2016 was full of excitement. I spent far more time on the road than back at home, which always making me appreciate the island I live on so much more.
My 2016 travels began where I grew up, near St. Louis, where I taught interactive content creation workshop, but I was soon airborne over the Atlantic and Pacific off to explore new destinations. As you begin the new year today with big ideas, dreams, and aspirations, here’s a look back on fifteen experiences from my 2016 that could soon be in your own 2017 future.
The Best of 2016 Travels
1. SNOWSHOEING (AND GLAMPING) IN WATERBURY VERMONT
Off to Vermont at the beginning of the year for a little bit of snowshoeing (and to celebrate my 34th birthday), and I was instantly taken with a little Treehouse and B&B. Check out our full review of this affordable luxury stay that feels like home away from home.
3. SAFARI TO SAND IN SOUTH AFRICA
Exploring South Africa didn’t end with a trip through the safari — it goes all the way to the seaside! From the east at Cape Town to the northern safari, it’s worth the journey to travel around. Don’t forget to check out our guides (and packing guide) from Cape Town to Kwazulu-Natal to help you plan your own trip.
4. ONE DAY IN PARIS
A daydream of a place to spend an afternoon, I had a nine hour layover in Paris on the way home from South Africa. If you just have a layover or are lucky enough to have an entire week, make sure to take a little time to stroll down (and around) Rue des Martyrs. Just a few blocks away from the more touristy areas, you’ll get a touch of what the locals like from bakeries and pastry shops to boutiques.
5. GLAMPING IN ITHACA, NEW YORK
A homegrown stay, this glamping review was a real treat. I spent a day with owner Emma Frisch and special guest Simon Majumdar sourcing from local producers for a farm to table community dinner around the campfire they were hosting. Everyone should experience an unplugged stay in Ithaca.
6. A FIRST TASTE OF PUERTO RICO
Excellent for any type of travel (families, couples, friend-cations, and solo adventures alike), Puerto Rico topped my list for places that surprised me this year. I stayed one week with my family and an extra three days driving along the West Coast of this undersold island.
8. EXPLORING OFF THE BEATEN THAILAND
When most people think of Thailand, islands, beaches, and Bangkok are most likely the first things that come to mind. On my latest trip, I explore the fresh air of the off-the-beaten-path Issan region. The Isaan Route is filled with artisans and craftsmen and women. One of my favorite experiences was learning the process of indigo dying by hand, a true tradition of the region. Explore all of our (six) Thailand Guides here to help you plan a trip of your own.
9. ROAMING LANGUAGE DRIVEN NEIGHBORHOODS OF NEW YORK
From meeting native Spanish and Polish artists, to wandering the Little Odessa in Brighton Beach, I loved getting lost in New York while working on a production for Rosetta Stone. Learning about a culture through language gives a whole new perspective on travel. Check out my attempt at learning French here!
10. FINDING WYNWOOD
I flew down to Miami to produce a film for the Global Creator and fell in love with Wynwood, a colorful area with street art around around every corner. Wynwood is an Instagrammers gold mine, so if you loving snapping images, bookmark this spot for coffee to tacos.
11. ROAD TRIPPING MADEIRA, PORTUGAL
Trudging up the crumbling cliffsides via jeep was the most thrilling experience yet. With the views of the mountains and the sharp curves, you’ll need to end your journey with a Poncha and limpets at the closest restaurant. Check out our comprehensive guide of the island here.
13. HIKING LITTLE GRAND CANYON
When you think of the midwest, hiking probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But look a little closer at Southern Illinois and Missouri and you’ll find areas that are filled with trails to explore. On my most recent trip, hiking Little Grand Canyon was the highlight of my visit. Check out our guide to the best hikes near St. Louis.
14. WEEKEND AT A WELL SUMMIT
I taught a photography workshop at the WELL SUMMIT in NYC, a place where wellness professionals and enthusiasts gather to share and learn. My highlights were a meditation session with Josh Rosebrook, finding my new favorite Lemongrass Lime Kombucha, and meeting the founder of a new favorite food grade skincare line. Look out for WELL Summit satellite events leading up to the 2017 Summit.
15. COMING HOME TO NANTUCKET
No matter how much I travel, there’s no place like my current home — Nantucket. I love adventuring outdoors and finding the best places to photograph during my favorite season – an outdoors guide to autumn on Nantucket.
What topped your own 2016 list? Let us know below!