2015 Travel Highlights
2015 was an epic year for me and MikesRoadTrip.com, with a lot of international travel. I have outlined some of the highlights from each month of the year in an effort to provide some inspired travel ideas for your upcoming year. The first part of 2015 was spent in the U.S., by July I began to make my way around the world. I have tried to keep this post relatively condensed, while providing lots of links for things of interest. Enjoy!
The first month of the year started off with a road trip to Lake Havasu City, Arizona for the annual balloon festival. This was my first time in Lake Havasu and I was excited to see the London Bridge and dozens of balloons kissing the water. Read more.
Later in the month I toured Tempe Town Lake on a Segway. Interesting note: I started one of the very first Segway rental businesses in the world, now there are thousands of them. If you’ve never ridden one, you really should, they are a whole lot of fun!
My first kiss with girlfriend Terri was rudely interrupted, so a year later I tried to recreated it. It didn’t go so well either. 🙂 Read more.
I’m always getting fantastic dining opportunities at the most amazing restaurants. In March, the highlight was Gertrude’s, which is situated within the sensational Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. The succulent food, stunning surroundings and ambient atmosphere create a very memorable and organic dining experience. To read more, click here .
April took me to my 48th state as I participated in a Blues Trail road trip through the Delta Mississippi with some fellow travel journalists. Louisiana may be the birthplace of Jazz, but Mississippi Delta, is where the Blues were born! Music, comfort food and southern hospitality run deep in the Delta. I have to be honest, I had never been much of a Blues fan, but after this trip, I have a whole new appreciation for the soulful music. My journey followed Highway 61, which is also known as the “Blues Trail.” One could argue that Highway 61 rivals Route 66, certainly for its musical significance. Click the following link to read my story and watch a video of the experience. Blues Trail Road Trip.
I continued working on my first book “Lines, Signs & Forks – Diary of a Nomadic Road Tripper.” This novel chronicles five years of road tripping and will take the reader on an episodic journey of awe and inspiration down a path of uncertainty. You will learn how I overcame adversity, bucked convention and followed my passion to become a leading travel blogger. Stay tuned for publishing details.
In May my girlfriend Terri and I stayed local and went camping deep into the Superstition Mountains.
Before summer officially hit, I learned that I had been selected to participate in the 2015 Hangzhou Global Tour, a promotional event that would take me around the world on an epic adventure starting in July.
Global Tour started! First leg was in China. I flew to Beijing, then to Hangzhou where I spent the bulk of my time in China, then to Dunhuang, which is located in the northern part of the country in the Gobi Desert. I had been to Asia before, but this was my first trip to China. It was absolutely fascinated by how unique and different the culture and history is. The food was much better than I expected, completely different than Chinese food in America. The people were very friendly and overall seemed quite happy. In Hangzhou and Dunhuang it was much less crowded than I expected.
The Global Tour was made up of two families (One American and one Chinese), two storytellers (One American (me) and one Chinese), a film crew (including myself), a photographer (I had this role for three quarters of the trip) and a group of logistic handlers. There were anywhere from 17-20 of us at any given time. It was quite a production. I wrote daily road diaries on my adventures, click the following link for Day One of the Hangzhou Global Tour. Below is a highlight music video of all the cities we visited.
The theme of the Global Tour was the Silk Road. So, from China we headed to Europe. Unfortunately there were no direct flight from Dunhuang to Europe, so we had to fly in the opposite direction to Shanghai where we had a seven hour layover. We then flew all the way to Paris, then to Athens for the start of our European leg. We had been traveling about 32 hours by the time we reached our hotel in Athens. No rest for the wearying, we had 30 minutes to freshen up before our historical tour of Ancient Athens.
From Athens we flew to the Greek Isle of Mykonos. Wow, I thought it was so beautiful, until we sailed to Santorini, which was stunning. From Santorini it was Dubrovnik, then to Venice. After a canceled flight out of Paris we hopped on a bullet train and were in Geneva in just a few hours. From Europe we flew across the Atlantic to Boston, a sister city to Hangzhou. The Global Tour ended in New York City were we had an ice cream truck wrapped with the Global Tour logo and gave away free Hangzhou inspired ice cream to the residents of NYC.
It was an unbelievable experience, but also quite exhausting to travel that much in such a short period of time.
I finished the Global Tour and was just getting adjusted to my own time zone, when a week later I was off to Europe again, this time with Terri for an amazing road trip throughout Bohemia and Moravia in the Czech Republic.
We spent a few days in Prague with some fellow travel journalist before heading to Cesky Krumlov, where we got a private and exclusive tour of the 2nd largest castle in the country.
As far as sights and unprecedented access, this was one of the most extraordinary trips I’ve ever been on. From dinner in the Zizkov Tower to staying in the Czech countryside at a 5-star chateau, to seeing where Mozart performed, it was one exciting adventure after the other. I’ve written a lot about this trip, with many photos and videos. If you are considering a trip to the Czech Republic (which I highly recommend), have a look at my first entry into the road diary.
After nearly two years together, Terri breaks off our relationship. I was devastated. I focused my energy on finishing the first draft of Lines, Signs & Forks, the book I’ve been working on for nearly a year.
Flew to the Bay area where I met the team from HERE Maps, along with several other influencers. This was a fascinating opportunity to see how digital map-making is created, as well as getting a glimpse of future applications of the technology, such as 3D rendering and navigation. There could be some interesting future collaboration between HERE and Mike’s Road Trip.
Spent some time in Scottsdale, Arizona filming a video for the historically hip, Hotel Valley Ho. Stayed in one of the sweetest suites ever…in my top-10 for sure. Seriously, you have to check out the video below.
A week later I headed to the high country of Arizona known as Flagstaff. Many people think of Arizona as a desert landscape, but the state is actually quite diverse. This mountain town is a great reprieve for desert dwellers in the summer and a winter wonderland for snow enthusiasts. I wrote an article and produced a video on the top-10 winter activities in Flagstaff.
This was but a snapshot of my travel highlights in 2015. I hope you get inspired to do some exploring yourself this year. If you have any road trip or travel questions, perhaps about some of the destinations listed here, please don’t hesitate to post a comment or send me an email. I’m happy to help.