2015: The Year in Review

It was a damn good year! 2015 gifted me with new travels, beach time, a more committed yoga practice, an opportunity to work in Thailand again, the continuation of an amazing relationship, and plenty of Thai food, massages, markets, and pool parties!

Here’s a month by month recap of big events and memorable moments:

January

  • Michael and I kicked off 2015 together at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan.

Universal Studios

  • 30 day Yoga Challenge at Yogatique Bangkok reminded me how important yoga is in my life.
  • We spent a day swimming at Klong Plu waterfall during a quick trip to Koh Chang Island, Thailand.

February

  • We relaxed, drank coconut smoothies, and laid on Sairee Beach on the island of Koh Tao, Thailand during a mini vacation.

Koh Tao Boat

beach Koh Tao

March

  • Michael and I rented our first apartment together in Bangkok- a big relationship milestone! It’s been a perfect, spacious spot for us to call home.
  • I came back home to Fort Collins, Colorado after a 6 month stint in Bangkok.
  • My dad, brother, and I took a fantastic trip to Mazatlán, Mexico. Of course, I ate tacos every day and drank plenty of Pacífico beer.

Mexico

tacos

April

  • Michael came back to Colorado (together in America for the first time) and spent a few days in Fort Collins meeting and hanging out with my family.
  • I took a road trip to Montrose and Olathe, Colorado to meet Michael’s family!

mountian

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the comforts of home: family time, fresh coffee, cheese, the charm of Fort Collins, thrift stores, and mountain views.
  • My dear friend Kate came to visit Colorado!
  • Michael and I traveled back to Bangkok, and Michael’s mom came with us to visit!
  •  Before school started back up, the three of us had a relaxing vacation at a beautiful resort in Krabi.

resort

  • While in Krabi, we took a boat trip around Koh Phi Phi, Thailand and pushed our way through crowds on famous Maya Beach.

bae and I

krab

May

  • Back to work in Bangkok! May was a full month of teacher preparation; I was very productive in prepping for my second grade class.
  • I celebrated my 24th birthday with Indian food and a foot massage!

June

  • Start of the school year! My second grade class has been absolutely wonderful, and I work with 2 amazing co-teachers.

class

July

  • My best friends came to visit! We took advantage of what Bangkok has to offer: Calypso ladyboy show, Chatuchak market, a weekend in Hua Hin, and Sofitel pool party.

hua hin

besties2

August

  • For personal enjoyment I took a creative writing workshop, ‘Work in Progress’ with Anette Pollner. I now have tools to combat procrastination when writing!
  • Bombings rocked Bangkok. It was a sad and scary time to be living in Bangkok.
  • During a 4 day trip to Singapore, we chowed down on Indian food, drank famous Singapore Slings, and enjoyed the diversity and vibrancy of Singapore’s distinct neighborhoods.

Singapore Merlion

  • We totally splurged and had an amazing night at Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands. It’s my most extravagant hotel experience yet.

Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool

September

  • At the end of September, we left for Hong Kong! Soho, the night market, zen gardens, phenomenal city views- we discovered many treasures in Hong Kong.

view of Hong Kong

The Big Buddha Hong Kong

October

  • We ferried from Hong Kong to Macau. I unexpectedly fell in love with Macau; the mix of Portuguese and Chinese culture is fascinating, and I ate some of the best meals of my life.

Ruinas de Saint Paul Macau

  • I attended TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) in Bangkok. It was a full 3 days of workshops, evening social events, grand food displays, inspiring speakers, and meeting some amazing people in the travel blogging industry. I listened to Don George read favorite selections of his own travel writing (very moving), and I chatted with Mark Wiens (one of my favorite food bloggers at Migrationology) about my love of Thai food!

tbex2

  • Quick trip to Koh Tao! I made sure my days included yoga, healthy smoothies, and motorbike rides.

motorbike in Koh Tao

November

  • My friend Sarah (from study abroad in India in 2010) came to visit!
  • I celebrated one of my favorite Thai holidays: Loy Krathong. I love watching all the handmade krathongs float about after they’re released into the water with a wish!

Loy Krathong

December

  • Michael and I had a fantastic 2-week trip in the Philippines during Christmas Vacation. Can’t wait to blog about it! We visited Manila, but time on Palawan island was the bulk of our trip.
  • At Jungle Beach Resort in Puerto Princesa, we spent our relaxing days hanging out with Maya the monkey.

Monkey eating a mango

  • I enjoyed my first beach Christmas in El Nido!

DSC05411

  • We bathed in Maquinit Hot Springs and took a boat tour around Coron Island.
  • We rang in New Years in Manila and then headed back to Bangkok! It was a perfect trip to end the year.

