This year I’ve been lucky enough to travel to 5 countries, catch 12 flights, take a 2+ hour Uber ride (see the Philadelphia heading) and make endless memories. In my 2016 travel recap, I’m taking one final trip: a gander down memory lane.
Honestly, that whole paragraph was so cheesy but it’s true. I’ve had so many opportunities this year to see incredible cities and fulfill a fraction of my travel goals. I’m super excited to see where I’ll go in 2017. Los Angeles, Barcelona and Tokyo are on the top of my list – and another trip down under is guaranteed too.
I’ve had moments this year where I’ve booked a flight only days before departing. Now my suitcases are within easy reach, I keep a cosmetics bag packed with ready-to-go essentials and I’m working on making an income from my laptop so I can jet off whenever I please.
You know I’m never one to turn down a chance to go somewhere. Let’s travel recap.
TRAVEL RECAP | The top places I travelled to in 2016
I started the year off in one of my favourite places on earth: Sydney, Australia. I used to live there and have been there 5 times so far. Lucky me, I know – but to be fair I have an Australian passport so it’s a piece of cake (no visas, woohoo!). Plus half of my family lives there so there’s always an excuse to visit.
To ring in 2016, my friend Katerina and I went to a wild house party in Newtown. It was like something in the movies. She had told me we were going to a “chill house with a couple close friends” and so I wore a cute Kookai dress with a long black trench coat and peep-toe platform mules. Turns out, not the best outfit for stumbling over grassy sidewalks and empty beer cans.
We did get to pop a bottle of champagne with a crowd of people in the middle of the street though, which was incredibly fun (and convenient since the champagne exploded and that would’ve been a mess to clean up inside). My friend Cassandra came to meet up with us just in time for the champagne popping too! It was definitely a memorable way to ring in 2016.
The next trip was Valentines Day weekend in Montreal with my friend Stephan (of the award winning blog Why I Love Toronto). This was my first visit to Montreal and I had one hell of a time getting there. We happened to go on the coldest weekend of the year – not to mention of my entire life – and with the snow and icy roads, the normally 5 hour bus ride took me a long and drawn out 9 hours. Thankfully I had snacks.
The temperatures didn’t heat up at all when we finally arrived and at one point I actually had icicles hanging from my eyelashes. The silver lining was that we ended up spending lots of time discovering delicious restaurants, cafes and bars to stay warm in.
La Distillerie was a really cute pub we discovered with insanely delicious cocktails. My favourite was the Puissant – pear, jalapeno, ginger ale and alcohol, of course. The bar had a really cozy, friendly feel and they even served gold fish crackers in mason jars as bar snacks! So cute.
I got the opportunity to go to London through my position as Associate Editor at VANE Airport. Did I jump at the opportunity to go? Yes! I am a quarter British after all.
In reality, I had never given much thought to visiting London. For some reason I was under the impression that I wouldn’t like it at all. My mind was completely changed after only the short taxi ride to my hotel. Staring out the window in awe, I knew this was going to be a good trip.
I spent my days touring around the city (yes, I even did the Big Bus Tour and retained an incredible amount of fun facts about England – ask me anything) and my afternoons were spent working from my laptop in the hotel tea room ordering endless lattes and freshly made scones.
Turns out, I had a few friends in London and ended up going for beers in London pubs more often than I anticipated. But I still had to spend a couple nights alone dining on authentic London Fish N Chips and mushy peas – which in my opinion shouldn’t even exist at all.
While I was in London, I couldn’t resist a mini trip to Paris – the latest city of my dreams. I happened to have a free day and got up early to take the train to Paris. It took less than 2 hours to get there and I only had 6 hours to spend in the city but it was well worth it.
I pretty much had the most Parisian experience ever. I saw the Eiffel Tower, took a selfie with the Arc de Triomphe, checked out the view from Montmartre, savoured macarons, browsed vintage markets and chilled out at a sidewalk cafe sipping wine and munching on a cheese, bread and meat platter.
