It’s mid-December, so while there are still a couple weeks remaining in the year, my travels have come to an end and it’s time for a brief look back. I will be leaving town again on New Year’s Eve (more on that in the next week or so), but I will count that in 2019.

So what did 2018 hold?

It was a fairly slow year for me in terms of air travel, as I took a total of 26 flights for 52,185 miles. However, I also added more than 10,000 miles of driving to the mix.

My flight diary for the year.

I spent time in six countries (not counting a flight change in Sydney), making my first ever visits to New Zealand, South Korea, and Malaysia. In addition, I also traveled to fifteen states, though none for the first time.

I visited seven national parks (two of them new for me – Glacier and Shenandoah), and more NPS sites than I can remember to count, though I am estimating at around 20-25.

Visiting Glacier National Park in Montana was definitely a highlight!

As a professional writer, my career had some wonderful firsts this year: my first article appeared in a magazine, as I wrote about Traveling with a Mood Disorder for NAMI Advocate; and I took part in my first two sponsored trips to Medford, OR and Spokane, WA!

My trip to Medford included a day in the mountains of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

So what were my favorite memories? What were the most meaningful moments? I have a few.

It was incredible being at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in Bay of Islands, New Zealand with Ngata Tawa Taituha, the local Maori chieftain. We talked about the history of his people in the place that had more to do with their survival than probably anywhere else.

In Singapore with my best friend, we had what was the best meal of either of our lives, at Restaurant Joel Robuchon. Little did we know the famed chef would pass away shortly after.

Visiting the DMZ in South Korea was amazing. It is surreal having a tourist experience in what is actually a war zone.

Being a tourist with military installations all around was odd.

A day at Manzanar, a concentration camp in California for Japanese Americans during World War Two, was something I will never forget. It is astounding what we allowed fear to do to our country.

Manzanar is a place everyone should see.

There are so many other amazing memories I will carry with me into 2019 and beyond. From walking the ruins of a Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia to the grounds of Antietam and Gettysburg, learning about Baba Nyunya culture in Malaysia and coal mining in West Virginia, eating my way through Vancouver’s Chinatown and San Diego’s Little Italy, 2018 was full of experiences I am lucky to have had.

I am grateful to all of you for being part of my journey, and I can’t wait to share more of the world with you next year!

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