The holiday season is a time of reflection. This past year has been a whirlwind. It’s amazing how fast it went, and how much happened. I made some wonderful memories, met incredible people, and had fantastic adventures. Here’s a quick review of my year, and a preview of what’s to come in 2018.
The year started off with a few girlfriend getaways with some of my best friends. A few of us took a quick weekend trip to Phoenix to relax by the pool, do some hiking and explore some of the local neighborhoods.
The following weekend, we all made it out to Portland, Oregon. We spent a day visiting Oregon vineyards. We enjoyed some unique wine tastings at some of the best wineries in the region. Despite some unfavorable weather, we still managed to make it to the historic Columbia River Highway, where we saw one of the most iconic waterfalls in Oregon. I fell in love with Portland, and I hope to visit again soon and explore even more of this city.
A pair of tickets for the NCAA basketball tournament brought me to Tulsa, Oklahoma – a place I never thought I’d visit. But after a couple days, I came to appreciate Tulsa’s unpretentious, authentic attitude. It’s a place that really surprised me. Even though I only had two days there, I’m glad I made the trip.
At the end of the month, I attended my second Women in Travel Summit (WITS) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is one of the best blogging events, with several informative sessions and lively events. I made some wonderful contacts with fellow bloggers and travel lovers, expanding my network to include some incredible women.
WITS was a special event for me, not just because of the connections I made at the conference, but because it was in the city of my Alma Mater. I lived in Milwaukee for four years, and I’ve been back countless times to see my friends. But this conference really opened my eyes to the city, showing me elements I never knew existed. I loved discovering Milwaukee’s growing craft beer scene, and learning more about it’s history and architecture. Milwaukee has come a long way since I graduated, and I’m glad it’s being appreciated as a travel destination.
Utah is Colorado’s neighbor, but I never crossed the border until this year. I traveled to Zion National Park for the Ragnar Trail race. I, along with seven of my friends, dashed on three challenging trails over the course of two days. We ran at all hours of the day and night, pushing ourselves to new physical levels. It was extremely difficult, but incredibly rewarding. And the scenery wasn’t too shabby either.
July – August
At the end of July, my husband and I journeyed over to Eastern Europe for a two week trip in Estonia, Latvia and England. Our first stop was Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I was swept away by its mixture of rich culture and history, with modern amenities and forward-thinking technology.
Our next stop was Riga. I never considered visiting Latvia, but we figured since we were going to be in Estonia, why not make a stop there. Riga surprised me, and I had a great time exploring this beautiful city, discovering its history, traditions and culinary scene.
Our final stop was in England to visit my family. I hadn’t been back to Southampton in almost 10 years, and I felt it was time to go back. I returned to Portsmouth, a favorite from my last visit, and made a stop at the Bombay Sapphire Distillery. I also had the opportunity to see Mudeford for the first time. This beach town holds a significant place in my dad’s life, and I was glad to see where he spent numerous summers as a child.
My sister-in-laws wedding brought us to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. We spent a little time wandering the small town, and took a boat tour on the lake to admire the historic homes that line the shore. Most of the weekend was dominated by wedding duties, but I was happy we were able to fit in some sightseeing.
At the beginning of October, I attended my first Great American Beer Festival. I’d been wanting to go to GABF for as long as I can remember, and I was so excited when those doors opened and thousands of beers were at my disposal.
A work trip brought me to Charlotte, North Carolina. While I was in meetings and seminars most of the time, I managed to squeeze in a little sightseeing on my morning run. We also had an event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where you can drive in a simulated race and put your pit crew skills to the test.
In November, I returned to Milwaukee for Thanksgiving. We spent Black Friday checking out Black Cat Alley and the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. And we, of course, grabbed a local brew or two.
The first weekend of December, my husband and I flew to San Antonio for a half marathon. We’d never been to this city before, and it was exciting to check another place off my list. We made stops at all the big sights: the Riverwalk, the Alamo, Tower of the Americas. A few craft breweries were thrown in the mix, as well as a visit to the beautiful Pearl District. My visit to San Antonio was definitely one of my favorite U.S. trips of the year.
My last trip of 2017 was to a small mountain town in Colorado. Crested Butte has been a place I’ve always wanted to visit, but the long drive has always deterred me. But this time, I made it happen, and I’m so glad I visited this quirky, friendly town.
What’s Coming in 2018?
The year kicks off right away with a press trip to Reno and South Lake Tahoe in January. I’m incredibly excited for this opportunity, hosted by Fly Reno-Tahoe. This region of the country has always been high on my list of U.S. destinations, and I’m grateful for the chance to explore it.
In March, I’ll be heading to Mexico with a group of college friends. It’s the 10-year anniversary of our senior year spring break trip to Puerto Vallarta. While we won’t be going back there, we will be staying in a beautiful house just south of Playa del Carmen. I can’t wait to visit Tulum and the ancient ruins, relax on the beach (or by the pool) and spend time with my friends.
The first week of May is the 5th annual Women in Travel Summit in Quebec City. I can’t wait to attend my third conference, and visit a city I’ve never been to. It’s always been on my list (sensing a trend?) and this is the perfect chance to meet up with my blogging friends and explore a new city.
At the end of May, I’ll be taking a girlfriend getaway to Charleston, South Carolina. I’m not sure what the trip will hold, but I look forward to strolling through the historic streets, kicking back on the beach and catching up with my best friends.
Those are my travels as of right now, but I do hope to add a few more vacations later in the year.
Where are you heading in 2018? Anywhere you’re really excited about?