In my home country Ukraine, they say that a good year beginning makes the whole year good. The way one celebrates the New Year’s Eve will define a person’s life in the upcoming year. And for some reason, I have been noticing that it truly works. Vitaliy and I celebrated 2016 on the board of an airplane heading to the Philippines and since that night, the year has been a remarkable one, full od adventures, accomplishments, challenges, travels, and love. It was truly amazing! Happy New Year to you and your family!
Here are the best moments of 2016.
First Sunrise at Panglao island in the Philippines.
Because of the time difference, we couldn’t sleep so we went to the beach before the sunrise. This was our morning on January 2… Time felt absolutely different there. The hours were lasting longer and every day felt like we lived a new life. Maybe this is how we felt after spending months in a big city.
Casa Santa Barbara
When we were looking for a house to spend the winter in the Philippines, we saw a lot of options. A lot of them were very good, but none of them were perfect. It seemed like they were saying «you may stay here for a month or three, but at 12 am you have to check out as it is time for the new tenants to move in». They were buildings, not homes. My biggest wish was to wake up in happiness, harmony, and coziness with the first sun rays and enjoy honey sweet mangoes and fresh coconut juice for breakfast. I wanted the yearn to stay at home, instead of making up reasons and activities to leave the house.
But we found the one! We explored every square meter of the Panglao island riding our bikes, making a turn everywhere we could searching for the perfect one. Within a couple of days, my dream became a reality. Each day spent at Casa Santa Barbara was a Mise-en-scène in a movie, and I was the main actress. Everything in this house was worthy of being the perfect location for a short festival movie, and sometimes those scenes arose in my mind, making me want to create perfect outfits for each of them up to six times a day.
Roads … the sound of this word makes me hungrily look around anticipating a new adventure. Since I was a child, the love for the trip meant much more than the arrival. I enjoyed the entire process of watching road markings disappearing under the wheels and flashing scenery passing by on the sides. Freedom and wind … can anyone ever have enough of them? Even now, as I’m writing these lines, my body gets covered in goosebumps and my skin hurts to touch.
I can barely choose words to express my feelings from early spring until late fall when my body’s reflexes make my hand press the start button and hear the gentle roaring of the motorbike’s engine. R-r-r!
And then, within a few minutes, the chaotic sound of horns will be replaced with the view of palm trees, huts and small kiosks on the sides and the flow of hundreds of other people riding their bikes on the … road. I really miss my red friend!
El Nido, the paradise on Earth!
After we spent two months in Panglao island, we went to explore El Nido, in Palawan. Soon after we have landed in the airport of Puerto Princessa, the capital city of Palawan, we started a new six-hour journey to El Nido, the most picturesque place in the Philippines. We passed through villages, mountains, deserted beaches and lagoons until finally reached the destination.
Can you think of a tropical paradise where hundreds of islands are covered with soft white sand and surrounded by azure water? Just imagine yourself in one of the dreamy islands, alone or with a loved one. Close your eyes and try to feel warm sun gently touching your face and breathe in the fresh ocean breeze.
Opening your eyes you notice shimmer coming from the surface of the South China Sea. The water is a clear shade of turquoise with hundreds of tropical fish and plankton swimming in the coral reef. On the horizon, there are only white clouds, lonely islands, and banca boats. Then, turning around and realize you are in a dream that has become reality. This is El Nido and its satellite islands.
Streets of Hong Kong
In March we went to explore a new city Hong Kong. From my very first steps in the airport, it was clear that this city isn’t similar to any other. Beautiful, elegant, clean, chaotic, strict, magnificent, authentic, filled with street food flavors and thousands of different sounds – this was my first impression of Hong Kong and this is how it will stay in my memory.
Having left the airport, we went to the central area of Hong Kong Island known as Causaway Bay or Times Square. A lot of people compare Hong Kong to New York City and their resemblance is evident: they both have Times Square areas in the very heart of each city. Times Square is where life pulsates and flows of people pass each other heading to and from different areas and islands. You can find anything you need here, from luxurious stores and boutique hotels to restaurants in skyscrapers, pharmacies with Chinese potions and double-decker trams all surrounded by millions of city lights.
Red Sails of Aqua Luna
The boat that we saw every day was called the Aqua Luna, an elegant and exquisite landmark of Hong Kong. It is a beautiful handcrafted vessel built in the traditional style. Of course, cruising in the classy surroundings of Aqua Luna is how we chose to celebrate arriving in Hong Kong. As we boarded at the Tsim Sha Tsui Pier, our unforgettable adventure began. We sat down on comfortable chairs and enjoyed evening wine while watching the blazing orange sun setting behind the modern skyline. The water of the Harbor reflected the mosaic of lights of the skyscrapers that make up the skyline of Hong Kong.
Personal Photography Exhibition
I was very happy to share with you one of my happiest moments in 2016. On May 16 I opened my first personal travel photography exhibition called “THE MOMENT”.
When I travel the world I know that the best way to explore the new place is to stop for a moment and observe. I like feeling the moment, watching people around, hearing sounds, feeling scents and air. Then I know that the best moment is happening now, it will never repeat again. It is unique and valuable for that reason.
I presented 17 large photographs printed on canvas from Hong Kong, Philippines, Ukraine, Turkey and NYC. All of these pictures were posted on Instagram (make sure to follow me) previously so I decided to keep their original square shape.
Here are some pictures from the official opening ceremony at Spivakovska ART:EGO Culture Center.
Paragliding in Geneva
And soon after I went to explore the wine route in Geneva.
A week later, we went to Cappadocia, where I had the most romantic breakfast ever!
That week was very exciting. I had to fly six times and decided to just have some rest 🙂
Soon we came to Warsaw. I totally fell in love with it. We stayed in an apartment without Internet, so all we did was looking in the window.
And then we went to the Carpathian Mountains in the West of Ukraine. I have visited this place in summer and winter, but never in autumn. And guess what? I was amazed with it’s beauty!
On one of the days there, we found a mountain river and set up a picnic there.
We also made our first video from our travels. Check it out!
December 2016 was the most successful month of the year. It was full of new projects, travels, achievements, collaborations and I met many amazing people. The month began with visiting ILTM event in Cannes. ILTM is a place where the professionals in the travel industry from all over the world come together. And I was one of them. I mean, I am one of them!
I came home after ILTM and I had one and a half days before my next travel. And during that one day we did an amazing collaboration with The Body Wear Fashion brand and Chance For Traveler magazine. We shot an amazing story and talked about travels and fashion.
And the next day I went to explore Israel! OMG! That place stole my heart! I always wanted to see the Dead Sea. So on the first day, I woke up before the sunrise and went to the beach to see how the sun rises from the mountains in Jordan. I will never forget what I saw there!
And then I went to explore the Negev desert. The new journey began with visiting the Ramon Crater. I stood on the edge of a rock cliff looking 400 meters down. I felt free and happy.
And soon after, I went to the part of the desert that has some dunes to try snowboarding. But the storm began. The wind was raising the sand and it was raining. But it was still amazing!
I read that some people call 2016 good and others call it bad. But the year was the way it was. It is only our attitude that defines the events that happened. So I wish you all to find the good side in everything that happens to you! Happy New Year!