Holiday greetings to you all!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday break with your loved ones. This year I spent Christmas right where I wanted to be: at home with family, my dog, and my cat. I hung out in my red onesie, cooked new recipes with my mom, read books while the cat napped on my lap, and watched lots of Netflix (I discovered that I really enjoy suspense-filled space movies…who knew?!)
With the year coming to an end, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for joining me on another year of travel and adventures. Thank you for reading along, for sending me emails, and for stopping to say hello when you spot me in your town. This blog really wouldn’t be what it is without you.
I’m looking forward to kicking 2016 into high hear and bringing you lots of fresh content as well as a few fun giveaways, so keep an eye out for that.
In the meantime, I leave you with a look back at the month of December.
Where I went
Canada – Toronto, Fredericton
Florida – Key West, Marathon, Islamorada, Key Largo
Highlights of the month
A quick escape to the Florida Keys
This month I got to travel down to the Florida Keys, which isn’t a bad place to be during the winter months! It was my very first time venturing any further south than Miami, and I really enjoyed the laid-back vibe of the Keys. I tried all kinds of seafood, got a peek at Hemingway’s writing studio, and ate lots of Key Lime Pie, so overall it was a great trip!
A jaunt to Fredericton
I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go to New Brunswick this winter, but then Sam managed to find me a cheap last minute ticket to visit his family. We pretty much got snowed in the same night I arrived, so I didn’t exactly venture very far, but it was a really nice visit regardless. We watched movies, played with the giant Maine Coon, and put the finishing touches on our South America trip, which is coming up in 10 days!
Reaching 25,000+ subs on YouTube
This month Sam and I reached a milestone on YouTube hitting 25,000+ subs and over 5+ million lifetime views. *Queue happy dance!* We always laugh when we think back on the early videos we filmed in Korea – we both agree that we need to go back for a do over! It’s been a really fun journey and we find that we both enjoy video more and more each day.
On that note, the other day I was getting off the plane in Toronto when the guy across the aisle looked and me and said, “I know you from a YouTube video!” It turns out he had watched our early Korea videos before travelling there. Made my day!
We have some exciting collaborations with other YouTubers coming up in the New Year and we’ll also be filming lots of videos in South America starting 2016, so if that’s a part of the world you’re curious about, make sure you keep an eye on our channel.
What I read this month
The Misadventures of Wenamun by Rolf Potts and Cedar Van Tassel
This is a comic book that retells the story of one of the earliest travel writers known to man. No, this story isn’t about Marco Polo or Ibn Battuta, rather this is the tale of a mistake-prone Egyptian by the name of Wenamun. Wenamun was an Egyptian priest who was sent overseas to bring back the finest Lebanese timber, and he decided to chronicle his journey on papyrus. Well, everything that could have possibly gone wrong, went wrong for this guy, and the resulting comic book is a pretty funny read. It’s a different format from what I usually read, but I loved how they took an ancient tale and adapted it into a comic with a modern feel. Another reason to get this book: profits from the sale will be donated to Save the Children’s Syrian refugee initiative.
Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer by Chuck Thompson
I really enjoyed Thompson’s To Hellholes and Back, so I decided to give this earlier book by him a go. The book is a collection of stories that never made it onto glossy magazines…probably because they include nights of debauchery in Bangkok and alcohol fuelled escapades in rural Japan where Thompson worked as an ESL teacher. (I can see why editors may have passed these gems over.) That being said, based on its title, I was kind of expecting this book to be an exposé on the world of travel writing, and that it is not. It was a good read, but I still prefer To Hellholes and Back.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
This book is historical fiction and it jumps between Occupied France in the summer of 1942 and the present, where a woman is trying to unravel the story of a girl named Sarah. While the characters are fictitious, the book paints an honest portrait of the 1942 Paris roundups, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver, and then transported to Auschwitz. I don’t read a lot of fiction, but this book gripped me from the beginning and I finished it in 2 days.
My childhood friend Rosy recently started a blog focused on recipes, lifestyle, and hosting, and I pretty much want to eat everything she’s cooking. When we were growing up, I never thought of Rosy as someone who enjoyed cooking (and she probably didn’t think of me as someone who enjoyed travel), but that’s the fun part of growing up: you get to watch your friends change, discover new passions, and carve their own path in the world. If you’re looking to try some new healthy recipes in 2016, you’re going to love her blog Rosy Alexander. I know she’s caught my eye with her smoothies and desserts!
In January Sam and I are hopping right back into full time travel! We’re flying down to South America where we’ll be spending the next few months hitting up about 5-7 countries – some of them new and some of them old favourites. Sam’s parents will be joining us for a good chunk of the trip on their annual escape from the Canadian winter, and my parents will hopefully join me too a bit later in the year. Expect an announcement post on that soon.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year wherever you’re celebrating!