2016: The Best of

2016 is almost over. Done, finito, adios.

I wasn’t going to do one of these things, partly because I don’t want to seem like I’m all “MY LIFE IS AWESOME LOOK AT ALL THE COOL SHIZ I DID THIS YEAR” and partly because I don’t actually remember a lot of it. Just call me Dory, okay?

But anyway, I saw how Amy Evans did hers, splitting it into months and kind of liked the idea so here we are!

JANUARY

This was such an uneventful month that to be honest I can’t remember a thing. The chances are I went to the cinema a few times, ate way too much Indian food and maybe bought a few books. According to my WordPress archives I published this post about that time I went to Angel Falls, which I’ll be the first to admit is incredibly random as it would have been 2 and a half years after I actually went there. Oh, my sister also smashed her iPhone screen on her birthday, a mere 4 weeks after getting it for Christmas.

In the interest of conformity between months I will now link to an Instagram picture. However, be warned that it has absolutely NOTHING to do with January.

A photo posted by Wales to Wherever (@stteyaja) on

FEBRUARY

Again, what did I do? I don’t know! Probably the same as January, to be honest. Back then my days were filled with 6:30am wake up calls and 1am bedtimes. Oh, the joys of working 2 jobs.

A photo posted by Wales to Wherever (@stteyaja) on

MARCH

I quit my job, sold my possessions, packed everything into a little red handkerchief and set off into the sunset humming a merry tune. Sounds a lot more poetic and picturesque than what actually happened – I quit one job, put the other on hold, didn’t sell a thing because I don’t own anything, packed a few things into a 60L Quechua Forclaz backpack and hopped aboard the National Express to Heathrow.

Whichever way you put it, it was the start of what would become an epic (if I do say so myself) 8 month adventure around the world so definitely makes the top of the “awesome things that happened in 2016” list.

A photo posted by Wales to Wherever (@stteyaja) on

 

APRIL

With the first week spent in Sri Lanka and the latter 3 in India, April was the month I realised that the occasional 25º peak summer temperature we get in Wales is not hot. Let me tell you, SE Asia is like a furnace, even when it’s raining. It’s crazy! Also, Indian hospitality is insane. “Can I stay with you for 3 days?” “Of course, why not make that 3 weeks?!”

Despite having already visited for 2 and a half weeks in 2012, I’d honestly say this was my first real taste of India. With the assistance of my buddies and their familia I was able to get around a lot of Kerala, and even sit on a pavilion for 3 hours with my fellow foreigners to watch a bunch of men with umbrellas sit on elephants in costume (otherwise known as Thrissur Pooram – Google it!).

MAY

I was dumped on Copacabana Beach. Okay so that’s not really a fully factual statement as I was actually half-dumped 2 months prior by text in the comfort of my own bed, but any and all remaining strings were cut forever on Copacabana Beach with the following exchange:

Me: Yeah, I’d make an awful doctor’s wife anyway. (100% true – I’ve watched enough Holby City and Casualty to know that as fact) Doctors should go out/marry doctors.
Him: Well, about that…
*Enter new Doctor girlfriend*

I did write a post a while back explaining why this was actually one of the best things that has happened to me in my 24 years of living on this earth, but it was basically 3000-odd words of me bitterly complaining about how his mother never liked me. As soon as my new-found freedom enabled me to remember that I AM THE BEST PERSON ON THIS WHOLE PLANET the post disappeared into the abyss alongside all of my insecurities and resentment.

So just take my word on it, it was a bloody marvellous thing!

May also saw me take in a little bit more of Brazil than just Copacabana Beach – the streets of Sao Paulo, the crazy huge Iguazu Falls and, of course, Christ the Redeemer. And oddly enough, despite never really being bothered about going to Brazil before, my 3 weeks or so in the country ended up being one of the highlights of my trip.

