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June is a pretty big month around these parts — the 9th (yup, this post is a tad late, what else is new) marked four whole years in Wanderland. Four years since the day I took off from New York on a one-way ticket. Fourty-eight months since alexinwanderland.com went live. One thousand, four hundred and sixty days since I’ve been chasing — often in circles — this dream of working for myself while I see the world.

When I was in high school I’d spin the globe and run my hand along it, longing to go everywhere my fingers touched. Four years later, I still can’t walk by a map without stopping to daydream. Four years later and — temporary bouts of jadedness aside — I still look at the world with great curiosity, and the corners of it I’m lucky enough to travel to quite frequently leave me feeling overwhelmed with gratitude and awe.

In the past, I’ve celebrated with a big anniversary post highlighting my year in travel, blogging, and beyond. This year, I decided to break this baby down into a mini-series (see previous years here, here and here). Starting with from which the rest grows: a recap of the last twelve months of travel.

My Year in Travels

Year Four 1. Home Sweet Home

My year of travels kicked off, once again, stateside. I spent about a month bouncing between places that feel varying degrees of “home” to me — Albany, New York, and Martha’s Vineyard — and made a trip to Philadelphia to visit my dad. Highlights included Father’s Day with all four sisters in attendance, the Mermaid Parade in Brooklyn, and my first Fourth of July celebrated in the USA in six years.

When it was time to leave, I wasn’t quite ready to go! But another adventure called…

US Travel

US Travel

2. England

London was the logical starting point for my European adventures — I nabbed a cheap flight from New York, and I have close friends there that I was dying to see. I’ve never been crazy about England in the past but this visit was a turning point me for: I didn’t want to leave after a week. Third time really is a charm, and I now look forward to going back.

London Travel

London Travel

3. Malta

I flew to Malta with one goal in mind: spending a week with my (obviously extremely amicably) ex-boyfriend Anders, who was working there as a dive instructor. The beautiful Mediterranean island we were on was just a perk — though it turned out to be a major one. Exploring Malta with a set of wheels and a map, and without expectations or schedules, was absolute perfection. When I look back on my time here it replays in my mind like a hazily lit indie music video.

Malta Travel

Malta Travel

4. Belgium

Belgium is the country responsible for getting me to start piecing together this Eurotrip in the first place by making me obsessed with a little ‘ol festival called Tomorrowland. Once Heather and I decided to go and nabbed tickets, I basically built everything around that. And while it was the undoubted highlight of my time in the country, I’m glad I built in some time to peek at Brussels, Ghent and Bruges.

My fight with Belgian customs and the hundreds of dollars I lost in the process still stings, but overall I give the country two thumbs up — or two dancing arms in the air, more accurately.

Belgium Travel

Belgium Travel

5. Greece

Ah, Greece — the mere mention sets my heart aflutter. This is one of my favorite countries in the world and I could not have been happier to spend more than three whole weeks in this gorgeous place.

Looking back at this period in retrospect is really interesting. I realize now that I did not build enough down time and work time into my Europe trip, and as a result I was starting to crack from pressure by the time I got to Greece. So intellectually, I know that while I was there I was manically swinging between highs of having beautiful, life-defining moments and lows of being paralyzed with stress. Yet when I  reminisce about Greece, I just muse on all the good stuff — a really nice gift my memory gives me.

Greece Travel

Greece Travel

Greece Travel

6. Bahrain

Bahrain was a bonus! The cheapest flights between Athens and Bangkok involved a twenty-four hour layover in one of the Middle East’s most sophisticated city-states, and having never been to the region, I seized the opportunity to take an exploratory bite. No surprise here — my whirlwind visit left me wanting more.

Bahrain Travel

7. Thailand

Thailand. By the time I landed here, I wasn’t even three months into the year, and I’d already crossed seven borders and rounded the edge of blogging and travel burnout. I was ready to throw my laptop and passport in the ocean and never write another word or apply for another visa ever again.

But Thailand healed me. My ten weeks back in my home away from home  allowed me to hit the reset buttons in my mind and soul and remember to be grateful for what I know is a beautiful life I’m lucky to be living. The vast majority of my time was spent in Koh Tao, thought I did have jaunts to Koh Samui, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pai thrown in for good measure.

Thailand Travel

Thailand Travel

Thailand Travel

There is nowhere on this planet that I feel more content than on Koh Tao, and being back there was the highlight of my year. I am so grateful for whatever twist of fate first brought me to this island back in 2009. I can’t imagine my life without it.

