2014 in review, 2015 travels, and a big announcement

Looking back on 2014 and looking forward to the year to come.

Happy New Year from New York City!  I rang in 2015 with my best friends at a house party in Manhattan.

New Years Eve collage

I’m going to skip the preamble and get right to the meat and potatoes of this post.

2014: A review

On a personal level, 2014 was awesome.  If I had to choose one word to sum up the last 12 months, it would be love.  I started the year off on a high, having just gotten engaged in Berlin a few days before the end of 2013.  Then, later on in  January, one of my amazing friends from Toronto came to visit me in Hong Kong, so the all-encompassing feeling of being loved up persisted well into the first quarter of the year.  In the summer, I got to reconnect with family in Toronto and then headed to New York City where I convened with my besties — we partied the warm city nights away and they even threw me a surprise bachelorette party!

NYC summer

If that wasn’t enough, at the end of the July I married my partner/homie/roll dawg in an intimate ceremony in Berlin. Then we went on not one, but TWO honeymoons (as us crazy wanderlusting folk are wont to do: to Austria in August and then to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in October).  360 + days later, it’s the end of the year.  December now finds me back in New York and Toronto, spending some much treasured quality time with family and friends.

wedding Collage

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So you see that there was a lot of love in my life this year, all around.  And it was splendid.

However, from a travel point of view, 2014 was way quieter than in previous years.  While 2011, 2012, and 2013 saw me travelling to to many new destinations and with break-neck frequency (when I lived in London, 3 weekends out of 4 I was out of town), I scaled back and instead made a conscious effort to revisit the destinations and people near and dear to my heart.  While perhaps detrimental to the blog, it was in fact it was something I needed — the older I get, the longer I’m away, the more I need to reestablish my roots and surround myself with places and people who are familiar.  Places I know.  People who know me and “get” me.

Still, I managed to get around a little bit (new destinations included Japan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives). The wanderlust in me is still strong though the motivations in which it is grounded  have perhaps changed.  I tried to travel deeper this year, endeavour to have experiences in the places I visited as opposed to just checking off touristic attractions.  Gosh, it sounds so highfalutin’ and cliche! But it’s true.  For this reason the memories from this year of travel that have stuck with me most are mostly comprised of encounters which range from the random/comical to the moving: the time I went to a reggae dancehall club in Tokyo and vibed with Japanese reggae emcees was definitely one of the most unique travel experiences I had in 2014.

I also was presented with some cool opportunities this year.  In February, I was featured in a Buzzfeed article citing 27 reasons one should go hit the road (take a look at #27!), then in July I was interviewed about my world travels on BBC Radio.  In October and July I also began writing for Conde Nast Traveler, a huge honour!  You can see my articles for them here.

2015 Goals

Blog more.  Ever since I moved back to Hong Kong in mid-2013, I have let this blog slide to the back burner. And I’ve regretted it, because travelling and blogging are my passions and make me happy. However, the unfortunate reality is that my day job as a teacher is busy.  This year I assumed a couple of roles in middle management so my plate is full; after a long day teaching pre-teens and meeting with other teachers the last thing I have wanted to do is blog.  Sometimes I feel bad for not putting up more content on a consistent basis:  as much as I allude to having another career wholly separate from blogging, there are always readers who assume that travelling the world and writing about it is indeed my full-time gig (oh, how I wish!).  I feel as though I am letting them, and myself, down when I let a month pass without logging anything on this site.  In 2015, I want to get back to writing on a more regular basis, not only to grow my audience, but also because it really and truly is something I enjoy.

Vlog.  I made a vlog when I was Thailand last month and it rekindled my interest in filming my travels.  I am mostly known for writing, but way back when I was a young whippersnapper I had big dreams of becoming a broadcast journalist.  I love being in front of the camera and find it way easier to express myself verbally than in written form.  As such, more dabbling in Youtube is in my near future!  Stay tuned!

IMG_8504

2015 Travels

I’ve already booked and paid for a few trips in 2015!  This is going to be the year that I explore more of Latin America.  Some of you know that I lived in Monterrey, Mexico for a year: my stay ignited a love for Latin American culture that continues to burn strongly and brightly.  So where am I going?  So far I’m confirmed for Costa Rica (headed there with Liebling at the beginning of the year) and, wait for it… Colombia and Brazil with my girlfriends this summer!

…and a Big Announcement

There are some HUGE changes on tap for mid-2015. I’m just going to spit it out: I’m leaving Hong Kong for good in June and moving to New York City!!  Liebling recently got a new job in NYC and we couldn’t be more thrilled.  He’s already moved here and started work (which is why we’ve been in New York over the holidays — sneaky, I know) and I will join after my teaching contract is all finished up in six months.  This means that we will be doing super-duper long distance once again (Hong Kong is a 15 hour flight from NYC) but the end game is totally worth it. I am all kinds of excited: not just to have the opportunity to discover the city, but also to be in closer proximity to family and friends.  We recently found an apartment so the last couple of days have been spent scouring the IKEA website and planning logistical stuff for the move (we’re lodging temporarily in mid-town).  Everything is coming together swimmingly though.

