2017: An Amazing Year
2017 was an exciting, busy, and eventful year for me and my wife. If there was a theme for the year, it would be train travel. However, we did so much more than that, both here in the United States as well as overseas.
The year started off with a long weekend visit to Cuba, one we planned last minute. We assumed, with the election of our national embarrassment, the ease of Cuba travel would be no more; we were correct. We flew down on a Thursday and back on a Sunday. I met two people, friends of friends, while we were there, as well as a film photographer who lives in Cuba. This trip was amazing, and the perfect start to the year. You can read about the trip here.
Our next trip was one we had planned before Cuba, it was two weekends after as well. We flew to Martinique and had a nice hike and beach weekend. I wrote about it here.
Before this trip, I met a friend through the Film in Baltimore group, Steve. He has turned out to be one of the coolest people I've ever met. Just a kind and generous guy. I also met Jacob, a nerd who wears white pants, but is just as awesome as Steve, just younger and in white pants.
Our first rail trip of the year was the big one, not just for the year but overall. I had wanted to go on this trip ever since I learned it existed: The Trans-Mongolian. This trip took a huge amount of planning and was well worth every bit of it. It turned out to be just as amazing as I had hoped. Two friends, Nate and Matt joined us. You can read about it here.
Back from Russia, our next trip was taking Amtrak across the country like last year, this time a different a route and with stops for two national parks. This trip was such an amazing trip with so much packed in. I flew to Alaska to fish, Carmen flew home from Seattle. I have not written posts for the parks or Alaska, but the train trip is here. This trip will also be featured on Amtrak's blog sometime next year.
Carmen planned a trip to Mexico and I planned a trip to Iceland with Nate. She was excited about her trip, but then got apprehensive about it because of reports she had read of kidnapping, next thing you know, I'm tagging along to Leon, Mexico. While it was an uneventful trip, it was a lot of fun and Mexico is a really cool place, so any chance to go to more cities there, I'll take.
When it came to Iceland, Nate had never been, planned a trip, but no one would go with him. I told him if he could keep it to three days, I would fly up and hang out with him. The flight, on WOW, only cost $300 and I could take the time off work pretty easily. While I feel like Iceland is a gorgeous place, it is overrun with tourists and does not have the proper infrastructure for them all. This trip was amazing, though, because hanging out with Nate is always a good time.
Our last trip of the year followed the theme of the rest of the trips we had gone on, in a word it was amazing. We flew to Myanmar and had a week to go around. We took a train from Yangon to Bagan, then a bus back. The county is interesting, but the real gem is the people. I thought no one was more friendly than Cambodians, somehow the people of Myanmar are even more friendly, inviting, and kind. We also had a short layover in Qatar, which was cool. I still need to write up these last three trips of the year.
In addition to all the trips, I got my tattoo worked on, that is always good. If you're going to get a tattoo, take a look at my friend Wes's work. He is extremely skilled.
I saw two people this year who I have not seen since graduation or earlier. Andy is now teacher of the year at his school and Robyn is married and happy. Both reunions really brought joy to my year.
This was the best year of my life, and next year, hopefully, will stand up to this year.