Thailand Travel

8. Cambodia

One short and sweet week in Phnom Penh was the perfect way to toast to my latest trip before heading back stateside. I came to visit my dear friend Wes, who very conveniently moved to my favorite Southeast Asian city. This was my third trip to Cambodia, and I already look forward to the fourth.

Cambodia Travel

Cambodia Travel

9. USA

I’ve become determined to spend the holidays at home every other year, a pattern I’ve kept up with now for half a decade. What started as a Thanksgiving-through-Christmas trip mushroomed into a six week stateside extravaganza including watching my older sister run the marathon in Philadelphia, spending Thanksgiving and Christmas in Albany, showing my new friend (wink wink) from Koh Tao around New York, spending New Year’s Eve in New Orleans and kicking off 2015 all over Florida.

On the other end of the fun spectrum, I ended up in hospitals twice — once in the ER with a mysteriously blown pupil and once on the surgical table having a tumor removed. While both were scary they were, in the grand scheme of things, minor — and didn’t come close to slowing me down.

US Travel

US Travel

US Travel

US Travel

10. Nicaragua

I really learned my lesson with Europe and vowed to take this Central America trip nice and slow. And I started out doing just that — my month in Nicaragua was broken into just three destinations. I can’t explain how calm and content I was to be in a country I’d dreamed of for so long, and to be exploring it with what felt like a luxury of time for each city I visited. Nicaragua now sits near the top of the list of my favorite countries.

Right before I left for Central America, close friends of mine asked me, “What do you want your word for 2015 to be?” I’d responded, “Whatever the opposite of frantic is.” Well, in Nicaragua, I nailed it. It was deliciously un-frantic.

Nicaragua Travel

Nicaragua Travel

11. El Salvador

Much like I built my Europe travels around attending Tomorrowland, I built my Central America travels around attending Equilibrio. It was a special thing to be a part of, and to share with some of my oldest friends from New York. I’m so grateful to this festival for bringing me to El Salvador, which I’m not sure I would have emphasized otherwise! And again, I nailed it on the timing — two weeks, two destinations, one chilled-out blogger.

El Salvador Travel

El Salvador Travel

12. Guatemala

My perfect plan of slow, soak-it-up travel kind of fell apart in Guatemala, where I never quite found the perfect place to sit still. My six weeks here were all over the place, and I didn’t quite fall in love with it the way I hoped I would. That said, there were plenty of highlights, from diving in Lake Atitlán to discovering the charms of Guatemala City to sticking my toes in a black sand beach in Monterrico.

Guatemala Travel

Guatemala Travel

Guatemala Travel

13. Belize

Belize is a really special country for me, as a family vacation there about twelve years ago was the first international trip I ever planned! Returning for a second time, again with my family, was a truly sentimental experience. I love that my Central America travels were a mix of traveling solo and meeting up with loved ones. And I couldn’t have picked a better destination to bring my mom, sister, and cousin to — from charming islands to lush jungle, this little country packs a lot of punch.

Belize Travel

Belize Travel

14. Honduras

Having been to Honduras once before and hit many of the highlights, I admit that returning wasn’t high on my priority list — yet the only way to reach Grand Cayman directly from Central America is via twice weekly direct flights from La Ceiba. Despite temperamental weather and low expectations, I really enjoyed my time in both Copán, a new destination for me, and Roatán, an old favorite.

Honduras Travel

Honduras Travel

15. Cayman Islands

I’ve been trying to return to Grand Cayman for years, since I first spent a summer there before my senior year of college. I centered my trip around Batabano, which was every fit as fun as it looks in photos. Unfortunately, the rest of the week we were plagued by bad weather and bad luck, but hanging with Heather meant I was having a good time regardless.

Cayman Travel

16. Bermuda

Bermuda was a last-minute addition to my travel itinerary for the year — and I couldn’t be more grateful it fell in my lap. Though I spent just four days here, they made a huge impression. Diving, stand up paddleboarding, and scootering all over this pink sand island in a pair was the perfect encore to a sweet travel romance that first kicked off in Guatemala.

Bermuda Travel

Bermuda Travel

Bermuda Travel

17. USA

As has become a beloved tradition, I’m spending my travelversary, and summer, stateside. However, I’ve hardly turned in my dance card since landing back on US soil. I truly cherish this time spent exploring my own backyard. Thus far, I’ve hit up Albany, the Finger Lakes, Martha’s Vineyard, and New York City — with many more domestic destinations on the docket before I take off internationally again.