8 Countries Visited in 2015.

Japan, Thailand, U.S.A, Mexico, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. (4 new countries)

Memorable Books of the Year:

The Pilgrimage, Paulo Coelho. This book further fueled my desire to walk El Camino de Santiago!

Living Your Yoga, Judith Lasater. A great guide to finding your spirituality in everyday life.

Trail of Crumbs, Kim Sunee. A beautiful memoir about a young woman finding herself through love and food.

Life of Pi, Yann Martel. I couldn’t put this book down.

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert. A GREAT book to read right before the new year. I’m inspired to continue expressing my creativity through my blog!

It’s one of my goals to get back on Goodreads this year to keep track of everything I read!

2015 in Blogging:

I published 20 blog posts this year about various destinations. My favorite post of the year (and by far the most successful post on my blog) was 5 Amazing Places to get Healthy Food in Bangkok.

I wrote 6 pieces for Matador this year. My most popular piece on Matador was 12 things that happen when you move to Thailand. With over 3,000 Facebook likes and shares, it resonated with many.

I’m most proud of 6 uncomfortable truths about Thailand. This piece borders on investigative journalism; I did quite a bit of research for it. It delves into the sex trade, human trafficking, corruption, animal abuse, etc. I’m passionate about these subjects, and I find that I’m very comfortable writing to expose uncomfortable truths.

I bought a mirrorless Sony Nex-5R camera this year, and I love it! The quality of the pictures on my blog has drastically improved, and I’m enjoying fiddling with the settings and snapping photos.

camera

My social media channels saw small increases in followers. At the end of 2015, my Facebook page had 282 likes, and my Twitter had 294 followers. I’m not as active on my Facebook page as I would like to be, and I’ve fallen off the twitter bandwagon!

I created an instagram account to showcase my favorite travel photos and post regularly about my travels/life. I’m just getting into the instagram game, but so far it’s my favorite social media platform. I ended the year with 330 followers.

My most liked instagram photo of 2015 is this bodacious creature at Ngong Ping, Hong Kong:

FullSizeRender

2016 Blog Goals: In 2016, I hope to publish posts more frequently. I will still be writing about travel, but I would like to expand my post types to include quotes, travel manifestos, small stories, inspirational pictures, yoga posts, etc. I would also like to work with a graphic designer to cocreate a logo and header in order to better brand my blog.

What’s in store for 2016:

I am officially finished teaching in Bangkok at the end of March. I’m ready to say goodbye to Thailand!

In April, I’ll be heading back to my paradise of Ubud, Bali for a one month yoga teacher training! I know this will be a month of huge growth and learning.

Michael and I will fly home to Colorado at the end of May! Then we’ll be visiting BOSTON, for my sister’s graduation, and then NEW YORK CITY! (For the first time!)

Ideally, we’ll have the summer months to spend time at home with with the family, and we’ll be starting new jobs  in the fall. We have NO IDEA where yet… but that’s part of the fun! We’re open to a variety of destinations abroad, and we’ve been applying to teach at schools. I’m excited to see where 2016 takes us… literally!

Lotus Flower

“Do not try to make the road shorter, but travel it in such a way that every action leaves the land more fertile and the landscape more beautiful.”

Thank you everyone for your continued support and love! Wishing you all love and light in 2016!

6 COMMENTS

  1. mjohnsonvec2015 | 11th Jan 16

    Thanks for sharing Casey…definitely an amazing year and I look forward to reading your posts in 2016! Best to you and Michael! MJ

    • Words of a Wanderer | 23rd Jan 16

      Thanks Mike!! It was definitely an amazing year. Wishing you all the best in 2016 as well! 🙂

  2. bournehungry | 12th Jan 16

    What a year! You are such an inspiring traveler/writer/teacher/person. Can’t wait to see what 2016 holds for you! xx

    • Words of a Wanderer | 23rd Jan 16

      THANKS KATE!!! 2016 will definitely hold a trip to NY… can’t wait for that!! <3

  3. Jasmine West | 14th Feb 16

    Casey, I came across your Valentine’s Day picture today on Instagram and clicked on your blog–it’s been far too long!
    I couldn’t help but smile when reading your 2015 year of introspection, what an adventurous life you are living…as it should be!
    Looking forward to seeing where 2016 takes you and Michael. The world is our playground. ?

    • Words of a Wanderer | 15th Feb 16

      Aw, this means so much to me! <3 It was a wonderful year! I enjoy keeping up with your adventures too! Will you happen to be in Colorado at all over the summer? Would love to get coffee and chat about our playground adventures. 😉

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