2016 has been an amazing year, that is an UNDER-statement! Lots of jet-setting travel, I calculated about 60,000+ air miles this year alone! Yes, that is most I have ever flown in a year & Yes, there was a lot of jetlag! Most travel was for leisure, while there is a good chunk of miles for work as well. Work hard, play hard – right?!?!
Without further ado, here are the 2016 highlights:
Technically, the highlight starts on December 31, 2015…the wife (girlfriend at that time) & I had just started a 2-month long vacation. First stop was Paris – we made plans to visit the Eiffel Tower skydeck on the 1st full day. After the visit, we walked to the carousel next to the tower. I told her that a vlog was needed, but this happened instead (see video). Let’s just say she was SHOCKED, she did say Yes though!
We did a lot other cultural things in Paris – museums, eating, & strolling the neighborhoods. There was also a train ride day-trip to Brussels, so we could see Grand Place and eat some mussels (did I mention we are foodies???)
Pictured: 5-minutes after the proposal (Paris), Mona Lisa (Paris), Mussels (Brussels)
After a week or so in Paris, the wife flew back home for a couple weeks while I stayed in Europe. Barcelona has always been on my must-do, along with a Guinness brewery tour in Dublin. Why not do both?
Pictured: Park Guell (Barcelona), Guinness Academy (Dublin)
So that was the Europe leg of the 2-month vacation. By this time, it was late January and we were off to Asia to scout a few countries. First stop was in Burma (Myanmar) to visit the cities of Yangon & Bagan.
Pictured: Shwedagon Pagoda (Yangon), 1 of over 2,000 temples in Bagan city
Next a quick 1.5 days in Singapore to visit the wife’s brother, where we were introduced to Kaya toast (wow!) & toured a couple hawker stalls. Did you know Singapore is home to world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant @ around $2 USD a plate?
Then off to my FAVORITE country to visit – Vietnam where I have family that live. We only had a few days here, but made good use of the time by touring the Mekong Delta & organized a visit to a Deaf & Blind school in the Hau Giang province. The last few visits to Vietnam, I have made it a must-do to visit these kids and it’s really cool to see these kids grow up over the last few years!
Pictured: Gardens of the Bay (Singapore), Mekong Delta (Vietnam), School Open House (Vietnam)
After Vietnam, we visited Cambodia to visit the Siem Reap area for a couple days. Tip: Be patient, lots of tourists there! Then it was off to Phuket, Thailand to grab some beach time and a day in Bangkok . The wife left to go back home after Thailand while I flew back to Vietnam for 4-weeks to be with family during the Tet Lunar New Year. Last part of Asia trip was an over-night stay in Incheon, South Korea on the way back the the USA…2-month vacation OVER!!!
Pictured: Siem Reap (Cambodia), Phi Phi Island (Phuket, Thailand)
Pictured: Lunar New Year, hanging with family & relaxing (Can Tho, Vietnam)
BACK TO REALITY – By the time I settled back home, it was already March. Remember that proposal in Paris? Well, we decided to get married later in 2016! We rushed to find venues that had open dates in October-November time. It took some time to find a ceremony & reception location, but we eventually found places that worked for everybody. Whew!
During my time in January-February, I started getting inspired to find my entrepreneurial spirit. Working for an organic company, it made me realize the importance of sustainability in our community. As I learned more about this concept over the years, it became more apparent in my life…so around late Spring, my idea turned into an actual company – ModestPlanet! I won’t bore you with the details (for now) about starting a venture like this, there are definitely ups & downs creating this company, but it is very fulfilling & worth it to me!
Summer was pretty low-key, given that we did an EPIC world tour early in the year & along with new business opportunities. We did connect with friends at various places – a wedding in Indianapolis (layover in Bozeman, Montana which was very random) & going to the Rose Bowl to the Copa America soccer tournament. BTW, I love futbol (soccer)!
Pictured: Bozeman airport (We’ll visit Yellowstone soon!) and Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)
Fall time, we visited Hawaii for a week! The first stop was Kauai island, which is about the most paradise-like place I have ever been to! Plus, our friend was getting married on Oahu. Beautiful wedding & the Hawaiian attire fits my style!
Pictured: Hanakapiai Falls (Kauai), Waimea Canyon (Kauai), Wedding @ Sea Life Park (Honolulu)
Speaking of weddings, we got married 3-weeks after the Hawaii vacation. There were 140 of our family & friends and we partied well into 10pm (we are getting old)! A couple days later, we were off to Barcelona for the honeymoon. I was there earlier in the year, but without the wife. There is so much to do in Barcelona, we decided that another trip was in order!
Pictured: Park Guell (this time with the Mrs.) and Tapas! (Barcelona)
…and it leads to this time now. 2016 was not an “average” year! Trust me – long vacations, weddings, & entrepreneurship are not typical events that happen every year for me. 2016 has been the most jam-packed year ever. With everything going on this year, it helps me realize how much is really possible. As long as I stay motivated, anything can happen. I am highly optimistic for the future & everything that lies ahead. Hope you had a healthy 2016 too!
Make Today > Yesterday,