Local Nomads 8 Travel Lowlights of 2016

with 43 Comments

2016 is claiming its last few victims in this countdown to the years end, and I’m thinking, wasn’t the Standing Rock situation and Bowie enough? Must you ruin everything we love, 2016? I think we’re all ready for it to be over. 2016 has been a hell of a year. Just count the number of celebrity deaths, the number of countries in turmoil, the climate. I guess it wasn’t all bad though, legalization of cannabis, and the 100th Anniversary of the National Parks happened, so haha we got you there 2016! (but seriously will you just fucking end.)

 To commiserate with the rest of the world we wanted to share with you the shittiest things that happened to us in our 2016 travel adventures. Being full time travel bloggers is not all sunshine & rainbows, you know. We do travel to incredible places, and we do cool things some times. But we’re normal people, shit happens. Sometimes life gets in the way. Some times your camera breaks.  Sometimes you just have to surrender to the flow and clean the shit off the fan. It is how you deal with those sticky situations that makes you or breaks you. Anyway, let’s get on with it…


No offense to our families, we loved spending all that quality time with you, but it’s difficult to remain in a place when you have no money and no job. We had to get creative to make some money. Before the holidays, we made clocks and jewelry out of old vinyl records from Adam’s basement. We were desperate to get on the road to our next destination Grand Canyon, Arizona. All we were waiting on was the job process.

The silver lining: being unemployed and having the time at our parents house gave us the opportunity to work on the blog.

It helps when you’re mom’s got a comfy couch, and you can eat home cooked meals!

We did end up getting those jobs at the Grand Canyon. Adam became a bartender at the Yavapai Lodge and I worked the glamourous job of produce stocker at the General Store.

I do love my fruits and veggies!

Once we finally got hired at the Grand Canyon, we were so stoked to start our roadtrip, capture the whole thing on video, and make a vlog about road tripping, canyon life, and all the new fun exciting blah blah blah…Well we started it, we vlogged our whole roadtrip, made 3 whole videos, put them on youtube and then.. WE got to Grand Canyon, Arizona…

I’m having a hard time finding a silver lining for this one.. maybe it just wasn’t the right time to start a vlog.

Working at the Grand Canyon was flippin’ AWESOME! There was so much hiking and camping to do, so much wildlife to watch, and so many tacos and tequila to consume. The internet however, was nonexistent. We couldn’t even make phone calls half the time. “Can you hear me now???”  There was no way for us to share our desert lifestyle with you.

The silver lining: We were able to save a lot of money living in the National Park. Accommodation was cheap, and we got a decent discount on food for working there. We also had the time to spend with our new really cool, really awesome friends..

I shit you not… that’s what caused my camera to stop taking pictures for (what felt like forever) 3 months. On top of the lack of internet and phone service.. My camera broke.  Guess what else… the only camera repair shop in the state of Arizona (which is pretty damn big) is in Phoenix, a 4.5 hour drive from Grand Canyon. Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!!

Silver Lining: We got to see more of Arizona, especially the Saguaro Cacti and the Phoenix In n Out…

Lemme set the scene for this one. We put in our 2 weeks notice at our “South Rim Jobs” at the end of June. My parents were visiting, and I was taking them camping for the first time…  Adam had to work, and then he would be joining us. Well, 1am is THE WORST time to drive in Arizona in the summer. You think it’s a great idea with those wide open desert highways.. But those Elk.. The ones with the cute white furry butts and enormous racks of antlers.. Yeeeeaahhhh.. They’ll totally ruin your car. 2 weeks to go before our roadtrip.. and Adam hits an Elk in the middle of the night. (Adam was fine, not even a scratch except for the mental shock.)

The silver lining: We were going to have to sell our car before leaving the country which was now no longer a concern, and we ended up doing an RV transfer for the first time from Denver to San Francisco! Which was quite an adventure!


After picking up the RV from Denver (31′ with room for 8 people) we had a few days to drive it across to San Francisco. July 10th, we were driving through Utah. There was no way around it. Adam would have to spend his birthday driving across Utah. A 12 hour endeavor. We celebrated that morning in the Walmart Parking lot in Colorado, by making chocolate chip pancakes in the RV, and then we were off.