The best part, as always? Spending time with some of my favorite people on the planet.

Upstate New York Travel

My Year in Numbers

Countries Visited: 14. Wow! More than double from last year. So far, I only have three new countries on the docket for year five, and I plan to keep that number as low as possible to I can focus on quality over quantity.

New Countries Visited: 7. Again, kind of ridiculous — but it brought the grand total of countries I’ve visited to 30! One fun milestone I was excited to reach was having visited every country in Central America. I look forward to saying the same about Southeast Asia someday.

States Visited: 5. All were states I’ve been to before and have family ties to.

Plane Rides Taken: 22. (I count origin to final destination as a flight regardless of how many segments or layovers it has). Of those flights, three were basically free thanks to frequent flyer miles (including two of the big international ones), four were paid for by work, and five were under $100 each. The most painfully expensive flight was from Athens to Bangkok at $655.

Though I took many flights, primarily I traveled by bus, train, car, and ferry.

Beds Slept In: 74, not counting overnight flights, buses and trains. More than ever! Of those, 22 were crashing with family or friends, 20 were hotels, 17 were hostels (9 dorms, 8 private rooms), 7 were apartments I rented (1 long term, 6 short term), 3 were beach or jungle bungalows, 2 were guesthouses, 2 were tents, and 1 was a motel.

In keeping with my slow down theme, I hope to reduce this number for next year.

Dives: 19. Less than ever! However, I kind of made up for quantity with quality — I dove in exotic locales, from a high altitude lake in Guatemala to a volcanic crater in Greece and many more in between. Still, I’m hoping to sneak in a liveaboard in Southeast Asia in the coming year, which will definitely jack this number right up.

Conferences Attended: 0. A bummer, as I love catching up with my blogging and diving buddies.

Weddings Attended: 0. Another big surprise.

Festivals Attended: 4. Tomorrowland, Yi Peng, Equilibrio, and Batabano.

Four Years of Travel

My Year in Feels

Overall, I feel overwhelmingly grateful to have explored four diverse and exciting areas of the world this year. Southeast Asia, the USA, Central America, and Europe in just twelve months — and I even got a hint of the Middle East! While the first two feel like home, the latter three still feel deliciously exotic.

This was a year I feel I could count in loved ones, rather than days and months. Many of my trips were centered around people — family I wanted to visit, friends I wanted to travel with, people with whom I wanted to reconnect. That made it a really beautiful year.

However, for someone who keeps claiming they want to slow down, I didn’t do a great job of achieving that goal this year — it was, in fact, my busiest and most travel-crazy yet. The truth is, I have a hard time sitting still. It’s hard to stop moving when there’s so much to explore. This time last year, I’d never been to the Middle East. I’d never run a 10K, I’d never taught a writing workshop, I’d never been diving at altitude or in an aquarium. Now, I’ve done all of those things, and my life is richer for them. But it’s equally rich, I feel, for having rented an apartment for two months in Koh Tao. For having made a regular Sunday spa date with a girlfriend. For having dated someone for longer than the two weeks it took for us to be heading to different countries. For having had a set of keys to call my own again.

Diving in Guatemala

What’s Next

Year four was the year of saying yes (well, let’s face it, it’s been a lifetime of saying yes), but year five is going to be the year of saying no thank you. I don’t need to go absolutely everywhere. But I do need to be more present in absolutely every day. And the best way to do that? Probably to cut my movement in about a half. I’ve been saying I wanted to do this for years, and I did want it in theory, but I wasn’t ready to execute in practice. Now, I am.

After my summer stateside is up, I’m going back to Koh Tao on a one way ticket. I can’t wait to have a home base again! I’ve already got a few small trips planned — Burma with two of my girlfriends, Bangkok to attend a conference, hopefully a liveaboard in Indonesia at some point. Am I going to be traveling less? Technically, yes, but I don’t really see it that way. I’m going to be traveling deeper.

Backbends in Belize

Next up, my year in blogging…

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104 Comments...
  • I love reading your summary posts! Happy Travelversary! 🙂 You had quite the year and I can’t read more about your adventures. I was just in Greece a few weeks ago and it’s definitely one of my favorite countries too!

    PS – Can’t wait to read about your photography equipment upgrade!
    Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Thank you Katelyn! Greece is amazing, isn’t it? I wish I could go every year!

