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Home in Amsterdam.
Home in Amsterdam.

Another year comes to an end and a fresh new year begins. 2015 was yet another tumultuous year, marked by horrific events. What with terrorist attacks around the world, the refugee crisis and man-made/natural disasters, it was sometimes hard to stay positive. Despite the somber mood, 2015 was, for me, an amazing year with many highlights: my iambassador company flourished, with exciting new projects, a successful conference, a prestigious award and a new appointment; I received some cool media attention from the likes of CNN; I got to speak about travel blogging at Google; and I travelled to some of my favourite places and discovered new gems. Perhaps because of these highs and lows, 2015 instilled in me a heightened sense of gratitude towards my family, friends and colleagues, and the opportunities that have come my way. Travelling helped considerably in keeping a positive mindset as I got to spend time with my friends in far-flung places, meet inspiring people and experience the incredible beauty of our world.

I visited a total of 16 countries on four continents in 2015, with lots of home time in Amsterdam in between. Join me as I re-cap my 2015 via a photo essay of my favourite Instagrams of the year:

My year of travel in Instagrams

My year kicked off with a trip to Helsinki where I spoke at a conference and got to experience the capital of Finland in the heart of winter.

The sea fortress island of Suomenlinna in #Helsinki, a UNESCO Heritage site. #nbefinland

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

From the winter to the tropics: my next trip was to sunny Curaรงao in the Caribbean Sea.

The colourful Punda waterfront in #Willemstad, a #unesco world heritage site. #Curacao A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Glad I discovered Daaiboi Beach. What a beauty! #Curacao #travel

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

In February, I visited Dublin, Ireland to deliver a seminar.

Out on a stroll around #Dublin – first stop: the Temple Bar neighborhood. #travel

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

In between my trips, I spend my weekends strolling around my beloved city, Amsterdam.

These houses along the #Amsterdam flower market sure look like doll houses.

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

The travel trade fair, ITB Berlin is a fixture in my calendar every year and 2015 was no different. It’s always a pleasure to visit this awesome city!

A stunning pink #sunset in #Berlin today.

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

In March, I was back in Dublin for a second set of seminars. This time, I added a few extra days to my stay and went on an unforgettable road trip to the Cliffs of Moher and along the Wild Atlantic Way!

I was literally blown away atop the Cliffs of Moher! Spectacular place! #VEIRL #wildatlanticway

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Quintessential Irish landscapes in Dingle Peninsula #VEIRL #wildatlanticway #Ireland

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Back in Amsterdam and I chanced upon this absolutely enchanting scene:

A midnight stroll in #Amsterdam on full-moon night.

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

In April, I spent several days in one of my favourite cities: Cape Town, to speak at WTM Africa, a tourism trade fair. It was my sixth time in Cape Town and I’ll never tire of this view!

Picture perfect Cape Town. #lovecapetown

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

A week later, I was in Hamburg, Germany, for the iambassador conference: The Social Travel Summit. The Summit, a gathering of professional travel bloggers and marketing executives from around the world, was a big success and I couldn’t be more proud of this achievement. There were many highlights during my time in Hamburg; one of them was my visit to the Miniatur Wunderland.

A week later and I was back in South Africa! The highlight of this ten-day trip was undoubtedly the safari in Phinda Private Game Reserve.

The Table Mountain in Cape Town behind a misty veil. #travel #sunset #lovecapetown

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

A colourful street in the Bo Kaap neighborhood in Cape Town. #travel #lovecapetown

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Just arrived at the Zevenwacht Wine Estate & it’s gorgeous! #meetsouthafrica #stellenblog #winery #wine

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Ten minutes in the Phinda Game Reserve and we’ve spotted a cheetah, zebras and kudu! #meetsouthafrica #safari

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Sunset in Durban. #meetsouthafrica #itbc15 #durban

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

My next trip was a river cruise on the Rhine. This gorgeous one-week cruise took me from Switzerland through France and Germany back to Amsterdam. Strasbourg was a definite highlight!

