Another year has come and gone, and it still amazes me how quickly time flies. 2016 was a year of ups and downs, successes and disappointments, new adventures and everyday comforts. It was a year that included a milestone birthday, weddings of close friends, another bucket list destination crossed off the list, the re-launch of my blog, more freelance work, visits from old friends, lots of family time, and many mini adventures all over the country.
Today I’m looking back at my travels in 2016, reflecting on my experiences and sharing some tidbits of what’s to come.
Las Vegas: March and September
In March, my husband and I joined six of our friends for a long weekend in Las Vegas to celebrate three of us turning 30. We enjoyed massages at Canyon Ranch SpaClub and lounged by the Palazzo pool. We watched performers diving into the aqua theater in La Reve – The Dream and dancing to the beats in Michael Jackson One (a great show to get up and dance to). We ventured outside the city for a hike along the Gold Strike Hot Spring Trail near Boulder City. The natural hot spring pools are the main draw of this trail, but unfortunately a lot of them have dried up. This is definitely a change from the craziness of the strip, but certainly worth it if you want to escape all that excitement.
In September, we went back again to celebrate my mother-in-laws 60th birthday. A much quicker visit and not as jam packed, we spent most of the time relaxing by the pool, enjoying some great food, and exploring the strip. Las Vegas isn’t one of my favorite places, but my visits this year made me appreciate all it has to offer.
Irvine, CA: March
This year I finally had the chance to attend the Women in Travel Summit. This is the third year this conference has been held, and this year it was in Irvine, CA. As a local organizer of the Wanderful Denver chapter, I’m very involved with the organization, but wasn’t able to make it to WITS 2014 or 2015. I’m so happy I was able to be at the 2016 event. I met so many amazing travelers, bloggers and entrepreneurs. It really inspired me to get back into my travel writing, and as a result, I re-launched my blog with a new platform and theme. I’m excited to attend WITS17 in Milwaukee, meet even more great influencers, grow my network and learn some more tips and tricks from these talented ladies!
In early June, I spent a long weekend at a cabin in Breckenridge for my best friend’s bachelorette party. We surprised her with golf lessons at Breckenridge Golf Club (didn’t improve my skills all that much) and drinks on the patio afterwards overlooking the course. My husband and my friend’s husband organized a crazy scavenger hunt for us through downtown Breckenridge, taking us from one attraction to the next and teaching us a little more about the town than we ever knew before. The rest of the weekend was filled with hiking, games, photo taking, dance parties, erotic cakes and much more. Definitely had a blast with this crew of ladies, and it was fun being a tourist in my own state.
Steamboat Springs: June
I squeezed in a quick visit to Steamboat Springs with of few Colorado ladies I met this year. We had a great time soaking in the hot springs late into the night and again in the morning. It was a short trip, but definitely a lot of fun getting to know these ladies a little better.
My best friend lives in Boston, and I usually try to visit her every couple years, if I can. Busy schedules and tight funds meant I had to forgo my Boston adventure the last three years, and I felt it was time to go back. Two of my good friends from Chicago had never been and we figured we’d make it a girls trip. We had a great time exploring the city and meeting new people. We especially loved getting the chance to sail in Boston Harbor, one my best memories of the trip, along with many other great moments.
Santa Rosa, CA: July
Over 4th of July weekend, I got the chance to visit Sonoma Valley for my good friend’s wedding. My husband and I knocked another baseball stadium off his list by catching an Oakland A’s game, and then made our way up to Paradise Ridge Winery for the wedding festivities. The area is beautiful, and there are so many wineries to visit. I, of course, had to visit Lagunitas Brewery. Even if you don’t like wine or beer, there’s a lot of other things to do in Sonoma Valley. I hope to go back sometime soon to see more of the area, and make it to some places we didn’t have time to see.
I took my husband on his first camping trip this summer. We drove to Salida, near the Collegiate Range of the Rocky Mountains, with three friends. Not only did he get to camp for the first time, but he also conquered his first 14er: Mount Shavano. He definitely learned a few things, and he’s eager to get back out there in 2017 to knock a few more peaks off his list and get some more camping experience under his belt. I can’t wait to visit some new areas of the mountains that I’ve yet to see, and maybe hit some more mountain breweries while we’re at it!
Ragnar Relay Colorado: August
We hit the trail for our second Ragnar Relay in August, bringing back most of our 2015 team, and welcoming some new blood. We had an amazing time running through the beautiful Colorado Rockies, pushing ourselves to new heights, and making memories along the way. Next year, I look forward to experiencing a different course as we head to Zion for the Ragnar Trail run. It’ll be different, but I can’t wait to camp out with some of my closest friends and run through this beautiful National Park!
Dutchess County: August
I got the chance to visit a part of the country I never thought I’d go to. My best friend was married in Dutchess County, in upstate New York. It’s a beautiful area of the state, with historic homes built in neoclassical and colonial design, among other architectural styles. There’s a lot to see in Dutchess County and I was fortunate to visit a few notable spots, but I didn’t have nearly enough time to see it all. There’s always next time.
This was the big trip of 2016. Iceland had been on my bucket list for a couple years, and we finally made it there this year to celebrate our one year anniversary and my 30th birthday. The scenery and landscape is incredible, we felt like we actually visited different countries-or planets-as we drove from one region to the next. Every part of Iceland has a unique look and feel, and the North is a stark contrast to the South. We only had a week to visit, unfortunately, but we definitely plan to go back. There’s always more to see!
2017: The Year Ahead
The New Year brings different goals and more travels. I’m looking forward to visiting some more cities in the U.S. (Phoenix, Portland, Milwaukee, Chicago, Lake Geneva and possibly more), as well as crossing some more countries off my list (Estonia and Latvia). I’ve also got some resolutions that I hope to keep. I always resolve to do so many things, but it’s hard to keep up with sometimes. Hopefully, I can stick with most-if not all-of these in 2017.
- Grow my freelance work: I currently write for two companies on a regular basis, but I hope to collaborate with more brands, publications or organizations to grow my portfolio of work and hopefully write freelance full time.
- Keep building the blog: As I mentioned, I just re-launched this blog with a new title, theme and focus this year after taking a year and a half hiatus from blogging. I want to continue creating great content, and sharing my travels, fitness tips and beer tastings with everyone. The ultimate goal is to build a strong following of readers and monetize the blog.
- Say ‘Yes’ more often: I find myself wanting to do things, but finding excuses not to (time, money, etc.). I want to say yes to more experiences this year. I don’t have to do everything, but even saying yes to two or three more things I would have normally turned away from will help me grow as a person, and give me more to write about here on the blog.
- Stay healthy and eat better: I’ve always been an active person, but there were times this year where I really slacked off when it came to working out and eating right. I’m planning to cook more and take the time to try new, healthy recipes. I also want to get back on a semi-normal workout schedule. Travel and schedules may interfere slightly, but if I set my mind to it, I can make it happen.
I’ve written them down, so now I have to stick to them, right?
I’m thankful for everything I experienced in 2016, and I look forward to what 2017 has in store.
What was your favorite experience in 2016? What are you looking forward to the most in 2017?