My Summer Travel Plans

It seems like only yesterday I announced I’d be moving to Indonesia.  That was 10 months ago, but I can remember that moment so vividly.

Aaron and I were traveling in Colombia at the time, completely unsure about what the future held for us.  But when he was offered a job to teach at a university in Jakarta – being the crazy kids that we are – we seized the opportunity to live in a country that we had absolutely loved traveling in.

He signed a one-year contract and three weeks later we were on a plane, bound for Jakarta.  Back then, neither of us had ever actually lived in another country, and while we had visited Jakarta briefly during our seven-month backpacking trip to Southeast Asia, we really had no idea what to expect.  Back then, one year sounded like such a long amount of time.  I honestly never thought my time here would actually come to an end.

But in seven weeks I’m leaving Jakarta…for good.

There have been a lot of exciting life events happening ‘round these parts as of late.  Yes, we have officially decided that we will not to stay in Jakarta next year.  Last week there was a flurry of plane ticket purchases and at this point we have pretty much finalized our summer travel plans and our plans for the foreseeable future.

So without further ado…


My Summer Travel Plans - The Travel Lush

I was just in Bali last month…remember that epic failure of a trip?  Well, I’m headed back next week!  It turns out one of my favorite people in the world is going to be in Bali on business, so obviously I jumped at the chance to hang out with her.

It’ll be a quick trip, but there is sure to be some wild and fun times.  Plus, she’s the first friend I’ve had come to Indonesia since I moved here, so I am beyond excited to see a familiar face and show off the country I’ve called home for the past year.

It will be my final rendezvous with wild and crazy Kuta for the foreseeable future.  And I plan to actually visit a few iconic sights around Bali that I’ve neglected to see during my previous four trips there!


My Summer Travel Plans - The Travel Lush

I have gushed over and over about how the Philippines is my favorite country in Southeast Asia and how Boracay is hands down one of the best beaches in Southeast Asia.  Well folks, I’m headed back to Boracay this summer and I am ecstatic.

Because we didn’t have the chance to have a proper vacation in Indonesia, Aaron and I decided that we could use a nice beach vacation after his job ends in July.  And what better place to soak up the sun – and the rum – than in Boracay?

I’m actually really excited to return to one of my favorite places on earth and this time around I promise I will peel myself away from the world-famous White Beach long enough to actually visit some of the other amazing beaches and attractions this tiny island has to offer.  I’m excited to actually do a little digging and find out what else there is to do in Boracay.  Because I’m pretty sure I missed out on some incredible things during my previous visit in 2014.

We’ve also decided to allot a couple of days to exploring Manila.  It’s not a lot of time, but after reading this great post by Dani over at Globetrotter Girls, I’m actually really excited to visit some of the colorful neighborhoods, historical sights and vegetarian restaurants in Manila.


My Summer Travel Plans - The Travel Lush

Yup, after nearly one year away from home, I’m going back to my home state for a much needed visit.

As always I’ll be shuttling up and down the southern coast, from my parents’ homes in San Diego to my sisters’ places in Orange Country.  Aaron and I will be heading to Los Angeles to visit family and friends.  And then we’re headed to his hometown of Ojai for his little brother’s wedding, which I am so excited for.  The occasion also doubles as a family reunion for us, so we are jazzed to see the entire family in one place!

During my time back home I am going to make a concerted effort to view these places through the lens of a tourist.  I love all of these places but I all too often fail to really appreciate how lucky I am to have grown up there.  Southern California is an amazing destination so I will be blogging about San Diego and Ojai.  (I realize no one has heard of Ojai, but seriously don’t you people watch The Bachelor? Anyway, I love it there.)


I’m so lucky to have family who lives in the coolest cities on the planet.  My big sister lives in Boulder, another one of my all-time favorite cities, and I’m headed there for a very long overdue visit.  We already have all kinds of grand plans…hiking, a beer and bicycle tour, farmers market excursions and sessions indulging in all of my favorite foods that I haven’t had access to in Jakarta.  How it will actually pan out I’m not sure but I’m so excited to spend a few days hanging out in beautiful Boulder and to have some face-to-face sister bonding time.

What’s next?

So some of you caught on to the fact that something major was in the works given that we had to cancel our big Indonesia trip and hightail it back to Jakarta for a mystery meeting.  And obviously I’m not moving back to Jakarta or California.

So what’s next for this travel lush?

Well, I’m going to be a bit of a tease and not reveal my exact plans quite yet.  I will say that I won’t be moving back to the States.  I’m not saying any more than that, partially because it hasn’t sunk in yet and partially because I’m afraid I’m going to jinx it if I put it out there on the interwebs.  I’ll be revealing where I’m moving next very soon, so just hang in there!

What do you have planned for this summer?

About Justine

Justine Lopez is a California native who always seems to take the unconventional route in life. She also suffers from a serious case of wanderlust. In 2013, she set out on a yearlong round-the-world journey and never looked back. Since then she's lived the expat life in both Jakarta and Phnom Penh. She's now living and working as a freelance writer in Beijing. As she meanders her way through Asia she's always seeking out great vegetarian food, budget travel deals and amazing new travel destinations.

