2017 in Review: The Year of Change!

To think that only one year ago, I was comfortably settled in France with my apartment, my car, my activities, and my busy life, from horseback riding to travel. But last April, a minor upheaval shook up my peaceful existence: on the 1st of the month, I left everything to pursue a nomadic life! Let’s look back on this year full of adventure!

January/February/March

The beginning of the year was relatively calm in terms of travel. I should mention that the decision to become a nomad and leave everything on April 1st brought its fair share of difficulties; I had to sell and sort through all of my belongings (and while I’m rather minimalist I realized that I had accumulated quite a few things in my 100m² apartment), part with my horse, sell my car, and get my paperwork in order for my new life (visas, insurance, and so on). Nothing particularly fun aside from a fantastic weekend on the Basque coast. I had the pleasure of staying at the Hôtel du Palais, a luxury establishment that I had always wanted to see, and the Grand Hotel Thalasso & Spa where I spent a well-deserved day of relaxation!

April

Having turned in our keys, my husband and I left with only two carry-on bags and one large suitcase for us both. Our “whole lives” were in there! We began with a road trip through Normandy, a beautiful region which I remember fondly with its little port towns and large expanses of greenery. Of course I had to stop in Deauville to explore the Normandy hotel, and visit the Castelbrac Hotel in Dinard for some unforgettable experiences.

The Normandy Hotel

The Castelbrac hotel and its gorgeous heated pool!

On April 17th, we headed off to Bangkok! It was very hot there (about 38° C/ 100° F every day), quite a shock! We settled into the Oriental Residence for the next two months.

A rooftop in Bangkok

May

After the thrill of the first few weeks of travel, anxiety began to rear its ugly head. I should say that this change touched every part of my life—my daily experience as a nomad is so different from what I had before. I was adapting to my new lifestyle, and I knew that the adjustment would take a while.

I took advantage of what Bangkok had to offer and checked out several fabulous spas, such as the Botanica, and attended some lovely soirées, such as the Cheese Evening that took place at the So Sofitel. In mid-May, we celebrated our birthdays (May 10th for my husband, and May 7th for me) in one of the city’s best-known institutions: the Mandarin Oriental. Seated at a delicious Afternoon Tea, we enjoyed our birthdays in style!

The Cheese Evening in the So Sofitel

Ours birthdays in the Mandarin Oriental : Unforgettable !

June

In mid-June, we set off for Canada! Life in Bangkok was pleasant, but it was difficult to be so removed from nature. We flew business class with Japan Airlines to Vancouver. We spent five days discovering the city, and honestly it was love at first sight! We also took the opportunity to try an absolutely fantastic experience: driving luxury sports cars on one of the world’s most beautiful highways! A bit frightening, but also fun and exhilarating!

After that, we left on a month-long road trip through the Rockies to end up in Calgary at the famous Stampede (one of the most famous rodeos in the world), an event which I had been waiting for years to attend.

The Stampede in Calgary

July

On July 14th, we took a short flight to Portland (Oregon) in the U.S. This hipster city was our “home” for the next two months. We enjoyed the city during the summer season, with many of its inhabitants gone on vacation. We especially liked the Pearl District neighborhood where we were staying—a very pleasant place to live, with its many repurposed warehouses and little cafés and boutiques.

Pearl District neighborhood in Portland

August

We used this month to continue exploring Portland and to unwind a bit! Our Canadian road trip was exhausting, so this sedentary phase was much appreciated!

September

Before going back to Europe, we made a stop in New York for five days. We had visited the city in 2010, and we were so happy to return! We set our suitcases down in Williamsburg and made the most of the mild September weather to stroll down the streets of Manhattan.