A photo posted by Wales to Wherever (@stteyaja) on

JUNE

June was a whirlwind of adventures and excitement in Chile and Bolivia, followed by my triumphant return to where it all began – Peru! “It” being my addiction to travel, not my whole life. To go back and visit many of the places I did in 2011 and again in 2013, was extremely enjoyable, and in some parts emotional too. Other than doing the usual while there, I was also able to venture further up north to Trujillo – a part of the country I’d never been before but have always wanted to visit. Given the amount of time I’ve spent in Peru over the years, I really haven’t done it justice on this blog!

A photo posted by Wales to Wherever (@stteyaja) on

JULY

Another return to an old favourite came about in July, with a short but sweet 10 days in Colombia! Other than a few days in Bogota I didn’t go anywhere new this time around, instead choosing to stick to what I know in Medellin and Cartagena. Although I stuck to the same cities, I made sure to do and see different things to my 2013 visit, one of which was the Medellin Pablo Escobar tour. It was highly informative, educational, eye-opening and also quite sickening in a way, but something I will definitely get around to writing about in further detail soon.

Aside from Colombia, the majority of July was spent in Ecuador which, like Brazil, was not somewhere that ever enticed me to visit. However, I had an absolute blast!

A photo posted by Wales to Wherever (@stteyaja) on

AUGUST

I like to think that one day far, far in the future (I hope!) I’ll be sat on a rocking chair somewhere with one of my sisters/cousins/friends reminiscing about ‘the good old days’ and I will hand on heart say that August 2016 was THE BEST MONTH OF MY LIFE. Forget any future nippers who may find their way into my arms via my womb and/or adoption papers, forget my wedding day whenever that may be, forget the day I win the lottery (any day now)…because nothing will ever come close to August 2016. I went to Disneyland, wandered around Springfield and Hogsmeade on the very same day, finally went to In’n’Out Burger (FYI the burgers are not inside out), successfully made it in and out of China without getting arrested, and in visiting both Chichen Itza and the Great Wall managed to complete my lifetime goal of visiting all 7 of the New Seven Wonders of the World. August was magnificent.

A photo posted by Wales to Wherever (@stteyaja) on

SEPTEMBER

During the first week of September (which FYI was spent basking in the Sri Lankan sun) I think I had an early life crisis made a few “big” decisions. The first was to finally invest in an actual self-hosted site and not rely on WordPress anymore and the second was to really give this whole freelance/location independent life a good go. I don’t want to be sucked back into a life of working 6:30am until midnight, not being able to actually enjoy the money I earn and sometimes being too tired to even remember my own name. So for me September was a month of realisations.

September was also the month I made it to Rajasthan, a state in India which has been on my bucket list for a very very long time. It was exactly as I imagined it, and though I didn’t get to spend that much time there, I know I’ll be back one day to dig a little deeper.

Oh, and my sister had a baby which is pretty darn cool.

A photo posted by Wales to Wherever (@stteyaja) on

OCTOBER

This was the first time since February that I spent the WHOLE month in one single country – that country being India, one of my top faves. It was a little strange celebrating my birthday away from all my friends and family, but in equal parts it was great being able to spend it with my new friends and family, the people who’d made India feel like a second home for me.

NOVEMBER

This was a bittersweet month. I finally came home after eight long months of gallivanting around the globe (the sweet) but of course that meant saying goodbye to everyone in India (the bitter).

A photo posted by Wales to Wherever (@stteyaja) on

DECEMBER

A short but snappy trip to Latvia reminded me that travel isn’t a race. It also opened my eyes to the fact that I don’t need to fly all the way to the other side of the world to see the world because a lot of it is right on my doorstep. How cheese is that?! But seriously, Europe is full of hidden gems and when you think about it is actually right on my doorstep! So with crazy cheap flights and a new found fascination with the mainland…watch this space in 2017!

A photo posted by Wales to Wherever (@stteyaja) on

 


So that’s it for my little round-up.

