Well 2017 was a year, that’s for sure. In writing this travel year in review article, I realized that 2017 was truly a mixed bag. Full of highs and full of lows. So let’s get it started with this 2017 travel year in review. And here’s to 2018.
Well, let’s get the biggest low of 2017 out of the way off the top. On November 1, my mom suddenly passed away. This was totally unexpected and obviously was a major low of the year. I wrote about my thoughts a few weeks ago, but generally speaking, I have realized that sometimes, you just have to go. Do it. Take the trip. Visit the place you have always wanted to explore. Life is short, and, like my mom, it ends too soon. She had taken a one bucket-list trip but she had others she never made it to. I’ve got to make it.
One of the biggest accomplishments of this year was starting WanderAway, a bi-monthly travel subscription box. Aimed to give people a taste of the world from their home, each box features a theme or destination, like the Greece box or the Coffee & Tea Box.
I am so proud to have been able to start this box and serve people who wish they could see the world more than they do, due to finances, family, or career. It’s not as big as I want it to be (of course), but we have been featured on the sites of Travel & Leisure, Fodor’s, and Smarter Travel as being an amazing subscription box for travelers. Super dope!
This year, I was also blessed to visit five new countries. My countries were Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates. In doing this, I made it to my 5th continent: Asia. It was absolutely amazing, and I would definitely (and hope to) go back to these countries again.
One of the goals I have set in my Wanderlustful Goals to visit one new country and one new state every year. I obviously got the country, but due to having to reschedule travels, I didn’t make it to my new state. So next year, I have to visit at least two new states; I am already making plans.
Fully Sponsored Press Trip
This year, I had my first fully sponsored press trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. I had an amazing time visiting St. Thomas with a day trip to St. John, and I absolutely adore the islands. Partnering with U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism was a highlight of my year, and you will see coverage of USVI coming soon to the blog.
However, I narrowly escaped Hurricane Irma, making it off the islands just hours before the airport closed and the storm hit. To see such devastation on islands that I had just visited, and knowing that the people of USVI—U.S. citizens—didn’t have power for months, was so hurtful, as the islands are absolutely breathtaking! It was definitely a wake up call but also let me know that I have to have more respect for things like “hurricane season.”
Mama, I made it on TV! Twice in 2017 I served as a travel expert on the NBC station in Las Vegas. It was a major hurdle I overcame because, while I have every ability to do on-air work, I prefer to be behind the camera. 2017 was my year of change and 2018, I hope to be on TV even more!
Other Made Goals
How could I forget that I was featured in the June issue of Essence magazine! This was a huge accomplishment and I am so excited!!!
- Take a cooking class abroad: I took an amazing cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and it was absolutely awesome!
- Attend a party on a luxe yacht: In Dubai, with 300 of my new buddies, we partied on the biggest yacht in the UAE on the Dubai Blackout trip. It was super dope, and I have decided I need to be about that #YachtLife going forward.
- Eat a delicacy of another country: Pad Thai and Mango Sticky Rice in Thailand. Enough said.
- Play with elephants in Thailand: I got to visit the Elephant Nature Park Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We got to feed the elephants and wash them, but because it is a sanctuary, they do not allow riding or anything hurtful for the gentle giants. Check out my post on why I’ll never ride an elephant.
- See a renowned religious monument/place of worship: The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is truly a sight to be seen. It is one of the most opulent, stunning structures I have ever seen.
All in all, my year has been a mixed bag. I have had highs and I have definitely had lows, but I’m still here. I have a lot of areas that I excelled and areas where I fell short. But while my worldview has changed and so have my plans, I am going to keep going. Where to, well, you’ll just have to tune in and see. Run away with me in 2018, and I hope you enjoy the ride.