On September 15th, we took a flight to Paris with La Compagnie Boutique Airline. We enjoyed a very pleasant flight in a plane filled entirely with business class seats, to which I dedicated a blogpost! We landed in Paris, and it was true happiness to be back on French soil after six months abroad. It’s of course wonderful to travel the globe, but the occasional return to my roots does me a world of good. This was an opportunity to go to the theater, take in some delicious French cuisine, and visit with friends. I also had the pleasure of participating in a pastry class at the Ritz, and there’s no doubt about it: France is the best country in the world for pastries and sweets! We took a small weekend trip to Chantilly or, more specifically, the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, a luxury hotel that transported us back in time!

My pastry class at the Ritz

Ma superb suite at the Auberge du Jeu de Paume in Chantilly

October

Temperatures were starting to drop, but the weather in Paris was still very mild. I seized the opportunity to do an overview of my nomadic life, which was already in its sixth month! It was a great way to see the pros and cons of my new lifestyle and reflect on how I wanted it to evolve.

We spent a week in Burgundy, a charming region that we hadn’t visited before. It was delightful to walk through the little villages in the area. We stayed in several beautiful French hotels, including the Relais Bernard Loiseau, which has just opened one of the best spas in Europe. We also spent a night at the Abbaye de la Buissière and at the Grand Hotel la Cloche in Dijon.

The 2 Michelin starred restaurant at the Relais Bernard Loiseau

One of my fav : The Abbaye de la Bussière

Chilling time in the spa at the Grand Hotel La Cloche

November

The 1st of November, we flew to Australia, the Land Down Under! Off we went for a three-week road trip from Sydney to Adelaide. On the program: magnificent beaches, delicious gourmet food, and driving… a lot of driving! While we enjoyed this road trip, we wouldn’t include it in our top 5, as the roads really were quite long and sometimes monotonous.

Australia and its wonderful beaches

The last week of November we headed to New Zealand for the next leg of our journey. We explored the North Island with its many geothermal phenomena and its endless stretches of greenery.

December

We continued to visit New Zealand, this time on the South Island. It was our favorite trip! The landscapes were highly varied—idyllic beaches with snowcapped mountains, glaciers, enormous lakes.

The mount Cook in New Zealand : a magical place!

For the holidays, we went to Singapore, where we settled into the Shangri-La for two weeks. The hotel was fantastic and very calm with its own wooded park, allowing for a smooth transition from tranquil New Zealand to vibrant Singapore.

The Shangri La in Singapour

We celebrated Christmas in a great French-style brewery (a little foie gras can’t hurt) and spent the New Year with a view overlooking the Marina Bay Sands and its fireworks display. As I’m not exactly a keen enthusiast of New Year’s festivities, I couldn’t help but want to celebrate the occasion here, in an unusual setting!

Cheers !

I’ll finish this article by trying to summarize the year in a few phrases: 

  • My favorite trip:

New Zealand

  • This year’s let-down:

Australia

  • City where I’d like to spend more time:

Vancouver

  • My favorite beautiful view:

Mount Cook in New Zealand

  • My biggest case of the blues:

The 2nd month in Bangkok, when I realized I had no “home” and was filled with doubt: “Will I be able to handle this new life?”

  • My greatest pride

My improvements in English

  • The sport I discovered

Yoga

  • What I missed most about France

The cuisine: cheese, wine, pastries…

  • Animals I saw in the wild

Bears in Western Canada! Very impressive!

What’s Next?

If you’re wondering, “will you continue with your nomadic life?” my answer is yes! It’s true that this year was full of unexpected developments and required a great deal of adjustment, but my overview for 2017 is very positive! I feel like I experienced a year packed with discoveries; I learned so much about myself and the world that surrounds us. I hope that 2018 will be just as wonderful (if not more so) as this year I spent being a citizen of the world!

I wish you all the best for this New Year—that it be full of travels and new experiences! We only live once, so we have to make the most of it—I hope this is a theme in your life, too! And thank you to my readers for following in ever greater numbers, be it on my blog, Forbes, or on social media!

What’s your assessment for 2017? Feel free to send me your comments or questions by posting them on social media.

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