We made it; it’s almost a new year, full of new opportunities and adventures! This year was pretty amazing in terms of travel! I am by no means a nomad by trade, however, as a part-time traveler, I’m proud of the trips I was able to take in 2015. There were ups and downs, and lessons to be learned, but I’m very happy with the year I had and am excited for next year as well. Here are some of the highlights from 2015:
February: I was lucky enough to be able to take my first trip to China early on in the year. I spent two wonderful weeks exploring Shanghai and cross-training at the Peninsula Hotel there. Shanghai was full of new experiences and foods, and I loved every minute of it. Being able to celebrate Chinese New Year in China is an experience I won’t soon forget.
April: My second big trip of the year was my third visit to New York City. Every time I’m able to go to New York it gets better and better. I’m so happy to have been able to visit Coney Island, walk along the boardwalk and go on the historic Cyclone roller coaster. Seeing The Phantom of the Opera was the cherry on top of an amazing trip.
July: July holds a very special place in my heart because it was the month that I took my very first solo road trip to Asheville, North Carolina. This was an especially big accomplishment for me considering I am not a very comfortable driver. There were so many things to do, and everyone was so kind and willing to give directions or recommendations. I loved hiking in Chimney Rock, sampling the brews from the local breweries, and the independence of it all.
August: August was a big Chicago month – Mike and I had an amazing time at Lollapalooza at the beginning of the month and then enjoyed a staycation at The Freehand Chicago. Lollapalooza was my first ever music festival and I’m happy to say it’s inspired me to want to go to many more. The Freehand provided a very unique hostel experience and the restaurants there are to die for. Both experiences were so fun and showed us a new side of our home city.
October: We followed the Foo Fighters south on a little road trip to Memphis, Tennessee. We had our ups (Sun Studios and Stax Museum, lots of great barbecue, and live music everywhere) and downs (a perpetually deserted downtown and drunkenly falling off a karaoke stage) with this trip, but ultimately we had a wonderful time in Blues City.
December: This month brought us to San Francisco, California to celebrate my 26th birthday. The city was beautiful and the nature surrounding it even more so. We walked for miles, hiked up mountains, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and ate some amazing food.
So, what’s next?
As I said before, I work full-time and travel whenever I can, as much as possible. It actually works pretty well for me. Because I work in the hospitality industry, the first quarter of the year is always the best time for some vacation time. So right now I have loooong weekends in both January and February that I don’t have any solid plans for, but I do have some ideas. We’ll see what happens (suggestions always welcome!) I have a trip to Toronto, ON set for the beginning of April and a pre-planned but not booked road trip to Gatlinburg, TN sometime in Spring. Due to a work related situation, I’ll be pretty limited on trips in the summertime, so I imagine there will be a lot of weekenders and day trips during that time. I’ve got my eye on New Buffalo, Michigan, the New Glarus brewery in Wisconsin, Galena, IL and perhaps a weekend trip to Milwaukee, WI. The fact that I can’t plan anything big for some months actually has a silver lining though, because I am planning a BIG adventure for September. I am in the very beginning stages of planning, so I’m not quite ready to hash out the details. It’ll be good though, I promise. In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on the adventures as they come!
In closing, I want to leave you with some words of wisdom from Mr. George Bailey. Every year during the holidays, I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with my family. While the whole film is quotable and emotional and all around, well, wonderful, one particular exchange stuck with me this year:
GB (played by the very handsome Jimmy Stewart, don’t judge): “There she blows! You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are?”
George’s Uncle Billy: “Uh huh, breakfast is served, lunch is served, dinner….”
GB: “No, no, no, no. Anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles.”
Now, in some ways I am inclined to agree with both of these gentleman, but I think George Bailey really has a point here. What’s better than the sound of opportunity and adventures to be had? Isn’t that why we’re all here? Is there a more exciting sound than the sound of exploration and travelling to new lands far from home? I don’t think so. ON that note, here’s wishing everyone an exciting and exploratory 2016 filled with new adventures and bold decisions!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!