  • Camels & Chocolate
    June 29 2015

    a) I can’t believe I was with you on your big day and you didn’t even tell me! But I delivered Katy Lindy—and fireworks over Broadway, ha—on that very day, so consider that my gift to you 😉

    b) That cowgirl photo of you might be my favorite ever! Too cute!

    c) HAPPY TRAVELVERSARY!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      I could have sworn I mentioned it, no?! Well, there was so much else to celebrate, the week just felt like one big party! 😀

  • Laryssa
    June 29 2015

    CONGRATS, ALEX!!

    And, as always — great, great photos.
    Laryssa recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Thank you so much Laryssa! I truly appreciate it. Love having readers like you whose faces I recognize in the comments 🙂

  • tammyonthemove
    June 29 2015

    What a year. Ever since I moved to Ghana earlier this year I feel like I have sat still for too long and that need to do more travelling again. I may need to book a sneaky holiday to some nearby countries such as Togo or Sao Tome to get my travel fix done soon.
    tammyonthemove recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      I do worry I might have the same issue when I settle back down a bit in Koh Tao, but then I think about how many little trips I already have planned and I don’t think it will be an issue. Southeast Asia is just so easy to travel around. I think paying rent on an apartment will definitely help keep me at home on the island a bit though — I’m too frugal to let it sit empty for long!

  • Andi
    June 29 2015

    I am so proud of everything you’ve accomplished and I couldn’t be more excited to see what you accomplish next! I know it will be AMAZING!!!
    Andi recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Oh Andi, you are the best. Thank you so much for reading and supporting me all these years!

  • Sonja Riemenschneider
    June 29 2015

    Congrats on another amazing year! It’s been so fun following along and I love seeing all these great photos again. It blows my mind seeing this long list of amazing destinations all packed into one year! No wonder you want to slow down. 🙂 Looking forward to year 5!
    Sonja Riemenschneider recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Ha, it’s kind of exhausting just to read through, right? But yet indeed, I too am looking forward to year five 🙂

  • Justine
    June 29 2015

    Happy travelversary. It’s crazy to see all the places you’ve managed to travel in 12 months laid out like this. It’s pretty incredible! So does that mean you’re headed to TBEX? The second I found out I’d be moving to Phnom Penh I bought a ticket! I’m really excited (and slightly nervous) for my first travel blogging conference 🙂 Anyway, here’s to another great (and deeper) year of travel.
    Justine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      It does indeed! I’m super excited for a conference in one of my favorite cities. I’ll see you there!

  • Sandra
    June 29 2015

    Yay, I’ve been eagerly awaiting your yearly recap! 🙂

    Best of luck to you in achieving your goal of slowing down this year. Your blog is truly one of the highest quality blogs I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and I’d be so sad if you went the way of Young House Love. Take care of yourself!!

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Oh wow, Sandra, that’s lovely to read! Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 I too was very sad to see YHL shutter after so many years. I can see how they burned out though. Even between two of them… posting twice a day and manually approving thousands of comments? I wouldn’t last seven weeks, let alone seven years!

  • Kristin
    June 29 2015

    Happy travelversary! What an amazing, amazing year! You really got to explore some diverse and beautiful places. I’m with you on Bahrain – I only spent a day there a couple years ago and I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get back ever since!
    Kristin recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Such a cool little country! It really made me want to see so much more of the Middle East. I’m not sure how or when it’s going to happen — but now I know that someday it will.

  • Happy Travelversary!! I love the idea of traveling deeper rather than chasing a number or a new location. Although centering your travels around people is certainly a fantastic way to go too. I hope your next year is full of love, adventure, and pure unadulterated joy, Meihoukai! Thanks for letting us all be a part of your journey! 🙂
    Shelly I Norway to Nowhere recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      You are too kind, Shelly. Thank YOU! I love reliving my travels with all of you and am so grateful every day to everyone who comes along with me on my travels, virtually at least 🙂

  • Mai
    June 29 2015

    Here’s to deeper travel! I am most excited for your trip to Burma!! 😀

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Oh man, me too! I’ve been talking about going there for years — can’t wait to actually make it happen!

  • becky hutner
    June 29 2015

    LOVE THIS! I know this isn’t a Photo of the Week but I’m going to play anyway bc there are so many cute pictures of you…Probably a toss up between the over-the-shoulder in Malta, the heart sign in Greece & the B&W one at the end ♥
    becky hutner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Yeah, one thing I really loved about Anders was that he was a fantastic photographer, ha! That Malta picture is one of my favorites ever from my travels.

