I guess we can all agree that 2021 didn't quite turn out as we hoped. It is unfortunate that we are now still dealing with the pandemic after almost 2 years. Just as we thought we were seeing the end of the tunnel, here comes Omicron throwing another curveball. As if the pandemic hasn't hurt enough, nature was also rubbing salt to the wound with tornadoes in the US and floods in Malaysia. These unfortunate events made me even more thankful that we've stayed safe and healthy in 2021. Similar to last year's recap, I don't want to sound tone-death to all the things going on in the world, but in a world of too much doom and gloom, I choose to focus on the positives for my 2021 recap. =)
As compared to the disappointing 2020, this year was a much better travel year as we managed to complete 2 international trips...Maldives and Canada. Traveling during the pandemic was definitely much more challenging and required a lot more flexibility. Looking back, we are thankful to be able to pull off these 2 trips and completed both trips safe and healthy.
Apart from the 2 trips above, I also used my sabbatical leave to travel back to Malaysia for two months and spent some quality time with my family. It was certainly a good use of my sabbatical leave since I wasn't able to travel home last year. I had my first quarantine experience upon arrival in Malaysia and enjoyed the 10 days of isolation.
All in all, I took a total of 37 days off work to travel this year. And thanks to points & miles, the flights, hotels, and rental car for these 3 trips were almost free. The best part, I had the opportunity to stay at several 5-star hotels (according to Google) this year. Here's a summary of my travels for 2021:
- 5-star hotels: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, St. Regis KL, St. Regis Langkawi, Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa, Majestic Hotel KL, DoubleTree Resort Penang
- Number of hotel nights: 44 nights (Marriott-22; Hilton-8; IHG-5; Others-9)
- Number of hotels: 13 hotels (Marriott-6; Hilton-2; IHG-4; Others-1)
- Number of airlines: 8 airlines (AA, Qatar, Trans Maldivian Airways, MAS, Malindo, Korean Air, Delta, United)
Kicked off the year with my 10th work anniversary and 11th busy season. This was my first busy season working at home and it was great, mainly because of the people I worked with and also the jobs I had. Another thing that made me enjoy work a lot more this year was the opportunity to use my Google Sheets skills to design and build stuffs for work. This sounds totally nerdy but it brings me joy creating things in GSheets and coming up with solutions to help us all work more efficiently. Who knew I'd find something in audit that I'm passionate about after working for 10 years...lol! And the icing on the cake for a good year at work...2 pay raises and a good bonus. =)
Despite having to spend 10 days and money for quarantine, I was thankful to be able to travel home this year. While the nieces and nephew are growing up quickly, the elders are regressing slowly. Dad now needs 24/7 care, caring for dad is taking a toll on mom's osteoporosis, and grandma is getting more forgetful. Such is life right? We get so focused on seeing the next generation growing up that we often forget that our parents are also growing old. This is why I want to try my best to spend time and make memories with them while I can.
On the US side of the family, we had a new addition to the family in April this year so that makes us now uncle and aunty of 2 nieces and 2 nephews on both sides of the family. And before anyone asks the next question, no thank you. =P
We are thankful to be able to stay healthy, physically and mentally, and stay away from Covid. We're still avoiding social interactions as much as we could, but we're doing our best to balance between fear and living our lives by doing what all we can to stay safe and healthy like getting our vaccinations and boosters, wearing masks in public, and washing/sanitizing our hands frequently. I need to do a better job exercising, but I'll need a beach trip to be motivated. =P
After one year without travel, we went a bit crazy with our travel budget this year and splurged a lil'. The total 'damages' for these trips: Maldives ($1,000/pax); Malaysia ($790/pax); Canada ($690/pax). On an unrelated note, we hit a milestone on Feb 12 which was worth celebrating. =)
I'm not a good writer, I'm not a YouTuber, I don't make any money online, but I still continue to blog and make videos just because I enjoy creating things and documenting my experiences/thoughts. Most importantly, they serve as a good reminder to be thankful for all the good things we have in our lives. Thanks to the 3 trips we had, I completed more blog posts and edited more videos this year. In contrary, I consumed less K-dramas this year as compared to last year mainly because I spent a good bit of time trip-planning and blogging about our trips. This was productive year for travel contents:
That's a wrap for 2021. We are thankful for a good year and I'm hopeful that things will get better for the world in 2022. Let's stay safe, stay healthy, and take care of each other.
Happy New Year 2022!