2016 Travel Roundup

THE 2016 TRAVEL ROUNDUP IS MY 100TH POST!!! 💯🎉 AND  ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW YEAR!

It feels highly fortuitous that the recap of one of the best years of my life has doubled as a milestone moment for the blog. Even though 2016 was an overall turbulent year for the world, on a personal note, it was a year of great highs. I kicked off 2016 with a trip to Korea and ended the year with a holiday getaway exploring Hanoi and Ninh Binh with Tim. At the beginning of the year I committed to myself to the mantra, “I Am Strong,” and the universe came through and helped me reestablish my sense of self. Looking back on a year of many travel highlights, in the last 365 days, I moved to Vietnam and decided to become a creative professional, which has been possible due to a very supportive boyfriend. As enthused as I am to see 2017 come into being, it’s a bit bittersweet to say goodbye to a year full of blessings and joys. Without further ado, here is The Next Somewhere’s travel roundup 2016. For a comparison of this year versus last year, check out the 2015 travel roundup right here.

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YEAR IN NUMBERS

2016 travel roundup year in numbers

In 2016, I traveled approximately 17,313 miles or 27,862.6 kilometers. At the beginning of January, I left Boston after 5 weeks of visiting my family for the holidays and began the year with a trip to Korea for 1 week to say goodbye to friends. We then jetted off to the Philippines for 3 weeks so I could introduce my family members to Tim and visiting Palawan with my friends Cait, Jeremy, and Carolyn. Tim and I arrived in Ho Chi Minh the first week of February and are a few days shy of our 11 month anniversary living in Vietnam. We’ve been visited by a total of 25 friends in our HCMC apartment, the majority of which we’ve had the pleasure of hosting. In Vietnam, I made an unexpected transition from teaching abroad to becoming a full-time travel writer, which I’ve been doing for the past 4 months now with 3 sponsored stays because of writing opportunities. I’ve also returned to the Philippines 3 times this year: once for a homecoming, once for a birthday surprise (thanks Uncle Peds!,) and once for a Travel Blog Exchange Conference (TBEX).  I’ve taken 16 flights throughout the year, visiting 15 destinations including Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne, Cu Chi, Ninh Binh, Hanoi, Hoi An, Vung Tau, Can Tho, Manila, Tagaytay, Puerto Princesa, El Nido, Tuguegarao, Sanchez Mira, Daejeon, and Batangas.  I traveled to 3 countries, which were Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines, filling up my passport with a total of 102 stamps and 3 visas. And I ended this year with retiring my current passport and applying for my 5th passport.

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#TOPNINE2016

Riding the wave of the #topnine2016 hashtag! Thank you so much for the 13,142 Likes to 151 posts in 2016. Follow me on instagram at @thenextsomewhere.

The Top Nine 2016 The Next Somewhere

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THE TOP FIVE MOST POPULAR BLOG POSTS OF 2016

  1. A Vegetarian Guide to Vietnamese Food
  2. The Girl’s Guide to Fun: Saigon Edition
  3. Why I Chose To Move To Vietnam
  4. Why I Travel
  5. Backpacking in Southeast Asia

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TOP TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS

2016 travel roundup moving to vietnam

MOVING TO VIETNAM

Feb. 3 | Not wanting to go home just yet, Tim and I made a joint decision to move to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. There are plenty of reasons why I moved to Vietnam but I never foresaw just how opportune it would be for me on a professional level and also in my relationship. Tim and I have grown so much as a couple and I am living the dream with a job that allows me to travel, write, be cube-free, and eat delicious things! Plus we have the sweetest landlady, a brand new apartment in a great location, and an amazing group of old and new friends.

2016 travel roundup fulltime writer

BECOMING A FULL-TIME TRAVEL WRITER

Sept. 1 | This I never saw happening in a million years but it’s my newfound reality! Earlier this year, I made the move into the world of writing working in editorial for a digital pop culture magazine. After realizing the job didn’t align with my principles, I made another leap of faith and the day I quit that job, I was contacted by a representative for Vietnam Tourism who had seen my written work. I went on to help relaunch the new official Vietnam Tourism website as their managing editor, which is now my full-time job! I’m also freelancing with other incredible Vietnamese companies, solely in the industries of food and travel, my two great passions.

