So 2015 was an interesting year for me. I completed my first full year on a new job that did not provide enough leave for me to travel once per month, but I was still able to get some trips in. I attended my second and last Carnival in Trinidad. Hate that it was my last one because I went with a REALLY horrible travel group and wasted thousands traveling with them (can you say major lesson learned). The experience was slightly salvaged because I was able to link with others who had better vibes. But if I had it to do it all over again, I would have gone by myself in a heartbeat.
At the top of the year I set a travel goal of visiting 6 new caribbean islands. That goal was accomplished this year as I visited St. Martin/St. Maarten, St. Barths, Anguilla, Puerto Rico, USVI and BVI. Although Jamaica has always had my heart (and always will), there was a new favorite caribbean island – St. Martin/St. Maarten. What can I say, the ease of getting around, inexpensive food, rum and accommodations, and the friendly people made the trip so enjoyable. With these six islands off the list, I project that I will be finished with my 2nd bucket list of visiting all of the Caribbean islands in 1.5 years (God willing).
I took a few domestic trips to Tampa for Rum Fest, Miami for Carnival and North Carolina to hang with the country folks. No flights were missed during my travels this year, which is definitely a plus. However, I did have a shift in loyalty for air carrier and hotel chain. I spent a lot more time and a lot less money traveling on Southwest when possible (the majority of my domestic travel was on Southwest) and my hotel loyalty shifted from Hilton to the IHG group. Who knew that the Holiday Inn could be so fab at a fraction of the cost I was paying for Hilton brand hotels. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Hilton, but I have learned to use my dollars more wisely.
I met a lot of really kewl people during my travel and even met a special someone. In addition to picking up several bottles of rum from each new Caribbean island, I picked up quite a few life lessons.
- You can be very happy with very little. Money buys things, but not happiness.
- It’s okay to allow a man to pay for dinner and to treat you like a princess. They don’t all have hidden agendas.
- Sometimes language barriers can be overcome with a smile or a wave.
- Life is meant to be experienced. Grab your passport and become a citizen of the world.
2015 was a great year and I cannot wait to see the adventures that await me in 2016– God willing (I already have four new islands on the books and am setting a goal to visit 8 new islands, if possible). See you when the ball drops! All the best!