At the beginning of the year, I thought to myself “wouldn’t it be cool if I could manage to travel [to a different place] at least once a month?”. I didn’t actually make it a goal because I didn’t want to commit and then fail or spend an insane amount of money just because I set a goal and wanted to achieve it.
But I LOVE to travel. And so inevitably, I ended up traveling a lot- about once a month, sometimes twice.
I’m so thankful for these opportunities! They’ve been mostly fun, mostly solo, several challenging, learned a lot about life, other cultures, and about myself and most importantly, no regrets whatsoever :).
I rang in the new year in Portugal with some of my family. It was my first visit to Portugal and it was a lot of fun.My Portuguese didn’t take off quite well though ;).
This is my friend’s birthday month so I took a 4 hour road trip to Springfield, Illinois to spend a weekend with her and some other friends. We visited Abraham Lincoln’s tomb, among other [fun] activities and touristy adventures. It was unbelievably warm for February too- about 80 F!
My mum came to visit from Nigeria and we took a road trip to St. Louis, Missouri. We visited the arch, of course, as well as a nice chocolate factory , the St. Louis zoo, etc.
I flew to Houston for the wedding of one of my classmates from high school. I was there for under 48 hours! This is probably one of the shortest trips that I have had to fly for. I also ran the tiniest 5k I’ve ever run.
I took a weekend off and flew to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon. It was one of my best weekends the whole year and also the first time I stayed at a hostel. I made a vlog about the trip – you can check it out here so see what sorts of adventures I got myself into :).
For memorial day weekend, I also took a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee- about 4 hours away to meet a friend. Then we drove down to Atlanta, Georgia by way of Chattanooga, Tennessee – another 4 hours. The best part of that trip was totally unplanned (for me, a planner, the thought of deviating from plan didn’t bode well for me at first) – a tour of the Jack Daniel Distillery but it was soooo worth it!
We also visited Ruby Falls- an underground waterfall in Chattanooga. I highly recommend it.
This month, I thought I wouldn’t be traveling. I had nothing lined up and I was a bit bummed about it, but like I said earlier, I wasn’t about to buy a plane ticket just because, or drive a ridiculously long trip just because. I convinced myself i t was a good thing- I could finally rest.
Then I was asked to travel to the Bay Area for a job interview- and voila! I flew to San Jose and then drove to San Francisco to explore some more because I couldn’t get enough the first time :). I visited the famous Muir Woods as well as Muir beach- but it was way too cold, even in June, to be beachin’.
I went to Chicago, which is about 4 hours drive away to celebrate my friend’s bachelorette party. One of the activities was paint balling- which didn’t last very long because I’m a wuss. It hurt sooo bad! It probably didn’t help that all I had for body protection was a T shirt and leggings!
The next weekend, I went to Springfield, Illinois again to visit my friend and her sister, who was visiting from Nigeria.
Later that month, I flew to Maryland to celebrate the same friend’s wedding! That was a major turn up.
That same weekend, I drove with some friends from Maryland to New York City to celebrate yet another friend’s upcoming wedding. It was a bridesmaids day out. I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time and rode the Staten Island ferry for not the first time. We passed the Statue of Liberty and I was reminded that I still hadn’t made my way over there.
A week later, I flew to Nigeria to surprise my parents, my entire family really (except my brother who picked me up from the airport). It was for my parents’ birthday on July 31st. Yes, they share the same birthday :).
I was still in Nigeria for 3 more days. I also made a vlog for this trip.. It was so much fun but a really short trip.
Later that month, I traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio for another wedding. This was a short drive- just under 2 hours. Here I caught the bouquet! First time ever.
I went to New York City. Again. This time, I was there for less than 24 hours. I was a bridesmaid for the first time at my friend’s African traditional wedding ceremony. And this is where my brother showed up unexpectedly to surprise me- payback for when I did it at the end of July in Nigeria.
Since he was there, we decided to spend the rest of the day after the wedding together, especially as I was only in NYC for less than 24 hours! So what do you do when you have only a few hours to hang out with your brother and you are in NYC? You head to Times Square! And that’s what we did and had a blast, not literally though. That was the same night explosions went off very close to Times Square; thankfully we were safe.
A few hours later, I hopped on a plane back home while he continued to tour NYC for a few days.
I drove to Chicago, Illinois to apply for a visa to travel to Peru. I also took this time to visit my friend in Evanston, Illinois who is pursuing an MBA at Northwestern University. It was the perfect time to see the fall colors right by the lake.
The best thing to do Halloween weekend? The most cliche thing in any horror movie- go to a cabin in the woods with a bunch of friends for the weekend! Lol. Parents of my friends from church and community group own a cabin in remote Kentucky right by the Cumberland river so we spent the weekend of kayaking/canoeing, fishing, making s’mores via bonfire, shooting guns, cooking, and bible studies :).
The first weekend in November, I was off to another wedding in Atlanta! It was a fun wedding and funner weather :).
Two weeks later, I drove 4 hours to Chicago, then got on the train (on my own for the first time) and headed to the airport to fly to Peru!! I was so excited – my first time in South America. The main goal was to hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. It took 4 days y’all, four days to get there. But it was soooo worth it.
I drove 4.5 hours in heavy snow (which became like 5 hours, really) to Kalamazoo, Michigan to go apartment hunting. Yep, your girl is moving :).
Two weekends later, I flew to Los Angeles to spend the Christmas holidays with my sister and her kids who were coming in from England to spend the holidays with me :).
It was a very merry Christmas indeed!
So that’s it folks- my 2016 in travels! I’m looking forward to 2017 and whatever travels and experiences that may bring.
Once again, I am not making any travel goals but it would be nice to set foot in Asia this year … or what do you guys think? 😉
p.s. The first time I saw this post on Pinterest, it made me think more deeply about traveling, and how much it really costs, i.e. how affordable it is, if you plan right. So for all my friends who think they can’t afford to travel, think again :).