A Year in Travel: 2015 Edition

by Mike on May 24, 2016

I flew almost 160,000 miles, which is close to two weeks worth of flying. That’s a lot of time spent in a metal tube!

2015 Flight path

2015 Flight path

I was really fortunate that I’ve spent the vast majority of the Northern Winter months in the Southern Hemisphere. Had I been home, I would have been shoveling a lot of snow.

The first few months of the year was spent in Africa where I hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro with my buddy Andrew who I met on the Mongol Rally. After spending 8 days on the mountain, Andrew and I headed to Zanzibar where we relaxed on the beach soaking in the sun, which was a nice change from the freezing cold temps on the mountain.

Mt Kilimanjaro Summit

Mt Kilimanjaro Summit

I spent a solid 2 months in Japan when the dollar was trading it’s highest against the Yen, which made prices very reasonable. I think to really appreciate Japan; you have to spend a few weeks to a month there. The Japanese people are so nice and helpful that it’s really hard to be a victim of petty crime unless you go looking for it. My friend and I were visiting Nikko National Park located 2 hours outside of Tokyo and she lost her phone on one of the buses inside the National Park. When one looses a phone on a bus, it’s a lost cause, but my friend reaffirmed me that if a Japanese person finds it, there’s a possiblity that she’ll get it back. Sure enough after a quick visit to the bus stationmaster, the phone was repatriated with my friend. I was completely shocked; I thought that iPhone was long gone. I checked off Mt. Fuji when I was in Japan.

Summit of Mt. Fuji Japan

Summit of Mt. Fuji

After Japan, I took the scenic way home and flew to Longyearbyen, Norway. I was there in July, which was daylight 24 hours a day. I was able to fly the Hello Kitty from Taipei to Paris and connect onward to Longyearbyen. On the way home, I stopped for a night in Tromso, the northern capital of Norway for night.

Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen

The latter half of the year, I went to South America to complete the world famous “W” Trek in Torres Del Paine National Park. I lucked out with the weather, as it was cold and clear, not a drop of rain, which was good because I was camping.

In Torres Del Paine National Park

In Torres Del Paine National Park

After South America in November, I headed home for a few weeks before heading off to New Zealand. I took the scenic way there this time and flew via the Middle East. I managed to snag a seat on the Etihad A380 First class cabin, which is dubbed their apartment. Rightly so because it’s as spacious as a tiny NYC apartment.

Etihad First Class Apartments A380

Etihad First Class Apartments

Etihad First Class Salon Service

One of the complimentary haircuts I received at airport lounge

After the holidays, I headed to Cape Town where I spent the better part of a month kite boarding. I stayed at a communal kite house and it was the best time. There were people from all professions solely staying there to kite board.

NOT SO GOOD THINGS

I had to check luggage since I’m packing gear with me along for my trips. On two of the trips, I’ve had my baggage delayed, which was not a pleasant experience. I’ve packed my carry-on to prepare for such circumstances, but having my equipment delayed and jeopardize my planned adventure is not a fun feeling.

To elaborate on the baggage situation, I was flying business class both times, so priority baggage handling didn’t help nor did it help retreive my baggage any faster. It was mostly bad timing with delayed flights to my gateway city causing a less than ideal connection window. The next time I’m flying somewhere I think I prefer to fly from JFK rather than a smaller airport closer to my hometown(BDL or PVD). This way I don’t have to connect to a gateway city before the international segment.

That’s where I was in 2015 and what I had to deal with traveling.

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