Hello 2018! Has a whole year gone by already?

There is rarely a day that goes by that I'm not thinking about travel. I'm either reflecting on the travels I've done in the past or planning for new adventures in the future. This post is where I share those musings.

This year was rough for a lot of Americans, politically speaking. I also found it to be oddly inspiring. Who knew a president so vile could bring together so many like-minded folks both stateside and abroad? Protesting during my travels is inevitably a part of my favorite moments from 2017.

As for 2018—who knows what's next, really! Travel seems to pop up spontaneously for me these days. But there is one big trip I am planning for. And I'm about to spill the beans!

My Favorite Travel Moments of 2017

I saw a few new places in the States this year: Oahu in Hawaii, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park in Utah, and several places in upstate New York. I also revisited a few locations this year: Lake Powell in Arizona, Niagara Falls in New York, and New Orleans in Louisiana.

I even managed to get out of the country for the first time in 2 years! Although some may not consider Canada to be very international, it was my first time ever in the province of Québec.

Below are my favorite travel moments from the year:

Marching In The Honolulu Women's March

I kicked off this year with a political protest in Hawaii: The Women's March.

This march takes place every inauguration. But it was HUGE this time around as a result of one woman's response to the Trump election on Facebook. She made the Women's March an internationally attended event.

Initially, I was a little disappointed I wouldn't be in New York or Washington DC for the big marches. Then I realized that participating in the march in Honolulu was special.

First, I learned the woman who set the event into motion lives on Maui. I would be at the birthplace of the march! Also, I felt the true meaning of Aloha while marching. The message of Aloha fit perfectly with the message of the march and my personal values.

Read more about the Honolulu Women's March here.

Diving With A Submarine In Hawaii

When I'm under water, I am a tourist—an observer of fish and coral and crustaceans. I don't usually get to be the object of other people's viewing pleasure. That's what happened while I dove 2 shipwrecks (and a plane wreck!) in Hawaii.

I heard the submarine before I saw it. I was ready to be on display for the dozens of tourists inside. As it cruised by, parents lifted their children to the window to peer at me and the other divers.

I ate up the spotlight!

I couldn't resist doing a little summersault through the water for them. Although I couldn't hear their cheers, I could catch their smiles. It was such a unique and memorable experience!

Read more about my dives in Hawaii here.

Viewing The Geography of Arizona/Utah

It was my second time visiting the southwest this past summer. The first time I was 12 years old. This time, I got to see several new locations around northern Arizona and southern Utah.

I couldn't pick just one place to highlight. I loved the collective geographic beauty of everywhere I went. This included Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park.

Here are some photos of my favorite spots:

Read more about my adventures out west here.

Protesting Charlottesville With Canadians

By August, I was overly exhausted with all the news related to the Trump administration. So crossing the border into Canada—even for 2 days—was a welcomed reprieve.

On the same weekend I visited Montreal, the events in Charlottesville happened. The response from the administration was unsurprisingly abhorrent. I was trying to enjoy this beautiful new city with Ang, but the news was still getting me down.

Then I stumbled upon this protest while on my way to meet up with Ang. I retrieved a poster with Heather Heyer's photo on it. Facing it in front of me, I held it outward as I walked the streets.

Those French-Canadian protesters energized me. They reminded me there are many people in the world who are, in fact, on the right side of history. I needed to see and feel that even for a short moment. With so much bad news, it was grounding to be in the presence of these like-minded others.

Thanks, Canada.

Read more about my trip to Montreal here.

Revisiting New Orleans

Last year, I wrote about how July is the worst time to visit New Orleans. I went in summer 2016. This year, I visited in November.

I have not yet written about my revisit to New Orleans. But I'll give away the best part up front: The temperature was perfect.

There's nothing like comfortably walking around in a single-layer long sleeve shirt. I took advantage of this and spent as much time outside as I could.

A visit to the botanical gardens and sculpture park were inevitably on the to-do list! Here's a sneak peek:

More on this trip starting in two weeks!

Climbing Brace Mountain

I have not written about this experience yet either! After fattening up on my mom's cooking for Thanksgiving, I decided to go on a local hike!

Brace Mountain trail is a challenging hike that took me to one of the best views in the Hudson Valley.

My sister in law joined me for this hike. My brother married his long-time high school sweetheart this Fall. So it was very nice to have a buddy join me for this spontaneous hike!

I'll be writing more about this experience in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

Where Will I Travel in 2018?

I am gearing up for some BIG travel in 2018.

I'll still be working full time and living on Long Island. But I'll be taking 3 weeks off to travel as freely as I did in 2014-15. It'll be the perfect amount of time for my plans.

I will be going overseas to visit a part of the world I've always wanted to visit.

Here's a hint:

That's not even the full story! You'll have to stay tuned into my blog to find out more about what I'm planning.

For the next several months, I will focus on mapping out some of the details. I say some of the details because not having a plan is always a built-in feature of all my travels.

I can't wait to share it all!

<3
Rikka