The silver lining: Stopping to see The Wedge, UT was awesome and listening to some funky jams on the drive. I-70 is incredibly scenic with tons of cool rock formations and canyons. There are even a few National Parks to check out along the way.

We managed to survive the rest of our time in the US, and even our 3 weeks back in Korea, then we got to Taiwan and were met by Typhoon Megi. Neither of us had ever experienced a typhoon. It was pretty exciting and boring. We spent most of the time in our Hostel and only went out to brave the weather to stock up on food.

The silver lining: We met some really great people at JV’s Hostel. We got to spend a lot of time with them chatting about the world, and hoping the roof didn’t blow off!!


Despite the rain we managed to have a great time in Taipei and definitely want to go back. In October we finally made it to Thailand. And besides make a rookie mistake and getting scammed by the taxi’s at the Bangkok Airport, we’ve had an unparalleled amount of fun here. The final shitty thing we’ve had to deal with this year was more weather. As soon as we arrived back in Koh Phangan we were hit with the tail end of Monsoon Season. Just try to find a place to live and go around on a motorbike in pouring rain for a week straight. Or don’t, hopefully you don’t end up in a situation like that. The King did pass shortly after we arrived in October but it has honestly made this a special time for us to be here.


Silver Lining: We’ve made amazing friendships, human and animal, and on the web. We’ve experienced some amazing events, like the lantern festival in Chiang Mai and the Super moon in Pai. We’ve even had pretty great WIFI (for the most part).


Don’t you feel better now that you know we’ve had those moments too? Well tonight we can all rest easy, because 2016 is finally fucking over!

Overall we had a really life changing year, and I expect 2017 to be no different. We have Big Plans to come and hope you’ll continue along on this journey with us. Here’s to a serendipitous 2017 full of good vibes, good people, and lots of good change!

Oh and world peace of course…? 


PS. As fate would have it, on this December 31st… 2016 strikes one last time. Dun Dun Dun… We headed out for dinner after Adam’s last class of the day/year. As we pulled into town our motorbike tire went FLAT!! We tried to have someone pump it but they refused and said it was too late. So we had to leave our bike in town and started walking back towards our bungalow, which is about an hour and a half walk from town, with hills. We first tried to take a taxi but they were asking way to much… (it being NYE and a Full Moon Party night). We got about halfway home before we were able to flag down a random truck. they stopped and agreed to take us home. We did make it home in time to get to the 7/11 to buy some champagne… I mean sparking wine. ??

Happy Fucking New Years Eve. 


PPS. If anyone is wondering what our plans are.. we’ll be celebrating in the AM with the 4th Night of Phish at YEMSG! If we can’t attend the Garden Party, we may as well stream it. [Gone Phishin’ in the stream]


If you had to describe 2016 in one word what would it be? What one word do you want to define 2017? Let us know in the comments! 



43 Responses

  1. Ryan says:

    I don’t think I could use that word in such a public place…

  2. Gil Giannini says:

    Hi Gags,
    Happy New Year to both of you. I just got done reading this, and have to say it was truly enjoyable. I like the way you manage to turn your lemons into lemonade. I recall that camping trip (and especially enjoyed our conversation around the campfire that evening). What you left out of your description of the events of that evening was that because of where we were, methods of communications we virtually non existent. I saw how worried you were, but kept strong. We could not go anywhere until we broke down camp. You managed to guided us through breaking down each tent, packing everything into the car an orderly fashion, all the while, not knowing what had really happened with Adam.

    Love you and miss you!

    • LocalNomads says:

      Thanks Dad! I’m so happy you liked it. It was definitely a stressful night but, I really did have a great time camping with you and mom. We should do it again sometime!

  3. Funniest blog I’ve read in awhile! I’m sorry your trials are the fodder for our entertainment, but I appreciate the laugh. One more silver lining? 2016 might’ve thrown a lot of shit at you guys, but it was even worse for that elk.