  • Melanie Fontaine
    June 29 2015

    What an incredible year you have had! I’ve been reading your blog for close to three years now and seeing you grow as a blogger, traveler and person and following all your adventures has been absolutely amazing. Your lows have helped me through my lows while your highs have inspired me to shoot for the stars myself and when I read your blog I honestly feel like I am traveling the world with you!
    Please excuse me for getting so soppy, but I just wanted you to know what kind of positive impact you have had on my life and I wish you the very best for the next year! 🙂 I am already very much looking forward to following along! 🙂
    Melanie Fontaine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Melanie, this is so sweet. No need to apologize for sappiness — you made my morning! This is what every blogger dreams of hearing.

  • Ashley
    June 29 2015

    Happy travelversary! I love reading these yearly roundup posts, and what an incredible year you’ve had! I can definitely relate to being torn between wanting to see everything and wanting to travel slowly and more mindfully. Looking forward to your year in blogging post!
    Ashley recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      It’s the eternal struggle… and FOMO doesn’t make it any easier! Anything in particular you want to know from the blogging post (still writing it, so I can take requests, ha.)

  • Erin
    June 29 2015

    This whole post just made me smile 🙂 Congrats on another fantastic year and on continuing to find the balance that’s right for you. Very inspiring and always entertaining. Love!!

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Thank you so much Erin. I think year five will be the year of balance! That’s what I’m aiming for, anyway 🙂

  • Jessica
    June 29 2015

    That was one more amazing year! I found out about your blog searching for some info about the Buddha Park in Vientiane, Laos, and I’m following your adventures ever since. I think it’s good to take a step back, travelling less but deeper. Cheers to a new great year of travelling!

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      I always love hearing how people found my blog, Jessica! I remember that post well 🙂 Thank you so much for following along!

  • Kacy
    June 29 2015

    What an amazing year! Although I’m extremely envious of all you saw and did, I can certainly see how such a busy year would call for a more relaxed one this year. Traveling deeply is an apt term, and one of my favorite ways to travel!
    Kacy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Indeed. I don’t regret anything I did in the past year, rather, I appreciate that it has made my upcoming path so clear. I’m so excited about the year ahead!

  • What a wonderful year you’ve had! Congratulations. It’s been a pleasure reading all about the magnificent year that you’ve had.
    I believe that I’ve only started following you for perhaps a year and it was all because of that piece that you wrote about Tomorrowland in Belgium!
    I would so like to go one of these days. It’s been an age since I’ve gone dancing in the sun…!
    [email protected] The British Berliner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Thanks Victoria! I love hearing how different readers found my blog — Tomorrowland was a great experience to live and a wonderfully rewarding experience to write about, as I was able to pass on so much information that I myself struggled to find. Good luck getting there someday!

  • Emily N
    June 29 2015

    Wow what a year! Looks like such a grand adventure! I love reading along as you travel to some amazing places. This year in review post is such a great idea–love it 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Thanks Emily! A grand adventure indeed. A lot of travel bloggers do review posts around the new year, and I LOVE reading them. Thanks for enjoying mine!

  • Laura
    June 29 2015

    Congratulations on one heck of a year!
    Laura recently posted..

  • Stephanie
    June 29 2015

    I love these posts. I love that your blog is so personal, yet interesting and extremely helpful in its own, non-Lonely Planet “do this and see this” kind of way. I think you have one of the more unique and engaging styles out of the countless travel bloggers out there. I have started and restarted blogs so many times because it can be so difficult to find a voice (currently in the process of revamping mine yet again. oops), and I admire so much that you have found yours (and with beautiful imagery, to boot!) Congratulations on moving into year 5. I’ve been traveling slowly for the last year, and while it can be difficult because I’m SO excited by so many things and opportunities, moving slowly often means more meaningful experiences. So cheers to you!! And may we hopefully cross paths on our travels someday soon 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Wow, Stephanie! Thank you so much. I loved this comment so much I read it twice 🙂 While I’ve always struggled with FOMO, some friends have encouraged me to start embracing JOMO — the JOY of missing out! I’m going to try to live by that mantra this year.

  • Backpack Babe
    June 29 2015

    INCREDIBLE post Meihoukai!!! So amazing to see that you’ve been travel blogging for 4 years now (and btw I LOVE your writing style). I think it’s awesome that your goal is to say “no thank you” a bit more. It’ll definitely help create that sense of peace and calm.

