I know, I know. this is very lame of me for posting a year-in-review after the year has ended. I had done the viral instagram “best nine” on my personal instagram and @girleatworld but nine tiny squares of pictures doesn’t do justice on an entire year of traveling.
2015 for me was truly another year full of surprising travels. And change, a lot of it. Contrary to popular belief (and for those of you who haven’t read my FAQ page) I don’t travel full time. I’ve always been working a normal 9-5 job this entire time. In September, I quit the very job that allowed me to travel extensively, and I traded it for a much less mobile and more office-based job at a startup in Singapore. I don’t travel nearly as much now but it isn’t a decision I regret.
Most importantly, taking a short break from traveling has helped me fall in love with it all over again. This is something I had started to lose throughout 2015 due to frequent business travels. There is something about personally researching a place you want to go to, to the rush of booking that first flight, to planning the personal little details which made me love traveling, that is greatly missing from work travel.
I also ended the year on a loss – my last living grandparent, my grandmother from my dad’s side, passed away in December. This is relevant to the subject, it made me really glad for taking the trip back to Indonesia to see her one last time for Chinese New Year. It has also made me realize that I should spend more time with my parents because they will not be around forever.
But of course – looking back to 2015, I can’t say it was terrible year. And let me try to show you why from pictures.
So, let’s start:
I kicked off the year high by flying to Myanmar with my friend Serena. It was only a 5-day trip, nowhere near long enough and we only got to visit three cities: Yangon, Bagan and Lake Inle.
In February, I flew back to Indonesia to celebrate Chinese New Year (CNY) with family which is important for us because even though I was born and raised in Indonesia, I come from a Chinese heritage. Looking back at the year I’m really glad I made the time to go home for CNY. As I mentioned above, my grandma passed away right before the year ended and this became the last time I would ever see her again.
I would end up going back home six more times that year, which I think is a personal record even for me!
A few weeks after CNY, I flew out to Borneo with a few friends, drove and took a ferry to an island in Malaysia for a few days of diving in Sipadan. Yes, the Sipadan, which has been consistently rated as one of the top dive sites in the world.
Right after Sipadan, I flew back to Singapore for two days and continued with a road trip to yet another island in Malaysia. I got to ride on a bike with my friend Jeremy all the way from Singapore to Malaysia.
The first of the flurry of work travel this year, where I spent a week in Hong Kong. What I didn’t know back then is that I would go back to Hong Kong three more times in 2015, bringing the total time spent in Hong Kong just over a month that year. I really got to explore the city beyond what normal tourists would do.
In May, I spent two weeks in Australia covering the major points from North to South. I spent three days camping in the outback, a few days in the middle of Australia to realize how big of a continent it is, and a few days in Sydney and Melbourne.
Right after Australia I flew back to Singapore, did laundry and packed again for a flight to Beijing for work the next day. The chaos paid off as I got to visit the great wall (a huge bucket list item) and stayed at unique accommodations in Beijing. It was also my first time in the city!
In July I went with 30 friends and friends of friends to a private island in Indonesia for a birthday celebration. We rented the entire island to ourselves! It was glorious.
Again in July, in fact the weekend right after Joyo trip, I flew to Penang in Malaysia for a weekend of eating with my roommate Jess, as well as hunting for the street art that are peppered around the city.
In August, with a few travels to Jakarta and Hong Kong in between, I flew out to Gili Trawangan in Indonesia with Jess.
After Gili T, I flew to Jakarta (for work) and Hong Kong (also for work) all through September. I was burnt out from the back-to-back traveling so I took a break and did not travel until November. I flew to Bali with a group of friends for a weekend of fun.
To end the year properly, I flew to Khao Lak with another group of friends for a weekend of diving in the Similan islands.
What’s next in 2016?
In two days, a few friends and I will be making the trek to Sorong (this means one international flight, one domestic and a one night layover in Makassar) for 7 days of diving on a liveaboard in Raja Ampat. This is a trip we have planned for nearly a year, no joke! We booked and paid for the deposit back in February 2015 so to say I’m excited is an understatement.
After that.. who knows? I have started brewing up plans to go back to Europe for the summer (thinking Portugal, Spain and Greece), possibly Japan in March, possibly Maldives and more diving trips in between. I would like to get a rescue diver certification this year. Let’s see what happens!
If you are interested in following my travel outside of Girl Eat World, you can follow me on my personal instagram @ichabunni.