Paris in May was wonderful. I've found a beautiful hotel perfectly located in the 1st that I'd gladly return to. The Vermeer exhibition was wonderful (far better than a different iteration of it in D.C.!) and I jammed about 18 other exhibitions into my week, in addition to a couple food tours, a wine tasting tour and a new find or a cozy neighborhood wine bar to crash in. I'd love to go back. If only I had extra vacation time!
I'd booked and planned 2 weeks in Italy for October but as with the previous year, health concerns took over and I ended up on an extended medical leave. I cancelled Italy (it will be there when I'm ready to go back) and instead enjoyed being home for 5 weeks. I managed to sneak back to L.A. late fall for Morrissey at the Hollywood Bowl and a bunch of museums.
Even with the cancelled trip and being home-bound, I still ended up with a strong 2017:
35,021 miles across 5 countries and 7 states
188 museum exhibitions in 42 different museums
12 concerts (4 Morrissey)
Having five weeks to lay around and think about traveling without the interference of work got me into a spot of trouble though. Despite vowing to "rein it in" on vacation spending this year, I still booked a return to London for three Morrissey shows in March and then set my sights either on another bucket list destination or a return to Kenya. I figured Peru for Machu Picchu would be affordable, both in terms of time required and money to pay for it. So I booked Peru for 10 days and will split it between Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley and the Amazon, Tambopata region to be exact. While the Amazon wasn't necessarily a bucket list destination, I will be in the area and given my interest in wildlife conservation and the environment, I figured that it'd be neat to see rainforest and the Amazon in particular. The bonus? JetBlue flies there! So I earn miles on this one!
Then the inevitable happened. Kenya Airways finally got approved for non-stop flights from the US to Nairobi. The routing was up in the air until it was finally announced that it'll be out of NYC. For me, that lops about 6 hours off the travel time each way. It also lands early morning, cutting out a need for an overnight in Nairobi before heading out on safari. And the fare was half what I usually pay going through Europe. All the stars seemed to be aligning for my fifth safari and fourth trip to Kenya. I found myself a skilled new safari planner and off I go, on one of the first flights from NYC to Nairobi. It'll quick for me, only 9 nights on the ground, but another private visit with my foster elephants is in the mix. It'll cure my need for safari this year anyway! Maybe!
So maybe next year will be the year for curbing travel spending. Except I've already started kicking around the idea of either Tanzania or Uganda for chimp trekking plus safari. And that's not cheap...
Safari is lethal to your travel budget once you're bit by the bug!