Farewell 2016, it’s been great….

generic dreams digital nomad

What a year. 2016. It’s been another crazy & busy year – filled with adventures, misadventures, ups & downs. Many events this year rocked the world. I’m a bit glad I wasn’t the only one feeling like I live on a roller coaster.

To summarize 2016:

Places I’ve lived or visited in 2016

+ California (Sacramento, San Francisco, & Lake Tahoe)
+ Nevada (Reno)
+ Colorado (Denver & Boulder)
+ Texas (Austin)
+ Norway
+ Hawaii (Oahu, Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Molokia)
+ Arizona (Scottsdale & Sedona)
+ South Korea
(much less as compared to 2015)

Highlights

maui

+ Flying to Maui for a quick getaway with my fellow traveler Amy. We did the road to Hana, went whale watching, and generally girl bonded the entire time.

generic dreams colorado

Colorado. The fresh air of Denver & Boulder with the Rocky Mountains around…it was just what I needed. It was incredible seeing the effects of “going green” has done for Colorado. I didn’t get a chance to do a marijuana tour (I don’t smoke) but it would still be interesting. I stopped by the spooky Stanley Hotel & stood over a frozen lake too. The mountains were obviously my favorite part.

generic dreams norway

+ Norway with my nomad friend Jay. We chased the Northern Lights and working while freezing our butts off. I also went dog sledding and explored Tromso and Oslo. We first met in Chiang Mai 2-3 years ago and occasionally meet up somewhere around the world.

+ I met a guy named PJ in Hawaii. We quietly started dating and he even went on an impromptu trip to South Korea (Seoul) with me while I was there.

+ My 30th birthday. Yes, this year was my dirty 30! I feel so old but loved. My two best friends, Dexter and Grace both flew far and wide from the east coast to celebrate with me. Dexter treated us gals to a very expensive dinner at the famous Vintage Cave after a night of crazy karaoke and more. I love you both!

generic dreams austin

+ Let’s not forget forget my girlfriend getaway in Austin with Juliana and Veronica. It was so great to catch up, drink beer, eat bbq, and enjoy good ole’ Austin. I totally recommend doing a food tour while there! I cannot wait to see them in the new year for Coachella!

+ Kauai: twice. The first time was to get away for some healing. There is nowhere better than Hawaii to heal. Kauai, especially with all it’s green lusciousness & waterfalls. The second time was with my sister, niece, and PJ. One of the highlights was the open door helicopter ride. I also recommend horse back riding and hiking of course.
generic dreams jeju island digital nomads

+ South Korea: I spent time in Jeju Island to see my friend Youjin and old nomad friends! We were all there on a press trip to promote digital nomad & start ups in Korea. We went on multiple tours to explore the island and were shacked up in our own hotel and everything. 🙂 Jeju Island is cute & quaint. I totally recommend visiting if you can.

generic dreams jeju island digital nomads

+ PJ joined me in Korea for the second half of my trip. We traveled to the DMZ together, ate lots of Korean food, drank somek, explored pink Hello Kitty cafes, cafes with sheep, and attended a baseball game. I love baseball so going to a Korean baseball game was a must. It’s true when they say, “you don’t know someone until you travel with them.” Oh! We also ate raw moving ocotopus. 🙂

+ I was featured in a few articles about the digital nomad life including Business Insider and Forbes as well as my friend’s trailer called One Way Ticket: A Digital Nomad Documentary. The actual documentary is being released in 2017 all over film festivals and such! Keep a look out. 🙂

+ I launched and re-launched Up & Explore. It’s basically a side project/passion project to keep myself occupied for shits & giggles.

+ Then, I started a new job doing business development for a tech firm as well as joining my friend’s one of a kind startup called function(core) doing a lot of a team coordination and travel planning.

generic dreams molokai digital nomad

+ In between starting the new job(s) and a relationship, we threw in weekend trips to the Big Island as well as Molokai together. I didn’t think I’d visit all four major islands of Hawaii and smaller Molokai this year. It was probably because my international travel was cut down a lot so inter-island travel was the answer to that.

generic dreams sedona arizona digital nomad

+ In October, I spent a magical week in Sedona and Scottsdale, Arizona. We hiked the red rocks, learned about vortexes and shopped for my ever-growing collection of healing crystals. This has inspired an upcoming road trip through the southwest in the future. I’m hoping to do Utah’s mighty 5 and explore Arizona’s ghost towns!

Challenges

+I found myself signing a one year lease in Hawaii. My nomadic life was officially slowing down. This both excited and terrified me. One half of me wanted to nest while the other wanted to remain homeless. I struggle with this still even today.

+ PJ had the pleasure of meeting my family for the first time – in California. The poor guy had to fly six hours from Hawaii and it wasn’t exactly pleasurable because he traveled all the way with a stent inserted in him due to kidney stones. This is proof the guy is a keeper though. <3

+ Speaking of PJ, our relationship blooming was definitely a highlight. I haven’t been in a relationship in a very long time so to say we didn’t  have challenges was an understatement. I love being in a relationship but there’s always an adjustment period – especially after being on my own so long. We fight like any other couple (maybe more), there’s always issues, and some issues may not be so common. One example is the whole nomad thing. Was I coming or going, staying ever or never? We talked a lot about what being together meant and both of us didn’t want any resentment from the other person. Clear communication and understanding is key to relationships…who knew? just kiddin’.

+ I miss the cold and the snow that makes Christmas..well Christmas but I can’t complain – I’m living in paradise. Do I still miss my nomadic adventures? Absolutely but right now, my life is about being a little less nomadic. There’s pluses and minuses to whatever life I choose and right now, this one is the one that works for me right now.

Low lights & Lessons

+ In February, during a snowboarding trip to Lake Tahoe, the unfortunate happened. I broke my wrist while snowboarding. It was the first and only time I did NOT wear wrist guards. I underwent surgery and was in a wrist guard for 8 weeks. While I was grateful I wasn’t stuck in a hard cast for 12-16 weeks, my wrist hasn’t healed the same way and bones…hurt when they break. I feel old.

+ My right knee. It’s going to be hard to continue hiking unless I find some walking sticks.

generic dreams san francisco

+ I am usually calm and collected during my travels – especially when things go wrong. During our trip to Arizona, we ran into many mishaps and I nearly lost my sanity a few more than a few times. Flights were cancelled, the system at United went down, we were put on standby for multiple flights, and dealt with long lines. We ended up flying into Tucson and taking a shuttle to Scottsdale and then driving to Sedona. I was on the phone with airline agents & in line for hours. This trip tested my patience but luckily, PJ was with me and kept me from flying off the handle multiple times. He’s also had his moments so it’s ok….right?!

+ The Election. I won’t get into it because I probably don’t need to. Some people just want to see the world burn.

+ Everything else in 2016.

Overall

It’s funny. I knew in the beginning of the year, I considered making Hawaii a home. Come December and it IS my home. For how long? I have no idea and I don’t mind to know. The next few days will be enjoying Christmas in Hawaii and some reflection on this past year. There needs to be some planning for 2017 regarding travel, new projects, and just life in general.