When I used to live in the States I would go to my parents’ in Pennsylvania for Christmas and return to Manhattan for New Years Eve. But ever since I started traveling in 2010 somehow I managed to be somewhere far away (usually at a much warmer place like India, Argentina, and Australia) to welcome another year. This year it was just like old times though; my brother flew in from California for a cold East Coast Christmas and I had a fantastic New Year’s Eve in Manhattan with wonderful friends. I was doubly blessed this December because I had T. visiting New York from Sydney. It was so good to see her in the Big Apple and to meet her partner O. Except for the winter storm Hercules putting a damper on their return travel plans, I think they had a great time in New York. I almost forgot that winter weather here can really cause a havoc. I guess consciously or subconsciously I made it so that I wouldn’t spend any more winters here if I could help it. Walking around the city in December reminded me how COLD it can get in New York! How did I manage all those years living here in these frigid conditions?
But there is no denying that New York, to me, is the greatest city in the world and I’m incredibly grateful for all my friends who took the time out of their busy schedules to catch up with me in the past week. I had a lot of time to reflect and think back on the year I had as I wandered about the city for hours last week. I started to dabble a bit with Instagram just about a year ago, so below I’m posting my Instagram photos from each of the places I visited and lived in 2013.
The actual anniversary of my departure from New York was November 18, 2010. So technically speaking, my third year on the road started with my trip to India last November where I went to do an Ayurvedic cleanse (panchakarma) for one month (my whole experience can be found here but be warned that it’s not for anyone with a delicate constitution).
My wonderful Aussie friends fed and housed me in beautiful Hobart. Below is one of J’s creations, just a little something she whipped up for breakfast one morning- this was the “dessert” part of our breakfast.
Then it was onto Sydney where I met up with more old friends (whom I met while living in Buenos Aires in 2012). So much good food, coffee, wine, and unbelievable scenery to boot! I could see myself living in Sydney.
Melbourne or Sydney? Why not love both! Off to Melbourne I went after living in Sydney for two months. I didn’t post a thing about Melbourne (that’s how busy and fun it was) but I was there for nearly a month. I got a chance to meet up with K. a South African transplant I met at Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai back in 2011, and also hung out with “the Irish” with whom I shared Christmas in Tasmania. If I thought the food and coffee were great in Sydney. Well, I found even better coffee in Melbourne, plus a lot of great art and culture. I will dig through my memory bank and make sure I write something about the Nuit Blanche in Melbourne- the third photo below is from that night.
“It started as a visa run but turned out to be an adventure of a lifetime” is how I would have started my post on New Zealand where I hiked the Milford and Routeburn tracks. I have yet to write about my experience in NZ, which I hope to do in the next few weeks. For now, just a few photos… the last two are Instagram shots by my fellow hiker and foodie, A Life Worth Eating (he’s the subject of the first photo below).
It was also the year where I was fortunate enough to witness two couples get married in three very different ceremonies. The first one was T & J’s Sydney wedding by the beach on a hot summer’s day. I followed the party by joining them for their Shinto wedding in Tokyo.
I was lucky enough to welcome the spring in both Japan and Korea, and then visit both countries again during the summer months. In August, I climbed and conquered Mt. Fuji!
After two very hot weeks in Tokyo, I was back in Seoul for H & D’s traditional Korean wedding. My friends came over from Tokyo for the festivities, and we ran around the giant metropolis consuming way too much food and local beverages…
Whew! I survived the rainy season and the record breaking heat in Seoul, and just as the air was feeling drier and more comfortable K & P came to Korea for a visit. By then I knew my way around Seoul well enough to be a decent tour guide.
I said goodbye to South Korea and headed back to the States for two weeks… just to turn right back around and go to Tokyo for a fabulous-food-fun jaunt. On my anniversary, November 18, 2013, K, P, and I landed in Narita and checked into the Park Hyatt (otherwise known as the “Lost in Translation” hotel) in Shinjuku. I was with my brother and good friends, enjoyed fantastic weather, and the best sushi meal of my life during this celebratory trip (more on this Tokyo trip later).
When it was all said and done, I’d spent more than 6 months between South Korea and Japan this year, and eaten more Asian food to last me a whole life time including a couple of good Asian airline meals. Honestly. The first photo is from Asiana Airlines (South Korean) and the second photo is from ANA (All Nippon Airways, Japanese).
That was the end of my third year on the road. But before the calendar year was finished, I visited Panama and went completely off the grid for a few weeks.
In the past year I took 27 flights for 56k miles. The equatorial circumference of the Earth being ~25k miles, I guess I basically went around the world twice… Ha! I suppose there is a reason why I feel a bit tired.
I love living my life on the road and all the people I’ve been meeting along the way. But I think this year I’ll try to do a bit less and who knows? Maybe I’ll start thinking about nesting a little… On that thought, on to year number four!
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