January 1, 2018
My 2017 Year in Review: 100K+ Miles Flown Across 4 Continents
I’ve been an avid flyer for over a decade, but the frequency of my flights was never too crazy. I started 2017 with the goal of flying over 100,000 miles and I’m happy to report I finished off the year with exactly 115,402 miles. I earned and redeemed hundreds of thousands of miles and points to spend as much air time as I could in Business and First Class. Here’s three highlights from my 2017 flights and three highlights from my destinations:
- Singapore A350 Business Class from Singapore to Cape Town, South Africa. This was my first time in Singapore Business Class and I loved the experience. Service was impeccable, the food was great, and the seats were over the top huge.
- ANA 777 First Class from Chicago to Tokyo. I had the entire First-Class cabin to myself on the 13 hour flight to Tokyo. The flight consisted of the friendliest flight attendants I’ve ever had, and the food was amazing. This was hands down the most I’ve ever eaten on a flight. It was hours of gourmet dining at 40,000 feet.
- Air France A330 Business Class from Paris to Boston. This was a notable flight because it marked the end of my Air France boycott. I vowed years ago to never fly Air France again after having repeated terrible experiences with the airline. My boycott stood strong for over a decade but I finally gave the airline another chance in 2017. I can report that I no longer disdain Air France as they’ve come a long way in rectifying their past mistakes. The quality of the food and the service on this flight was impeccable.
- Thailand- I finally got to visit Thailand for the first time. I spent about ten days exploring Bangkok and Phuket with my sister. I enjoy Thai food back in the US, but of course it was even better in Thailand. Asian cultures and customs continue to surprise me and make me uncomfortable, but it’s something I’m getting used to. The small head bows as a show of respect, the way they handle money, and the bargaining style of the Thai people are all experiences that stand out to me.
- Cape Town, South Africa-I had heard for years that Cape Town was a beautiful city worth seeing, but I never believed it all that much. Boy was I wrong. I can count on one hand the number of cities where I want to live, and Cape Town is one of them. It’s a city with all the modern conveniences you can imagine alongside breathtaking views of nature. I drove along the shore of the most south-western point in Africa, I went cage diving with great white sharks, I got to see a colony of wild African penguins, I made it to the top of Table Mountain, and I got to experience fresh African game meat.
South Africa’s only downside is the legacy of apartheid. While apartheid is long gone at this point, its remnants still remain. You can immediately feel the tension between white and black South Africans in the way they talk and interact with each other. And while the wealthy parts of Cape Town are breathtaking, the city is also full of slums kept out of sight.
- Seoul, South Korea- This was my first visit to this region of the world. It’s a bustling metropolitan city which pays homage to its past with giant temple complexes and statues of elders throughout the city. The Korean people have their own unique culture and mannerisms which I haven’t seen anywhere else in Asia. Their cuisine is unique as well, consisting of many small portions of side dishes to accompany dinner. Even their chopsticks are shaped differently (they’re flat instead of oval on the end).
I particularly enjoying visiting the DMZ, which is the dividing line between North and South Korea. I visited one of the underground tunnels connecting the two countries and the neutral United Nations area between the hostile nations. That’s the safest way to step foot on North Korean land (you can technically stand in North Korea).
I had one heck of a 2017 travel year. I visited many more countries than just what I listed and I flew more Business Class flights than I’ve ever done. Looking forward, I plan on flying at least 200,000 miles in 2018 and stepping further outside my comfort zone. One of my top goals is to spend more time exploring more of Africa. What are your travel goals for 2018?