I cherry-picked this handful of landscape photos out of the dozens and dozens I accumulated from my travels over the course of the year. Looking back at these photos, I feel so fortunate to have witnessed some of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in the world. After returning from a trip, I always feel a renewed sense of appreciation for the part of the world we live in. For what it's worth, the Pacific Northwest is an incredible place, and one of my goals for the coming year is to explore closer to home.
Pictures simply cannot do justice to the majestic Sapa Valley in Northern Vietnam. This is one of those rare places that can bring tears to your eyes just by gazing upon the green of the rolling hills, covered with terraced rice paddies, dotted with wobbly little houses, and shrouded in an eerie mistiness. I went there during their winter, when the rice paddies were brown and muddy, and it was still gorgeous. I imagine going during the spring would be even more spectacular.
Another shot taken in the Sapa Valley. A place to call home.
On our last full day in our last destination in Thailand before heading to Malaysia, we decided to spend most of our remaining baht and hire a car to take us to Mu Ko Lanta National Park. We were rewarded with a beautiful hike, plenty of quality monkey time, and some very photogenic limestone formations. Of course, the day wasn't all puppy dogs and rainbows... I almost s*** a brick when I accidentally wiped my entire memory card worth of trip photos (which were later recovered, phew) and we had a very unique experience at a food market, where we ate curry so spicy it caused to cousin to become ill for the rest of the day, even after ejecting it from her body.
Aptly dubbed "The Grand Canyon" by tourists, this former red mud quarry, now flooded with fresh water, is a prime spot for cliff diving and swimming. I could only bring myself to jump off the baby 10(ish) meter cliff you see the people standing on in the foreground, but the real deal lies at the end of that strip of land. I would say it's closer to 15 meters. Guys, that's insane.
Try to imagine trekking through the jungle in Northern Vietnam, travelling up and up through thick forrest, and finally popping out of the trees to a 360 degree view of this. Cát Bà National Park, North-Eastern Vietnam.
My cousin and I met some locals while staying on the island of Langkawi in Malaysia. One night, we got driven up a long and windy road in pursuit of the best view on the island. When we reached the top, what we saw took our breath away. We got there just in time to witness the most spectacular sunset I've ever seen, with a view of what seemed like the entire island.
Around many of the main attractions around Japan, one can get outfitted in a head-to-toe Kimono rental outfit, for photo-ops such as these. This was taken in the bamboo grove in Arashiyama, Kyoto.
Hitachi Seaside Park, a 2 hour bus ride from Tokyo, is beautiful all year round. I had the pleasure of being there in the spring, an witnessing the Nemophila bloom covering every inch of the rolling hills.