I don’t know where this year has gone already, but I am left gaping every time I look at a calendar and realize it’s already May. May, people! That’s the fifth month (my birthday month, woot woot!), as in, 2017 is already almost half over.
In other words, I need to get my bum into gear. I had so many plans for this blog in 2017 and I’ve only incorporated a few of them so far. I’m ready to throw myself completely into my passions and not look back.
As I mentioned recently on here, I want the rest of this year to be a year to myself. And no, I’m not meaning I want to go be an anti-social hermit and have no friends. I mean I want to focus more on what I want this year, and not make compromises in my life to make someone else happy.
I want to focus on nurturing my relationships with my friends & family, growing my business, and trying to make the world a slightly better place before I leave it.
I want to be a better person, to volunteer more, and do selfless acts just because there needs to be more of them in this world. I want to help make a difference through my voice.
I want to bring to light human rights violations abroad and at home, talk feminism (like this piece I wrote for Elephant Journal), politics, the inhumane treatment of animals, and tackle the realities of casual racism. I want to try and open up some minds when it comes to baseless prejudices, like Islamophobia.
I want to do this through writing for bigger online publications and diving headfirst into my freelance pitching.
I have countless other more personal goals for myself and my business this year. A few of my big ones for 2017 include:
- Hitting 50,000 pageviews per month on this blog.
- Growing my newsletter list to over 1,000 subscribers. I finally just started a newsletter last year, and I’ve grown it to over 200 subscribers already.
- Securing a partnership and/or brand ambassadorship with a big travel brand that I already love – ahem, GoPro, if you’re looking for a new ambassador, I’m right here. 😉
- Putting together and implementing my ideas for an online course, and have it ready to sell by December.
- Feeling like I truly have an impact with my words and this little space of the internet I hold.
- And many more…
It’s probably best that I didn’t write up one of these travel planning posts back in January, because my life and my plans have changed a lot over the course of the last few months.
Really, I think I needed to take a blogging break in April, which is why you may have noticed it has been a bit silent on here. I needed a month to just enjoy life, and take on new life changes without constantly worrying about work. It gave me the head space I needed at the time.
But my month of low-key upkeep on this blog is done, and I’m looking at my calendar and realizing just how many goals and aspirations I have left to accomplish before the end of the year. And some of those goals, of course, include new destinations and cultures to experience.
Do keep in mind that none of these plans are set in stone, but they’re guidelines to what I hope to see and where I hope to go for the rest of this year. I will always be a list person, a planner, and these kinds of lists help put my year in perspective and give me an idea of what I’m working toward.
So, here it goes!
May – Thailand, Malaysia, Laos
I currently have a couple more weeks in Thailand, which I will use to explore more of the north – mainly Chiang Mai and Pai – before heading to Kuala Lumpur on the 12th.
My birthday is also coming up at the end of May, and I spend every birthday of my 20s in a new city. I was hoping this year I would be able to celebrate it in Muscat, Oman, as I’ve been wanting to go to the Middle East for ages.
Alas, after a few financial woes, I’ve decided focusing on my budget is more important at this time. So, instead I’ll be staying around Southeast Asia. The Middle East will be its own trip in due time (maybe for my 28th)!
I’ll probably either be in Penang or Luang Prabang for my 27th birthday. I’m planning on basing myself in Malaysia for a few months and taking smaller trips from there. I’m not sure where yet, maybe Kuala Lumpur, maybe Penang, or another destination, we will see.
June – Malaysia (Borneo), Brunei
In June, I hope to explore Malaysian Borneo for the first time and do cliche things like hangout with orangoutangs in the jungle. I mean, who wouldn’t?
I also want to stop in at Brunei, the tiny little country right in the middle of Malaysian Borneo. It has a booming oil economy and is as expensive as Singapore, but other than that I hardly know anything about it. I would love to spend at least a week just taking in the country first hand and learning more about it.
July – Indonesia
I hope to go back to Indonesia in July to see other spots around the country besides Bali. I want to focus on diving, maybe do some more volunteer work, lay on the beach, and immerse myself in Indonesian culture. Jakarta, the Gili Islands, and Yogyakarta are high on my list.
August – Philippines
I was originally thinking of basing myself in the Philippines after Hong Kong last October. Then there was so much anti-American sentiment from President Duterte at the time, the tourist kidnappings in Mindanao, and the violent war on drugs that the government is still running. It suddenly didn’t seem like a very attractive destination.
With that said, I would still love to see the Philippines while I’m in Asia. I’ve heard how amazing the scenery is, how friendly the people can be, and there are quite a few interesting culinary delights I have yet to try that originate from there. I’ve heard a lot about the Philippines, both wonderful and negative, but now I want to experience it for myself.
September – (South Korea/Nepal/Timor-Leste??), Ireland
If I really like the Philippines, I might just stay there longer. If I want to move on, I’m not sure yet where I would go in early September. I may choose a new Asian spot based on the cheapest flight from Manila. However, South Korea, Nepal, and if I’m really feeling adventurous, Timor-Leste, have been in my sights.
At the end of September, I plan to head to Ireland in preparation for TBEX in Killarney at the start of October. For you non-bloggers out there, TBEX is one of the largest travel blogging conferences in the world and it happens multiple times per year in different regions.
This year’s TBEX Europe is in Killarney. The last one I went to was TBEX North America in Fort Lauderdale, Florida a couple of years ago, so I’m clearly due for some more networking with my fellow bloggers and travel industry experts!
October – Ireland
TBEX Killarney means I’ll be in Ireland for the first part of October. There are usually sponsored trips on offer before and after the conference with local tourism boards, so I’m hoping to hop on one or two of those. I’ve only been to Dublin and the Cliffs of Moher in the country, so I have a lot of traveling to do!
I’ll probably work my way to England (finally) by the end of the month, and if you can believe it, it will be my first time in the country. I know, I have a lot to see.
November – UK, USA
I plan to make it over to London by early November to attend the World Travel Market (WTM), and enjoy some more networking in the travel industry. I’m also wanting to meet up with my favorite British friend, Laura, who I’ve traveled with through many countries and who lives in London now.
After the trade show, I’ll be flying back to California to say hello to family and friends and enjoy the holidays from my sunny home state. I can’t wait!
December – USA, UK
For most of December, I plan to be in California and hopefully make a quick trip to Oregon to see more family.
And one of the more exciting plans I have for this year, I’ll be flying to Edinburgh for New Year’s Eve to celebrate Hogmanay with my Canadian best friend, Claire, who is studying in Scotland for a year …and my sister might be coming too! I’m beyond thrilled.
After the New Year, I plan to be in the UK for a few months, and from there deciding where I want to be based in Europe for the rest of the year. So far, I’ve thought of Lisbon, Berlin or Cologne, or maybe somewhere further east, but nothing is set in stone.
If you have any suggestions for a good base in Europe or a place you would love to learn more about, please let me know via email or in the comments below!
I’m looking forward to being based in Europe because there are so many European countries I want to go back to and see for the first time. And let’s be real, it’s so much easier to get around compared to North America.
So, yeah. Those are my tentative plans for the rest of 2017. I’m excited to keep living life to the fullest and sharing my story with you all on here. As always, thank you for following along. Now, let’s see how many of these plans I can tackle for the rest of 2017! <3
Do you have travel plans for 2017? What is your dream destination right now?
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