    • LocalNomads says:

      Thank you so much! Unfortunately, that Elk didn’t stand a chance. And honestly it was hard to make this list with all of the amazing things that happened to us this year. Hopefully 2017 will be just as good 🙂

  4. neha says:

    You had an adventurous year. Getting broke and then recovering from it is not easy, neither is doing all kind of jobs. Hats off to you. Hope 2017 will be much more smooth selling and you will get to travel a lot

  5. Sounds like quite an eventful year. Interesting destinations as well. Hope that we all have a great year of traveling ahead of us. 🙂

  6. I just loved your post! With so much going wrong you always had a silver lining and reading that made my day 🙂

    Camera breaking was disastrous though 🙁

    • LocalNomads says:

      I’m so glad we were able to make your day! We had such a great year all in all we had a hard time making this list. The camera was the worst though. Even worse than losing the car

  7. Emily says:

    Sounds like you guys had some pretty amazing adventures, and you always managed to find silver linings! This can be hard sometimes when your miles and miles away from home and everything is going wrong (my recent trip to india!) Ill try to do the same in my future trips!

    • LocalNomads says:

      Glad you enjoyed the read Emily! It’s definitely not easy to stay calm when everything is going wrong. But if you can’t do anything to help the situation, it’s it’s out of your control, we’ll then you’ve got to just surrender to that flow. I’ve gotten much better about this as we continue on our journey, but it is always hard!

  8. I did have a pretty good 2016. But I did have my bad moments on the road too. I also went broke in Prague and I know what a pain that can be. I also got robbed in Madrid. But like you guys, I also tried to find the silver lining in each case. Here is hopping that you have a great 2017.

    • LocalNomads says:

      Thanks! Wow! Sorry to hear about those bad moments. I’m impressed you were able to find something positive about each case! Did you end up working in Prague? Hope you have a fantastic year!

  9. Great post idea. I like the sense of humour and the fact you included the silver lining to the lowlight. Overall I’d say looking back on lowlights is positive when you have a sense of humour.

  10. I would describe 2016 as Positive. You had amazing and adventurous 2016.
    May you travel more this year and have great experience. Happy traveling.

  11. You had an adventurous year in 2016. Wish you all the luck for 2017. If I need to describe my 2016 , it would be Fulfilling. One word that would define my 2017 should be successful.

    • LocalNomads says:

      Definitely adventurous. I never would have thought I’d find myself at the bottom of the Grand Canyon or eating soup dumplings in Taipei! 2016 definitely surprised me. I really like that word,”fullfilling” that’s definitely a good way to describe your success in 2016! Now I hope you have a very successful 2017! Best of Luck!

  12. Sia says:

    It is a breath of fresh air to read this honest recap of the not so glamorous things about travelling and blogging… and life for that matter. I can totally relate to crashing on your parents couch. There is almost always a silver lining or when I can’t find any I try to persuade myself that I learned from my mistakes and got experience.

    • LocalNomads says:

      I am always learning from my mistakes. It can definitely be hard to do especially when you’re stuck in the middle of it. Seasonal depression definitely kicked in while I sat on the couch day after day! But I knew I wouldn’t be stuck there forever. I just needed to focus on the positive, and not dwell on the negative (which is hard to do in NY because New Yorkers LOVE to complain.. especially about snow! haha). I’m sending you positive vibes in 2017!

  13. Indrani says:

    Good humour thrown in to your travel mishaps, the best part was reading the silver lining in each of them. 🙂 Wish you a very eventful and safe 2017!

    • LocalNomads says:

      Thanks Indrani! I definitely have to look back on those moments with a good laugh. Some of them seemed like the end of the world at the time! But now I can just brush them off as experience! I hope you have an incredible year!

  14. Very interesting destinations! Sounds like you had many adventures 🙂 It was a pleasure to read it!

    • LocalNomads says:

      Thanks Adam I’m glad you enjoyed the read! Our destinations were definitely not all places I would have expected to end up this past year! I can definitely say I’ll probably end up in some places I never expected in 2017. I’m hoping though that Iceland will be one of those places.

  15. Snigdha says:

    Looks like an adventurous year.. Full of fun and entertainment and a share of little troubles.. But that’s what makes travel to interesting. Hope you have a wonderful 2017. Thanks for the share. Cheers!!

    • LocalNomads says:

      Adventure is definitely the Key! We really just went where the wind took us in 2016. Which was absolutely great, and worked out for us, and it definitely taught me a lot! I hope your 2017 is joyous and full of adventure as well!

