2017 End-of-Year Photo DUMP

What joy it brings to look back on a year in (iPhone) photos. This clump of a zillion photos is basically just for me, to look back on the truly awesome and unforgettable, from Cairo and the great Pyramids on New Year's Day 2017 to spending Christmas in Scottsdale with my family before ringing in 2018. It makes it look like nothing bad, sad, or challenging happened the entire year, which of course, is complete hogwash (but wouldn't that be wonderful). I think this is going to be a big year of change. Taking one, two, three deep breaths...

Past years: 201120122013201420152016

2016 Year-In-Review

2016 Year-In-Review

One of my all-time favorite trips in May 2016: staying at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy. Totally obnoxious champagne on boat shot. But what a day! 

One of my all-time favorite trips in May 2016: staying at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy. Totally obnoxious champagne on boat shot. But what a day! 

20112012201320142015

I've done a wrap-up on this blog for the past five years. When I look back at these ridiculous, challenging, beautiful adventures - traveling all over the world, a marriage, a divorce, a new love, a new job - I feel endlessly grateful and honestly, tired. Travel is my passion, my life, my work, my beloved job and industry but I really want to slow down a bit. 

I want to sit and read the New York Times every Sunday. I want to meet friends for dinner in Manhattan and return gratefully to Brooklyn. I want to walk in Central Park and Prospect Park on beautiful days. I want to feel grateful for every minute I am on the Brooklyn Promenade because I can't believe I live so close - this is my dream neighborhood in NYC. I want to explore New York like I used to when I first moved here - with that giddy sense of new-ness - through Chinatown, Little Italy, the Upper West Side, all over Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. I want to make plans for the future - I've been such a stunned deer-in-the-headlights the past couple of years - either moving at warp speed to avoid feeling hurt, or waiting for someone else to make decisions. The future I had planned for since I was 20 disappeared when Andy and I split up and I'm still finding my way out. 

I know I will still travel. I would be lost without it. I will still travel more than most people I know. But I want a little more serenity, a little less airport madness, and more time to figure out what I want as I get older. I'll turn 35 this year and while sometimes it feels like I've been flitting around the world carelessly while all my friends have been having babies and saving for retirement - I am so grateful for this life (except for the Twilight Zone presidential election, which continues to be worse than we all thought). Can I do all of this and maintain minimum status on an airline? That is the goal. 

By the way - if you know anyone cool in Brooklyn, let me know. It's one of my resolutions this year to meet more interesting, creative, funny, kind people that live in Brooklyn and to build my community here more. If you say it loud, it is more likely to happen. So there you go! 

Wishing you a beautiful 2017. 

And in (mostly) chronological order - 2016 at a glance. 

New Year's 2016 in Myanmar - The Strand Cruise

New Year's 2016 in Myanmar - The Strand Cruise

The highlight of Chiang Mai for me - Royal Park Rajapruek

The highlight of Chiang Mai for me - Royal Park Rajapruek

Rice planting at Dhara Devi in Chiang Mai 

Rice planting at Dhara Devi in Chiang Mai 

Unforgettable - a day at Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai

Unforgettable - a day at Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai

A great place to stay in Bangkok - the Grand Hyatt Erawan

A great place to stay in Bangkok - the Grand Hyatt Erawan

January snowstorm!

January snowstorm!

Connecticut wedding with some of my amazing extended family

Connecticut wedding with some of my amazing extended family

Work trip to Terranea Resort outside of L.A.

Work trip to Terranea Resort outside of L.A.

Dreamy trip to St. Barth's

Dreamy trip to St. Barth's

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Visiting my hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona during orange blossom season!

Visiting my hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona during orange blossom season!

Easter Dim Sum with (some of) my siblings + Hayley!

Easter Dim Sum with (some of) my siblings + Hayley!

