It’s 4am and thanks to jet lag, I have been up for hours already. We just arrived back to Thailand from a wonderful, whirlwind trip the the US for Christmas and New Year’s. The purpose of the trip was pretty much completely to visit family although we were excited that Miss C got to play in the snow for the first time the day before we left!
Now that the craziness of holidays, travel, as well as Miss C’s birthday and our anniversary is over, I actually have time to sit down and reflect on the past year. New Year’s is a sort of “reset” point in people’s mind. It is the perfect time to think about what was great about the last year as well as those things that weren’t so great, and start fresh with a new year.
This New Year’s season we have spent some time looking back over all of the amazing travel opportunities we have been blessed with this last year and dreaming about what next year might bring. I thought I would share our top few highlights here on the blog.
Spring Break in Sri Lanka
We spent Joel’s spring break relaxing on the beach in Sri Lanka. That trip was made memorable to me partly by the horrible heat rash that 2/3 of our family got as well as the snake and a dog that were in our room. However, the most memorable thing from that trip still remains swimming with giant sea turtles right outside our bungalow. It was magical and I will never forget it.
US Road Trip
Every summer we end up spending our time in many different places due to the spread out nature of our families. However, this year we did that on overdrive. I flew into Chicago and had a fun girls’ weekend with two of my aunts. Joel flew in later and we did a crazy camping road trip across 14 states and hit up as many of the US National Parks as we could in honor of the US National Parks Centennial. We made it to some cool places and saw some of our favorite people along the way. It was Miss C’s (18 months at the time) first camping trip and she thought it was so fun! We also did a day trip with our family to the Newport Aquarium which is one of our all-time favorite aquariums. We visited Colonial Williamsburg and Water Country USA for the first time as well with Joel’s brother and his family.
Fall Break in Korea
There are many things we love about living in Thailand for most of the year, however one of the biggest things we miss about the States is seasons. I feel so-so about winter, but I miss Fall something fierce. After three years of having no seasons, we decided enough is enough and planned a trip to see some Fall!
South Korea is known for having some of the best foliage in Asia. We spent a fantastic long layover touring Seoul a bit on our way back from summer break, but other than that had never really explored Korea. So, for fall break, we planned a fun-filled but relaxing trip to Seoul and Seoraksan National Park with some of our friends and their sweet baby girl. We experienced a traditional Korean Hanok home stay for a couple of nights. But the real highlight were the beautiful changing trees and crisp air of the National Park which filled my soul and left me feeling refreshed.
Home for Christmas
We hadn’t originally planned to go to the States for Christmas. In fact, we had planned a long-awaited 3-week trip to Myanmar. However, when homesickness got the best of me, we decided to make the trip after all. It is always special seeing Miss C with our family and creating sweet memories, but the holidays are an especially precious time to do so. We had a very relaxed trip. Mostly visiting family, eating delicious American food (bring on the New Year’s diet!), shopping and resting. Below are a few photos from the trip:
Those are our big trips this year. Of course, they were sprinkled in with several day trips and weekend getaways including a weekend with friends in Malaysia. We spent a weekend in Rayong when Joel swam a crazy 5 km (3.1 miles) in the ocean from Koh Samet to Rayong. Of course, we also spent tons of time exploring Bangkok.
What’s coming in 2017?
So, what does the New Year have in store? We have been dreaming a lot about what that might look like. We don’t have any tickets bought or any concrete plans, but some ideas we have are:
- Japan in the Spring to see the cherry blossoms and experience cooler temperatures
- A 4-day family getaway to Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Several beach trips
- Several US destinations this summer including Joel’s favorite childhood home – Washington State
- October Break somewhere in Asia: Laos? Myanmar? Korea again? Mongolia? Russia?! Wait and see!
- Christmas break exploring Thailand
What is your favorite memory from 2016? What trips do you have planned for the new year? Tell us below in the comments!