On January 10th, 2016, I wrote a post called 2016 Travel Wish List, where I highlighted the places I most wanted to visit in 2016. I purposely named it Wish List, so as to not feel extremely guilty if I didn’t accomplish what was on my 2016 Bucket List, but after all, aren’t those the same thing? It was a total front that I called myself out on, and then got to work. If you really want something, you’ll find a way to do it…and somehow I even surprised myself by knocking them all out before July. Talk about pressure for my 2017 Travel Wish List. I managed to get LA-Tokyo for $550 round-trip, a one-way to Stockholm for $200 something, and San Francisco for $17. Booking cheap travel is all about flexibility, and if you can find a way to be in control of your freedom, you can get pretty far. Here’s my 2016 Travel Wish List, revisited.
FamilyMart, starvation as a vegetarian, and chaotic
clusterf*ck twelve-story malls – this is what defined my time in Tokyo. To me, Tokyo was always that next level travel destination. I spent 12 days in two hostels, meeting a Japanese movie star, taking a day trip to Kawagoe, and thrift shopping in Shimokitazawa. Even typing these words after my trip months ago still feels so foreign, and that’s what I love about travel. Tokyo reminded me why I do what I do – opening my eyes to a part of the world I never understood before.
Rio de Janeiro
In the words of Lauryn Hill, Rio de Janeiro has got that thing. When I think of my trip to Rio, I’m reminded of beautiful, bronzed Brazilians on the whitest beaches, backdropped with green mountains – and I visited in the middle of their “winter.” I bought my first extremely tiny speedo – the employees at the Havaiana’s store assisting me, and I learned to play beach volleyball…with my feet. I think I spent every day either at Natu Sucos eating a $2 bowl of açai with banana, granola, and protein powder or in a random restaurant eating the best seasoned rice and beans of my life. My memories of Rio are nothing but sweet dreams.
Or maybe that’s just the caipirinha talking.
Oh, Paris. Three times in 2016? Seriously? We have a major love-hate relationship, although I can admit to checking flights to Paris more than anywhere else, so maybe it’s more love than hate after all. Sometimes I feel like Paris is lacking a bit of oopmh, but it makes up for it in the beauty and elegance everywhere you look (ok maybe not everywhere). When Jo and I rented a one bedroom
penthouse studio, fifth-floor walkup, I could totally see myself reliving the Paris lifestyle again. Time to look into visas…
San Francisco, your city feels like one of those cities where stories happen. Like you’re walking down the street and a dog walker gets tangled up on his dogs’ leashes and you run to help them, and then decide to go get coffee together. Or, you’re riding one of the trams, being kind of melodramatic looking out the window (and liking it), when all of a sudden, you see your friend walking, so you yell “stop the tram!” and run off to say “hi!” It’s a city whose vibes, to me, feels cozy and warm (despite the weather being crisp and cool 95% of the time). Even though nothing can justify the utterly ridiculous rents in San Francisco, I’m sure I’ll be back again, and again.
On one of my trips to Paris, I decided to fly straight into Copenhagen after finding a cheap flight ($200 something from Los Angeles to Denmark, ok by me). I spent a few days in Copenhagen and then took a $31, three-hour train to Stockholm where I stayed for 24 hours. I don’t remember too many exciting things happening on my trip, but I do remember this: a typical sandwich costing $9, there being more than just blonde-haired, blue-eyed people, the city being made up of multiple islands (who knew?), and Swedes speaking better English than most native English speakers.
Did you knock a few places off your Travel Wish List in 2016?