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Even though we aren’t even half way through the year, it’s never too early to start planning for New Year’s Eve, which is probably my favorite holiday. It’s a celebration where you can look back and smile at everything you’ve done and with the other foot, step into a new year of adventures and excitement. 2016 was an amazing year and to cap it off, I decided to stay at Travel + Leisure’s number one hotel in the world, Nihi Sumba Island.

The hotel exceeded all my expectations — and I had no idea the staff would dress me up as a traditional Sumbanese warrior for the New Year’s celebrations. While some people may prefer the crowded beaches of Rio or Times Square, I actually loved having a low-key New Year’s celebration with lackluster, yet still festive fireworks — spending time with a unique group of people from all around the world and basking in the simple of beauty of Sumba, Indonesia.

Our butlers dressed us up like it was our wedding day and yes, the sword was real. (And no, I didn’t lose any limbs, but I did gain a ton of amazing memories.)

I ended the night with maybe one too many tequilas at owner Chris Burch’s private villa, which is at the center of Nihi Sumba Island. Meeting a ton of new friends in the process, the only problem was that it set 2017 up to be an epic year.

Now that we are six months into 2017, I can say that this year has already been pretty epic. I’ve seen the Northern Lights in Norway and relaxed on the beach in Koh Samui, just to name a few things. 2016 was an incredible year, but I have no doubts that the rest of 2017 will one-up what I’ve already experienced — this summer alone is bringing me to Guatemala, Ghana, Mexico, Greece and Botswana, among other places. Follow along with all my travel adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Know before you go.

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