Spent the morning strolling around the gorgeous French town of Colmar in the Alsace region. #VEViking @viking_cruises

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Meadows and sheep in the Black Forest. #travel #Germany #VEViking

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Just love these cute 17th century houses perched over the canal in #Strasbourg . #VEViking #France

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

A lovely view of #Heidelberg from the castle. #travel #Germany #VEViking

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

After a month in Amsterdam, it was time for another trip, this time to one of my favourite regions in Italy: Emilia Romagna! Keep scrolling down to see why. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ahh, the food shops in# Bologna! I always end up buying something every time I go in. Such gorgeous #food! #Blogville

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Aperitivo (happy hour) time in #Bologna – love the ambiance! #Blogville

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

The stunning view of #Bologna from the top of Torre Asinelli! So worth the climb! #Blogville #inemiliaromagna

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

The amazing Teatro Municipale in Reggio Emilia. #Blogville #inemiliaromagna

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Say cheese! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

In July, I took a break – my annual digital detox – for two weeks. I flew to Malaga, Spain, with my partner, hired a car and spent ten fabulous days in the mountains of Andalucia.

The amazing caves of Nerja in Andalucia, #Spain

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

This trip was quickly followed by a family visit to Malaysia. My two best friends and I decided to take-off to Bali for a few days and when we returned to Malaysia, I took my Mum and sister to Malacca to celebrate my Mum’s birthday. Fab times!

Waiting for the #sunset to unfold in #Bali

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

An elderly man playing an erhu, a traditional Chinese two-stringed violin, in Jonkers Street, #Melaka #Malaysia

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

A row of beautiful blue houses in #Malacca #Malaysia

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

I returned to Amsterdam to find the city in an infectious summer mood!

A gorgeous #sunset in #Amsterdam – with the Rijksmuseum in the background.

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

In early-September, I visited my first ‘new country’ of the year: Latvia. Latvia turned out to be the biggest surprise of the year for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I fell in love with the capital, Riga, in an instant!

The #sunset in #Riga today. The cobblestone street looks like it’s paved with gold! Stunning! #enjoylatvia

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Happy to be back home in #Amsterdam ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

After a quick stop in Amsterdam, I was on my way to another of my favorite places in Europe: Costa Brava in Catalonia. The food and wines, the scenery and the people never fail to keep me in great spirits! This trip was also the source of my favourite Instagram of 2015: “the painter and his subject”.

The painter and his subject – Calella de Palafrugell #incostabrava

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

After a week in Costa Brava, I returned home to find Amsterdam bathed in sunshine with temperatures rivalling those in Catalonia!

Such a gorgeous September day in #Amsterdam โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

My next trip was to the Alps mountains in western Austria! The scenery was awe-inspiring!

Me and @reisefreunde putting our feet up after a looooong hike to this mountain lake above Lech. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ #austria

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Hiked up a mountain today and was treated to this awesome view of Lech! #austria

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

Back in Amsterdam in time to see the first fall colours.

Spotted this beautiful boat in the Brouwersgracht canal in #Amsterdam – loving the autumn colours!

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

In early-November, I made my way to yet another annual fixture in my calendar, WTM London. Thick fog resulted in a lengthy delay but on the approach into London, I was treated to these amazing views:

View of the Thames during the approach to #London in the #londonfog

A photo posted by Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) on

My next trip was to Vancouver, Canada! Vancouver is one of the most spectacular cities in the world and the weather during my week there couldn’t be better!

I returned to Amsterdam just in time to catch the premiere of Star Wars – The Force Awakens – at arguably one of the most beautiful cinemas in the world: Tuschinski Amsterdam.

A BIG THANK YOU to you for coming this far! I hope you enjoyed the Instagrams of my travels in 2015. Which photos are your favourites? If you’d like to follow me on my travels via Instagram, feel free to…

velvet-escape-instagram

Finally, I would like to wish all my readers a..

HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL 2016!!

Big hugs,

Keith xo

2 Responses

  • Hi Niamh,
    It sure was a great year with many highlights. Yours wasn’t too bad too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a terrific 2016 and hope to catch up with you soon, though sadly not at TBE.
    Take care and have a fun NYE!

    Hugs,
    Keith xo

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