People keep saying that 2016 has been a pretty crappy year what with Syria, Yemen, Trump, Brexit, all the celebrity deaths, etc etc and as a whole I see where y’all are coming from. For me personally, though? 2016 has been pretty alright!

Let me know what your favourite thing about this year has been! And if you have any 2016 review posts yourself, let me know and I’d love to link them!

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28 Comments

  1. 30th December 2016 / 6:00 pm

    Wow, you really had an interesting year! My favorite moment was my trip to the US this summer. Happy New Year!

    • rhiydwi
      31st December 2016 / 1:43 am

      Oh it was interesting alright (: Aah, a summer trip to the US sounds incredible. I’ll have to check out all your posts tomorrow (currently almost 2am.. I should be asleep..). Happy New Year to you too Emma! xx

  2. 2nd January 2017 / 12:48 am

    I really love reading your article, your writing is amazing. It is funny I kind of did the same thing last year. Sold my stuff, left home and started freelancing it is just a different feeling of life isn’t it? Looking forward to reading more adventures from you.

    • rhiydwi
      2nd January 2017 / 3:17 pm

      Aw thanks a lot, that’s so nice of you to say! Yeah absolutely – not to sound too cliche, but I really feel like I’ve sprouted wings or something this year. Happy New Year!

  3. 2nd January 2017 / 6:59 am

    What a big/crazy year you had! Getting dumped sucks but it happens. Here’s to hoping your 2017 is filled with more incredible memories.

    • rhiydwi
      2nd January 2017 / 3:16 pm

      Thanks Nathan! Same to you, Happy New Year!

  4. 2nd January 2017 / 2:53 pm

    Having done exactly what you did and pack what little I owned into a red hanky I feel that this is the best point of 2016 for me. I am so glad you liked India. Having been 4 times it is somewhere that feels like my second home. All the best for 2017 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      2nd January 2017 / 3:16 pm

      Oh yes, I loved it! It was actually my 2nd visit although the first time around I saw nothing but the Taj Mahal and the inside of my friend’s apartment, so I tend not to count that! But after this year I just can’t wait to go back 🙂 Thanks Kathy, same to you!

  5. 2nd January 2017 / 8:52 pm

    Wow! What an amazing year for you! It’s so crazy that you visited three continents! Glad to see you go out of your comfort zone and experience so many incredible, different (and incredibly different) countries, cultures, and people. So admirable…I’m in the process of publishing my 2016 year soon, so I’ll let you know when it happens! Wishing you another year filled with travel and wanderlust.

    • rhiydwi
      3rd January 2017 / 11:36 pm

      Aw thanks Rebecca! Same to you 🙂 And yeah, please do let me know when you have it up! Love having a nose at what everyone else has been up to.

  6. 2nd January 2017 / 11:17 pm

    Yeah, you’ve definitely had a pretty good year! Can’t go wrong with 8 months of travel. Mine was pretty dandy – travelled loads too and moved countries. Looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings. 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      3rd January 2017 / 11:43 pm

      Happy to hear you’ve had an awesome year too! 😀 Here’s to 2017!

  7. 3rd January 2017 / 12:01 pm

    Hey, don’t worry. From the looks of it, you still had an awesome year. The first few months may be so-so, but the next ones were cool! We haven’t been outside Philippines, our home country, while you traveled to three continents!

    Cheers to more adventures on 2017!

    • rhiydwi
      3rd January 2017 / 11:52 pm

      The thing is I’m sure Jan/Feb were actually pretty cool, I just can’t remember a thing haha! Oh I’d looove to visit Philippines some day, I’m kind of a little bit jealous you haven’t left it all year to be honest. Thanks, Happy New Year to you! 😀

  8. 3rd January 2017 / 6:53 pm

    What a year!! Love all you had to say on May as well – you ARE the best in the whole world so suck it breakups haha

    • rhiydwi
      3rd January 2017 / 11:51 pm

      YES I AM! Haha, we are all the best person on the planet 😉

  9. 3rd January 2017 / 10:53 pm

    SE Asia is in fact a furnace and I am missing those temperatures right about now! It is around 30 degrees F in Seattle and I am freezing! I would love to plan a much longer trip to SE Asia at some point. It looks like you had the best time and your photos are lovely!

