2017 was filled with a lot of amazing adventures on top of a few moments of turmoil. Nevertheless, it was a great year! I cannot wait to see what 2018 holds but for now I will reminisce with you all my 2017...
Many Adventures, Seven Countries
I brought in 2017 in Havana, Cuba! Cuba was an amazing country filled with a lot of history, culture, and genuinely friendly people! If you have the chance, Cuba is a must see! See my complete Cuba adventure here: https://www.kitatheexplorer.com/cuba!
I ventured back to Colombia in February for a bachelorette party in the city of Barranquilla. We went for their carnival which was a different experience. It isn't one of the biggest/best in the world (learn about the biggest carnivals in the world here: https://www.momondo.com/inspiration/the-best-carnivals-in-the-world/) but it was an interesting time. If you ever venture to Colombia, I suggest seeing other cities such as Bogota, Cartagena, or Medellin.
Outside of my trip to Horizontina, Brazil a few years ago, my trip to Peru was one of the longest but a worthy journey. From Atlanta to Miami to Bogota to Lima to Cusco by plane; then to Aguas Calientes by train; then to the mountain top to see Machu Picchu by bus. But the sites of Machu Picchu was incredible! I definitely recommend seeing these Incan ruins in your lifetime but beware of altitude sickness and colder weather in Cusco. In Lima, you don't have to worry about these things except where to get your next best Peruvian dish! P.S. Don't fly LATAM airlines! See my complete Peru adventure here: https://www.kitatheexplorer.com/peru!
Pura vida! The pure life is exactly what Costa Rica brought to the table. You can do so much here from zip lining through the rainforest to visiting coffee plantations. But the lizard that worked its way into my condo was unacceptable! I guess it was better than a snake. You may check out my adventure to Costa Rica here: https://www.kitatheexplorer.com/costa-rica! Also, get my official travel guide here: https://www.kitatheexplorer.com/single-post/2017/10/04/Costa-Rica-es-la-Pura-Vida-Travel-Guide!
Iceland was probably one of the best places I visited this year! The landscape of the country is something you can't see anywhere else. The environment there was serene while bringing its natural beauty. Plus, I never imagined hiking a glacier in my life but I did it there! But good luck on seeing the Northern Lights as the weather must be JUST right! Check out my adventure at https://www.kitatheexplorer.com/iceland and obtain my official travel guide at https://www.kitatheexplorer.com/single-post/2017/10/22/Winter-is-Coming-in-Iceland-Travel-Guide!
This country has by far been the most environmentally friendly places I have visited. Traffic isn't an issue. I didn't have to use my nasal spray as pollution is far from a serious problem. Plus, how can you not miss visiting the Vikings! Just be sure to not get an Airbnb at the top of seven stairs without an elevator or light luggage. Check out my adventure at https://www.kitatheexplorer.com/denmark or read my official travel guide at https://www.kitatheexplorer.com/single-post/2017/11/16/The-Secret-Little-Place-of-Denmark-Travel-Guide!
Last but definitely not least, Sweden. After two attempts, we were able to crossover into Malmo, Sweden from Copenhagen for some quick sightseeing and dinner. Just hop on a local train (after paying of course) and ride on over. But be sure to carry your passport or you will get deported!
Back in the USA
Seeing seven countries in one year is a lot but I had to make the year of 30 incredible, right? On top of seeing the world, I have had quite the time back home in the good ol' USA.
One of the first moments of US excitement was me venturing back to Savannah in March to enjoy their St. Patrick's Day festivities for a friend's birthday. This was a gran' ol' time with a lot of dancing, food and drinks...oh and shopping. If you are looking to celebrate March 17th next year, check out Savannah, GA!
I went back to Cleveland (my hometown) several times in 2017 and not just for the holidays. I celebrated my Granny's 90th birthday and two weddings there. Travel isn't always about the adventure but also about creating new memories with loved ones. But I do know Cleveland is starting feel more like a homeTOWN than home!
I also traveled to Memphis, TN for the first time just to conquer my FIRST half marathon! FIRST! This was beyond a journey as I had been training for months and learning to get my mental and physical ready all for the cancer patients of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
Home Sweet Home...Atlanta...The A...ATL...
Atlanta is home for me now and I couldn't be happier besides the traffic of people who barely can't drive in sunshine. But living in Atlanta has allowed for me to enjoy different experiences. Just this year I was able to go to Afropunk, see Kid Cudi and Jay-Z in concert, met Kenya Moore, attend the Chick-fil-a Kickoff game (Roll Tide vs. Seminoles) in the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, just to name a few.
But the most important and best thing of 2017 was moving into the house I closed on at the end of 2016. I moved into my first house that I own! I purchased the house myself and it is truly a blessing (and relief) to enter into it every day! To properly enter my home and celebrate my 30th birthday, I held a housewarming/birthday party with 35 of my closest friends! The weekend was great! People came from as far as Phoenix and as close as down the street! My 30th birthday was one for the books!
With the amazing comes the ugly...during the year I have suffered from extreme anxiety. This anxiety stems from the traumatizing accident I was in during December 2016. I have just recently been able to manage driving in tons of traffic without being overwhelmed. This was the biggest struggle of the year on top of handling crazy people and tax disgust.
During the year I have learned a few things about myself, travel and others in which will affect me as I move forward into 2018 and beyond. The top four are:
Not all people in your circle can be trusted: You can't trust everyone in your tribe as they may be placed there for other reasons. I have had to distance myself from those who do not have me in my best interest. The realization of this came when I read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** discussion about trust. When those who say things like "I hope your new house isn't like your old one and has roaches" or put themselves first without reciprocating the support. Or maybe they only reach out to you when they need you. I AM SICK OF IT AND DONE!
Avoid traveling to hurricane prone locations during hurricane season. I ended up having to spend additional money to get back home from Costa Rica during Hurricane Harvey. But be sure to give back to areas hard hit by hurricanes such as Houston and Puerto Rico.
And for everyone else, don't worry about me dating! Just because I'm not married like you doesn't mean I failed. My life is on a different path and I love it!
2017 was a whirlwind of experiences, adventures, entertainment, love, support, failure and pain but I have enjoyed it! 2017 has adapted me to be better for 2018. What doesn't hurt you makes you stronger! Bring it on 2018!
Thank you all for your continuous support! Stay tuned for more from Kita the Explorer in 2018!
Happy New Year!