|Barefoot at Blinky Beach,
Lord Howe Island
As always, there was a roll call of destinations. This year my trips seemed to have a common thread, by accident or design: a search for simplicity. Whether it was a chance to go barefoot, travel low-impact or just shrug off the home-fire routines for a week or two of being in the moment (and taking copious notes so I could write about it later).
Here's a bit of a highlights reel...
It started with a new "digital detox" trip through northern Morocco, where I went offline for nine days (bliss) and had company doing it.
Then came an Earth Weekend (not just an Earth Day) on beautiful, earthy Norfolk Island and, soon after, the inaugural Seven Peaks Walk on my other favourite little Australian Island, Lord Howe.
|Jordan rocks (really)
In July I swapped the southern winter for a chilly northern summer - in Iceland, a place that impressed me in unexpected ways (see More than "fire and ice": 10 reasons to love Iceland). I even got to have a quick dip in the North Atlantic. (Any trip that includes a swim is a good one, in my book.)
|Torres del Paine #nofilters
My last trip of the year a few weeks ago was closer to home: a sea kayaking adventure in Raja Ampat, an archipelago of about 1500 limestone islands off the north-west tip of West Papua.
|Paddling West Papua
As always, I feel truly privileged to be able to experience all these places and write about them and want to take this opportunity to thank all the tour operators, tourism organisations, editors and PR people who made this year's travels possible.
|First sunrise of 2017, Lennox Head
Every time I'm offered a trip, in fact, I weigh it up against the joys of my non-travelling life: surfing with friends, beach walks, late afternoon lake swims, moonrises over the sea, winter whale-watching, planting trees.
One of my at-home highlights this year was helping to set up a Boomerang Bags community in Lennox: we make cloth shopping bags from recycled fabric and will soon be giving them away at local shops to reduce plastic bag use. Loved this chance to meet and work with a bunch of like-minded locals on a good-news project.
|Barefoot with Boomerang Bags
|Barefoot again, in Raja Ampat
(in Waterlust whaleshark leggings)
So happy simple new year, my friends, and thanks for your company. May our next 365-day trip be full of adventures of all kinds. See you back here in 2018!