2016: A Year In Review

This year has truly been the most epic as far as international travel is concerned. I still can’t believe I’ve been in 10 countries outside of the US (actually 11 if you count Portugal, but we didn’t have a chance to leave the airport.) This year I went on seven international trips, some with my husband and with my girlfriends, others solo and with my Aunt.

In January, I spent MLK weekend in Martinique. I went with my husband but ended up being there the same time as some friends from DC and a large group of my fellow Nomadness tribe members. We rented a catamaran with 40 of our new closest friends and spent the entire day sailing around the small French island.

March took me to Guatemala which was totally not on my  radar for 2016. Initially I booked this trip thinking it would be a solo trip because I didn’t want to chance waiting for anyone else. It was only $124 RT from DC so I said let’s do this.

April led me to my first solo trip to Medellin, Colombia. I ended up connecting with another member of Nomadness, a travel group I belong to, who was there at the same time with her boyfriend. I did a free walking tour and went on an amazing food tour. I spent the weekend in Cartagena learning about Afro-Colombians and checking out the beaches with a girlfriend who met me for that leg of my journey.

The next adventure was to Cuba by way of Mexico. We started in Cancun, which really is more than just a spring break destination. They have beautiful beaches and if you can break away from the tourist areas they have some great little taco spots.

We enjoyed 5 days in Cuba and had a chance to visit Havana, Trinidad, Mantanzas, and Varadero. It was nice to get a taste of the Havana Nights and check out the art, food, and nightlife in the city. Definitely glad to have had a chance to visit while it wasn’t overrun with American tourists.

The final leg of that vacation lead us to two days in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Honestly, I like Cancun so much better. The beaches were way nicer and we didn’t have to worry about getting harassed by the Mexican men constantly making inappropriate comments as they attempted to sell us their wares all times of the day.

For my birthday we went to Sint Maarten, which is actually two countries. St. Maarten is Dutch, while Saint Martin is French. We stayed on the Dutch side but spent most of our evenings on the French side. While there, we took a relaxing boat trip to Anguilla and had a chance to get a glimpse of the island. I’m still amazed at how such a tiny island can be divided into two distinctly difference territories.

At the end of the summer, I went back to Italy. We flew into Milan but took two extremely long day trips to Venice and Cinque Terre. Of all of the cities I’ve been to in Italy so far, Rome is still by far my favorite, must go back soon.

Initially, I wanted to go to Croatia from Milan but found a cheap, nonstop flight to Budapest, Hungary so I decided to make an extended weekend out of it. Budapest is the epitome of everything I ever thought of when someone said Eastern Europe. Great food, classic, ornate buildings, and an affordable cost of living make for an inexpensive weekend getaway.

The last trip was to the City of Love for our wedding anniversary. What better place to celebrate than Paris, France? We went on a Black Paris that shed a different light on the famous city, sampled French wines, saw the major Parisian attractions, spent our days strolling down the Champs-Élysées, and eating at sidewalk cafes people-watching, one of my all time favorite hobbies.

Since I’m the Queen of maximizing vacation time, by the time all of these trips were said and done, I used every, single, last ounce of my vacation time. Who says Americans don’t take their vacation?

Here are 10 photos that represent my adventures from 2016, view them here.

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