16 places I traveled to in 2016

In terms of travel, 2015 was tough to beat. This year included traveling to Africa for work, planning a group trip to Peru, and returning to Paris on my annual another solo trip. A new job even led to a few opportunities for business travel. Five continents, seven countries, and 40 flights later, 2016 was quite an adventure.

1. Tokyo

“Hey mom, do you want to go to Japan in three days?” It was her first trip outside of the U.S. and Canada! We ate a lot of ramen and sushi as soon as we got there.

tokyo ramen

2. Kyoto

Beautiful temples, the bamboo park, Fushimi Inari Shrine, and my squad at the Arashiyama Monkey Park. Kyoto is my favorite city in Japan.

arashiyama bamboo park

arashiyama bamboo park

3. Hakone

Hello, Mount Fuji! What a view from the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) en route to Hakone’s hot springs.

mt. fuji - lesley siu

4. Chicago

Is your first trip to the windy city complete without this picture?

chicago - lesley siu

5. Honolulu

My annual trip to the homeland included a quick hike to Manoa Falls.

manoa falls - lesley siu

6. Malawi

A visit to the “warm heart of Africa” and fulfilling my professional goal of Snapchatting traveling abroad for work. Here’s the 5:30 a.m. sunrise at Lake Malawi.

lake malawi

7. Amsterdam

When you have a long layover here, you go into the city on a quest for stroopwafels.

amsterdam - lesley siu

8. Las Vegas

My favorite part was renting a car and driving out to Red Rock Canyon.

las vegas red rock canyon - places traveled 2016

9. Lima

The ceviche and sunshine make up for a terrifying non-taxi experience and having to purchase a new flight to Cusco (note to self: never fly Copa Airlines again).

lima peru - lesley siu

10. Cusco

We took a cooking class and made pisco sours, walked around the Maras salt mines, wandered through the markets, and met the best driver, César.

pisco sours - lesley siu

maras salt mines - lesley siu

11. Aguas Calientes

Pro tip: take the bus up to Machu Picchu. Always take the bus.

peru machu picchu -- places traveled 2016

12. New York

I always stop by Maison Kayser for a little taste of Paris, even on a 24-hour trip to NYC to shoot a video.

maison kayser new york - lesley siu

13. Paris

Then I actually went to Paris, because, you know… It’s Paris. Galeries Lafayette was dressed up for Christmas!

galeries lafayette - lesley siu

14. London

Crossed the Tower Bridge and another thing off my London bucket list.

london tower bridge - lesley siu

15. Oxford

I’ve missed the history and charm and studying in the UK.

oxford - lesley siu

16. Austin

A conference, UX class, and coffee at Dominican Joe.

dominican joe austin - lesley siu

 

Cheers to more adventures in 2017! Where should I go next?

15 places I traveled to in 2015

When work gives you extra vacation days, you take them. I was lucky to find affordable airfares and fortunate to have the flexibility to take time to travel. Six countries, two continents and 33 flights later, 2015 took me to some of my favorite destinations to date. My favorite trip? Solo traveling through Vietnam, where I perfected skills in dodging motorcycles, negotiating at markets and finding the best street food. It was a year of fulfilling travel adventures, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1. Paris (twice)

The city I’ll travel to again and again and still be excited to return to every single time.

paris_balcony

2. Amsterdam

Wandering around the canals will never get old.

IMG_9536

3. Brussels

A city that feels like the European version of D.C. is even better at night.

IMG_9550

4. Ho Chi Minh City

A crazy and energizing city where it is 100 percent necessary to play Frogger in real life.

HCMC

5. Hoi An, Vietnam

My favorite place in Vietnam. Biking to An Bang Beach was a highlight of the trip.

Hoi An, Vietnam

6. Hanoi, Vietnam

A magical place where I discovered the French Quarter, Old Quarter, egg coffee and life-changing bun bo nam bo.

IMG_8009

7. Singapore

Clean and efficient, a bright city with a fascinating mix of cultures.

IMG_7959

8. Honolulu

Annual trip to the homeland.

ala moana

9. Haleiwa, Hawaii

Driving to the North Shore and around the island is one of my favorite things to do.

matsumoto shave ice

10. Charleston, South Carolina

The architecture. The history. The charm. The food!

charleston city market

11. London

Even in a quick 36-hour trip, there’s always time for tea.

tea in london

12. Reims, France

Santé to Veuve Clicquot for teaching me how to properly open a bottle of Champagne.

IMG_0242

13. Virginia

Just your average day trip to the vineyards with great friends.

IMG_9095

14. San Antonio, Texas

Congrats, grad!

IMG_9644

15. Washington, D.C.

Traveling and discovering new places within your city counts, too. There’s no place like home, right?

IMG_9246

on instagram: paris

instagram_paris_lesleysiuI fell in love with Paris on my first trip in November 2011. Exactly three years later, I returned on a second solo adventure (and am still reliving it through Instagram). I will never get tired of visiting my favorite places like Place des Vosges, Merci and Du Pain et Des Idées. Good thing solo trip #3 is already booked…

link love

eiffel tower dusk - lesley siuYesterday was the Tour Eiffel‘s 125th birthday! Can I go back to Paris to celebrate?

1. A serious case of wanderlust: 52 places to go in 2014. Since a quarter of the year has already passed, I need to catch up. Where to, next? (The New York Times)

2. Girl crush: women in media who are killing it. I love this conversation with women leaders of advertising and media. Fascinating personal stories and insightful advice like Cosmopolitan’s Joanna Coles’ on work-life balance: “And I think it’s a particularly American obsession, as is the quest for perfection. I think we should embrace the chaos. … I think life and careers have ebbs and flows and you can’t give everything, all things, all the time.” Preach. (Adweek)

3. Spring fashion trends and how to wear them, courtesy of Vogue. I’m hoping to see more pleated skirts and less sport sandals… Please don’t let that become a thing. (Vogue)

4. Everyone’s talking (tweeting) about… The How I Met Your Mother finale. Glamour sums it up just about right. While some moments were a little out there (The divorce, Barney having a daughter, Marshall as a Supreme Court judge), I thought it was a solid ending to the series.

5. Four critics, one restaurant. It just happens to be one of my recent favorites: Daikaya. (Washington Post Magazine)

versailles interior inspiration

versailles main hall

My first apartment? J’adore. Furnishing my first apartment? Now that’s another storyI love French-inspired finds, but it’s frustrating to see designs that are more tacky than trendy. I’d like a wine rack that doesn’t resemble the Eiffel Tower and upholstered chairs sans the obnoxious “Paris” print, s’il vous plaît. Is that too much to ask?

For the inside scoop on French interiors, I had to go straight to the source from my summer in Paris. Taking cues from the lavish Château de Versailles, I believe French decor is about gold, bright hues, symmetry and ornate details. Optional: velvet canopies, crystal chandeliers and marble statues. Someday, they will deem my space Marie Antoinette-worthy. But for now, let them eat cake. Isn’t interior design about having good taste anyway?

versailles gold gate

versailles window statues

versailles gold canopy chandelier

versailles red bedroom

IMG_1297

versailles bedroom

versailles yellow bedroom

IMG_1294

IMG_1289

sainte chapelle, paris

Reminiscing about one of my favorite places in Paris: Sainte-Chapelle. I highly recommend attending a concert here—with the talented musicians and intimate setting, it’s a unique experience in the heart of the city.

Pictures can’t quite capture the beautiful stained glass windows that transform even the gloomiest of days. Just a little reminder to keep your head up, for brighter things are ahead.
sainte chapelle - paris

sainte chapelle - paris

sainte chapelle paris - exterior

sainte chapelle

Post Navigation