From checking out Macau’s cultural scene to rolling through Colorado in America’s biggest truck, the Up&AtEm Travel highlights 2017 are varied! Although I did not visit any new countries this year, I am just as thrilled looking back on these special trip memories as I was in 2016. Without further adieu…
10. Hay-on-Wye, Wales
Although the camping trip got rained out, our lovely cottage stay in Wales was a welcome consolation! The six of us hiked around the incredibly lush Hay-on-Wye, dodging innumerable amounts of sheep poo, and trekked up the steep Hay Bluff for beautiful views. We also ambled around the small town center, which is adorably known as the “Town of Books.” Cozy in our little cottage, we played games by the fireplace, and ate… a lot. Plus this long weekend break inspired a trip to Birmingham for the Cheese Fest UK with the ladies, which I wrote up for The Birmingham Press!
9. London World Travel Market in England
Why would a business conference be fun? Because it’s travel-related!
I love London’s World Travel Market. Travel enthusiasts from around the world pour in to chat with tourism boards and tour operators about nearly every destination under the sun. Attendees from hundreds of different cultures come together and showcase the best aspect of their nations. It’s also a stunning visual treat – with beautiful cultural dress and towering displays… Not to mention a literal treat with samples of national cuisines! I’m looking forward to working with a few new partners to share more about different regions.
8. Paris, France
Last year I travelled to Paris, desperate change of scenery from London. This year, J explored the city of romance with me. We booked the trip solely to attend Joe Hisaishi’s concert at Palais des Congrès de Paris, where the composer conducted many scores from Miyazaki’s beloved films. But roaming around the city together – and eating dinner with Parisian locals – were great ways to pass the time, since we were “stuck” in the City of Lights…
7. Hong Kong
Pretty much a trip to any country within a 3 hour radius constitutes a trip to Hong Kong, and again, our Hong Kong trip took place during the insufferably hot summer… But this time, in addition to visiting all of J’s aunties and uncles, we chaperoned some of their kiddies, which turned out to be great fun! (And good exercise, since they mostly just wanted to play tag.) We also finally made it to the Bruce Lee exhibit, and I did some delicious dim sum research for my first print article, Dim Sum 101, with RSW Living and Cape Coral Living.
6. Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
Most of our time in Kuala Lampur was spent with J’s friends and their family for a Chinese-Malaysian wedding. This involved lots of food and feeling inadequate, since their native friends all spoke and flipped between 3 languages easily. (English – Check. Mandarin – Beginner. Cantonese – Nope.) But visiting the peaceful Masjid Negara (the National Mosque) was quite special, and I got to meet up with an old friend from university over a finger-licking-good banana leaf curry!
I visited Macau to write about the House of Dancing Water for The Wonderful World of Dance – and during my stay I was able to review 2 incredible hotels: Pousada de Coloane and the five-star deluxe Legend Palace Hotel. I particularly enjoyed staying in the more residential area of Coloane, where there were natural areas, but strolling along the glitzy Macau Fisherman’s Wharf at nighttime was quite peaceful, too.
4. Florida, USA
My annual Florida visit beats my Asian trip stops on my travel highlights 2017 list?? Yep. Island life doesn’t get old for me. I visit now and it’s almost exactly the same as when I visited 5 years ago. I love spending my parents, snuggling the family dog, and vegging out on the beach. Nothing but true love could have made me move so far from home. And this time, I was even outfitted nicely in luxury beachwear, since I wrote this review about Miss Tunica.
3. Roberts Clan Visits England
This year J and I finally held our Chinese wedding banquet. So the Roberts clan came over – and not just my parents… My aunt, cousin and brother hopped across the pond, too! Expat life can be rough, but sharing the culture and little aspects of your daily life with visiting family in person is so special – after so many text messages and video chats. Before stuffing ourselves silly at the banquet, the Roberts clan thoroughly explored London and took a quick day trip to Bath and Stonehenge.
2. Colorado, USA
Hello adventure! J and I met my parents for a week of intergenerational outdoor adventure travel in the Rocky Mountain state. (My first travel article, about Colorado family adventure vacations, was printed in the Jan/ Feb ’18 edition of Times of the Islands.) We hiked, biked, kayaked and rafted all throughout the state. And to refuel, we ate lots of chilli, cheeseburgers and Cheetos. Notably, my almost-70-year-old Dad (at the time), hiked a mountain of 14,000+ ft: Quandary Peak!
… And, drum roll, please… for the top travel highlight of 2017…
1. Venice, Italy
As you can see, J and I often travel with others. (I even like to travel solo.) But I was ecstatic to hear that J booked us a trip to Venice – just the two of us! Coincidentally, it seems we annually take a short December trip together, and I’m keen to keep up the tradition. Although quite chilly, Venice was not too crowded, and I ended up snapping 600+ photos of the picturesque city in just a few days. We even got up at 5:00 AM to take photos of Piazza San Marco at sunrise. I really hope to bring my parents back here some day soon…
After reviewing my travel highlights 2017, I’d say it was another pretty good year for exploring the world! For another blast from the past, check out the Up&AtEm Travel highlights of 2016.
What were some of your own favorite travel moments of the past year? Let me know in the comments below!