2017 year in review: travel

Traveling is undeniably another form of consumerism, but I'd take cultural experiences in another country over expensive clothes any day. In fact, backpacking continues to teach me how to distinguish necessities from excess, while seeing foreign places reminds me that the the world is bigger than everyday minutiae. Five years ago (okay, even a year ago...), I never imagined being able to afford a lot of the trips I went on which makes me incredibly grateful for the many unseen, yet influential, forces at play. It's an incredible privilege to travel, and I still have a complicated relationship with identifying as a tourist. Thankfully, unpacking these experiences is part of my collective life-long growth for the mind, body, and soul. 

Places visited: 23 places, 8 countries, 7 states

1. Norfolk, Virginia (3x)
2. Las Vegas, Nevada (2x)
3. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
4. San Diego, California (3x)
5. Banaue, Philippines
6. Metro Manila, Philippines
7. Cebu, Philippines
8. El Nido, Philippines
9. Tokyo, Japan
10. Reykjavic, Iceland
11. Paris, France
12. Amsterdam, Netherlands
13. Santorini, Greece
14. Venice, Italy
15. Cinque Terre, Italy
16. Rome, Italy
17. Havasupai, Arizona
18. Houston, Texas
19. Seattle, Washington (watch Soulitude)
20. Annapolis, Maryland
21. Washington, D.C.
22. Port Canaveral, Florida
23. Nassau, Bahamas


2017 Travel themes

Road trips

Some people dread the idea of being confined in a tight space for hours on end, especially with people you'd end up hating by the time you reach the destination. But I say, what's not to love about gas station pitstop food, fast food drive thrus, endless playlists, and borderline therapy sessions? I'm also one of those people who could probably live in my car, taking on the open road for all her glamour and grit. Ask any of my friends that've been on a road trip with me. The driver's seat is my throne.

Backpacking

Majority, if not all, of my 2017 trips were spent backpacking. To avoid confusion, my definition of backpacking means everything I'm traveling with is on my back. Shoutout to the best bag ever purchased — Gregory J 38L Pack. This beast of a bag is the perfect compact, adjustable, expandable, functional (and still fashionable, especially in red) travel companion. While 38L sounds pretty small, this bad boy endured a three-week Europe trip and a Havasupai camping trip with tent, stove, and floatie. No doubt my back was in its finest shape this year. But if we're talking winter travel... that's a different story (spoiler alert: checked bags suck). 

Filipinos

Obligatory section for a common denominator of all my travels. The Filipino diaspora is real. Best believe I busted out my conversational Tagalog at every opportunity —never expecting anything in return, but full-knowing Filipinos love to hooook it uuuup. I'll never forget hearing Tagalog spoken with French and Italian accents, and familiarizing myself with the spectrum of migrant pulls. Apparently Spain, Italy, and France are hot destinations for Filipinos — because Catholicism. Our cruise ship to The Bahamas was basically Little Manila on a boat. It's incredibly easy to feel at home in a foreign place as soon as you see someone who looks like you. True to our hospitable nature, ates and kuyas were always looking out for us, quick to give us inside scoops and jokez for dayz. 


LOOKING-AT-EVERYTHING-BUT-THE-CAMERA: AN INTERNATIONAL PHOTO SERIES

 Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

 Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon, Arizona

 Seven Magic Mountains, Route 66

Seven Magic Mountains, Route 66

 Banaue, Philippines

Banaue, Philippines

 El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

 Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 San Diego, California

San Diego, California

 Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

 Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

 Reykjavic, Iceland

Reykjavic, Iceland

 Havasupai, Arizona

Havasupai, Arizona

 Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

 Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

 Paris, France

Paris, France

 Nassau, Bahamas (Carnival Cruise)

Nassau, Bahamas (Carnival Cruise)

 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

 Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Shout out to all my travel buddies who were not only companions, but also photographers, roommates, foodmates, inspirations, and life-long friends. <3

This is the second part of a three-part annual life review, inspired by Jareau and Tracy.
See the 30 books I read in 2017 here

– evelyn, planning 2018 travels