    Overall, looks like you had an amazing year! And Koh Tao definitely sounds like it holds a special place in your heart! There’s seriously no place like Thailand – the food, the people, everyone is so nice and welcoming! Congratulations again on year 4!!!! xo
    Backpack Babe recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2015

      Aw, thank you so much! Thailand really is unbelievable, isn’t it? I can just never seem to get enough. I guess twenty million tourists a year can’t be wrong 🙂

  • GiselleandCody
    June 29 2015

    Happy 4 year travel anniversary Meihoukai. What a great way to spend the last 4 years and I am sure you wouldn’t change it for the world 🙂
    GiselleandCody recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2015

      I indeed would not! What could possibly be better? 🙂

  • Katie
    June 30 2015

    Happy four years!!! I’ve loved following every single one of these destinations over the past year — Central America in particular! I haven’t been since 2010, and your travels completely inspired me to return soon. Can’t wait to see more content from some of your favorite destinations in year five 🙂 that liveaboard especially…

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2015

      Heather and I plotting to make that liveaboard happen… and we are pretty good at plotting when we put our minds to it 🙂

  • Lauren
    June 30 2015

    I have to echo as was said above, your summary posts are my favorite! It’s also cool to see the pics of your progress in your current exercise of choice! I just started yoga, so these definitely give me something to aspire to. Also, the practice is apparent in your commitment to staying present in the moment and take it slow. Cool!

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2015

      Yoga has definitely become a bigger and bigger part of my life this year (just got back from a class right now!) Central America really helped me bring my practice to a deeper level.

  • Naomi
    June 30 2015

    SO glad you enjoyed Belgium! Also I loved reading this post, thanks for sharing all your gorgeous shot. I’m a semi-new reader so I have lots to catch up on!
    Naomi recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2015

      This post is a great place to start — as is the archives tab 🙂 Thanks so much for reading along, Naomi!

  • Gwen
    June 30 2015

    You are such an inspiration Meihoukai! Congrats on your travelversary!

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2015

      Thank you so much Gwen! That truly means a lot. I appreciate you coming along on my adventures with me 🙂

  • Diana Edelman
    June 30 2015

    My goodness. What a year! You make me REALLY want to go to Central America and the Caribbean. Looking forward to seeing you in Thailand in October. I hope you get to slow down a little for year five! xoxo
    Diana Edelman recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2015

      Can’t wait to see you speaking up at TBEX, girl! You’re going to wow ’em, I’m sure 🙂 And we’re long overdue for round two in Bangkok!

  • Such a fantastic post Meihoukai! It’s like one big ball of wanderlust bundled up into one giant itchy feet maker.

    Great photos. Great stories. Great inspiration. Thank you for making me even more excited about the travels ahead. And Happy Travelversary :).

    Gabby
    Gabby @ theglobewanderers.com recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2015

      Ha, I love that description Gabby! Enjoy your upcoming travels!

  • Angie Away
    June 30 2015

    So proud of all you’ve accomplished! This post just inspires me to get out there and travel even more. Maybe I’ll come visit you in this Koh Tao you speak of…
    Angie Away recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2015

      Yes! You really need to give Thailand a second chance. With me as your tour guide I think you’d have a much better experience 🙂

  • Franz Explorer
    June 30 2015

    Just found your website because I was looking for a place to do my dive master around southeast Asia. I’m impressed how you are doing an exceptional work! The design details are just amazing, you make it with lots of love! Congratulations! I’m on the road already one year and visited 50 countries in this trip, now I’m slowing down and planning my next 2 years working and traveling. Would love to met you. Currently in Vietnam then Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, China…. then dive master starting in October (Philippines, Thailand or Indonesia)
    Franz Explorer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Wow, sounds like quite the journey you are on as well! What a year you’ve had. I’m sure doing your divemaster will be a highlight. Enjoy, and thank you for reading!

  • Katie
    July 1 2015

    A busy but awesome year. My last year has been pretty quiet travel wise as I have had a base and focused a lot on Australia travel but this next year is going to be the hectic travel-filled one for me 🙂
    Katie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      It’s nice to intersperse quiet times with hectic travel ones… it gives you time to prepare and then to absorb after! That’s my plan for the year ahead 🙂

  • Maria del mar
    July 1 2015

    I have discovered you today. I am curious to read about your adventures. Your pictures grabbed my attention.

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Welcome, Maria! Thank you for reading… so happy to have you!

  • Mikayla Liston
    July 1 2015

    Wow. Meihoukai, you are such an inspiration, and I hope you know that. I hope you know that since I have stumbled upon your blog I have been so inspired to just go out there and grab life, that’s what you are doing. I wish I had your job, I know it isn’t as glamorous as it seems all the time, but I wish I had the courage to just book a plane ticket and finally see the world I’ve been talking about and dreaming about… forever. Thanks for sharing your travels, they sure make me feel like someday I could go somewhere.