On the train back to London I read (well, struggled to read is more accurate) a French fashion magazine, ate my Parisian desserts and dreamed about the day I’ll get to go back. While sipping a plastic glass of champagne. Yes, the train had champagne.
New York, New York (x2)
One of the reasons I chose to move to Toronto from Sydney was the close proximity to New York City. This year I was lucky enough to be able to go to NYC twice! Once with my editor and friend Cristina and once to meet up with my best friend Zach who I went to school with in Australia.
The first trip was supposed to be more about work than play but obviously we had an excellent balance of both. I did yoga with a view of the Empire State Building, ate exquisite Japanese cuisine at Sushi Roxx, got beyond intoxicated at Bar Vandal and scored a pair of vintage YSL caged heels for $45 at Beacon’s Closet.
My second trip was more spur of the moment but there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to meet Zach for his first time in my favourite city! We tried to do things both of us (obviously) hadn’t done before like walk the High Line, cross the Brooklyn Bridge and go to a random psychic after too many margaritas at Caliente Cab.
I also thought it was a good idea to wear my brand new Kendall + Kylie ankle boots to walk around the entire island of Manhattan. Turns out, even my love for fashion couldn’t make me suffer any longer. I had to run into the nearest Modells and buy some Nike slides. So embarrassing. At least they semi went with my outfit.
Philadelphia, Delaware, Maryland
This was the day I crossed 3 states in one drive. I sort of felt like Mandy Moore in A Walk To Remember when she’s in 2 states at one time. Sort of.
We had to take a 2-hour Uber ride from Philadelphia to Annapolis, Maryland for a birthday party. I’m serious. We flew to Philadelphia and crossed 3 states to get to a birthday party. We love to celebrate, okay? A lot.
Our Uber driver was the most hilarious person. The shock on his face when we said we needed to get to Maryland was priceless (however, the bill was not). He also told me that I must have the worst taste ever if I thought Philadelphia Airport was as amazing as I was making it out to be. I almost choked on my Chipotle burrito laughing many times that ride.
When I first heard we were going to Annapolis, I thought someone had made a typo and we were surely going to Minneapolis or Indianapolis or somewhere that I’d heard of before. Cris and I had no idea what to expect after our 2-hour drive from Philly to Annapolis. We were pleasantly surprised when we drove up to our weekend home.
We stayed on a compound right on Chesapeake Bay surrounded by beautiful views and eccentric people. We started off the weekend with margaritas on the balcony then took a boat to Pusser’s Landing for more drinks and crab cakes. The night ended with us on a private yacht popping bottles of champagne and blasting Justin Timberlake. (We were strictly forbidden from using social media on the yacht.)
The party was a whole ‘nother adventure in itself. We were celebrating a 50th and a 30th birthday combined for two pretty awesome guys (both of whom – as well as everyone else – I just met that weekend). We had caterers scattered about, a bar by the pool and DJ Panda spinning sick beats all night long. I can’t wait to go back to Annapolis!
Victoria, British Columbia (x2)
I’m always excited to go back to Victoria and see my family and friends who I’ve tragically decided to live on the other side of the country from. I am an island girl after all and you know what they say – you can take the girl outta the island but you can’t take the island outta the girl.
This year I had the chance to go to Victoria twice at two very important times: my 25th birthday and Christmas. I swear if I was a millionaire I would even fly home just for a long weekend, but until then I have to settle for once every 6 months.
Both times I’ve partnered up with the Magnolia Hotel & Spa in downtown Victoria. Once for a stay and once for a holiday-themed photo shoot. I’ve also spent time enjoying my favourite spots like Little Jumbo, Pagliacci and Shiki Sushi. (Wow, just typing that sentence made me realize that my life literally revolves around food. Omg.)
Anyways, that’s it for the travel recap! Where will I go next year? You’ll find out when I do.