2014 Retrospective: How Am I So Lucky?

seriously, what have i done in my life to deserve all this? if i thought last year was good, this year was even better.

256,255 miles, but who’s counting

sometimes i was only home for a night before heading out again, and sometimes it definitely felt like too much, but it was for sure a year filled with amazing trips. and as last year, none of this would have been possible, by the way, without The Flight Deal — every single one of my paid international trips this year was a deal they found.

the holy land {bucket list}

a trip with my dad — we flew into Tel Aviv but drove around the country. [more Israel & Palestine]




a return to Buenos Aires via Mexico City and a side trip to Salta. [more Argentina]




and my first time eating/enjoying the music at a peña!

moscow {bucket list}, winter olympics & rome

after a long weekend in Moscow and Sochi for curling at the Winter Olympics, i spent a week in Rome. [more Italy]






dublin and a quickie to northern ireland

i spent the week of St. Patrick’s Day week in Dublin and took a day trip to Northern Ireland where i walked on the Giant’s Causeway and checked off an item from my travel music bucket list. [more ireland]




iceland {bucket list}

a trip to Iceland with @inflightfeed and @jetsetcd — highlights included driving out to the abandoned DC-3 and the eating of a boiled sheep’s head!



In which Jon tries svið.


a great week in Vilnius, plus a day trip to Trakai and visiting abandoned Soviet cold war sites. [more Lithuania]





oh and uhh, that time i got my rental car stuck in the sand

easter island

i stopped off in Santiago for a couple days before heading for a long weekend on Easter Island. a. mah. zing. [more Easter Island]




ibiza {bucket list}, barcelona, and valencia

perhaps the first travel goal i’ve ever had — dating to about a decade ago, i think — was to watch the sunset from Cafe del Mar. after a couple of days on Ibiza i spent the week in Barcelona (and found my way to filming locations of one of my favorite movies, L’Auberge Espagnole) and took a day trip to Valencia to see my favorite architect’s masterwork, the City of Arts and Sciences. [more Spain]


that text is a reference to another travel music bucket list item — listening to Adios Ayer while watching the Ibiza sunset.





i think this was the first time i ever bought a business class ticket — and only because it was the same price as an economy ticket — but it got me to the amazing island of Malta. [more Malta]




bosnia & herzegovina and the middle east do

on the way to Points Summary‘s Middle East DO (which covered several emirates of the UAE as well as a bit of Oman), i stopped for a sobering visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. a cool part, though, was visiting the abandoned bobsled tracks! oh, and we rode on the fastest roller coaster on earth at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi! [more BiH] [more Middle East DO]

An old sign from the '84 Olympics. Why it's still up who knows, but it's cool. (And yes, research shows that was the mascot)

The Old Bridge

Abandoned Sarajevo Bobsled Track




oh, and does this look familiar?

shanghai {bucket list}, south (and north) korea, and japan

on the way to meet my parents in Japan (where they were starting a vacation), i stopped for less than 24 hours in Shanghai (mostly to ride the maglev) and a week in Seoul with a side trip to the DMZ. in Japan, we witnessed the Takayama Autumn Festival and i tried some black burgers! [more South Korea] [more Japan]

Shanghai in the morning

Crab and pork xlb




For use in a blog post

cape town

after going to South Africa for work years ago, i’d always wanted to return, especially to Cape Town. how much do i love that city?! and yes, definitely do a township tour if you’re ever in that country. [more South Africa]

One of the first Afrikaans words I learned last time I was here: lekker! #oink


One of the three beds in a hostel apartment. Poor girl has the flu :(

Cape Town from Robben Island

india’s golden triangle

i spent Thanksgiving week touring Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. [more India]




sofia and vienna

my family was vacationing in Vienna so i joined them for a bit after a brief stop in Sofia — highlights included being on the trail of the movie Before Sunrise and Melk Abbey. [more Austria]





other random things

outlook for next year

i definitely don’t think i’ll be traveling as much as i was able to this year. my January trip to Palawan (Philippines) and potentially my February trip to Tbilisi are no-go due to work (yes, contrary to popular belief, i do work!). in terms of elite status (since many readers are interested in that), i re-made United 1K next year (thanks primarily to a fluke) and i am Delta Platinum thanks to a status match and challenge.

here’s to a fulfilling 2015!

5 Comments on "2014 Retrospective: How Am I So Lucky?"

  1. It is a wild hobby we have my friend, no doubt. I’ve felt much the same way as you at times. I think when it hit me the most was staying at a hotel (not anything special – just a Holiday Inn). I was there free on points (natch) – 2 rooms for my family of 8. A couple walked in while I was in the lobby without a reservation and the agent quoted the rack rate of like $189 / night and I just thought “man we are so fortunate…”

  2. Great summary Jon. Thanks for your inspirational travel style. It was good to meet you in Dublin, and hopefully our paths cross again in 2015. I still owe you a coffee.

    • yes! it was great meeting you in Dublin! here’s to a great 2015 — and hopefully one where our paths do cross again. (and i totally forgot about you owing me a coffee — you could have gotten away with it if you didn’t mention it! 😉 )

  3. when i grow up i want to be jonathan khoo

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