30 thoughts on “My Summer Travel Plans

    1. It’s a pretty good lineup, isn’t it! I have to admit that Bali wasn’t my favorite place in the world when I first visited. But now that I’ve been there a handful of times it kind of feels like my home away from home. I’m so happy that I get one last visit…I really wasn’t expecting to go back anytime soon. And as for California, it is most definitely a beautiful place 🙂

  1. BALI! I have ben begging my husband to take me to Bali for years. Before we choose to elope it was actually going to be our honeymoon destination. Have enough fun for the both of us! I am super excited for you but also super jealous!
    Alexandria recently posted…Week’s End 05/11/2015

    1. Don’t be jealous…just force your husband take you 😉 Bali is pretty crazy. I’m excited to be there with someone who has never stepped foot in Southeast Asia before. It’s going to be so fun 🙂

    1. It is exciting! And yes, Leah, you are in the know. Don’t you feel special?! I still can’t believe it 🙂

      It is crazy how quickly time goes. I always have so many people to visit in California that time goes by so quickly. I’m sure your time back in Washington just flew by. I’m going to try and make the most of my few weeks back there…and eat as many burritos as humanely possible.

  2. Sounds like you have some very exciting plans! I am SO jealous about your Philippines trip, I was in Boracay a couple of months ago and loved it. I personally preffered the other beaches to White Beach (and it takes a lot of beating!) Check out Duli Beach or Puka Shell Beach, you won’t be disappointed 🙂
    Lauren recently posted…Moving Abroad: Why I Chose Melbourne

    1. I love the Philippines so much Lauren! And Boracay is incredible. I can’t believe I didn’t check out any other beaches when I was there last time. This time I plan to do some serious exploring. Thanks for the tip on Duli Beach. I’d never even heard about it but it’s at the top of my to-do list now 🙂

  3. Aha! I have my answer from the previous post…haha…but looks like you have something in the works so pretty exciting to wait for the news…only a little more hint please? Or is it still in Asia? 🙂

  4. I am so jealous of your time in SoCal! I loved my time there last week and am thinking about stopping in San Diego in June before heading to New York because I feel like I didn’t spend enough time there when I visited a few years ago! Oh and I can’t wait to hear what you think about Manila! I’ll have to send you more restaurant tips!

    1. I’m so excited to be back in Southern California. It took being away for the past two years for me to really appreciate just how amazing it is there. I’m so lucky to have grown up in San Diego…it’s such a wonderful place! Yes, please send me more tips about restaurants in Manila! We’re actually not sure which area to stay in either. I think I need to send you an email to get recommendations!

    1. You’re so sweet Renuka! Well, I have a good summer of travel planned. But I hope I get to travel more frequently in the next year too. I mean, that’s the goal, right? Yay, I can’t wait to read about your summer travels 🙂 That’s exciting! Maybe someday I’ll get to India. My boyfriend and I are obsessed with the idea of traveling there! So we’ll see…

    1. Yeah, I’m excited for the change of scenery. But then again, I feel like I’m JUST starting to figure Jakarta out, so I’m sad about leaving. So it goes…

      I am so jealous about your New Zealand travels. I really want to go there! It sounds like you have some pretty awesome plans for the rest of the year!! I can’t wait to read about them 🙂

    1. I know…it is far too soon 🙁 And you’re so right, there is so much more I want to see of Indonesia. But I know I’ll be back! Ha, I wish I had the time to go to Komodo. I will go someday!

  5. Thats so exciting. It seems like I was just reading about you moving to Jakarta. Time goes by SO quickly. I’m really sad I couldn’ make it to indonesia on my travels but I suspect I’ll make my way there eventually. Good luck with everything. I’m super curious about your plans for whats next
    Rebekah recently posted…On Going Home

    1. I know. It feels like I just wrote about moving to Jakarta! It is insane that a year has passed so quickly. I’m sure you’ll make it to Indonesia eventually. I think you’d love it. I need to come back here too. There are so many places left to visit! We both have a lot more of the world to see 🙂

  6. Oh Justine- you are really killing me with not telling us where you are off to after your trip back home!! I’m dying to know what you’ve got planned!! Anyway, super envious you are going to have another trip to Bali! And I really can’t believe you’ve only got 7 weeks left! We’ve got 5 weeks left then we’ll be in California. Maybe we’ll cross paths and enjoy some veggie tacos together 🙂 Also- Justin, my husband, went to university in Boulder and absolutely raves about it. I definitely want to visit there sometime too.

    1. I got freaked out of the idea of putting my next destination out there for fear that I would jinx it or something! But I will be making the big reveal very soon! My time here is going so quickly. I still can’t believe I’m not going to be living in Jakarta anymore. But I am REALLY excited for what’s next 🙂 Oh my gosh, we will be in California at the same time. I’ll be back in July and passing through the LA area a few times. I’ll definitely contact you when I get back. You should go to Boulder. It’s so beautiful and I just love the vibe. I would live there in a heartbeat if I could!

  7. Very cool! The Philippines is at the top of my travel bucket list lately. I’m hoping to go within the next year or two. I’m currently living in Brazil, until about September, so my travel plans will be to explore as much of this huge country as possible and also take a trip to Argentina later in the summer.
    Have great travels!
    Kacy recently posted…Exploring the Caminhos de Pedra: Photo Essay

    1. Hi Kacy! I am so jealous that you’re living in Brazil. That country has been at the top of my list for what seems like forever. That’s amazing that you have the chance to explore it so thoroughly. The Philippines is an incredible country. I highly recommend going there whenever you get the chance. Happy travels 🙂

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