If I had to pick a single word to describe 2017, it’d be “uprooted.”
An uprooted year for me, meant I experienced a bit of a travel fail.
Like the pattern of ocean waves, I’ve watched my vacation days begin to finally accumulate, only to watch them ebb for weddings, holidays, and other personal obligations. Of course, every vacation day used was beautifully spent and worth every minute, but in terms of travel, my PTO was not leveraged for a true, solid international trip or weekend vacation. In fact, I used a total of seven (7?!) vacation days this year. A part of me feels like a massive failure – I’m a travel blogger who writes about traveling more with a full time job!
Yet despite 2017 being one of the more uprooted years of my life, I feel a small sense of accomplishment that despite it all, I still did manage to step outside my hometown on a few occasions and made some major life changes.
I haven’t written a year in review since 2015. It’s fun to write a year in review. In fact, once I began thinking back at my travels, I thought, hey, maybe I did in fact travel more with a full time job than I expected!
2017 Travel Accomplishments
Dallas, Texas for a Work Trip
Although I spent most of my time in the confines of the convention center, I did have two occasions where escaped: I was able to eat some Texan barbecue and visit with my family who live in the area. This trip inspired my desk departure tip: make personal travel an extension of business travel.
A Bachelorette Party in Miami
A long weekend to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of my dear friend resulted in a destination bachelorette party with snorkeling and kava tasting in Fort Lauderdale and plenty of eating and drinking in Miami. The highlight of the trip was a Miami food tour, where we indulged in trying local foods until it hurt to walk.
Exploring Marietta, Ohio
For the first time, I spent quality time visiting my neighbor to the south. Yes, this Michigander always considered Ohio a “drive-through” state under she spent quality time discovering the charm of Marietta, Ohio. I enjoy discovering more about the midwest, especially places that are easy driving distances for long weekend trips. A few things I wrote about this trip:
- Weekend in Marietta, Ohio — my itinerary of what to do, where to stay, and what to eat for a long weekend trip
- Marietta Ghost Tour — the first settlement of the Northwest Territory did not disappoint with its high volume of haunted places
- Sewah Studios Historical Markers — I went on a tour of how those roadside historical markers are created. My video of the process went viral on Facebook!
Actually, this wasn’t my final visit to Ohio. I drove twice more to Ohio for work trips, resulting in 2017 being the year I spent more time in Ohio than I had in my entire life combined. Maybe in 2018 I’ll spend even more time in Ohio (preferably for fun, not work!).
Paying Respects in Washington, DC
Though I never shared it on this blog, one of the more meaningful and moving trips was to Washington, D.C. for National Police Week. We road tripped with friends, rented bikes, and visited different monuments, though this particular trip focused on welcoming the Police Unity Tour bicyclists, paying respects at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, and fighting tears at the candlelight vigil. I’ll likely never write about it, because of how personal it was, so here are some photos highlighting the weekend.
A Wedding in Traverse City
The most beautiful setting for a wedding: a farmhouse in wine country, Traverse City. My friend, Lara, a south Florida wedding photographer, has fantastic taste when it comes to photogenic wedding venues. One of the most fun and picturesque weddings I’ve ever attended, the day was full, beaming with love, beauty, friendship, and magic.
Boston for an Industry Conference
Travel for work led me to Boston once again. Quickly becoming one of my favorite American cities, this particular conference didn’t afford much time for sightseeing, though I did have the opportunity to raise my IQ at Harvard and indulge in a lobster roll on the harbor. Some advice I’d written in the past: what do do in Boston when you’re stuck on a work trip.
So no, while I technically didn’t go on any vacations this past year, I still managed to escape the office. The primary reason for my lack of travel was lack of time (and lack of certainty about the future), as you’ll see from my personal highlights
2017 Personal Highlights
Normally I would reserve a year in review on a travel blog specific to travel. However, as this is a travel blog that balances travel with having a career and personal life; it’d be only half the story if I didn’t share some of the other life events that occured. For people like me, it’s the personal life that often dictates how my travel life pans out.
This is where the magic “word of the year” comes from: uprooted. The long process of moving and uncertainty about the future brought a special self-inflicted stress to our lives. This long journey began with listing our house in February and finally ended in September when we acquired the keys to our new home. For a majority of the year, we were uprooted. We didn’t know where home would be. We worried about the lease ending too quickly for our temporary housing. We wondered if we’d ever find a house in our budget. With such an aggressive housing market, we truly couldn’t afford any time traveling away. What if our dream home appeared on the market while we’re vacationing in South America? Moving is the primary reason why we didn’t travel, but definitely one of the best things we EVER could have done.
The distinct honor of serving as Maid of Honor in two weddings was the highlight of my summer. These weddings were a cornerstone of my 2017 — not only the wedding day, but all the celebrations leading up to it: bachelorette parties, wedding showers, and every conversation and ounce of anticipation of all things wedding. My sister’s Pinterest-perfect wedding is captured in this lovely photo of us.
Reuniting, 1 Decade Later.
Guess who planned her high school reunion? sheepishly raises hand I know, as if I didn’t have enough going on in my life, I volunteered to plan my high school reunion with another class officer. No excuse can shy me away from responsibility, I suppose. Event planning is in my wheelhouse, but I’m so grateful for my co-planner (and grateful for reconnecting after a decade). We pulled off a successful party (and perhaps too many libations on my part), albeit many anxiety-ridden nights and nightmares about the logistics of the reunion. Sheesh!
Travel Goals for 2018
My dreams have been haunted by the beautiful idea of returning to Iceland. I’ve craved going on an adventure so deeply, it felt like my heart was about to jump out over anticipation. Yet I’ve also cowered over, starting to accept that typical ‘business executive’ mindset that I belong chained to my desk, working, proving myself vs. seeing/tasting/feeling the world. That was 2017. In 2018, I plan to purposely travel more.
Finally using those travel rewards
A year of limited travel has the travel rewards and travel points rolling in, sitting in a treasure chest, waiting to be used. This is the year that I’m FINALLY going to take advantage of those travel rewards and determine the optimal way to take advantage.
My passport expires in a few short months, so it’s time to renew that sacred book and put it to use. Yes, this year I’m going to try my hardest to travel internationally. The last time I left U.S. soil was a semi-random trip to Japan. That trip spoiled me with unexpected super cheap flights — since then I feel like I’ve been waiting expectedly for another travel deal that has yet to reveal itself for me. If I keep waiting, I’ll wait forever. I just need to do it. And I will.