Work trip to Seattle

Work trip to Seattle

The absolutely stunning Park Hotel Vitznau outside of Lucerne, Switzerland

The absolutely stunning Park Hotel Vitznau outside of Lucerne, Switzerland

Lugano, Switzerland

Lugano, Switzerland

Grand Hotel Tremezzo - Lake Como, Italy

Grand Hotel Tremezzo - Lake Como, Italy

Fell in love with Fire Island - my first time there.

Fell in love with Fire Island - my first time there.

No place makes me feel like this place does - East Hampton, NY 

No place makes me feel like this place does - East Hampton, NY 

Hello New Home - Brooklyn Heights

Hello New Home - Brooklyn Heights

Weekend at my aunt & uncle's lakehouse

Weekend at my aunt & uncle's lakehouse

Recovering in Aspen post-Virtuoso Week 

Recovering in Aspen post-Virtuoso Week 

Aspen

Aspen

My favorite cake in the world - Original Sacher-Torte in Vienna!

My favorite cake in the world - Original Sacher-Torte in Vienna!

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

The beautiful Schloss Fuschl hotel outside of Salzburg, Austria

The beautiful Schloss Fuschl hotel outside of Salzburg, Austria

Will never forget this sunset swim in the lake! 

Will never forget this sunset swim in the lake! 

Sunset in Salzburg

Sunset in Salzburg

Favorite cocktail - Mr. Pink's at the Baccarat Hotel 

Favorite cocktail - Mr. Pink's at the Baccarat Hotel 

Ballet at Lincoln Center 

Ballet at Lincoln Center 

Upper West Side drinks - love our friend's rooftop!! 

Upper West Side drinks - love our friend's rooftop!! 

WOW view from the Rothorn in Switzerland 

WOW view from the Rothorn in Switzerland 

Rainy day view from the amazing Beau-Rivage hotel in Geneva

Rainy day view from the amazing Beau-Rivage hotel in Geneva

Back in Lucerne

Back in Lucerne

Annual fall-in-Connecticut trip with my aunt

Annual fall-in-Connecticut trip with my aunt

Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera

Fall in NYC

Fall in NYC

The River Cafe - eternally wonderful

The River Cafe - eternally wonderful

Thanksgiving with my family in L.A. - Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica

Thanksgiving with my family in L.A. - Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica

View from the Carlton in Cannes - ILTM! 

View from the Carlton in Cannes - ILTM! 

Beautiful Munich

Beautiful Munich

Family party in Franklin Lakes

Family party in Franklin Lakes

First copies of the new NatGeo book with my foreword

First copies of the new NatGeo book with my foreword

Christmas Day - Art Deco Hotel Montana, Lucerne

Christmas Day - Art Deco Hotel Montana, Lucerne

New favorite place - Lenzerheide, Switzerland

New favorite place - Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Felucca ride, Cairo! 

Felucca ride, Cairo! 

The Egyptian Museum made my heart beat faster.

The Egyptian Museum made my heart beat faster.

Cairo 

Cairo 

New Year's Day 2017 

New Year's Day 2017 

Reflections on a Another Big Adventure

Last big trip of 2013 - Cambodia! Angkor Wat at sunset

Last big trip of 2013 - Cambodia! Angkor Wat at sunset

Looking back, I actually can't believe it was ME that went to all of these places - a whirlwind of new friends, countless airports, amazing hotels, time with family & friends, thousands of miles traveled by car, plane, helicopter, train, and foot, & many pieces written. It is beyond my wildest dreams where my life and job have taken me in the past few years (reflections on 2011 & 2012).

Thank you for giving me YOUR travel tips, following along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and making me feel less lonely when I'm thousands of miles from home.

This year's adventures - in chronological order:

Winter in the Hamptons

Winter in the Hamptons

Breakfast at Hotel Bel-Air in L.A.

Breakfast at Hotel Bel-Air in L.A.

Rocco came with us to D.C., too! 

Rocco came with us to D.C., too! 

