Looking Back on 2015 and News on 2016 My Year of Awesome

It seems like there’s been a lot of “this is what I’ve done in 2015” post from travel bloggers. Yes it’s the 1st 7th day of January and I’m a little late to the party, but I figured I should do a recap of what I’ve done the past year. It is nice to kind of look back and see where I’ve been, and where I’m going this year and why I decree 2016 my year of awesome. There will be more from my time in Madrid, Spain and Helsinki, Finland soon.

My 2015 Travels

In March a friend and I took a winter road trip to Saskatoon where we went to a local museum, froze our butts off, saw a hockey game and I got to have dinner with some of my family. In July I spent my birthday weekend in Drumheller and The Canadian Badlands where I saw two amazing theatre performances. In August I drove out to Vancouver with a friend who lives there, and had a nice visit. Sometimes a small change of scenery is a nice. We even managed to get to Washington State (for 15 minutes…more on that later). For my big trip this fall I spent a week in Madrid, Spain. Then I spent a couple days in Helsinki, Finland (and a brief 17 hours in Frankfurt, Germany) before heading home. The last few months I’ve been at home, working, dog sitting for a family friend, and getting ready for my next adventures.

Helsinki, Finland and The Helsinki Cathedral

Hoodoos in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada

2016 The Year of Awesome

I made a photo calendar for 2016 last month, and I named it 2016 – The Year of Awesome. Since then I’ve declared that 2016 will be a year of awesome for me. See there have been some big plans in the works, but I haven’t announced all until now.

First up is the trip I’ve talked about before. In March I’ll be heading to Hong Kong and Japan for 2 weeks. This will be my first time to Asia. I have 6 days in Hong Kong, and 7 days in Japan (I arrive and depart from Tokyo, and I’m still debating whether I should go to Kyoto or save that for another trip). I can hardly believe this trip will be happening in less than two months. I’m nervous, but excited, which is how I am before every trip.

The big new though is that I bought a one-way ticket to London, England in August. How? Why? What? Well a while back I was invited to a Westjet media launch at The Fairmont Hotel McDonald. Westjet was announcing a new flight route across several cities in Canada to Dublin, Ireland. As a thank you everyone attending got a 50% off a Westjet flight coupon (a few people even won themselves a free flight like Melissa from Suitcase and Heels).

Buckingham Palace in London

I did some searching and found a one-way ticket to London for $200. At first I tried searching for a round trip deal, but the return price got really expensive (went up to about $900), but then I thought what if I don’t buy a return ticket?

This might seem crazy at first, but I’ve always wanted to do is live abroad. There are a lot of ways to do this (I’ve read a lot of blogs), but the idea of a working holiday visa sounded like a good solution. The problem is that most countries will only let you do a working holiday visa until you’re 30. There are some exceptions like Ireland where Canadians can do a working holiday visa until 35.

In July I turn 32. Getting a working holiday visa is one of those opportunities that I either have to take now, or not take and regret forever. Since London is relatively close to Ireland my plan is fly into London, spend a few days there and then fly to Ireland, where I can spend up to two years on a working holiday visa.

Will I stay in Ireland there for two years? It’s hard to say, but I hope to be there for at least a year. Currently I’m crunching numbers and figuring out how much to save (I’ve got a good start), where to go, and what to do. This is all very new for me and there are still a lot of things to do before I get there (like actually getting the working holiday visa…fingers crossed).

Once I’m in Ireland I’ll need to find a place to live and get a job. I’d like a steady stream of writing and freelancing income while I’m there, but likely I’ll also be looking for a local job, maybe in the hospitality or food services industry (where I have some experience). Hopefully, I’ll be able to explore more of Ireland and some of the UK this year. If I can find some cheap flights maybe I’ll be able to see some more of Europe.

A lot is in the air, which is how I felt looking forward to 2015 at the end of 2014. While back then I was feeling a little despondent about that year (despite some awesome travels I did) I feel like 2015 was a great year. While I don’t have everything mapped out for 2016 I have some big plans and I’m looking forward to a year of awesome.

Where are you traveling to in this year?

4 Responses to Looking Back on 2015 and News on 2016 My Year of Awesome

  1. Samantha @ Our Traveling Blog January 13, 2016 at 9:24 PM #

    How exciting. We are working on being able to do more extended travel, but as we are over 35, getting a working visa isn’t an option. So I will just keep saving and traveling as much as we can, when we can. Thanks for the info.

    • Alouise June 30, 2016 at 1:16 AM #

      Thanks for the comment Samantha. It’s too bad working holiday visas don’t go past 35, but then I guess everyone would wanna be out traveling. Good luck with your travels.

  2. Arzo Travels February 14, 2016 at 1:39 PM #

    I wish sou a wonderful 2016 and I hope, u’ll get the chance to visit many great places! I can’t wait to head to Dubai and Hong Kong in a few weeks 🙂

    • Alouise June 30, 2016 at 1:18 AM #

      Thanks for the comment. I really loved Hong Kong and Dubai looks amazing. Hope your year so far has been filled with great travels.

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