I didn’t start out 2017 with plans to travel prolifically. In fact, the years that I started with a goal to “travel as much as humanly possible” are long gone. These days I travel more for the journey than to arrive at any one destination.
I travel less with my checklist and more with my senses.
But even without planning to, 2017 was a year of delectable travel, reaching 3 continents and 7 countries. I also made it a point to explore closer to home, rediscovering the beauty of my own home where I have now lived over 3 years.
I started the year on the sultry streets of Havana, ringing in the new year to the seductive Latin tunes drowning in sugary mojitos. I spent new year’s day recovering at the plush Santa Maria beach, just outside Havana.
I went on to the sun-drenched shores of the Pacific in Maui; watching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakala, chasing rainbows on the road to Hana and swimming with bright striped fish near Molokini crater.
Adventures closer to home were no less enthralling as I discovered more of the topographic glory of California. From camping and hiking in the snow-capped Mount Lassen National Park to the waves of sand dunes hugging the shoreline in San Luis Obispo.
I made yet another trip to New Orleans, always a favorite; it is one of the few destinations that doesn’t involve a beach that calms my nerves and gives me a sense of being trapped in time – in a good way!
India cannot be summed up in a couple of sentences, never, and I won’t bother except to feel grateful it was the home of my wedding, a joyous wedding set in an elegant venue filled with people who told the story of my life through the last 3 decades.
After fiery and chaotic India, Maldives was a soothing antidote drowning us in mesmerizing shades of blue and gold, gold and swaddling us in its austere beauty. We were rejuvenated and humbled by the utopian cocoon we spent our honeymoon in.
I found myself mesmerized by the elegant charm of Kyoto, dressed in robes of rust oranges and fading yellows, rendering her even more hypnotic. I felt the jolt of adrenaline that is Tokyo, devouring bowls of spicy ramen, and standing still as the world spilled around me on its streets.
Mexico City brought the kind of simple joys you often forget about in quest of bigger adventures; hearty food bursting flavor onto your tongue, a walkable city dotted with lush parks and eye-pleasing art nouveau architecture, and restaurants and bars with vibes galore.
We ended the year slapped in the face by the bone-chilling cold of Scotland, perhaps a fitting end to a year-long reverie. Driving through the snow-laden landscapes of the Scottish highlands, sipping mulled wine while wandering the Christmas markets of Edinburgh, ringing in the new year in the ever-exuberant London, we really couldn’t have asked for a better way to end a year of adventure and rejuvenation.
We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.