Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 Travel Bucket List

2016 Travel Bucket List | Adelante

Is it just me, or did the new year sneak up on us? It's hard to believe that February is just around the corner. But with a new year comes new adventures, and I have a pretty good feeling about 2016! While I hit most of the cities on my 2015 travel bucket list, there are still plenty of places in Europe (and beyond!) that I absolutely must see before moving back to the States.

Seeing as this will be my last year living in Spain, nailing down my 2016 travel plans has been a rather daunting task. The old cliché of "so much to see, so little time" has never rang so true. I'm starting to feel like I'm racing against the clock (... and my bank account is suffering accordingly). But I'm determined to make the most out of my last six months abroad, so here's what's on the calendar for my 2016 farewell tour!


Interlaken, Switzerland

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After my first skydive in July for my 25th birthday, I knew I'd be hooked. I dragged my mom along with me (because she's not a regular mom, she's a cool mom), and afterwards she feverishly insisted, "I certainly won't be doing that again!" I could only respond with a smirk, because I knew it wouldn't be long until I jumped out of a plane again. But I suppose I was mistaken, because this time I'll be jumping out of a helicopter!


Tel Aviv, Israel

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One of the best parts about being a teacher is having spring break, so this March I'll be heading east to visit one of my favorite sorority sisters in Tel Aviv. I'll arrive just in time to celebrate Purim, a festival similar to Halloween that commemorates Queen Esther. Safety permitting, I'm hoping to take a few day trips such as Jerusalem and...


Petra, Jordan

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I've dreamt of seeing these ruins for years, and drooling over Jessica's stunning photos only intensified my wanderlust! Seeing Petra in person would be an absolute dream come true, so here's hoping a quick jaunt from Israel is safe and feasible!


Cádiz, Spain

Cádiz, Spain | 2016 Travel Plans
Cádiz, 2010

It's been six years since my disastrous study abroad experience in Cádiz, and I've spent the past two and a half years postponing my return. Before I leave Spain for good, I need a redemption trip. While my semester abroad in Cádiz was less than ideal, its trials and tribulations pushed me to grow and challenge myself in new ways. While living  there wasn't necessarily a good fit for me, it's still a gorgeous city worth visiting. I know returning will bring back a lot of mixed emotions, but at this point I feel ready to face those demons and fully embrace everything wonderful about this charming southern town (... especially the beaches!).


Stockholm, Sweden

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My best friend Meghan is coming to visit me in May (hooray!!!), and while she's on this side of the pond, we plan on popping over to Sweden to visit her cousin. I've been dying to get back to Scandinavia since I fell in love with Copenhagen last spring, so I can't wait to see what Stockholm has to offer!


Croatia

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Before moving to Madrid, I promised myself that I'd make it to Croatia. Twenty-two year old Courtney dreamt of the seemingly endless champagne showers of Yacht Week, but twenty-five year old Courtney knows that eight days on a boat may cause an accidental Dramamine overdose. Land, ho! Though my lack of sea legs prompts me to forgo the party boat experience, my mainland itinerary will hopefully be balanced out with plenty of island hopping.


Paris, France

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Paris, 2013

I can't think of a better way to conclude my time abroad than by revisiting the city I love the most (shhh, cover your ears, Madrid). Paris was the first city I ever truly fell in love with, and despite countless visits and a magical study abroad stint, I still can't get enough. This June, I plan on getting in a large dose of French goodness before I go home and have to wait another five years until I can afford it again. (Just kidding... I hope. Please be good to me, grad school loan gods.)


Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík, Iceland | 2016 Travel Plans
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The cheapest one way ticket home is through Iceland, which is especially convenient considering Iceland Air offers a free stopover for up to seven nights! Since Iceland has been on my bucket list for years, my last European hoorah will include a few days in Reykjavík on my way back to Seattle.


A bittersweet return to Seattle

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Home sweet home

As ludicrous as it sounds to say out loud, I think I'm finally ready to move back to Seattle. It's time for me to take the next step in my career, I have absolutely no savings and I'm ready to live closer to my family. Leaving Madrid will surely break my heart (alright, more like shatter it to pieces), and I expect my transition back into reality to be particularly gruesome, but I still feel called to come back home and take the next step - whatever that may be. Leaving Seattle after Christmas break was unusually tough this time around. My week at home reminded me of how solid my community is, and I feel a renewed gratefulness for my friends who still make me feel as if no time has passed.

I could very well come home, feel miserable, panic and buy a one-way ticket back to Spain... but I think I have a pretty good feeling about this next move.

So, to sum up the next step in the words of the late David Bowie,

"I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring."

Cheers to an epic 2016, my friends!


What are your 2016 travel plans?
Will you be visiting any of the same destinations?