Travel, is often, a pain. In 2016, I had my phone stolen in a market in Oaxaca. A serious hit of motion sickness had me vomiting off the back of a boat during a rough crossing between Clare Island and mainland Ireland. I got dangerously close to a rattle snake in Montana. And yet — 2016 may have been my best travel year yet. I danced under the stars in the Galapagos. I explored Ireland’s coastline with lighthouses guiding the way. I watched an octogenarian with a smile in his eyes tango in the street in Buenos Aires.
These are the moments that make us forget the flight delays, the lost luggage, and the pickpocketing. Here are a few of my best travel moments of 2016:
Sunset in the Oaxacan Sierra: After a day spent witnessing how to make mezcal, I left the palenque (distillery) to see the surrounding agave fields. As the sun began to set, I left my group behind and with a glass of mezcal in hand, walked out into the agave fields. At the top of a hill, with the wind whipping my face, I watched the sunset without another soul in sight. It was one of life’s purely perfect moments.
Sea Lions Reunite in the Galapagos: Animals don’t pay much attention to you in the Galapagos. Late one afternoon, I was sitting on a beach with a baby sea lion sunbathing nearby. Suddenly he got up and began pacing along the waterfront. Back and forth he paced, until quickly he ran into the water, and with a splash, his mother appeared. The duo swam along the coastline playing and it almost seemed, embracing. I’ve never really been an animal person, but seeing this mother and baby reunite struck a chord.
A Walk to the Lighthouse in Clare Island: In Ireland, you surrender to being wet. You put on a rainproof jacket, shoes, and a hat, and don’t give the constant drizzle another thought. So often our days away from home can rush by in a blur, but for one perfect day over the summer, I woke in a lighthouse on Clare Island, off the coast of County Mayo in Ireland without a single thing to do. We read the newspaper over breakfast. Trekked along the coastal cliffs. And afterwards, we set out along a road of stones for a walk down to the island’s harbor. We feasted on fish for lunch and then started the slow, uphill walk back to the lighthouse. These uninterrupted, peaceful hours of walking and talking with my husband were a lovely change from the rushed pace of our daily life in New York.