

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      I just got the guidebook for Christmas. BURSTING WITH EXCITEMENT!

  • Camels & Chocolate
    January 2 2015

    Nashville, Nashville, Nashville! That makes me happy. Just emailed you to start scheming =)

    Also, SUPER jealous you’re going to be with Angie! Send lots of #FOMO-inducing Snapchats, K? Cool. Are you going to get your Harry Potter on with Rae Rae at the parks?
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..In 2014

    • Alex
      January 2 2015

      No Harry Potter for me πŸ™‚ I’m trying to talk Angie into going to Animal Kingdom since that’s where we’re staying… let’s see how that goes πŸ˜‰

  • Sounds like a fantastic year! I’m excited to see it all through your eyes. Have an amazing time visiting with your family! I bet it wasn’t easy saying goodbye to your pup again. I say this as my (large) dog is wriggling her way into my lap. πŸ™‚
    Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide recently posted..City Museum – St. Louis – and Where I’ve Been the Past 3 Weeks