    • rhiydwi
      3rd January 2017 / 11:47 pm

      Oh wow that’s cold! It’s about 37 in Wales and if it drops any more I may just have to buy a one way ticket to the Caribbean. Thanks a lot Jessica! Hope you get to plan your longer trip some time soon! 😀

  10. 3rd January 2017 / 11:38 pm

    Looks like you had some amazing adventures this year, what’s in store for 2017?

    • rhiydwi
      4th January 2017 / 2:06 am

      2016 was a blast! 😀 A few short trips to Poland, Croatia and Montenegro shortly but nothing planned after March! It’s all a blank slate and I’m very excited to fill it up.

  11. 4th January 2017 / 10:29 am

    A busy year indeed. And good on you for taking the step of making your blog goo the next step from the wordpress site. I do know what it is like to walk two jobs, right now I work a 14 hour shift at the mine I work at and then spare time is all on the blog, because at the end of the day i do want it to be a business. Nice read.

    • rhiydwi
      4th January 2017 / 2:14 pm

      Oh wow 14 hours then you work on the blog?! That’s some crazy dedication right there! I’ve just subscribed to your newsletter, I know it’s just little old me but every little helps in your quest for world blog domination right? 😉

  12. 6th January 2017 / 11:20 am

    Yay! I loved reading your post, although your year was a hell of a lot more adventurous than mine haha. Is it bad that everytime I read Kerala on your blog my mind wonders to food and I get hungry?

    I love the idea of just jetting off on an 8 month adventure. Also to Mr Dr in May, what a douche lord. If I was lucky enough to have a significant other who was chasing their dreams and currently sat on Copacabana Beach I would be thinking about how boring my life was, but there we go. I hate the saying “things happen for a reason” and don’t really believe that but sometimes life has a way of seeming that way and these moments often mark the start of a new amazing and more exciting chapter.

    August sounded absolutely amazing. I would love to be able to have seen what you’ve seen this year, reading this post makes me sad I didn’t find your blog sooner!

    http://fourcatsplusus.co.uk – Amy

    • rhiydwi
      7th January 2017 / 3:55 pm

      Not bad at all, Kerala has some of the best food around so why not think about it 😉
      It all worked out for the best – when he’s drowning in a pile of medical textbooks and other people’s bodily fluids, I’ll be drowning in the Caribbean Sea and a pile of cocounts or something! Figuratively drowning, of course, not literally. Although that’d be a hell of a way to die.
      Aww that’s so nice of you to say! Although to be honest I think around the time you started reading was when I actually started putting some actual effort in so you haven’t really missed a lot! If there’s one thing I’m grateful for in 2016 aside from all the travel-related malarkey, it’s the blogging people who’ve come about (you including of course!) along the way.

  13. 8th January 2017 / 12:03 am

    Really great highlight reel of the past year. I agree that this format is so much more interesting that the standard “look what i did” that we often see. Well done!

  14. 8th January 2017 / 2:30 am

    Sounds like a great year! I was so lazy to sum up the year in a blogpost, but there were so many nice moments for me as well. The last and the most freash one was Christmas trip to Vienna, really loved that city.

    • rhiydwi
      8th January 2017 / 4:20 pm

      Haha to be honest I was feeling pretty lazy about it myself but got too jealous seeing everyone else’s so had to jump on the bandwagon! Oh Vienna is lovely, I imagine even more so at Christmastime!

  15. Brown Gal Trekker
    8th January 2017 / 9:39 pm

    Busy year – you went all over and various parts of the world. I’m sure the 8 months just zoomed by. Wish you a nice travel your in 2017!

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