Making Amazing Summer Memories | Summer 2019 in Japan, Bali, & Italy

I have been very fortunate to visit some amazing places this summer and create memorable experiences with my wife, Elissa, my friends, and my family. And after one year of marriage, Elissa and I, finally took our honeymoon! 

Since we paid for our wedding, we needed some time to save and plan for the big trip. Although, our trip happened by complete accident. Shortly after our wedding, we went to a wine festival in San Francisco with our friends. And at that wine festival, we did what one does and tried many, many wines. At that festival, there was also a silent auction to raise money for charity. And we thought, “why not?” A ton of festival-goers, slightly (or some very) intoxicated individuals and really cool things to spend money on? It’s a smart idea.

Well, Elissa and I gave into the temptation and bid on a trip for two to Bali without doing any research on the hotel, location, flights or anything else before placing our bid. The auction ended and we were the big winners. Hooray! Now we had to plan a trip within the next year to get to Bali so we could take advantage of this incredible package.

Did you know that flying to Bali takes over 24 hours of travel time and typically longer with layovers? Neither did we. And when we found out that our package was only good for a week, we decided that a week just wasn’t long enough. I mean if you’re going to spend 24 to 36 hours traveling to get somewhere you really want to make it worth it! So, after lots of back and forth we decided we would fly to Japan for a week, which had been at the top of my list for a long time, then fly to Bali for 10 days.

I can’t even begin to describe how fantastic this trip was and how opposite Japan is from Bali, in terms of culture. Japan is a very wealthy country, very clean, people move quickly and with determination. Their food is out of this world, it’s the best ramen and sushi I’ve ever had! The sites were wonderful, even though the people were busy and stressed, they were all incredibly hospitable. Just after a week there, we realized that there just wasn’t enough time to see everything or even really get to know Japan. I definitely want to go back.

After Japan, we boarded our eleven-hour flight to Bali. It’s a small place and most of the flights are routed through Singapore. While in Bali, we stayed in a private villa with our own negative edge pool over-looking the ocean. We ate like kings and had an incredible time! Bali is a relatively poor country and the only stable democracy in the region. The people were friendly, accommodating, and you could genuinely tell they appreciated you spending your tourist dollars there. We visited temples, ate Balinese food (which is a marriage of Indian and Thai food), went scuba diving, and relaxed. If given the opportunity, I would absolutely pick up and move there. That’s just how much we enjoyed our trip to Bali. What we didn’t enjoy was the 40+ hours it took to get home. But, it was a small price to pay for such an epic vacation!

A short two months later, we left the country once again to go to Italy. Elissa and I were invited to one of her best friend’s weddings on the island of Capri. After the festivities, we stayed a few days on the island and then ventured off to Sorrento. We toured the Amalfi Coast by boat with some friends, swam in the Tyrrhenian Sea, and ate so much pasta, sea food, and wine. I’m surprised I don’t weigh 300 pounds! We also did a massive hike called “The Path of The Gods” that had some of the most incredible views. It ended up being another adventure that I will never forget.

Looking back on these trips, I realize that I’d much rather spend my money on experiences rather than stuff. Stuff breaks. It’s expensive and in the end, it eventually gets thrown out or donated. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to stop spending money on everything. But, I am going to ask myself, do I really need this? Hopefully that answer is no, so I can share more experiences and make more memories with my wife, my friends, and my loved ones. I’m not sure what the next adventure will look like, but I can tell you that I am already starting to save.

– Danny Brown

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