2017: A (Travel) Year In Review

Last year I had quite the travel bug. I visited thirteen new countries, bringing the total number of countries I have visited in my lifetime to 20.

While a majority of 2017 I have spent living in Vanuatu, I still started off my year strong with travel.

In 2017, I visited a total of SEVEN new countries/autonomous regions, bringing me to a total of 27 countries/autonomous regions that I've visited in my lifetime.
  1. Mongolia
  2. China 
  3. Tibet (autonomous region)
  4. Hong Kong (autonomous territory)
  5. England
  6. Fiji
  7. Vanuatu
Those are just the new countries. I traveled to a total of 32 new cities and villages, one in the USA! (Technically I started my travels through Russia in 2016, in St. Petersburg, I'd already lived in Valencia and Alicante, and I'd already been to NYC and Washington, DC before)
  1. Moscow, Russia
  2. Irkutsk, Russia
  3. Ulan-Ude, Russia
  4. Naushski, Russia
  5. Sukhbaatar, Mongolia
  6. Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia
  7. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  8. Zamin Uud, Mongolia
  9. Erlian, China
  10. Hohhot, China
  11. Beijing, China
  12. Xi'an, China
  13. Lhasa, China
  14. Hong Kong, China
  15. Vancouver, Canada
  16. London, England
  17. Philadelphia, USA
  18. Nadi, Fiji
  19. Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu
  20. Epau Village, Efate, Vanuatu
  21. Laonamoa Village, Pele, Vanuatu
  22. Warasiviu Village, Pele, Vanuatu
  23. Piliura Village, Pele, Vanuatu
  24. Taloa Village, Nguna, Vanuatu
  25. Meresewia Village, Nguna, Vanuatu
  26. Eratap Village, Efate, Vanuatu
  27. Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
  28. Aore Island, Vanuatu
  29. Port Orly, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
  30. Big Bay, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
  31. Lakatoro, Malekula, Vanuatu
  32. Vinmavis, Malekula, Vanuatu

I made dozens of new friends and travel buddies and Peace Corps family, and already had a reunion with over 20 of them.

I went on a Monsoon Diaries trip (The Transsiberian began on Dec. 31st of 2016) and met tons of new travel friends. In April, I began my service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Vanuatu.

And I had immeasurable laughs, excitement, frustration and joy through it all. Here are some of my pictures to summarize the year, places I've visited and people I've met. Click on a photo to enlarge.

The Trans-Siberian

Ihita, Calvin, June, Taylan, David and LaiYuen on the train

Moscow lights

Moscow metro

Moscow metro

Taking pics of all the food at White Rabbit restaurant in Moscow

GUM shopping center in Moscow

Trying some traditional Russian winter games

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal

Fish-eating time

An ice chapel in Irkutsk

Lukas and I model our homemade water bottle cups

Ger time in Mongolia

Streaking in negative temps in Mongolia

Genghis Khan is huuuuuge in Mongolia

The Forbidden City in Beijing

The Terracotta warriors in Xi'an

Drum Tower in Xi'an

Shops in Xi'an

Jokhang Temple in Lhasa

The new love of my life, yak meat

Potala Palace, Lhasa

Monks in the Potala Palace

Reuniting with Chris at the Iron Fairy in Hong Kong

Capilano suspension bridge, Vancouver

Grouse Mountain 24 hour skiing, Vancouver

The snowboarding trick I'm best at

Me, Matt, Robin and Tom at Grouse Mountain, Vancouver

Me and Tom at Granville Island

High tea in London

The obligatory Big Ben photo, London

Taylan and I reunite in London (Photo courtesy of Taylan

The streets of London
The view of the beach in Alicante, Spain

This couple is being hunted down by a statue in Alicante

Enjoying a cafe in a cafe in Alicante

Nicolette meets my Alicante host family, and I meet baby Bruno for the first time ever!

Una fallera

Las Fallas, Valencia

Dani and Lucas made a firecracker display with my name in it, then burned it.

Nicolette and I in front of the coolest gravity-defying falla

Detail on the aforementioned falla

Las Fallas, Valencia

Burning the city down in Valencia
Mihaela and I reunite in NYC

Remi and I get up to trouble in NYC

Yvonne and I attend a university dance performance in Philly

The Liberty Bell!

Carolyn, Greg and I reunite at Bar Hygge

June and I reunite in DC and take a couples picture at the Jefferson monument with the cherry blossoms in full bloom

June, Shanika, David and Ihita invite me to dinner at a Russian restaurant, only appropriate seeing as that we first met in Russia.

Resort life in Fiji

The water in Fiji. Really. 

Arrival in Vanuatu!

My Epau host family makes laplap

Colleen and I kayak in Vila

Sydney holds a live chicken for the first time in Vanuatu

Santiago looks out at Efate from the top of Pele

Island girls

My host family in Pele

We worked on a library in Pele and found some fabulous books (Photo courtesy of Charlie)

The education volunteers are sworn in!

Mercy and her bridesmaids

A little Tanna boy

Introducing the local kids to hot cocoa

I met the Pacific Games mascot, Nasi the parrot. Be jealous.

Toara sports the Vanuatu flag.

Riri showing his navel cutting a navel. 

Selena weaves. 

Kindy girls bring flowers to school.

Frances wins the gold for the female half-marathon at the Pacific Games

The gang at Port Orly on Santo

Frances prepares to walk the plank at Riri Blue Hole

Sydney is a goddess, obviously

Eating laplap sorsor on Malekula with Colleen's host family

The sun sets over Nguna