“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page,” this powerful quotation uttered by Saint Augustine of Hippo has inspired travellers, including myself, to act on our wanderlust. Exploring a new place, meeting new people, exposing oneself to new cultures, and trying new dish are some of the most life-changing experiences of our lives. The joy of travel and memories it created can bring a long lasting happiness to a rather dull life.
One more day before we say Adieu to 2017 and say Hello to a new year, we would like to look back on the year that is filled with memorable travel moments. For travellers with full-time jobs, vacation days are limited. As expats, we need to divide our annual leaves from the places we wanted to go and days to spend with our families back home.
It was a very good year of travel. A lot has been ticked off our bucket list. The places we’ve been to were some of the most beautiful places we’ve ever seen. For so many years that we’ve been travelling as a couple, this year has allowed us to travel with family and be reunited with old friends. And we would like to thank our blog’s followers for joining us on our travels by reading. A big thank you to you guys!
We have embraced our love for the outdoors by finally making our first hike in January. We had our second mountain in February and our third the following month. Before our first hike in January, we’ve never done hiking for ten long years. Our first three hikes were met with mistakes, lost trails, and exhaustion, but it was very rewarding.
Dragon’s back mountain is the most popular hike in Hong Kong and is good for beginners so we made that our first ever hike. That was followed by more strenuous hikes. We climbed to the top of the third and second highest mountains in Hong Kong, the Sunset Peak and the Lantau Peak, respectively. These two hikes were challenging but reaching the top gave us this feeling of achievement. There is nothing like going off the beaten path and seeing the world from the top.
Our fourth hike was the most memorable one. Not only because it was difficult but the view was nothing we’ve ever seen before. Mist Trail hike in Yosemite offered us a magnificent vista, eye-popping falls, and awe-inspiring granite mountains. Wilderness at its finest. The training we had hiking our first mountains helped us to conquer and finish this amazing hike. Unforgettable.
As soon as our US visas got approved last November, 2016, we knew that 2017 would finally be the year when one of our oldest dreams would come true. And, yes it did. Last May-June of 2017, coinciding our anniversary and Lorna’s birthday, we embarked on our longest flight ever to the USA.
It was a two-week vacation and we chose to spend it in Los Angeles, Yosemite National Park, and San Francisco. We were welcomed by two of our dear friends in LA and toured us to some of the places we’ve only seen on movies or tv before. We’ve also met some amazing old friends out there.
In Los Angeles, we did some amazing stuff, like attending an outdoor movie screening, walking around DTLA or Downtown Los Angeles, have fun not once but twice at Universal Studios, walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and watch a movie at TCL theatre. We also got the chance to take the famous METRO, chilled at Santa Monica Beach, tried the sumptuous In N Out Burger, and hike up to Griffith Observatory.
Yosemite National Park was our first ever National Park experience and a truly remarkable one. We were speechless by what we saw and the beauty presented in front of us was unbelievably amazing. After sleeping on a cold night, we hiked the Mist trail, joined the first ever Twilight tour of the season, and walk along the park. These three days were some of the best moments of our lives.
Our final stop in USA is San Francisco. It was a remarkable city that is tourist-friendly because of its accessibility. We finally met the most famous bridge in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge. When I say met, we just didn’t see it but we experienced it by biking across it. Yes, we biked the Golden Gate Bridge all the way to Sausalito and it was incredible. We also struggled to get a perfect photo of the crooked street at Lombard St, waited patiently at the queue to take the Cable Car, and faced the crowds at Fisherman’s Wharf. The vacation was short but worthwhile.
Did I mention that we used the public transport during our USA vacation? Yes, we did and we’re proud of it. We took public transport from LA to Yosemite to San Francisco. That made our vacation even more unforgettable. It was heartbreaking to leave the US but we knew we would come back soon.
Last November, we went on a family tour to Dubai and Abu Dhabi and we had so much fun. We were used to traveling as a couple that being with family touring was refreshing.
Our travel to UAE was full of remarkable experiences and never-ending laughter, incessant conversations and unending awe. We stayed in Dubai for 6 days and in Abu Dhabi for two-days and one night.
In Dubai, we went up to the top of the highest building in the world, Burj Khalifa and had an amazing time admiring how Dubai has proven to the world that it is a cosmopolitan hub and a place to explore. The city was expensive compared to other city, but can still be travelled on a budget, just know how. The highlight of our Dubai tour was the Desert Safari tour that allowed us to experience the desert by taking the 4×4 for dune bashing. And, we finally saw a camel and rode it. Though felt guilty riding it because we saw they’re tired, but it was still an experience.
We rented a car for the first time because we’re one big family. The Last Exit, Jumeirah Beach, Dubai Mall, and Global Village were some of the places we went to. Because we have our own car, we did have a road trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi which was fun.
Abu Dhabi which has Emirates Palace and the Grand Mosque to be proud of, was a beautiful city. My father used to live here before his retirement and my brother is still currently living that made it extra special.
The weather was perfect, too. All in all, it was a good travel to cap off the year.
It was indeed a very good year for us as we’ve experienced new things, visited new places, and as our travels continue to grow we had become more appreciative of nature. We had developed this sense of gratitude for what Mother Nature has given us. The beauty of His creation should be experienced, enjoyed, and respected.
Now we are entering 2018, we hope for more travels and we also wished that more people would get to experience this things. The happiness that travel brings cannot be equated to anything. It’s long lasting and can give a positive impact on how to see things.
Thank you 2017 and 2018, we are so ready for you. For you readers and friends, thank you for sticking with us and I hope you join us for the years to come! Happy New Year! Cheers!
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