2016 officially marks my first year as a full time working adult. It’s not been easy striking a work life balance, especially when I decided to join the advertising world. It did, however, expose me to a whole new world of what this industry, including blogging, is all about. I find myself asking questions like why did I start this blog, what do I want out of it, and how should it be moving forward?

I had started this blog after going on my exchange programme in Canada two and a half years back (wow how time flies!), where I found myself having too many stories that I’d love to share, and memories that I’d want to look back with. And I did exactly that. Despite so, I found it so hard to keep my own content calendar consistent because #wheredidallthetimego? So 2017, I’d want to be able to have consistent content for (youtopia)ntravels, and I’m excited to make it happen!

Looking back 2016’s travels, it was a year of full of firsts.

I’ve travelled during all four seasons for the first time. This though, wouldn’t be possible should I were to still be in school.

I saw Sakura in full bloom in Japan, and I’ve to say that’s the most beautiful thing ever. I also went Kyushu for the first time, and Fukuoka is definitely a good place to start exploring. Everything is slower paced compared to the Japan I know, and much less touristy. Also, probably the only place you can easily get a shot of a sakura tree with no one else in it. hah!

I went to Europe for the first time too, and it’s crazy. Even until today, Europe seems like a faraway place out of reach, and it’s always been a dream (after Tokyo, that was realised in 2010) to be there. Castles, cathedrals, museums, cobbled walkways, quaint alleyways, brick buildings, stone walls are my kinda thing. I love them. Being in Europe made all these accessible, and I got so happy. It was insane. I’ve to say, Summer was a bad time to visit, but it was still magical. I only wish the flights aren’t so expensive.

In November, I travelled to Hong Kong to celebrate my birthday. I mean, how else do you expect me to celebrate this day other than travelling? On #youtopia24, I went hiking at Dragon’s Back. So yes, for the first time, I spent half of my birthday hiking, but it was perfect. The company was good, the view was sick, and the weather was great. I would have had it no other way.

And finally, for the first time ever, I brought friends back home to Shanghai with me. It’s a new thing. Since 3 years old when I moved to Singapore, I’ve only been back home with my parents or myself, and none of my friends had come with me. It was also the first time I had lived outside of my grandparents’ place, and rented an airbnb for the trip. While I ended up having spent less time with my family back home, it was certainly a new experience to see Shanghai from a tourists’ perspective i.e. willing to queue 30 minutes for a famous xiaolongbao (pork dumplings) chain and going to specific Shanghainese restaurants that I hadn’t known before to try local dishes.

It was a good year of travels, though I’d love if I had more vacation days. My wish for 2017 would still be the same, to travel more, adventure more, to say ‘yes’ to new experiences, and never stop exploring.

keep travelling,
J