The year 2023 marked the full return to travel normality. After years of pandemic and slow recovery in 2022, 2023 felt like the world was open again and full of opportunities.
I got to see new countries I never thought I’ll get to visit (Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt), revisit some old favorites (Greece, Japan, Thailand, etc.), and find more connections in the good old Europe with like-minded people, and also in new countries I’ve yet to visit (Norway, Slovakia). There were definitely ups and downs this year, but looking back on it all, I can hardly imagine that I managed to do all that I did. I sometimes forget but these yearly wrapups are a very good reminder to be grateful for my privilege and the life that I have.
This year I’ve explored a bit more of my Hong Kong base, with revisits to Emirates, Israel (x2), Greece, Turkey (x2), Austria (x2), Germany (x2), France, Italy (x2), Macau, Czech Republic, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and first visits to Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Norway, and Slovakia.
Was a busy year, so have not had much time to post on the blog to update on all these destinations, feel like it’s getting more difficult to keep track of things with the blog. Still, wanted to wrap up and mention the posts I did do, and try to get a feel for it all. So, here’s a quick summary of my 2023 in travel.
Hong Kong and Taiwan just started opening up and accepting tourists, so took the opportunity to return to visit my old home – Taiwan. Had the newyears in Taipei, and the next day with celebrations in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung. To wrap up the Taiwan visit, I did a road trip around the Kending area. There were no tourists around anywhere, so I practically had all of Taiwan for myself.
At the end of the month during Lunar newyear, I did my first visit ever to Malaysia, starting from Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, and Penang.
Saw more of Malaysia, with a visit to Kuala Lumpur. Later that month had my first visit ever to Indonesia, starting from Jakarta.
Continued my adventures in Indonesia, visiting Bali. Later that month revisited the Emirates with a visit to Dubai, and then ended the month in Israel.
Spent the holidays in Greece, visiting sleepy islands I’ve never been to before – Rhodes and Kos. From there took the ferry over to visit Turkey again, starting from Bodrum, and ending in Istanbul. At the end of the month I had my first memorable visit to Egypt.
Made a quick visit in Turkey at Antalya, and another short visit to Israel, after which I started the European tour in Vienna Austria.
From Vienna Austria, I continued around Europe with visits to Munich and nearby area in Germany, then Paris and Lyon in France, then Padua in Italy, and ending in Oslo, Norway.
From Oslo to Frankfurt, Germany, and a flight back to Hong Kong, with a quick visit to Macau.
Flew back to Europe. Started in Milan, Italy, continued to Vienna Austria, and a first visit ever to Bratislava in Slovakia. Then wrapped things up with a visit to Brno in Czech Republic, and back to Hong Kong.
September to November
Mostly uneventful intense work months in Hong Kong. Did a bit of the usual hikes and hangouts.
In October, did a trip to Osaka and Kyoto in Japan.
Visited Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in Vietnam, spent more time in Hong Kong for the holidays, and wrapped up the year in Thailand.
A return to travel routine after the pandemic years (compare that with 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009). Gosh was I happy to be back on the road. Lots to cherish and be grateful for from this year.
For 2024 I would like to try and linger in places longer, and find more meaning in both my work, personal life, and travels. Looking forward to new adventures to come.