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      You are so sweet Mikayla, thank you so much. I definitely try to show through my blog that if I, the girl next door can do it, so can pretty much anyone! Someday I bet you can indeed go somewhere… anywhere, even 🙂

  • Chintan
    July 1 2015

    First of all Happy Travelversary. Your article is very good! Great pictures. Looking forward to your year in blogging post!
    Chintan recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      It’s live today, Chintan! Hope you enjoy 🙂

      • Chintan
        July 2 2015

        Yes, I did Meihoukai!
        Chintan recently posted..

  • Loved this update Meihoukai. I was talking to this server in a restaurant the other day- she is planning her first SE Asia solo trip- I told her to check out your blog straight away for years worth of inspiration! I’m sure she’ll love reading.
    Joella // Paper Crane Stories recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Aw Joella, thank you so much for passing on the blog name! I love when people tell me they did that — there’s no greater compliment!

  • Ligeia and Mindy
    July 1 2015

    Wow, what a great look back! You are definitely leading a fantastic life! No one can ever call your life boring. 🙂
    Ligeia and Mindy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      I always say I don’t remember what bored feels like 🙂 And I’m a lucky girl for it!

  • Kat
    July 2 2015

    Happy 4 year Travelversary! To echo what a lot of people have already said, you are a fantastic inspiration. I know that when I was having some down moments earlier this year and questioning my planned travels, finding your blog and seeing your approach to new experiences and places totally turned my thoughts around, and I had fantastic trips because of it.

    I don’t always manage to catch up on this blog as much as I’d like, but I still love checking in and when I do discovering a new part of the world I didn’t know I wanted to travel to before reading your posts! I will be sending the bill direct to you for all the trips you have inspired, just so you know 😉

    Happy travels for the next year – I can’t wait to read about them 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      That’s an amazing compliment Kat! Gives me all the warm fuzzies to hear… so thank you! As for those bills, hm… send them to my accountant 🙂

  • Congratulations on 4 years of travel, Meihoukai! Tony & I will be hitting 3 years (including our extended “layover” in Toronto & Minnesota) in August, and it’s always so nice to see people who we discovered during the planning phase of our trip still out there rocking the travel lifestyle. Four years later, you continue to be a huge inspiration to me & I continue to hope that one day we’ll get to meet in real life! (Still can’t believe we were so close but so far on Bali…)
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 2 2015

      Oh man, I’ve come so close but so far to meeting SO many amazing blogging buddies! That one was a tragic one, indeed. Three years is quite the accomplishment — you go girl! (And guy 🙂 )

  • Julia Nix
    July 4 2015

    big love to your site. it’s kinda like an extension of my travel escapades but i’m just not the type to make a blog & not a photobug. let’s call ur site The Art Gallery of Travel. 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Thank you Julia! So appreciate your reading and commenting over the years!

  • What an awesome year it has been for you, Meihoukai! 🙂 Congratulations! So stoked to read more of your adventures in the coming years! Cheers!
    Anne (@ Girl Chasing Sunshine) recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Thank you so much for coming along for the ride, Anne!

  • Lisa
    July 6 2015

    Congratulations with your fourth travelversary, Meihoukai!

    I started reading your blog somewhere around the time when you put up your post about Ghent. It just so happened that I found it, and being a student in Ghent, the way you felt about and described one of my favorite cities in the world (I’m being totally objective) hit a core that made me stick around.

    So thank you for that! It’s been awesome reading along with you the past year, and I am anxious to see what next year brings for you.

    P.S. I have to admit I still haven’t been to Tomorrowland yet (I know, shame on me), but it’s definitely on the list 😉

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      That’s awesome, Lisa! I love hearing how people found me. Ghent was indeed gorgeous, and I’m so very glad you stuck around!

  • Marni
    July 6 2015

    I love your posts like this! It’s amazing to see the places you’ve managed to go in a year alone. Your pictures and travels are truly an inspiration, and I have several destinations on my dream travel list now that are thanks to you!