  16. esther says:

    hehehe “because shit happens!” but we can recover from it and make fun of it! 2016 was a shitty year for some stuff (yes… Bowie, Cohen, Fisher, Prince…) but it was splendid on the other hand! Let’s hope that 2017 brings more light and more happy travels! 🙂

    • LocalNomads says:

      Yes! I definitely hope 2017 will bring us some more light! If not maybe it will shed some light. I definitely cannot right off 2016 because for us it really was a pretty good year! I hope 2017 continues on that path of good vibes!

  17. 2016 – incredible – one incredible trip and relocation
    2017 – trippy because of all the trips we will take

    If everyone wrote about all of the bad experiences they had while on a trip nobody would ever want to go. But you are right when you said it is how you recover from those experiences. Those experiences can also be fun as well.

    • LocalNomads says:

      Great Words! Haha Where did you relocate to?
      It’s true, as bloggers we really try not to write about the negative experience in a place, because it’s not the destination’s fault that… it rained or you had your bag stolen. It’s just life! But I definitely think its those down and out moments where you can prove yourself to be travel worthy. If you let the rain ruin your trip, then you’ll never remember the positive moments. I really hope that you have a trippy 2017! ??

  18. Kristina says:

    This was such a fun twist on a regular round up post! Sorry there were so many lowlights though. At least it seems you had a sense of humor about it!

    • LocalNomads says:

      Haha You definitely got the point! I was getting so tired of seeing so many peoples pins about the highlights of their year. I didn’t want to write the same thing, but I did want to recap our year some how. I definitely try to keep a sense of humour about most things. I hate being too serious (it gives you wrinkles! Just kidding) This year definitely taught me to make my own magic when things just weren’t going right. You know, when life gives you lemons…
      I hope you guys have a fantastic 2017!!

  19. Carissa says:

    Sounds like you had one crazy year! Lots of fun adventures 🙂

    • LocalNomads says:

      It was definitely a crazy year! We had so many crazy road trips and visited tons of different states and National Parks. It was wild. 2017 is shaping up to be a heck of a year too now that we’re living fully nomadic in Asia.

  20. Marta says:

    Love that you were able to find all those silver linings 🙂

  21. Dave says:

    Unfortunate and different. I like your spin on the top places posts that you usually see and your ability to find the positivity in everything!

    • LocalNomads says:

      Thanks Dave. Honestly, there was nothing really unfortunate about our year. We feel like some of the luckiest people on the planet, having the lives that we do. The silver linings definitely outshine the darkness.

  22. Andrea says:

    Hey Guys! I actually met Adam once when he was bar tending in the Grand Canyon. This must of been about two years ago now, but Adam was bar tending the day we hiked to the bottom of the grand canyon and back in one day. He told me about your guys’ lifestyle and mentioned this blog, which I have only checked out for the first time today. Fast forward two years: my now fiance and I live in Seattle (moved from CA a year ago) and are working 9-5 jobs, but I never forgot that quick chat with Adam! I totally fell in love with the idea of what you guys were/are doing and it’s like it was forever in the back of my mind. I remembered you guys were called local nomads because it made total sense with the life you’re living and today I found your blog. I think we’re going to try to do this after our wedding! It’s sort of what I imagine will be our honeymoon, so to speak. SO basically, thanks guys, thanks for being so inspiring! Really! Finding these posts very encouraging! Even this one shitting on 2016, who knew then that 2017 would be worse?! But rock on and keep livin like you do! Maybe we’ll cross paths again one day, best of luck, light and peace to you! 🙂

    • LocalNomads says:

      Hi Andrea! It’s so crazy to hear from you after all this time. I met a shit load of people while working at that bar, I wish I could say that I know exactly who you are, but anyway…I’m so glad you tracked us down and reached out to us. It’s so exciting that you’re going to start a traveling life of your own soon. It’s stressful for sure, but so much more rewarding than living your life in pursuit of money or things. Living at the Grand Canyon was so transformative for us, even though it was tragic for our blog….You should send us a message through our facebook page so that we can connect on there, we’d love to follow along with your journey!

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