Last Updated on March 31, 2019
After accidentally moving to Europe in 2014, I reluctantly returned to the States last August. Much of it had to do with an ongoing bureaucratic problem back in Germany (which has yet to be resolved, even after nearly two years), but it was also time to travel around my own country a little more — and travel I did. Since my return, I’ve been to 16 states and visited numerous friends and family, some who I hadn’t seen in more than 20 years. I’ve strengthened my relationships with some, decided to distance myself from others, and made new friends in some unexpected places.
Here’s a rundown of the cities I visited in 2017:
- Madrid, Spain: A week trying to live like a local to see if I want to move there. Answer: Yes, I do, even if it’s not the most vegetarian-friendly city. (View my favorite places.)
- Bangkok, Thailand: Explored night markets, temples, and even a floating market.
- Siem Reap, Cambodia: Hit all the must-sees, including the fabulous Angkor Wat.
- Phuket/Koh Phi Phi, Thailand: Tropical escape with the family where I, unfortunately, came down with a stomach bug in the middle of nowhere. (Although that didn’t stop me from visiting the Soi Dog Foundation. If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, make sure you contact them so they can arrange for you to bring home an animal to a new family. They’ll take care of all fees and arrangements, but they need a few days’ lead time.)
- Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain: Escaped the Berlin cold for some Spanish sun.
- Cologne, Germany: Short stopover to see Depeche Mode. (Read my concert review.)
- Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic: Finally got to revisit the storybook spa town after a decade. (View my favorite places.)
- Berlin, Germany: Wrapped up my stay as a German resident. (View my favorite Berlin places.)
- Bergen, Norway: Ten delightful yet rainy days in the “gateway to the fjords.” (View my favorite Bergen places.)
- North Adams, Massachusetts: Overnight with a high school buddy.
- Jamestown, Rhode Island: Spending a few days with a dear friend and her family.
- Uncasville, Connecticut: Depeche Mode concert at Mohegan Sun.
- Valatie, New York: Tranquil weekend at a friend’s lakeside retreat.
- Pittsfield, Massachusetts: Theater with a former work colleague and lunch with a high school friend.
- Brooklyn, New York: Overnight stay with another high school pal.
- West Hempstead, New York: Popped by my hometown to surprise some neighbors and have dinner with another.
- Easton, Connecticut: Celebrated my nephew’s bar mitzvah — and even got my Hebrew name (Gal, in case you’re interested).
- Ann Arbor, Michigan: 50-year anniversary of my college at the University of Michigan. The town has changed almost as much as my tastebuds: I could barely stomach some of the foods that I’d been jonesing for since I graduated way back when.
- Detroit, Michigan: Hit the world’s oldest jazz club with my friend who was in town from Sri Lanka.
- Chicago, Illinois: The quaint and cozy Andersonville neighborhood made me consider spending more time in Chi-Town — until the temps dropped to near single digits and I remembered how much I hate winter.
- Cleveland, Ohio: Stopped by pre- and post-Chicago to visit my college partner-in-crime.
- Washington, D.C.: Revisited Operation Spy at the International Spy Museum with some other niblings.
- Ephrata, Pennsylvania: Short stopover while I prepared for my southerly journey to escape winter.
- Cary, North Carolina: Met up with old friends, had a delicious Thanksgiving, and discovered barcades are popular here, too.
- Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Got introduced to grits (yum!) by my former mentor, who also hosted me overnight.
- Ocean Isle, North Carolina: Spent a few relaxing days in a sleepy seaside town relaxing from the busy summer months.
- Charleston, South Carolina: I wish I’d had more than six days here. Southern charm and some surprisingly wonderful art.
- Savannah, Georgia: Loved the city — not so much the crappy Airbnb or its host
- Augusta, Georgia: I dropped by the world headquarters for the magazine I worked for in Berlin.
- Atlanta, Georgia: Thanks to my niece and her college roommates for letting me crash at their pad during winter break!
What’s on the agenda for 2018? Your guess is as good as mine. I often don’t know where I’ll be three months from now, so follow me on Facebook for the latest updates.