Before taking our first trip for this year overseas, I looked back at my record of places that we have visited in the past couple of years. We have been truly blessed with these traveling opportunities around the world. With the recent happenings around the globe in the last several months, I can't help but thank God for giving us the time and resources to visit these places as a family when they were still safe and worry-free. I would have serious doubts if we were to go back to these places nowadays, as the political scenes constantly changing from day to day. I don't think we would be brave enough to even repeat that one day when we took our own private tour to Priene, Miletus, and Dydima on that port day at Kusadasi, Turkey for just the three of us less than a year ago, in February 2015. Whenever something bad happened to a place where we have been, my heart sank and couldn't help but think of our time spent there. The shootings in Cairo, Tunisia, and Istanbul all took place at the spots where we were in such close proximity of. I am sure most travelers feel the same way but none of these will spoil the precious memories of our time there. For that I am thankful!
January -- Carnival Inspiration
2015 was a busy year of traveling for my family and me. We started off with a last minute 4-day Baja cruise on Carnival Inspiration in January, just for a bit of relaxation. It was easy because we did not have to fly anywhere. There was no planning needed and our intention was just to enjoy a few days of quietness. We were surprised to find a couple of friends on this same cruise so it made even more interesting.
February -- NCL Jade Mediterranean B2B cruises
May -- Crown Princess Wine Country Coastal Cruise
Now, this was a trip that I had not planned on taking and reluctantly agreed to go at the last minute. At the request of some old friends, son and I joined this week-long cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver leaving MOR behind to hold down the fort. It turned out to be a very pleasant trip with wonderful weather and amazing scenery throughout. Going under the Golden Gate Bridge as we sailed into San Francisco was an unforgettable experience!
July -- Diamond Princess Grand Japan Cruise
Our second big trip of the year came in July, when we flew to Japan and met up with family members from Taiwan for a 19-day Grand Japan Cruise on the Diamond Princess. We figured that Japan is close enough for FIL to get to from Taiwan and it won't be as strenuous as having him fly over half of the earth to join us. Being on the Diamond Princess and explore Japan was quite an experience, very different but enjoyable. We spent a couple of days pre-cruise on our own and then a couple of days post-cruise before joining an organized land tour to other parts of Japan. I would love to do this cruise again, but next time, I would just skip the land tour part and do everything on our own!
October -- Road trip to Morro Bay
After coming back from Japan, we were fully involved in the planning of our annual big revival meetings scheduled for the first part of October. It was nice to be able to take a short trip up the California coast and spent two nights in the little town of Morro Bay after the meetings were done. It was definitely refreshing and relaxing, to say the least.
November -- Sinorama China Tour
We joined a land tour to China in November, just the two of us, mainly to check out the city of Guilin where we visited in 1988 on our very first trip to China. Things have changed and mostly for the better. This tour took us deep into the rice fields and minority cultures in the Guangxi Province of China. We also took our third Yangtze River cruise, this time from Chongqing to YiChang.
Every trip is a learning experience and we enjoyed every minute of it whether it be good or bad at the moment. Many people keep complaining and looking at things negatively because things do not always go their way. Have eyes of compliments instead of criticism will help make the trip happier. Learn from the mistakes and ready for problem-solve will turn a tourist into a traveler.