Although I have not written much about my 2015 travel adventures (yet!) rest assured that this was another big travel year for the Logan and I. My state count does not reflect how much time I spent on the open road again (have I mentioned that I love road trips?) since most of my trips took place within California (where I live) or to and from Colorado (where I am originally from). I took two eight-week international trips and added a new continent to my list. And I did it all while holding down a job. Kind of.
Country Count: 12
US State Count: 9
Okay this is not really a “destination” for us since we live only an hour away and we “did” Disneyland as a day trip, but it was a fun way to start our year! I was honestly a little apprehensive about a trip to Disneyland sans kids, but Logan’s mom and aunt were visiting and they were determined to get us all to the happiest place on earth, and who could say no to a free trip to Disneyland?
We ended up having a blast and I left convinced that we really need season passes. Which we really don’t. Maybe someday.
Joshua Tree (February)
Our first non-day trip of 2015 was a long weekend trip to Joshua Tree for Valentines/ President’s Day weekend.
Joshua Tree is only two hours from San Diego (and Los Angeles), making it a great weekend getaway. We camped (of course) and had a romantic night in the middle of the desert.
I headed back to my home state of Colorado for a long weekend to celebrate my best friends “golden birthday” (turning 23 on the 23rd). I was able to see my mother-in-law and lots of friends on this short trip and it was a great first “weekend getaway” using Frontier’s super cheap deals between San Diego and Denver (I paid only $80 round trip!). I have a feeling I will be booking these tickets frequently.
Mother Daughter Balkan Trip (May)
As soon as we left the Balkan region on our first Europe trip I almost immediately began planning out where I would go when I saved enough money to make a return trip. I worked retail all through the holidays to make the necessary mulah and I guess my excitement was contagious because my mom decided to tag along.
This was the first long trip we have ever taken together and I was a little worried about spending that much time with a family member (or anyone other than Logan really), but we actually got along great. It turns out we travel at a very similar pace and overall we had a great trip. In three weeks and we only one fight. I would call that a win.
I just love this region and I want to go back. Again. And again. Over and over.
Solo Balkan Trip (June)
I had ten days to get from Montenegro to the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria and my plan was to visit beautiful Macedonia and then head to western Bulgaria. Unfortunately protests in Skopje (the capital of the Republic of Macedonia) put a slight damper on that plan. I was meeting Logan on a set date and I was a worried about transport options, all of which go through the capital city, so I scrapped that plan re-routed myself through Serbia instead.
I had a rough time in Belgrade, Serbia due to some late night raki indulgence (which I may or may not write about), but my time in Bulgaria was lovely.
It is very beautiful and very interesting country that I would love to explore more of someday.
Turkey and Greece (June and July)
This was the trip I was most looking forward to in 2015 and it did not disappoint. We had saved all our miles from 2014 (which was a CRAZY EXPENSIVE year, you know with eight months of travel and moving sates) and were able to fly both of us round trip for free, which was really the only way we were able to make this trip happen financially.
We met in Bulgaria and spent a few days on the Black Sea coast before heading to Istanbul, where we got our first taste of Turkish food and culture. So good.
After a few days in the crazy busy city we headed to magical Cappadocia where we hiked around the magnificent landscape and experienced our first hot air balloon ride (our anniversary present to ourselves!).
From Cappadocia we hopped towards the coast, stopping at the other-worldly natural site at Pammukkale and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, Ephesus.
Our original plan was to spend two weeks in Turkey and two weeks hopping around the Greek islands, but the Greek islands (particularly the ferries between them) are not cheap, so we ended up on just one Greek island, Rhodes, where we spent our 2nd wedding anniversary beach hopping and exploring in our very first rental car!
Back in Turkey we headed down the coast to the town of Kas, where Logan got to do some scuba diving and I did a lot of laying around.
Before heading back to Istanbul to catch our flight home we made one final stop along the Turkish coast in Oludeniz, where we went parasailing (Logan’s 24th birthday present from me!).
I absolutely loved Turkey. It is a beautiful country with a vibrant and interesting history and delicious food. Three weeks was a good amount of time for a first trip to Turkey, but as is true of all my favorite places (and most everywhere on this list it would seem), I would love to go back and explore more someday.
California Road Trip (July)
Logan had a weeklong conference in Berkeley for work so we took the opportunity to take a road trip up to northern California, visiting friends and family along the way.
Colorado x2 and Arizona too! (July and August)
Logan went on another work trip (this time to Toronto) at the end of July so I took the opportunity to spend time in Colorado with my family and best friend (and her fiancé!).
We spent the month of August re-cooping our bank account by staying home and eating a lot of boring food, but before school started we both drove to Colorado to see Logan’s family, stopping in Sedona to camp along the way.
Chicago and Mid-West Road Trip (October)
One of my best friends moved to Chicago a couple years ago and I have been on the hunt for affordable plane tickets ever since so that I could go visit her. Prices finally dipped in October and I took the opportunity to not only visit Chicago, but to cross a few more states off of my list as well.
I spent five days total in the city and another five days on a solo road trip through Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. I hit the fall colors nearly perfectly and I was astonished with how beautiful that part of the country is. Michigan could give Colorado a run for its money in the most beautiful state department…
Southeast Asia (November and December)
In all honesty this trip was probably not the best financial decision we have ever made, but when tickets to Bangkok fell below $600 (round trip) and Logan’s Christmas break ended up being three weeks instead of the two it usually is (and will be in the future), it felt like travel destiny.
Because of my flexible job I was able to wrangle two months of travel out of my Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, and Logan came to meet me for a month of that.
I traveled in Northern Thailand for ten days, and was able to catch the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chaing Mai, which was AMAZING.
I also hung out with some elephants and crashed a scooter and learned to cook and got a bamboo tattoo.
Logan and I met up in Bangkok but promptly headed to Cambodia for some temple time in at Angkor Wat.
We celebrated my 25th birthday in the small fishing village of Kep before ending our time in Cambodia in the slightly larger fishing village of Kampot.
Next we headed to Vietnam, stopping first at Phu Quoc island for scuba diving, fish eating and beach lounging.
After five days living the island life we took a flight to central Vietnam and explored Phong Nha and the surrounding caves by motorbike. Which was freaking amazing.
Our last stop in Vietnam was mega popular Hoi An, where we got some clothes tailor made and ate A LOT of delicious food.
My trip continued on after Vietnam, but now we are getting into 2016 territory, so I guess you will just have to wait till next January to see what I’ve been up to this year.
Looking back at this year I obviously spent a ton of it on the road. Strangely enough, however, I made more money in 2015 than ever before. I really found a great balance of work and travel and I hope I am able to keep my life this balanced in the future.