Editor’s Note: this is my annual, “year-in-review” post which I reflect on the past 12 months of travel, personal life and events in the world. For context, you and reference similar posts for 2015, 2014 and 2013.
2016 was a much better year for me, personally. It is incredible what a difference 365 days can make in terms of overcoming personal and professional challenges and fight-back with some hard-earned victories and mini milestones.
To put it simply, I am exceptionally fortunate that 2016 taught me a lot about how to let go of a lot of personal baggage and fight back from setbacks by staying patient and true to myself. Furthermore, it served as a reminder that pain can be temporary, as well as educational, if we choose to use it as a lesson to grow rather than a means to stay miserable.
Nevertheless, it was still an endurance test of a year. My workload demands increased substantially at my full-time job, as well as my extracurricular activities in the blogging, writing and yoga-instructing realms. I also enrolled in a part-time graduate program at the University of Texas at Austin. There have been a lot of late-nights burning the midnight oil, compromised sleep cycles and mental pushes to cross the finish line.
However, it has also been a year with so many cherished memories, which you can read more about here. I would have never imagined at the start of the year that blogging would have taken me to China, Malaysia, Canada, Cuba, the United Kingdom and many places in between. I’ve also had the fortune of launching a new website, a weekly podcast as well as joining the team here at Travel Codex.
But no man is an island, and I wish I could say that 2016 was wholly a better year for others. The truth is, it was not. I don’t think that I have to delve into details of the major events that occurred throughout the year politically, socially and geographically to remind readers that so many people are in a world of hurt.
My one wish is that those of us who are involved in the industry in all capacities can play a role in making it better.
Here are some examples on how we can do that:
- Saying hello and thank-yous to our gate agents, check-in staff, flight attendants, pilots, cabin crew, customer service reps on the phone, lounge attendants, rental car folk, hotel clerks and even airport cleaning staffs.
- For any of the aforementioned who goes above and beyond, to collect their information and send a positive feedback form to their supervisors.
- Helping elderly people or those struggling to lift their luggage into the overhead compartment
- Keeping an ear out for those at the airport who may be lost, confused, unsure of what to do in irregular operations or just appear sad and lonely. Offer to help them.
- If there is a single parent with children behind you at the Starbucks line needing a pick-up before catching a flight, offer to pay for their coffee and snacks.
- Try not to give attitude to the TSA. I am guilty of doing this every time I travel, and I am going to work on it next year. Yes, they can be frustrating, but if I am irritable with them because of my own procrastination with getting to the airport, the fault is mine, not theirs.
- If you board a flight and your seatmate wants to chat, as long as they’re not making you uncomfortable, maybe indulge them in small banter for a little extra time than you’d like, even if you’re feeling exhausted. Wait until you’re in the air before putting in your earphones — sometimes, people who have a fear of flying need to engage in a discussion to distract them until the plane is safely in the air, sort of like getting an injection.
My 2016 Travels
This year brought out a lot of “firsts” for me, including:
- First time flying AirAsia X, Porter and Comair
- Two inaugural flights: United from SFO to Xi’an and Southwest from Fort Lauderdale to Havana
- New airports:
- Reno, Nevada (RNO)
- Xi’an, China (XIY)
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL)
- Toronto Billy Bishop, Canada (YTZ)
- Havana, Cuba (HAV)
- Johannesburg (JNB)
- Cape Town (CPT)
- One voluntarily missed flight
Thank You to All Who Support Me
As I mention every year, this blog is a labor of love. I think that each year, I learn so much from my readers and listeners, and this year was no different.
Words cannot express my gratitude for your readership, your feedback, your loyalty and most of all, your unwavering passion for this hobby.
Without you guys, this job wouldn’t be anywhere near as fun.
Best wishes for 2017, see you in the new year!