2015/16

2015 – A Year in Review – with a dash of 2016

Hey everyone!

I’ve gotten a few emails from people with details about the things going on in their lives and I just wanted to post a little update of my own! (so feel free to ignore this message if you don’t want to read any of my sappy and sentimental thoughts on 2015…)

As usual, the highlights of my year have a great deal to do with travel. People talk about having “the travel bug” and I have to laugh… It’s not a travel bug with me, it’s more like a TRAVEL SALTWATER CROC or a TRAVEL GRIZZLY BEAR WITH A TASTE FOR HUMAN FLESH! After all, people with the travel bug don’t tear up at the mere mention of St. Peter’s Basilica, they don’t have dreams about dancing the night away at a club in Krakow, Poland, they don’t risk boring their friends and family to death with their stories of life on the road, and they certainly wouldn’t volunteer to give up actual body parts for the chance to relive that night at a certain dive bar in Vienna!

So this is my year in review (based entirely on the memory of the brain cells that I didn’t manage to kill this year…):

January 2015

Finished my 2013 Contiki European Encounter Travelogue and booked my Contiki Eastern Road tour for May-June. Heard from Lisa and Nhat who would tour Eastern Europe with me.

February 2015

Visited Dave and Andrea in Texas, saw their beautiful house, and had an excellent time.
Heard from Lina who would tour Eastern Europe with me.

March 2015

No travel this month… 🙁 , but I did hear from Melbourne Dave at the beginning of the month and Sarah at the end of the month. If you haven’t guessed yet, they would tour Eastern Europe with me.

April 2015

Once again, no travel this month, but after emailing Nhat we decide to be roommates on the Eastern Road tour and spend a few days in London before the tour starts.
Heard from Greg who would tour Eastern Europe with me.

May 2015

Heard from Nathan, Steve, and Tiffany who were the contact representatives for Mark, Ryan, Daniel, Nick, Jason, Micheline, Crissy, and Shanna.
Visited Seattle, WA for a Technical Writing conference.
Left for London on May 25th where I met up with Nhat on the 26th and got a chance to have a fabulous reunion with Ronnie, Hans, and Becky! This evening alone was enough justification for the cost of the entire trip!
Visited the Canterbury Cathedral and flew to Berlin.
Started my Contiki Eastern Road tour.

June 2015

Had an amazing time traveling around Eastern Europe with the entire cast and crew of my Eastern Road tour. Visited Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Slovakia, Krakow, and Warsaw.

Returned to Berlin where I fell in love with the city. Currently Berlin ranks #2 of my favorite cities in the world – London is #1, Rome is #3.  After returning to work for 7 grueling days, I decided I had enough of that so I headed off with Andy, Roger, and Steve for our annual camping trip to Canton, PA.

July 2015

Visited Chad and Sonal in Chicago, IL for the 5th consecutive year and had an excellent time. We caught a White Sox game, had a great dinner, and saw a Country Music concert in the park. How can ya beat that?

August 2015

After a great deal of anticipation, the day finally came for the first Contiki European Encounter reunion that I had an opportunity to attend. Ronnie and Hans visited NYC to celebrate Ronnie’s birthday and Kevin, KT, and I joined them for the weekend. I had an excellent time and can’t wait for the next chance I have to see my friends.

September 2015

Flew out to the West Coast to join up with a Contiki Eastern Road reunion. It was awesome to have a chance to once again hang out with the many members of the Bay Area crew (as well as Melbourne Dave who was the guest representative from the Australia division). Visited Alcatraz, saw an Oakland A’s game, and had a wonderful time with my tourmates.

When I got back from Oakland, I booked my 3rd Contiki Tour. This time, I’m heading to Australia to join the Reefs and Rainforests Tour and I’m going to spend a few days in Sydney and Melbourne at the end of the tour with some of my old travel buddies.

October 2015

Visited Salt Lake City with some office mates on a trip to meet our SLC co-workers.

November and December 2015

With a lack of vacation time, since I’m going to need to carry over 5 days to help cover my trip to Austria in 2017 where I have already arranged a ski lodge and a car hire Salzburg deal, unfortunately I didn’t have an opportunity to do any traveling in the preceding months.
Thanksgiving and Christmas were great and I’m real excited for what 2017 has in store for me.

2016 Highlights (at least the ones that I know of…)

April 1 to April 30th – Australia – I’ll arrive in Cairns on April 3rd and travel by Contiki coach all the way down to Sydney where my tour will end on April 21st. I’ll have a few days in Sydney and will even have an opportunity to catch the Dawn Service for ANZAC day on the 25th. On the 26th I’ll fly to Melbourne where I plan on catching a Footie match at the world famous MCG. All the while in both Sydney and Melbourne, I plan to meet up with as many friends as I can! On the 30th I’ll fly home and try to deal with the unavoidable PTD (Post-Tour Depression).

September – Denver – At the end of September (exact dates to be determined), I’ll fly with my buddy Rob and perhaps a few others to Denver, CO to attend the Great American Beer Festival. Unlike a normal convention that runs from 9 AM to 5 PM, this one runs from 5:30 PM until 10 PM. (also unlike a normal convention, this one involves sampling a large quantity of delicious beer…). Hopefully I’ll get a chance to meet up with some friends in the Denver area as well.

Other than that, my year is pretty much open. I’m definitely going to find a way to squeeze in a camping trip with the boys and will have to find a way to fit in my yearly trips to both Chicago and Dallas.

2015 was a great year in which I saw some things that I never thought I’d see. Who would have thought that the shy kid from Northeast Philly would have increased his visited list to 16 different European Countries and met people from all over the world who have helped shape the course of his life. Each place has a story associated with it, and each story involves people who I’ll never forget. And don’t worry about having to ask me to tell a story, no doubt I’ll go into an unprompted story any second now.

I hope your 2015 was full of fun, good times, and great travel and I hope that your 2006 is full of more of the same!