Back in the Hamptons

Back in the Hamptons

Brussels was surprisingly awesome

Brussels was surprisingly awesome

Bruges, Belgium - like Disneyland, but still cute

Bruges, Belgium - like Disneyland, but still cute

Loved this B&B, La Vigie, near the town of Spa, Wallonia - Belgium

Loved this B&B, La Vigie, near the town of Spa, Wallonia - Belgium

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

 Tel Aviv - a fast-paced, cool, changing-by-the-minute city

 Tel Aviv - a fast-paced, cool, changing-by-the-minute city

A complicated, beautiful city to explore - Jerusalem.

A complicated, beautiful city to explore - Jerusalem.

Adorable goats at Mizpe Hayamim in the Israel countryside.

Adorable goats at Mizpe Hayamim in the Israel countryside.

Sag Harbor

Sag Harbor

One of many Connecticut weekends

One of many Connecticut weekends

 I loved this exhilirating, gorgeous city - Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 I loved this exhilirating, gorgeous city - Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Emerald Coast of Brazil and Ponta dos Ganchos Resort.

The Emerald Coast of Brazil and Ponta dos Ganchos Resort.

With my dad at the Cliffs of Moher.

With my dad at the Cliffs of Moher.

My entire family rented a house outside Galway for a week.

My entire family rented a house outside Galway for a week.

Wedding in the Catskills.

Wedding in the Catskills.

Back in genteel, lovely Charleston, South Carolina.

Back in genteel, lovely Charleston, South Carolina.

One of my favorite places on the planet, Kiawah Island.

One of my favorite places on the planet, Kiawah Island.

A major highlight - attending the Coronation Festival & concert at Buckingham Palace in London.

A major highlight - attending the Coronation Festival & concert at Buckingham Palace in London.

A couple of days on the Isle of Wight, England.

A couple of days on the Isle of Wight, England.

Eloped and went to Paris for ten days.

Eloped and went to Paris for ten days.

Labor Day - Hiking in my hometown on Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Labor Day - Hiking in my hometown on Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, Arizona.

The start of two weeks in Mexico - Imanta Resort, Punta de Mita.

The start of two weeks in Mexico - Imanta Resort, Punta de Mita.

LOVED joyful Mexico City - and this seafood restaurant, Contramar.

LOVED joyful Mexico City - and this seafood restaurant, Contramar.

I want to go to Cabo every year - at Las Ventanas al Paraiso.

I want to go to Cabo every year - at Las Ventanas al Paraiso.

Oxford made me want to go back to school. 

Oxford made me want to go back to school. 

Barnsley House in the Cotswolds.

Barnsley House in the Cotswolds.

View from St. Paul's Cathedral on a sunny, cold London day.

View from St. Paul's Cathedral on a sunny, cold London day.

Teaching a travel writing workshop at Four Seasons Costa Rica.

Teaching a travel writing workshop at Four Seasons Costa Rica.

Mystical Laos - Southeast Asia

Mystical Laos - Southeast Asia

The Beautiful c/o The Maidstone in the Hamptons

On my first trip to the Hamptons, I fell in love immediately. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that! It is one of the only places in the world where I don't care about my phone and have actually spent many days in a row not opening my computer. The collection of little towns, whose sleepy winter populations swell in the summer months, embodies the best of all the worlds I love. There is a sophistication not found in any other small towns, because of those in New York City that call it their retreat and want to keep the quality of life the same. Because of this, you'll find some of the best restaurants all within a short drive from one another (depending on traffic of course). The beaches are hands-down the most stunning in the world, where you can most easily see the gorgeous Hamptons light that has lured artists to the East End for decades.

Andy and I recently packed Rocco, our dog, up and headed out to spend a weekend at c/o The Maidstone in East Hampton. To say that I didn't want to leave is an understatement. I tried to figure out how I could cancel all my Monday and Tuesday meetings so we could stay longer. The first thing we noticed when we arrived was a display of Eton of Sweden pocket squares and shirts. Eton of Sweden is basically the only brand Andy wears - his shirt and pocket square collection is almost entirely Eton. They have a small shop on Madison Avenue in New York but are based in Sweden. I knew this wasn't going to be just another Hamptons B&B when I found out the owners are Swedish and have infused gorgeous Swedish design into every element of the historic property.