2016 travel roundup food series host

BECAME A HOST OF A FOOD SERIES

Dec. 11 | Piggybacking on my new career path, discovering the Christina’s social accommodation brand was another moment that I felt like the universe was on my side. Christina’s invited me to host a new food web series called “Street Feast,” with locals introducing me to their favorite food haunts around Saigon. The show is going to launch the beginning of January! Also, I have to give a shout-out to talented individual I deeply admire, Sonny Side of the Best Ever Food Review Show for being the man behind the lens. #staytuned

2016 travel roundup tbex philippines bobo and chichi

ATTENDED A TBEX CONFERENCE

Oct. 17 |  I’ll admit, the TBEX Asia ’16 conference was by far the scariest thing I did this year and I was very intimidated by the whole experience. But it made the list because not only did I confront my fears of large social affairs, but by investing in the blog, I invested in myself. I got to meet some fabulous new people such as Cherie from The Flight of the Travel Bee, and Ruchika from Second Breakfast, and Lynn from The Travelynn, but the absolute highlight was being able to spend time with the fun-loving, extremely hardworking duo behind Bobo and Chichi, aka Megan and Scott. TBEX Asia was also held in Manila so it was a double-win! Mixing business with pleasure! 😉

2016 travel roundup homecoming philippines

INTRODUCING TIM TO “MY” PHILIPPINES

Jan. 22 | You know it’s serious when you bring your significant other home for the first time… and by home, I mean THE homeland. For three weeks, I traveled around the Philippines with Tim to introduce him to my culture and my family. We attended my cousin’s wedding and journeyed to the rural town of Sanchez Mira in the northernmost part of the country where both my mom and dad were raised.

2016 travel roundup color run

PARTICIPATED IN THE HCMC COLOR RUN

Apr. 16 | I don’t know why I didn’t hop on this color run bandwagon sooner but I cannot think of a more fun social activity! The stresses of moving to a new country were totally forgotten that day. We were more focused on celebrating our new friends, our new city, and the glorious weather. Plus all the colored powder fed my color-obsessed soul! It was the first time that we really felt at home in Saigon.

2016 travel roundup pasta carbonara saigon outcast

COOKED FOR 80 PEOPLE

Aug. 24 | So one of my resolutions of 2016 was to learn how cook more… and better. That resolution was put to the test when my friend Sian asked me to participate in a community dinner at this city hangout called Saigon Outcast, which required me to prep and cook meals for 80 people. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done but my pasta alla carbonara was pretty dope and I felt so accomplished after I successfully plated and served all those dishes!

2016 travel roundup ninh binh

RANG IN THE NEW YEAR IN NORTHERN VIETNAM

Dec. 31 | After months of trying to replenish funds and reestablish some stability, Tim and I are only coming around now to seeing Vietnam in its entirety. For our holiday vacation, we decided to check out the capital of Hanoi and take a day trip to Ninh Binh, basically the land-based equivalent of Halong Bay. After climbing up Hang Mua, we were rewarded with a startling view of the dramatic terrain. Ending the year on top of the world! ⬆️🌏

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THE NEXT MOVE…

2016 travel roundup the next move

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: WE’RE MOVING BACK TO THE STATES FOR GOOD IN JUNE!

After being abroad for the past few years in Korea and Vietnam, I’ve hit a glorious moment where I am ready to come back to the USA. l’ll have been gone for almost three years by the time I finish up in June so it feels like it’s time for a new chapter. As of now, I’m planning to move to San Jose, California with Tim to get a taste of the West Coast BUT we’re not counting out Boston just yet!

And I basically have a full agenda in the lead up to June!

January 21 – 26: Taiwan for Lunar New Year with Tim
January 27 – February 4: Myanmar for Lunar New Year with my cousin Fel
April 20 – 28: Sapa Trek and Ha Long Bay Cruise, Vietnam
First week of June: Stopover in Korea to spend time with Tim’s family

… then homeeeeeeeee! The countdown has officially begun!

the next somewhere izzy pulido @thenextsomewhere

With love always from Izzy, thank you for following and reading @The Next Somewhere!

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AND CHECK OUT THESE OTHER “YEARS IN REVIEW!”

Thank you for all the love and support this year! Do you have your own year in review? Post it in the comments below and I’ll add it to the list! xoxo Izzy

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Izzy Pulido is a Bostonian by way of the Philippines who loves to vagabond. At twenty-seven, she's traded in gallivanting around Europe for the 9-to-5 grind... but don't count out the vagabonding! With a new long distance relationship, she's bringing American travel to the forefront. She lives for good times, good food, and good peeps.

