The year of 2018 took me on explorations of 6 new countries on 4 continents, outdoor adventures in nature and tasting new exotic food. I learned much about other cultures and ways of life and have so many great memories from my travels over the past year.
January/February: Patagonia, Buenos Aires, Easter Island
My trip to South America was my favorite of the year. Patagonia was so beautiful and the hiking trails we did kicked my butt but the views in Torres del Paines and climbing Aconcagua made it all worth it.
Easter Island has been a bucket list destination since Maoi statues graced the cover of my 7th grade social studies book. I kept my fingers crossed on every attempt to start up my beat up Jeep while touring Easter Island and it’s archeological sites.
Cuba was the most interesting place I visited in 2018. It is easy to read about Cuba, the Castros, and Communism but to really learn about Cuba, a trip around the Caribbean island is warranted. Havana and its architecture was amazing! I learned a lot on this thought provoking trip.
I joined in with the masses and did a cruise to Alaska with my mom. It was pretty great. I rode my bike through the wilderness, flew over beautiful glaciers (best side trip ever!), ate crab legs, and kayaked.
I rode my bicycle across most of my home state of Iowa again this year on RAGBRAI. This is such a fun event and this year it ended near my mom’s house. Seeing high school friends and riding through cornfields with my aunt is always a highlight of my year.
August: Belgium and Amsterdam
My trip to Belgium and Amsterdam was a random add on because I had a few weeks with no plans and found a cheap airfare from Wow Air. I had an amazing time catching up with my college friend who was living in Brussels and exploring Amsterdam with her. I hadn’t been to Amsterdam in 15 years so it was lovely to see it again.
Van Gogh museum fun with Lauren:
Belgium is an amazing place to explore and wonderful for solo travelers. And the beer is the best in the world.
November: Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong
The 3 weeks before Thanksgiving are generally boring before people ramp up for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. This year I found an amazing price on non-stop round-trip flights to Hong Kong which is a convenient starting off point for an Asian adventure.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Every traveler I know that has been to Vietnam has loved it but I didn’t really feel the urge. But the price was right and this was my opportunity so I took it. And it was one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited. I can’t wait to go back someday! The food, the lovely people, the coffee, the insanely cheap prices, and the adventure trying to cross the street made more an amazing vacation.
Other trips this year: Arizona, Quebec City, skiing in Maine, Vancouver, Cleveland
Three trips to Arizona (family lives there), visiting a friend in Cleveland, a ski trip to Sunday River near Bethel, Maine, a travel conference in Quebec City, and my first time to Vancouver round out the rest of my 2018 travels.
It was a heck of a travel year. Patagonia was my favorite. Vietnam had the best food. Taiwan was such a good surprise. I’m shaping up some 2019 travel plans that will ensure another amazing year of travel for me and Andrea on Vacation.