Lovely lounge & breakfast area

The place to be at nightThe location is the best in the Hamptons - you are a 5-minute drive from Main Beach and could bike it if you want, and only a short walk from the shops and restaurants of East Hampton. The building has been an inn since 1858 but is today owned by c/o Hotels, a Swedish company. The design effectively mixes Scandinavian design elements (such as a super cool blown-up photo of a deserted gas station in our room or the bright flowers and colors on pillows) with the cozy elements that you want in a Hamptons getaway (fireplace, soft throws, stacks of books to peruse).

Outside of our room

I didn't want to leave this roomOr this bedReason enough to not be on your computerLocal Treats from the North ForkThe Living Room restaurant (ok I admit I wanted to go even more when I saw Giada de Laurentiis tweet about it and it's on her list of Hamptons favorites) has quickly become a local favorite - they participate in the Slow Food organization, which is a committment to delicious, fresh food while maintaining environmental standards. The food has a Nordic bent, so you'll see items like Swedish meatball sliders or gravlax toast. Breakfast is included and I picked this "Continental Breakfast," which was presented like afternoon tea, piled high with meats, cheeses, fresh berries and fruit, fresh baked breads and croissants, and granola with Greek yogurt.

Continental BreakfastWe didn't need a beach pass because the beaches aren't crowded this time of year, but all rooms are given a free beach pass which is a lifesaver in the summer. It can be impossible to find parking and expensive. We did, however, take advantage of the sleek red Swedish "Kronan bikes" to bike to the Davids Lane duck pond and around East Hampton, past the Maidstone Country Club, Jerry Seinfeld's house, and on the back roads.

Most beautiful beaches in the worldTime for a rideI absolutely love pet-friendly hotels and am now constantly on the hunt for great ones, especially ones that don't charge extra. Rocco was especially happy when he was greeted with food & water bowls, cheesy treats, and a towel to clean his paws after running around at the beach.

He's posing!Best of all, every member of the staff was delightful and helpful, but scooted out of the way to give you your space. One of those ultimate New York dreams (besides owning in the Hamptons) would be spending each summer weekend at c/o The Maidstone - a dream that makes working really, really hard worth it.

On this trip, we also enjoyed a wonderful dinner at redlbar in Southampton and great tacos for lunch at La Fondita, which has only a small bar and no tables in the winter (lots of outdoor seating in the summer).

Winter in the Hamptons

What I love most about the Hamptons is the light, especially the summer light that lasts forever on the beach, the dunes, and in the sky. The winter light is different - on sunny days it is piercingly bright in the mornings only to quickly turn dark by 4 p.m. Last week, we had cold, sunny days and those horrible wintry mix days where you can't see anything except rain and slush coming down horizontally.

I did a spin class almost every morning at Flywheel Sports (approaching addict status), followed by a movie, seeing friends, reading, working, or driving around. One day was spent exploring Greenport and the North Fork for killer coffee at Aldo's and stopping at Greenport Harbor Brewery for a beer tasting Bedell Cellars for a wine tasting. We ate at so many wonderful restaurants out here: Fresno, Robert's, Suki Zuki, Sam's, Rowdy Hall (Joe the bartender is the BEST), Townline BBQ, John Papas for a casual brunch with friends and their kids, the 1770 House Tavern, plus returned to favorite spots like Wolffer Estate Vineyard and Loaves and Fishes. New Year's Eve we took the ferry to Shelter Island to one of my favorite places on Earth: Vine Street Cafe. I always leave with Post-Hamptons Depression because it is one of the few places I don't care at all about my phone or computer but I always come back recharged.

A B&B in GreenportInside at Bedell CellarsOutside at Bedell CellarsBeer tasting at Greenport Harbor Brewery

The fireplace at Robert'sRobert's in Water Mill