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  1. Megan Indoe

    1 January

    You’re one of the hardest working and amazing people we have met! You have had such an amazing year all thanks to your awesome attitude on life and hustle! I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for you and your new food series!!!! We had a blast with you in TBEX and would love to see you again this year! Happy New Year! Xoxo

  2. Hallie

    2 January

    WOW! Congrats on your amazing year! It looks just great and quite fortunate that one job ended leading into another. It’s also awesome you got to meet up with Megan and Scott. They’re a fun duo, aren’t they? Congrats on the food series and the editorship. Staying positive is how to make dreams come true. ^^

  3. Hendrik

    2 January

    Wow, thats what I call an impressive review, especially the filled up passport sounds amazing 🙂
    I assume, the cooking for 80 people was one of the most challenging things – sounds really crazy! Great to see how you you already planned your next places and destinations, enjoy them all! 🙂

  4. Joaquim Miro

    2 January

    So inspiring!! I was also in Vietnam and have been building a travel blog and building websites. It’s insane how much opportunity there is in that country (and great food hahaha). If I may ask, how much did it cost you to do all those trips!?!?

  5. Chiera

    2 January

    Woah! What amazing year 2016 has been for you! Reading this inspired me so much to really go for it with blogging and travelling. I’d love to attend a TBEX one day, but I feel my baby blog isn’t quite up to standard yet haa. Congratulations on your new move abck to the states 🙂

  6. Jojo

    2 January

    You had an awesome year! Congratulations on your major moves in living and career! Best of luck this coming year and moving to Cali or Boston. I’m voting for Cali because that’s where I’m planning to move this year =)

    Is that a scorpion you are eating!?

  7. Candy

    2 January

    What an adventure you have had!!! I wish when I was living in Hong Kong and Singapore I would have documented my travels. I love Vietnamese food and have not yet been to Vietnam. I am looking forward to the new show you mentioned. I love shows about food 🙂

  8. I really enjoyed reading your roundup of 2016 maybe because I absolutely love Vietnam! Congrats on your new job – sometimes life just falls into place at the perfect time and it seems to be that way for you. Have followed you on all social media and looking forward to reading about your past and future adventures. 🙂

  9. gingey bites

    3 January

    A fab round up of your year, it sure sounded busy! I also quit my job to be a full time blogger (food and travel) and have been in travelling from the UK since the start of October! Currently in Melbourne, Australia and LOVING it! Also love your instagram 🙂

  10. Izzy, you have had a wonderful year and this is a great post about your travels. I have always wanted to travel to Vietnam and it has inspired me to plan the trip soon.

  11. Natasha

    3 January

    Wow — what an amazing year!!! You had so many amazing adventures. It looks like a lot of great travel is planned leading up to your June arrival back in the states. I recently moved back after spending the last 2 years in Korea (and traveling throughout Asia). I am really happy about getting settled with a home base here — but travel will NOT stop! Best of luck — you will rock 2017!!!!

  12. Hell yes! What an eventful and successful year. I’m inspired by all the work that you do, and it’s truly amazing to see someone take their talents/passion and turn into something that helps others and provides a living for them and their loved ones. Congrats on all of this!

    I’m heading to SE Asia in February, and I was hoping to check out Myanmar. I’ll stay up to date on your blog to get hyped for my trip. Cheers for all the hard work you put in!

    P.S. I still think it’s so rad that you’re from Boston. I’ll be heading back there in June myself to be with my family for a while. If you’re in the area, I’d love to meet you 🙂

  13. Lindsay

    4 January

    LOVE this post – looks like you’ve had a great year as well! Big kudos on making your passion your full-time job! I’m hoping to get myself in a similar position within the next 2 years. Good luck on the big move back to the US and I can’t wait to see what is in store for you next ^^

  14. This is AWESOME! Congrats to you and your blog and kudos for a year that was truly packed with great things! It’s nice to look back on the positives in a year that the whole world collectively sees as a disappointment. All the best in 2017!

  15. Wendy

    6 January

    What can I say but…. you’re amazing, Izzy!!! Every since I first checked your blog, you’re always on the go and there’s just so much energy in you! Good things come to good and hardworking people! And you are the epitome of that. I love it, too that you originally came from the Philippines so let me know when you’re here in Korea in June… especially when you’re in Seoul. I would love to meet you and Tim! Seriously!

  16. Odessa

    6 January

    What a cool year in review! I love your graphics. And I think it’s awesome that you have such exciting stuff coming up. Taiwan is definitely underappreciated, I think you’ll really like it! I’m not nearly as organized with my 2017 plans yet… but it looks like being back Stateside is on the agenda for us too. Happy travels!

