Happy Travel Tuesday!
I’m so excited to be co-hosting it with Bonnie Rose for the next couples of months! For the new visitors (hello!), I thought I’d start with a brief introduction so we can get to know each other. :) About two years ago, I quit my job as a civil engineer to travel the world with my boyfriend (D on the blog) for an indefinite amount of time. As I now find myself navigating life as a full-time traveler, I find it equal parts exciting and terrifying, but I have not looked back since! On this blog, I document our travels (food is a big part of it!), talk about life on the road, love, and even share my artwork!
I thought it’d be fun to kick off my Travel Tuesday co-hosting stint with an overview of our travel plans for the year!
D and I are the kind of people who plan our travels way in advance. As much as I wish we could be the “play it by ear” kind of travelers, our budget doesn’t really allow for that. I have to at the very least have flights and accommodations booked. I like knowing that we have places to stay. And plus, the earlier you book, the better chance you have of snatching up the best apartments in the best locations at the best prices. I would hate to wait too long and be stuck with either the really expensive ones, or the ones way out in the boondocks.
So this means that even though it’s only mid-January, we already have our travel plans for most of the year already! Here’s what’s in store for us this year:
Mid January – Mid March: a little solo adventure in Malaysia
We just arrived in Kuala Lumpur last Friday! I’ve been interested in Malaysia for a while (for the food, duh) so I’m excited to have made it here. I plan to be in KL for one month and Penang for another.
Now, if you’ve noticed, I said “I” because I will actually be traveling solo the majority of the time in Malaysia! D is only here with me in KL for two weeks, before flying back to Taipei. This is the first time I will be traveling alone (don’t freak out, mom)! While I was in Los Angeles last summer (which didn’t really count as solo travel because I was never actually alone), D was by himself for about 7 weeks and he ended up really enjoying the experience. After some discussion, we agreed that it would be good for me to have the same experience and learn to care for myself on the road. I’m all kinds of nervous and excited for it!
But I won’t exactly be friendless the entire time, because I plan to meet up with blog friend CL (Real Gunner), a local Malaysian from KL who now lives in Penang! He has generously offered to drive me from KL to Penang (I’m so grateful that I won’t need to figure out that journey on my own!), and show me around the island. I’m expecting a lot of good food, CL!
If this works out well, we may be splitting up for solo trips every year. We don’t always have the same interest in destinations, after all. :)
Mid March – End of April: Back to Taipei, again
After my solo experience in Malaysia, I will be flying back to Taipei to rejoin D. Once again, we’re at the same airbnb rental. I’m missing my little adopted home already! I will promptly visit my favorite cafes, eat stinky tofu, and drink bubble tea. I also look forward to hanging out with the friends I made there again and maybe even take a couple of trips. Perhaps a trip to the east coast and a return trip to Jiufen?
May – September: Europe again, baby!
Again, we have cashed in the Chase Sapphire Preferred points we had accumulated over the past year for two free flights to Europe and back! Spending our summers in Europe seem to be the norm for us now (I know… that sentence just sounded incredibly pompous), and this time, we will be there for a whole 5 months, our longest stay in Europe yet!
Oh wait, Hong Kong first – Before we fly to Europe, we’re stopping in Hong Kong for a week. Because flying out of Hong Kong is always the lowest pricing.
Now, when we went to Europe last summer, I can say with certainty that practically all the destinations were chosen for the food (actually almost anywhere we go is mainly for the food). So it’ll be a surprise to you then that this time, our European destinations are chosen mainly based on cost and a little something known as the Schengen Agreement.
Our US passports only allow us to be in European Schengen countries for 90 days out of a 180 day period, but we can be on the continent for longer if we stay in some non-Schengen countries. Makes sense?
So after some debating and research, this is the plan we came up with:
Tallinn, Estonia, 4 weeks (Schengen) – I just like the sound of Estonia. It sounds like a fairytale. I’ve heard good things about Tallinn and this is one of D’s dad’s favorite cities! We also plan to take a quick jaunt over to Helsinki from here, checking off one more country!
Bucharest, Romania, 4 weeks (non-Schengen) – Romania recently popped up on my radar as somewhere I would very much like to visit. I kind of have no idea what to expect, so any tips will be greatly appreciated!
Budapest, Hungary, 4 weeks (Schengen) – we both fell in love with Budapest when we were there two summers ago. It remains one of my favorite European cities thus far. I’m so excited to return and spend a more proper amount of time there. We’ve already been in touch with our airbnb host from the last visit (unfortunately, she has since sold that apartment), and we plan to meet up over some food at our favorite restaurant we discovered last time, that has since become one of her favorites too! And of course, I’m also looking forward to relaxing at the baths!
Croatia, 6 weeks (non-Schengen) – Croatia needs no explanation, as it’s been raved about by travel bloggers a great deal. I know it’s mainly famous for the beautiful beaches, but I think we’ll mostly be in the landlocked capital of Zagreb as it’s more inline with our budget. But maybe we can fit in some beach trips.
Barcelona, 4 weeks (Schengen) – This is the splurge destination of this summer! Spain has been at the top of my European wishlist since I can remember, and I wish we could go everywhere! But transportation + accommodation costs are just too much for what we can reasonably afford. You tend to get a much, much better deal by renting for a month, so we decided on Barcelona (D has visited years ago and loved it). I would have preferred somewhere a little more traditional Spanish, but the flight out of Barcelona was the cheapest + most hassle-free. And anyway, I have never heard of anyone having anything bad to say about Barcelona!
Okay seriously, aside from Budapest, I have no idea what to eat in any of these places! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
October: Tokyo, Japan and ??
We already booked our flights to fly into Tokyo, but we still haven’t worked out the details as to how we will spend our time in Japan. I have mixed feelings about this since, as you probably read, I didn’t really love Japan, but D agrees with me that Osaka doesn’t exactly get the heart beating. He’s eager to show me Tokyo and make me see why he loves it so much, so I hope I’ll find the magic then too!
November – end of year: Back to Taipei for winter
Just like last year, we’re returning to Taipei for the rest of winter. I think after all the excitement of the summer/fall, we’ll be ready to settle down for a few months again in place that feels like home. I really do love this time of the year in Taipei.
So this is what’s in the books for 2016. This year is looking like a good mix of the old and new. Just enough new destinations to satisfy the wanderlust bug, a couple of revisits of previously beloved places, and of course, also spending a good chunk of it in Taipei, just how I like it. :)
Do you have plans for this year already? Will our paths cross at any point? And let me know if you have suggestions for any of the places in Europe!!
And by the way, I just want to say that I’m so honored to be nominated to co-host Travel Tuesday for the next few months! This is one of the best and most active travel blog parties in the community! I thought it was pretty fitting to introduce you guys to my travel plans for my first post. I hope to bring you guys around the world with me by sharing about a new destination every Tuesday!
To join the blog party, just link up below!
1. SHARE a post about travel! Anything goes here… whether it’s trips abroad or local adventures, past travels or dream vacations, travel tips and tricks, or anything in between! Just make it about travel!
2. GRAB the lovely button above! And link back to your lovely hosts: that would be Bonnie and yours truly.
3. LINKUP goes live! Every Tuesday at 8 am GMT.
4. HOP around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Link up will be open for a few days, make sure to check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!
1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
2. The last Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!
See you guys soon! And if you’re new to my blog, please introduce yourself below too. I love new faces and making bloggy friends. :)