    • Meihoukai
      July 8 2015

      Yeah, this year was a bit indulgent travel-wise! Loved all these experiences, but looking forward to slowing it down in year five 🙂

  • Sarah
    July 13 2015

    Happy Travelversary! It’s always an interesting read. I would love to hear more about your travel romances (unless it’s too personal!) as being an expat myself (I’m from NZ and live in London) I am doing alot of travelling (I just spent 5 weeks in America) and I have no idea how you are supposed to date properly when you meet people while you are on holiday, a tour or living in a city you have to eventually leave. It’s interesting to hear others stories. I find it so hard when you meet people you connect with (friends or potential partners) and then you have to say goodbye after a week, a month, a year etc Would love to hear your thoughts!

    Sarah xx
    Sarah recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 14 2015

      It’s not too personal, Sarah — I actually write about that a lot! Check my confessions category for a whole host of relationship messiness. I don’t know if I know what “dating normally” is but I definitely don’t think it’s part of the traveling package. Over the years I’ve dated from various degrees of seriousness ranging from fling to boyfriend, meeting guys in dive shops, hostels, bars, yoga studios and beyond! The goodbyes never get easier though….

      • Sarah
        July 14 2015

        Thanks Meihoukai! I’ve seen a few bits here and there in your posts but not too much detail, will check out the confessions section 🙂 You hear of so many people meeting travelling and ending up together, I feel like that’s a small minority though. I definitely struggle with the goodbyes but I try and think if it’s meant to be it’ll be….easier said than done though! xx

  • Camille
    July 15 2015

    I read this all in one go, so well-written and interesting! All your photos are eye candy. Hope the next year is just as amazing in its un-franticness!
    Camille recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 16 2015

      I’m already loving year five, Camille 🙂 Thanks for the kind words and well wishes!

  • Doris
    July 15 2015

    Congrats on 4 years! What an incredible year you had! 🙂

    I found your blog a few months ago while doing some research for Koh Tao and I was hooked right away. I always look forward to the lovely and colourful photos and all of the great information. I’m so excited for your future Koh Tao posts because I am dying to return and visit more places on the island that you recommend!

    • Meihoukai
      July 16 2015

      Glad to hear that, Doris — I’m planning tons of time there coming up, so there will be a lot of them!

  • Erika Blanco
    July 27 2015

    Your suggestions are very enticing! It will most definitely go to my long list of travel destinations that hopefully I can visit someday so thank you and good job at your blog!

    • Meihoukai
      July 30 2015

      Thanks for your support, Erika 🙂 Good luck tackling that long list!

  • Chloe
    August 16 2015

    Lovely summary…

    I wrote something similar last week as I realised it was one year since I left my job:

    It’s such a strange feeling looking back isn’t it? You’ve done so well – inspiration to me and I hope I’m in as good a place as you in 3 years time 🙂
    Chloe recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 17 2015

      Congrats, Chloe! I do love looking back. There’s nothing like getting a little introspective!

  • Brock
    September 13 2015

    Awesome! If there was a jealous-button, I’d click it. Seriously.

    I’m soon hitting the road, also. Until then, I can only drool over pages like yours lol 🙂
    Brock recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      September 13 2015

      Congrats on getting back on the road and happy travels 🙂 I could use a jealous button every once in a while myself!

  • Kelsey
    December 10 2015

    I stumbled on this blog when searching for things to do in Malta (I leave in a few days after my last final!) and was surprised at how many travel moments we have in common.
    Surprising enough, I was also in New Orleans for New Years this year (2015)! I stayed there for three months, through the craziness of Mardi Gras (staying in an apartment on Napoleon and all the parades outside my front door for three weeks), St. Patrick’s Day and everything in between. That city has a piece of my heart and it forever changes the idea of sightseeing (why can’t I walk around with alcohol in every city!?).
    Loved all your adventures in Europe (the few posts are very insightful for my upcoming trips) and Southeast Asia is on my travel bucket list in the next few years.
    Hope your traveling is going well!

    • Meihoukai
      December 10 2015

      Ah, I know how you feel about New Orleans, and what an awesome opportunity to spend three months there! I hope you have an equally magical time in Malta, and when you do make it to Southeast Asia rest assured it will surpass all your wildest dreams 🙂 Happy travels and thanks for reading!

  • Ally
    December 14 2015

    Hi Meihoukai! I’m new to your blog and it’s safe to say I’ve already spent quite a few hours reading posts upon posts. I’ve especially loved your year-in-review posts! For a new reader it’s a super great way to quickly get to know you and where you’ve been in a quick and concise post! Pssst- don’t forget to add this one to the sidebar. I had to go hunting 😉
    Ally recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 15 2015

      Ah, thanks for the reminder Ally! My designer and I were trying to figure out how to make that happen a while ago and it got lost in the shuffle. We will get back on it!