Is there one destination or travel experience that stands out for you in 2018? Anything you checked off your Bucket List? Tough questions, I know. I was able to narrow my 2018 standouts to three. And these qualify as lifetime standouts, not just 2018 highlights. It’s difficult work curating a list like this. I did my best and packed my list with tips to share with you. I look forward to hearing what you think and also to hearing about your 2018 standouts and Bucket List.
Wine suggestions? Here’s mine for an epic tour
Seven words: Zonin Family Estates wine trail in Italy. Not only was I able to spend a week driving and jetting through Italy with a local Zonin friend, I attended the Zonin #Epicurean1821 in Sicily. The Zonin1821 Gastronomy Experience put me in the inner circle of international wine experts. Part of the experience was a day at the gorgeous Feudo Principi di Butera Estate participating in blending games, traditional food pairings, and other gastronomic activities.
We received a beautiful photo album, the traditional kind, with stunning photos. It’s a beautiful keepsake; I love looking through it.
Insider tip: If Italy isn’t in your near future, visit Zonin’s beautiful vineyard in Barboursville, Virginia.
Luxury Cruising Tip: My recommendation for a once-in-a-lifetime cruise
Number 2 on my Bucket List of trips was the fabulous five- star luxury cruise with @hapaglloydcruises. We set sail in Mallorca on the incredible #MSEUROPA2. One of the many details that makes this ship so unique is all rooms have a veranda. All rooms, not just the suites. On a broader scale, too, the architecture and design of the luxury liner was a perfect balance of form and function. Though fully booked, the on-board public spaces felt roomy, there was no jockeying for cabanas or chairs around the poolside. That made staying poolside or go exploring a tough choice. Well, I went exploring. (Come on, you know I would.) Take this tip: Climb the 200 steps for a private rooftop tour of the Malaga Cathedral in Spain. The view is unreal. When back on the #MSEuropa2, treat yourself to a beverage from the massive and eclectic selection of 450 various cuvees or 19,000 bottles of wine – red and white – originating from 14 different countries. There are champagnes, sparkling wines, more than 20 different vodkas and nearly 45 gins! I’ve cruised quite a bit, and I must say this was the voyage of a lifetime. Thank you for the fond memories!
What is exotic, delicious, and vast? Asia for the win!
My trip through Asia to my birth country, Vietnam, is number #3 on my Bucket List. Thank you to @britishairways for flying me back home via business class. It was the best. My first stop was my first visit to Bangkok, Thailand.
I toured through the Dam Neon Saduak Floating Market and Mae Klong Train Market. The market provides local cuisine, fruits, BBQ, and all kinds of beverages. Also sold are brand knock-offs of clothing and other merchandise.
Very helpful tip: If you go to the floating market, make sure not to go during rush hour, around 10:00 a.m., as you will be stuck in a traffic jam.
Did you know, there are some 400 temples in Bangkok? And more than 40,000 in Thailand, with some 6,000 abandoned.
Next stop: Vietnam
I always have wanted to see Ha Long Bay. Most of you may not know this, my mother country is Vietnam, however I grew up in the U.S. This was the second time I returned to Vietnam. Two years ago, I visited Ho Chi Minh City. This trip’s visits to cities like Hội An held me captive and completely enthralled. Details, details, details on that here: Hội An, Hanoi, and Ha Long Bay Make Vietnam’s Perfect Trifecta.
I tend to revisit Europe more often than Asia partly because of the very long flight to reach Asia. (I’m situated on the East Coast in the U.S.) However, let me tell you, the adventures Asia holds are well worth the flight times. Now I yearn to revisit my Mother Land and other countries in Asia.
Lastly, and this wasn’t a Bucket List item, per se, as I have frequented Germany many times, was my TEDx talk on my journey as social media influencer and personal account as a war refugee. In case you missed it, here’s the link: Ann Tran TEDxKoenigsallee The Future of Social Infuence
Please share your standouts and Bucket List with us, whether it is an item you’ve crossed off or will in the future. I love being inspired by your thoughts, ideas, and experiences.
Thank you, everyone, for being part of my 2018 and I look forward to 2019 with you.