2016: My Year of Mini-Sabbaticals in Review

60 days on the road. 15 countries visited.

While I only took 3 trips this year (as compared to 6 trips last year), this is without a doubt my most memorable traveling year yet. This is also the longest I’ve spent on the road, thanks to two mini-sabbaticals and one quick getaway.

  • 4-7 February: Belitung @ Indonesia (4D3N – 2 leave days)
  • 1-31 March: 11 European Countries Trip (31D30N)
  • 2-26 September: Jordan, UAE, Morocco Trip (25D24N)

I hope my trips below could help plan your next great adventure!

Belitung: The Seychelles of Asia

Batu Garuda, Belitung, Indonesia

Belitung is the secret tropical paradise you’ve never heard of, but it’s outstanding with dramatic boulders rising from the pristine waters of Indonesia. It’s a lot of fun island-hopping and snorkeling in between granite landscapes which exist only in Belitung, Seychelles, and nowhere else on Earth.

Read more:
Belitung Itinerary: 4D3N in Granite Rock Paradise

From Oslo to Rome: A European Oddysey

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Having just left my first company after a strong 3.5 years there, this is a life-changing trip where, for the first time, I found myself staying true to my passion instead of chasing society’s expectation.

Meanwhile, I self-scouted for aurora in Lofoten Islands, hated-and-loved Amsterdam, found fairytales in Germany’s Romantic Road, hiked through the five villages of Cinque Terre, and decided that Budapest is Europe’s best capital city.

List of all countries visited: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Italy, Vatican City.

Read more:
31 Days, 11 Countries, 43 Cities: How to Travel Europe for S$4.8K / €3K
Your Complete Guide to Northern Lights: Where, When, How

The Land of Contrast in Middle East & North Africa

Ziz Valley, Morocco

On the flip side, this was the trip that taught me the harsh lessons of life.

Before the trip, I felt so much pride of having accomplished so many things in my life and finally having the chance to chase my travel career dream. And then things started crashing one by one. For a moment, I started to lose confidence in myself, but it also taught me to be stronger.

It also taught me to be happy despite everything. I smiled through my spoiled camera by floating in the Dead Sea. Watching the supermoon rise over Sahara dunes taught me that it’s okay to forgive and forget. In Essaouira, I found beauty in the simplicity of life. And finally, I learned how to stay calm and get my shit together having being robbed off everything in Marrakech just 2 days before the trip ends.

List of all countries visited: Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Morocco

Read more:
16 Days, 25 Places, 1 Country: The Ultimate Morocco Itinerary
Jordan Travel Itinerary: 6 Days of Canyons & Monasteries
24 Hours in Abu Dhabi: 6 Free Things to Do

Wrapping Up 2016

Goodbye, 2016.

You have been one crazy roller-coaster year. You’ve brought me up to the top, plunged me down, and inevitably, flipped my life 360°. On the whole, it has been a thrilling ride.

While there were ups and downs, I feel like it’s been so long since the last time I could feel this proud and confident about myself.

For quite a while, I had an internal struggle between my ambitious self and my idealistic self. A part of me begs me to go back to what I know I could do well in, while the other part wants me to take a chance and go for what I believe in.

In the end, I chose passion.

Along the way, I have also learned how much integrity, respect to others, and drive helped to bring me to heights I could only imagine. And that there are no problems which cannot be solved.

Despite that, even at your heights, sometimes life still throws odd curveballs at you just for the lulz (what a bitch). But I can choose to remain happy or be sad about it.

And I’m still learning…

P.S. This is also the year my travel writing bear fruits. While I started getting FAM trip and working with brands last year, this is the year my hard work actually yield $$$. It’s encouraging to see that this whole travel writing thing is finally getting somewhere (for more information, see my Work With Me page).

Take a Chance & Listen to Your Heart

Contrary to most fancy stories relating to sabbaticals, I didn’t leave my jobs because I wanted to travel. Quite the opposite, I was already going to leave anyway because I had to pave the way to new chapters in my life, both professionally and personally.

At the end of the day, I’m still back in the workforce and that has always been the intention, but I’m definitely one step closer to my dreams and ambitions now. Traveling simply helped to enrich my thinking while I’m in between.

Take a Step to that Life-Changing Trip in 2017

Check out 2017 Holidays Guide for Singapore Long Weekends to get inspirations and recommendations.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Really good blog, thank you very much for your effort in writing this post.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s