2014 was great, but 2015 is shaping up to be even better.  What are some of the things you accomplished last year?  What do you hope to achieve in 2015?

 

 

47 Comments

  • Kemkem says:

    Wow! Sounds like you have had quite the year! I think it’s nice that you took more meaningful trips in 2014 and made time for amore… I was getting whiplash from trying to follow all your trips before…you were everywhere 🙂 . Now, you can take time to smell the roses so to speak. Congratulations again on your marriage, and to Liebling on the new job. I wish you both the best of everything in the new year. I look forward to reading about your travels going forward.

  • Timothy says:

    A big New York welcome to you! New York is a great travel hub for you. One word of advice though…go easy on the Ikea furniture. I have Ikea dressers, and they don’t stand up to too much punishment. The dresser drawer tracks are plastic, so they simply break. You can’t get replacements. I guess they’re good for various home accessories and tables, but nothing that needs to open and close repeatedly or support a lot of weight. Once again…welcome to NY!

  • Ray says:

    My greatest accomplishment in 2014 was going to see a World Cup Match in 2014. My biggest travel plans for 2015 is to go to England in July for a friend’s wedding, so I will search through your London archives for ideas of what to see, where to stay, what to do, etc.

    Otherwise, welcome back “home!” The great thing about basing yourself in NYC is that you have great flight options to Europe, South America, the Carribean Islands and North America. I’m sure you will be able to find some really great deals for weekend getaways across the United States, so it will be interesting to see how your blog will develop this year. 🙂

    Happy New Year, Oneika!

    • Oneika says:

      I’m jealous that you made it to the World Cup! A friend of mine invited me to go but since I had such a hectic summer I couldn’t work it into my places. I agree about the flight options from NYC and think it’s a huge plus to moving to the city. Thank you and Happy New Year!

  • PhillyGirl says:

    Wow!! 2014 was indeed your year and 2015 looks even better! NYC will be terrific as a travel hub and a place that will infuse you with LOTS of energy and being closer to home is wonderful for you and your family. I’m no stranger to long distance love affairs but it can work when bot parties commit to it. I’m sure you and Liebling will handle the distance like “old pros” since it’s only for a short time.

    My goals for 2015 are to travel more. I’m no longer living in the Middle East and find myself back in the US for a spell. I ALSO want to re-commit to my blog as it gives me joy and I love being able to track my life through my thoughts and beautiful pictures. Lastly, I want to publish another book. I only published one book in 2014 and I want to see if I can increase that number each year! I love your blog and thanks for another great TRAVEL year!

    • Oneika says:

      You *only* published one book?! That’s one more than I published. 🙂 That’s a huge accomplishment, congratulations! Thanks for the well-wishes and right back at you!

  • Vladyta says:

    This is awesome! Congrats to ur hubby on landing the job. Hope to run into u in NYC!

  • Lucia says:

    Woohh so happy you’re coming to Colombia! You’re gonna fall in love with it 🙂 Where are you going?

    • Oneika says:

      Sadly only Bogota for the few days before heading to Brazil but I’m hoping to go back with Liebling to do a proper Colombia trip!

  • CaitlinFinnegan says:

    Congrats on your imminent move (and your hubby’s new job). So jealous of you getting to live in this most awesome city.

    I’m looking forward to your post on Costa Rica. I went there in October and it was absolutely beautiful and the friendliest people!

  • Toni says:

    I’m so excited to hear that you’re going to be in Latin America. Your posts about Monterrey, Mexico is why I subscribed to your blog. Becoming a travel blogger was a huge fail of mine this in 2014. This year I hope to be the America version of you blog wise. I’m going to work hard to get to Latin America. I hope I meet you down there. You’re wonderful. Live long and prosper

  • Welcome to New York City! Please do let me know when you all make the big move around the end of the year, there is a lot going on here! 😀

  • Diane says:

    You definitely had a great year in 2014! It was a bit of a rough year for me last year, so I didn’t really do any travelling. I’m hoping to make up for it this year — destination(s) so far TBD :). (I was talking to a friend a couple of days ago, and she mentioned travelling to Sri Lanka years ago. Of course, Sri Lanka’s been on my mind ever since. I’d love to hear your thoughts on your experience there!)

  • Kahleel says:

    Happy New Year!!! What a wonderful 2014 you had. Yay for your move to NY, I’ll be moving back there in 6 months as well once my contract here in Abu Dhabi is completed. Maybe I’ll bump into you there.
    I also want to travel Latin America. Can’t wait to hear about your upcoming trips.
    http://jadeblyssjourney.blogspot.com/

  • Renuka says:

    Great to hear all about your year, Oneika! Yes, you should blog more often. 🙂 Congrats on your wedding and all the best for you future endeavors. Waiting to hear about your life in New York.

  • Yay, so excited that your big move is official! Hope the rest of this time being long distance flies and that you’re in your new NYC apartment before you know it.

