Well, if I’m being honest, I’m very glad that 2017 is over. Every day it seemed like some new tragedy threatened to turn the world upside down and personally, it was one of the most challenging yet. I had some incredible highs, including the birth of my niece Ronen, who is the light of my life already. And lived out some of my biggest travel dreams, which filled me up in ways that I could not have imagined. And yet the last 6 months have been some of the darkest and most stressful, forcing me to face some harsh realities.
But, like always, travel continues to be my constant in a sea of confusion. It never ceases to root me in who I am and what is important. I already have some incredible plans for 2018 and so I step confidently into this new year with the knowledge that things can get better and that I am still #blessed beyond what even makes sense to me. With that being said, here is a look back on my travel adventures during the past 365 days.
1. Glacier, Washington (January)
My first trip of 2017 took place in early January where I journeyed to Mt. Baker with a group of wonderful people to celebrate my friend Mindy’s birthday. We rented two cabins, cooked delicious meals, played games, went snow shoeing, built fires, and made some great memories.
2. San Diego, California (February)
Just as the winter weather was really starting to get to me, I made my annual trip to San Diego to visit Jennie. We did all my favourite things like eating fish tacos, walking on the beach, and dining al fresco. I even took myself on a solo day trip to Coronado Island, which always makes me feel like I’ve gone back in time to a 50s movie. Cali you are bliss!
3. New Zealand (March)
I attempted to summarize my epic, bucket-list trip to NZ but I still don’t think I’ve truly found the words. I got to visit my favourite locations from the Lord of the Rings, fly in a helicopter to the top of a glacier, swing over 100m through a canyon, cruise through Milford Sound, roll down a hill in a ball filled with water (i.e. zorb) – New Zealand you were too much!
4. Seattle, Washington (April)
Less than two weeks after returning from New Zealand, I was back to traveling. I love Seattle and make several trips each year. This time it was with first-timer, Erica. We wandered around Pike Place Market, restaurant hopped in Capitol Hill (including an Alec Baldwin sighting!) and checked out the skyline from Kerry Park. Always a good time, and I know I’ll be back.
5. Squamish, BC (May)
Our fourth annual girls getaway was another huge success. We had perfect spring weather, yet again! I’m not even surprised at this point… We rented a house in Squamish on a quiet acreage in the mountains, perfect for quiet evenings sipping wine and catching up on our busy lives. This year we had a male party crasher, four-month baby Atticus. He put up with us like a champ and joined us on our venture up the Sea to Sky gondola for stunning views of Howe Sound. I’m so grateful to have such wonderful women in my life who keep investing in our friendship. I’m a lucky girl!
6. Victoria, BC (May)
For Mother’s Day this year, my family made a weekend getaway to Victoria. We had a massive two-bedroom suite overlooking the inner harbour, which totally gave me a Kevin McCallister in Home Alone 2 kind of moment. We spent our days eating good food, strolling through downtown and visiting Butchart Gardens, which I described as Disneyland for flower enthusiasts.
7. Portland, Oregon (July)
My fourth trip to Portland and this city just keeps getting better. I hadn’t visited in summer before and was thrilled at how beautiful the city looks when it’s green and filled with fresh roses. This trip included wine tasting in nearby Carlton, which boasts the most tastings rooms per capita in the US, a backyard barbecue, ice cream from Salt & Straw, aerial tramway views, and a Bob Saget comedy show. I can’t wait to come back!
8. Winnipeg, Manitoba (July)
It had been a couple years since my last trip to Winnipeg and this time it was to celebrate the nuptials of my beautiful cousin, Erin. I made it just in time for the bachelorette party and was able to squeeze in a full day at the fantastic Folk Music Festival, a trip to the Thermea spa, as well as heaps of quality time with family.
9. Austin, Texas (August)
My only work trip of the year took me to Austin, Texas for a conference, which I extended through the weekend to enjoy the sights. I was really taken by this city, although I definitely wouldn’t recommend it during the summer – the heat down south is no joke. That aside, the food, music, and weird vibes make it a fascinating place to visit.
10. Summerland, BC (September)
I had a milestone birthday this year… the big 3-0… and decided to use it as an excuse to take a trip. My cousin Teri-Lynn flew in for the weekend to join me and friends Erica and Sara for wine tasting in the Okanagan. I couldn’t think of a better way to turn the page to a new decade in my life story than relaxing with good friends in a beautiful place.
11. Arizona (October)
The surprise travel highlight of the year was my four-day road trip in Arizona with go-to travel buddy Megan. We managed to visit some of the most jaw dropping sights I’ve ever seen in our short getaway – namely Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and the Grand Canyon. However, it was the adorable town of Sedona that really captured my attention. I can’t wait to return for a whole week in the red rock desert oasis.
12. Hawai’i (December)
What can I even say about Hawaii that hasn’t been said? It’s perfection and I will absolutely never get sick of visiting. This was my fourth trip to the state but my first time on the Big Island. I spent a luxurious week playing and adventuring with Mindy who joined me on this pre-Christmas vacation. We hiked across an active volcano, boogie boarded at one of the top beaches in the country, snorkelled, toured a coffee farm, hiked through the jungle, and hung out in a bay full of sea turtles. Mahalo!
13. Nashville, Tennessee (December)
To cap off the year, I am continuing with my goal of celebrating New Year’s in a new city each year: 2014 in New Orleans, 2015 in Barcelona, 2016 in Seattle, 2017 in Vancouver and now I am about to ring in the start of 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. My friend Joy and I have been immersing ourselves in local living and trying our best to keep warm in the freezing temperatures. We have tickets to a Y2K themed party that we’re hoping brings all the nostalgia and good times to carry us into the new year with positivity and purpose!
2017: By the Numbers
Countries Visited: 2 (1 new one) – USA / New Zealand
States Visited: 7 (1 new one) – Washington / California / Oregon / Texas / Arizona / Hawaii / Tennessee
Provinces Visited: 2 – British Columbia / Manitoba
Plane Rides Taken: 15 one way flights (I count a flight as a flight regardless of how many segments or layovers it has).
Airports Visited: 16 (YVR, BLI, SEA, SAN, AKL, SYD, CHC, WLG, YXX, YWG, LAX, SFO, AUS, PHX, KOA, BNA)
Kilometres Flown in 2017: 61, 485
Beds Slept In: 23. Of those, 8 were hostels, 7 were hotels, 4 were crashing with family or friends, 2 were Airbnb rentals, one was a cabin, one was a condo rental, and one was my own bed!
What are your favourite travel memories of 2017?
What are you looking forward to most in the new year?