I’m officially declaring 2017 as the year of the 10% stretch. No, I’m not talking about Jazzercize. Yes, I’m talking about comfort zones, or a bubble – if you will.
This also wraps up my 2016 year of motivation (YearOfMo) and I am happily declaring it a smashing success! I met a ton of great people this year by getting on the road and connecting with other travelers. Part of that meant staying in hostels or Airbnbs and getting off the beaten path. Another milestone was reached: Not only did I make my goal of visiting a total of 40 countries, but I also raised the tally to 44 countries!
So where was I?
- Chicago: Another trip to the Travel Adventure Show in the windy city.
- Boston for training and a sweet running tour with City Running Tours! *link to roam right
- Dallas: Visited the Big D for some training. For fun, I ran with my Airbnb host, a Boston Marathon qualifier. Fun fact: Dallas summer temps can reach 80 degrees at 5 am!
- Long Beach: More visits to the Travel Adventure Shows.
- Santa Clara: Another Travel Adventure Show, this time in silicon valley. San Jose was excellent and much more developed than I remembered it in 2002.
- Virginia: Good times with friends at a wedding.
- San Diego: Visit the newlyweds! Great coffee and food in Mission Hills!
- Nebraska: Does anyone REALLY need a reason to visit Nebraska?
- Norway: Fantastic hiking and coffee!
- Denmark: Try the Kanel Snegl (delish). I was one of the first to walk across the Kissing Bridge for its official opening!
- Sweden: My favorite part may have been the Fika – an afternoon coffee and snack break. Fun fact: The tap water in Stockholm is purer than most filtered water.
- Rome: 24-hour whirlwind layover tour that culminated in an overnight stay at the airport – stay tuned for the full story.
Lisbon: Abandoned in the airport by TAP airlines, I had the opportunity to explore the city.
- Germany: Eight days scooting around Germany on a hunt for the best Gluhwein in the country. Expect a longer recap of our ChristKindl extravaganza!
- Prague: This city was on our list for a couple of years now, we finally had the opportunity to visit by adding it to the end of our ChristKindl trip!
Check out my Top Five(ish) article for my top billed apps and gear during my 2016 travels.
Events that made 2016 travel headlines:
- The UK left the EU, causing a brief panic. At this point, the only appreciable difference for travelers are the longer passport control lines now that the UK passports are no longer allowed in the EU lines.
- The Euro dropped almost even with the dollar: Travelers rejoice, if only because we no longer have to do the conversion rate math when buying espressos!
- Berlin Christmas Market attack: As a traveler who was at several Berlin Christmas markets just days before this happened, this event really resonated with me.
- Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint of millions of dollars in jewelry while in her rental apartment in Paris. This will be the only time you EVER hear me talk about ANY Kardashian.
Why would I even mention this?
- First of all: Does anyone need to travel with that much jewelry? No, not even a Kardashian.
- Secondly: This is a great example of what happens when everyone knows everything about your whereabouts. Police suspect that the thieves were tracking her jewelry via her social media accounts. Broadcasting the fact that you’re alone is never a good idea. This goes equally for broadcasting the fact that your home will be unoccupied as you travel. I usually do not broadcast my travel intentions outside of where I may be going in the near future; and I never, ever give dates.
Looking forward – What’s happening in 2017
We will be launching the online travel safety e-course. The courses will be broken into a core module with student, business, family travel and virtual security add-on classes. We’re also in talks with app developers, creating a VR experience to make training more interactive and entertaining – especially for the kids. This year we’ll also open up the travel calendar for in-person training, seminars, and workshops. So much going on!
So what’s on my 2017 travel wish list?
- Seville, Spain: Siestas, sangria, and tapas with acorn-fed Iberian ham are on my mind. Fun fact: Highest recorded temperatures in Europe at 50C or 122F!
- South America: After Nicaragua in 2015 I want to do some more exploring… Panama maybe, or Guatemala. TBD.
- New Zealand: What can’t you do here? NZ is always on my list and will remain until I actually can visit.
- Tunisia: Given previous articles I’ve written on the situation in the country, I would like to visit and give a personal account.
As I look back, 2016 was a great travel year, and while I have no concrete travel plans for 2017, maybe that means I’ll have more time to get out and mountain bike, camp, or hike some 14ers here in Colorado.
What’s on your 2017 travel calendar?
A long-time bucket-list vacation?
A family reunion?
Genealogy research trip?