Top Travel Moments of 2016
A year of travel- China, Vegas & Santorini adventures!
In 2015 I ticked off a few things on my never-ending bucket list. It was an amazing travel year which I never thought I would beat. But I did, in 2016 I created so many more memories, from skydiving in Vegas, hiking mountains in China and exploring a still active volcano in Santorini to name just a few. Carry on reading if you want to find out my top travel moments of 2016 and don't forget to watch my short travel video at the end. To see more photos from my travels, you can find me @sian.victoria.travels on Instagram :)
In July last year, I got to spend two incredible weeks in Chengdu, China. I love Asian culture and it's a place me and my partner have spoken about going together since we met 10 years ago! However, I got the amazing opportunity to study there through my university with other students from the UK. I travelled there alone, so it was my first time travelling solo which at first was a bit daunting, but to be honest it was great, it gave me some independence and confidence that I needed. When I finally arrived in China, I was greeted by some very sweet and caring Chinese students who really did their best to look after us, especially when crossing those crazy roads.
One of the best moments and an extremely exhausting one at that was hiking Mount QingCheng. I'm really unfit and it felt like the hike was never ending, it was really tough, but when we got up there it was so worth it. When we got to the top it was really lovely to just sit back and look at how far we had come. Visiting China, was such an amazing experience, one that I will never forget, it's made me want to explore more of Asia especially the stunning temples. My mom spent a month in Thailand over Christmas and new year, so I was extremely jealous, hopefully, one day I will get to visit myself, Japan is also somewhere I would love to visit, so watch this space :). You can read my full China travel diary here.
Santorini is a place I have wanted to visit for the past 2/3 years since I found out about SAWA (Santorini Animal Welfare Association) from following Oli Sykes and Hannah Pixie Snowden on Instagram. They had volunteered at the shelter and adopted a dog from there so because I love animals and obviously Santorini is a stunning Greek Island I just had to go and volunteer myself. Every morning I would wake up early and watch the sunrise from the roof of our hotel. It was such an exhilarating way to start the day, I would then make my way to the shelter to volunteer for the morning. The dogs were all so welcoming and greeted me with huge smiles and wagging tales, they were all very friendly dogs and loved all the attention they received from volunteers. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of volunteering at the shelter. I'm a girl who hates getting filthy, but at the time I just didn't care, because sitting on the floor and playing with these homeless dogs who just want to be loved was so much fun. On my last day, it was really sad having to leave thinking I would never see their faces again, but I'm happy knowing that some of the dogs have since been adopted which is fantastic. You can read my post about volunteering at the shelter here.
Another amazing moment during my time in Santorini was going on a boat trip. The day started with hiking a still active volcano, we then swam in hot sulphur springs which was fun. After the swim we then made our way to Thirassia Island for food, the island is home to only 250 residents, although there were certainly more cat and dog residents then humans which was pretty cool :). The boat trip then ended with an amazing caldera sunset on board. The excursion was around 30 euros, but for what we got to experience and the memories we made it was worth so much more. You can read all my Santorini posts here.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Oh, Las Vegas! since my first visit in 2015, I had been itching to go back because I had the most amazing time but a week wasn't long enough. So in 2016, I went back but for this time I went for 10 days. In this post here, I mentioned why Vegas had stolen my heart, it's somewhere I call my happy place. Some may think Vegas is full of nude chicks, gambling and booze, yes a lot of Vegas is all about that but for me, it holds so many happy memories. From 2010 to 2015 I spent years hiding away working hard on my vintage shop, I was always extremely busy during the festival season so I never got to take time off and go on holiday during the summer. For that reason, I began to fall out of love with running my business, it made me ill so I reluctantly had to give it up. Las Vegas was my first holiday after years of hard work and because I enjoyed it so much it made me look at life in a different perspective, and to live every day to the fullest.
During our first week we stayed in a luxurious Vegas hotel, had explored both sides of the strip and visited nearby states California and Arizona, so I got to tick off route 66, Santa Monica and the hoover dam off my bucket list. I had never been happier. When I got back home all I would think about was Vegas, Vegas, Vegas. So as soon as summer came around again I went on my second holiday to 'Fabulous Las Vegas'. This time I did a tandem skydive which I finally got to tick it off my bucket list. I also visited the Red Rock Canyon and Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. I've created so many amazing memories in Vegas, it's a place I will always want to go back to because there are so many things I still want to do there, such as visit Area 51 and do the full route 66. You can read all my Las Vegas posts here.
So that's it, my top travel moments of 2016. Hopefully this year I'll be sharing many more travel memories with you. You can watch everything I have been talking about in this short video below :) or see more on my YouTube, enjoy!