  • Congrats on the new move! We’ll be neighbours. Almost 🙂 hehe

  • Nadeen says:

    congratulations on getting married and having a great year! I totally understand trying to balance a full time job with traveling and blogging. I also agree with having real experiences while traveling vs just checking cities off your list. I am from the NYC area and really miss it!! I am sure you and your husband will enjoy the vibrancy of the city. I look forward to your posts in the new year!

  • Melissa Maher says:

    This is so amazing, congrats!!! 2015 will be an amazing year for everyone!!!

    I love the new plans and ideas…. videos I would personally love because it will make me feel move involved with your journey… AWESOME!!!

    Congrats on it all, I look forward to seeing it all unfold. Keep shining that light and I hope to see you in 2015 in some part of the world 🙂

  • Congratulations on all your achievements in 2014 (writing for Conde Nast? That’s amazing!). I’m looking forward to reading in 2015 as well. Good luck with your big move!

  • Karin Edwards says:

    “the older I get, the longer I’m away, the more I need to reestablish my roots and surround myself with places and people who are familiar. Places I know. People who know me and “get” me.”

    I wish there was a “like” button for this comment. You hit the nail on the coffin!!! The life of an expat is a contant reflective. I see myself growing as a traveller as well. I’m so relaxed now and don’t feel this “need” to cross off a list (not that there’s anything wrong with that cuz travel is a personal thing). I think it’s a reflection of personal growth which translates and influences how I travel.
    I absolutely LOVE your blog and all your blogging contributions to other travel websites/publications. I appreciate your insight, perspective and openness to share your personal journey through travel. You’re my go-to on all things travel!
    You’re indeed creating the life you want to live and it is totally inspiring!
    Jiāyóu (Mandarin for “cheering you on”)

  • Xenia says:

    OMG! I thought your big news was going to be that you are expecting…HA, HA! I never would have guessed that you and Leibling are becoming New Yorkers. Congratulations! NYC is a fabulous place and has so much art and culture. There is so much to do and see. Remember that NY State is separate from NYC, so there is much to explore Upstate. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY after immigrating from Panama with my family when I was a little girl. NYC has changed a lot since then, but it is still a fabulous place.

  • Love New York from all the stories I hear about it, and will surely visit one day..congratulations on your hubby’s new appointment and on your impending move..I’m looking forward to your travel stories on the Americas!

  • JetsetterC says:

    I agree with you that finding the time to reconnect with family and friends is so important. It looks like you’ve set up 2015 to be a great year! I would like to do Costa Rica in my near future, so I am definitely looking forward to your blog for there.

  • Fidel says:

    I was getting ready to congratulate you for being pregnant. That’s what I expected to read when you said a big announcement. The announcement you did share is huge though.

  • Dee says:

    Vlogging? Whaaaaat? I will definitely subscribe. I get such a kick out of following your exploits and I think your vlogs will have a large following once you grow your audience. Congratulations on your wonderful things that have happened to/for you in 2014 and I hope that you continue to be blessed in 2015. I will continue to check in with your blog and will now look for you on youtube. Thumbs up!

  • Congrats to all the achievements of 2014 and wishing you more in 2014. I am so jealous of you move to NYC but very much look forward to your posts on the city. As for my plans for 2015. I have a few destinations I would like to nail down such as Montenegro, Argentina, Zanzibar and Oman to name a few. Nothing confirmed yet as I have just sent off my passport to be renewed and so hopefully will have it back at the end of the month and then its show time! 😀

  • Terri says:

    Yay! Glad to hear that you’ll be so close!

  • Heidi says:

    I came across your website during a search. Very inspiring! I’m living in London now and want to start going away at least a weekend a month. Also, I have been thinking of blogging for myself just so I can remember it all. Thank you for the inspiration to just Do It! As a former New Yorker, welcome! It’s a great city. You will love it.

  • Shantel says:

    How neat that you’ll be based right in my own home city! 🙂 Hope you have the least stressful move possible.

  • Bridgett says:

    I’m like 99% sure that I saw you on my flight from NYC to HK… Jan 3… Cathay .. aisle seat…
    Good vibrations to you!!

  • Foreign Geek says:

    Hi Oneika, it’s so great that you had a fantastic 2014. I am so happy that you put blogging more into your 2015 goals. I love reading your blog posts <3

  • YaYa says:

    OMG so now that just means you have to make a trip to Washington DC. Its only 4 hours and 20 bucks on the bus. You and Liebling are more than welcome to stay with me. If nothing else, let me take you guys to your first expedition to Bens Chilli Bowl! =)

  • Catalina says:

    Hi Oneika. Congrats on your move and wedding! I’ll help you w anything you need for your trip to Colombia. I just got back from there. I haven’t been reading many blogs or even writing on my old blog but I can still help. Send me an email anytime. Take care.

  • Congrats on the move and best wishes with your new home in NYC! You are such an amazing woman and I’m glad that found your spot and that I’m moving around the world once you move!

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