  17. Shelley

    7 January

    I’m loving absolutely everything about your Year in Review. Graphics are amazing, but best of all is your story of where 2016 took you both internally and externally. A lot of people had a pretty crappy 2016, so it was nice to read about someone that had an amazing one. Restored my faith in the Universe just a wee little bit. Looks like 2017 might be even more exciting for you though. Happy travels and all the best for the new year! 😀

  18. Karla

    7 January

    Woah. You had an awesome year! This post inspired me to think about all the things I accomplished this year. You’re so creative! Your top 9 looks cool too. Good luck on your future plans. Have a great year ahead. <3

  19. Snigdha

    7 January

    Congratulations on your fruitful year. Not many people get to fulfill their dreams and achieve it successfully. I hope you have a wonderful 2017. Keep up the good work.

  20. Well welcome to San Jose, CA! We love it here! Looks like you had a quite a year and you experienced a lot. After you move, we should get together for a cup coffee! Great blog, I enjoyed reading it.

  21. Alla

    8 January

    You’ve got one amazing life – traveling, working, enjoying time with friends and family and hosting food shows! I’m so proud of you and hope to one day actually meet face to face! All the best in 2017 and good luck with moving back home!

  22. Ana Park

    8 January

    What an exciting 2016 you had! To be young and free ~ and being able to do what you love doing. It is exciting to live in another country even for just a few months ~ I would love to do that someday when my son could take care of himself 🙂
    I hope you have a more exciting 2017 with all the travel plans already in line ~ including the move to the West Coast.

  23. Star Lengas

    8 January

    I can feel your enthusiasm all the way over here and I love it! I love your mantra of “I am strong.” Sometimes I think we forget how strong we can be and once we put it out into the universe, awesome things happen tenfold! Your 2016 is sooo inspiring and I know you’ll rock it out for 2017! If you pop back over to Korea, would love to meet up with ya! Happy New Year!

  24. Agnes

    8 January

    Cool post. I like how you started off presenting the year in numbers, you made quite a number of trips. I think this series of posts are really nice to look back at one day when feeling nostalgic to see all the things you have accomplished. Vietnam is also a country I would love to visit. Once I’ll get the chance to go there I will come back to your blog for the tips and stories 🙂

  25. Rocio Cadena

    9 January

    What an incredibly exciting and busy year Izzy!!! I am both in awe and a bit jealous (the good kind 😉 of your last twelve months. I simply love the transitions you’ve made from teacher, to editorial magazine job, to editor of the Vietnam website & freelancer. You’re truly living THE DREAM (at least mine hehe). I am so interested to follow you journey back to the States. What do you plan to do? Will you still work for the Vietnam tourism site or seek local opportunities? Regardless of what you end up doing, I wish you the very best in your endeavors. Based on 2016, I just know you’re gonna KILL IT! Get it girl 🙂

  26. Nicole

    9 January

    This is so awesome, Izzy! I had no idea that you’re a full-time travel writer. What an inspiration!! I’m actually going to be in Taiwan this month too but we just miss each other by a few days. What a shame, I would have loved to have met up. That is so exciting that you’re heading back to the states as well. Hopefully 2017 continues to be amazing for you!

  27. Christina

    22 January

    Wow I do not even know where to begin How about…. did Tim go to Texas University or is he just a Texas Longhorn fan? You see I am an Aggie, went to school at Texas A&M University and as tradition goes I have to say something 🙂 If he did go, kinda a small world. Im half filipino and as I said went to Texas A&M so I really felt a part of y’all and your story.

    This is my first time on your website and I was blown away by it! Your theme and content is unbelievable – so unique, engaging and nothing I have ever seen before! I can see why you have been so successful it says it all over your homepage. I am glad I picked this post to read first. It is very inspiring and I am so happy to hear about all of your accomplishments. You are a true inspiration to fellow travel bloggers. Keep it up! I look forward to following you on your adventures now.

  28. Wanjay

    24 January

    I absolutely LOVE your year in review!! You are living proof of positivism and its manifestation as a result. That’s a lot of passports you have filled there! Looking forward to filling up mine this year. All the best in your 2017 adventures

  29. Ling

    25 January

    Congratulations on an amazing year and for all of your success! Incredible to have made to leap from your jobs into full-time travel writer! It’s an inspiring story and hopefully will drive me to eventually do the same 🙂

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