Every time I sit down to write one of these, I just can’t believe another year has flown by again. Today marks my FOURTH travel-versary. That’s just CRAZINESS.
I feel like each year of my travels has had a different theme.
The first year was all about the excitement and seeing as many areas of the world as possible.
The second year was about reconnecting with family. I gained back many family relationships that diminished over the years. My sister became my best friend again and I found a home back in Beijing.
The third year was about making it as a freelance writer and becoming completely independent. This was the hardest year with a lot of highs and lows, but I couldn’t have gotten to where I am now without it.
This fourth year has been about figuring it out as a solo traveler. In many ways, I think this has been the most fun year! I can honestly say that this year was pretty much all peaches and rainbows. I had a lot of fun everywhere I went. Nothing bad ever happened (at least nothing bad enough that I care to remember… oh wait, maybe being traumatized by the cockroaches in Shanghai :P, but that’s it).
Here’s where I spent my 4th year:
- 1 month in Penang, Malaysia
- 2 weeks in Bali, Indonesia
- 2 weeks in Langkawi, Malaysia
- 1 month in Kuala Lumpur (wow, that’s it?!)
- 3 days on Rendang, Malaysia
- 1 month in Chengdu, China
- 3 weeks in Kota Kinabalu, East Malaysia
- 3 weeks in Shanghai
- 8 weeks in Beijing
- 19 weeks in the U.S. (visiting Los Angeles, San Diego, New Jersey/New York, and Seattle)
I started off Year 4 by leaving the comforts of KL to, once again, set off as a nomadic traveler… this time solo. I was very nervous about how I’d like it as a solo traveler. I was afraid I may hate it and be lonely the whole time.
But it turned out that I was never actually alone! I met up with blog friends, my sister came to visit in Malaysia (which was super fun!), I visited my China family per usual, and I spent A LOT of time back in the US with friends. I’ve found that being solo gave me the freedom to go where I want and spend as much time as I want with loved ones.
This year held so many special memories that I had a hard time picking out just 52 photos for my annual mosaic. But I decided to stick to my original tradition and do 1 photo to represent each week. As always, you can click to enlarge. :)
Looking at my photos, I’m happy to see a lot more people and faces in them (unlike the past 3 years). People definitely made up the biggest part of this year. I feel so grateful that I’ve been able to travel with so many friends and also meet new ones along the way. That’s why I think this is the most fun year in many ways!
What’s next for Year 5?
I’m starting off Year 5 with a return to Europe! I’m beyond excited! Especially as I’m gonna be meeting two of my favorite blogger pals. I’m starting the year with a month in Belgrade, Serbia with Laia (with a visit from Andrea), before moving on to Barcelona. Of course, the year can’t be complete without returning to my beloved Kuala Lumpur. This year will be even more fun, because Ray and Carmela are joining me there. After that, I have no idea! I really would like to spend time with my friends in SoCal again, so hopefully that can fit into the plans.
I’ve realized that I’m not really a completely solo traveler. Nor do I want to be. And that’s okay. I thought I would try to go to some new places solo this year, but instead, I’ve just made a lot of plans to meet up with friends. Total fail so far. But that’s alright. I like being with friends and being able to experience a place with someone. Which is why I often choose to return to beloved places, over traveling to somewhere new. Sorry for making you read about the same places over and over! :P
Here we go Year 5… I’m ready! Bring it on!
Sorry for the silence on the blog… I’m having a hard time trying to find the balance between working as a writer and writing for fun. I may lament about it sometime. But as always, thank you for being so supportive and following along!