It is hard to believe that another year is coming to a close! It has been a whirlwind filled with ups, downs and lots of travel. While travel itinerary wasn’t quite as ambitious as last year, I managed to squeeze in some amazing trips, add a few checks to the bucket list and experience a whole lot of adventures. Below is my 2017 travel roundup!
The year started out with a road trip with one of my best friends to our nation’s capital to join some of our other girlfriends a few million others at the historic Women’s March. It was a day filled with smiles and laughter, chanting and sign holding, but most of all reflection and hope for the future. What none of us realized was that this march would inspire hundreds of others across the globe and in many ways set the stage for what would become the year of the woman. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my lifetime.
By mid-January my Russian and I were in need of a sunny escape. We jetted off to St. Lucia to spend a few sun soaked days visiting black sand beaches, eating roti and touring the beautiful coastline.
As a Valentine’s Day gift, my Russian got me tickets to see Faith Hill and Tim McGraw (heart them so much!) in Tupelo, Mississippi. We were in Tupelo less than 12 hours, but managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Elvis Presley’s childhood home, grab a some cocktails at the Fairpark Grill and attend one awesome concert!
Visiting Cuba had been on my bucket list for years. I didn’t think it was a realistic travel destination due to the U.S. travel restrictions, but thanks to President Obama loosening those restrictions back in 2016 I was able to go. My Russian and I spent 10 magical days visiting historical sites in Havana, wandering the romantic streets of Trinidad and splashing in the crystal clear waters of Cayo Santa Maria. It was the trip of a lifetime and I learned so much about Cuba’s history, culture and most importantly its amazing people.
Unfortunately, the current administration decided to re-impose travel restrictions effectively closing off U.S. travel to the island nation. Until the policy is reversed, it will be difficult for Americans to travel to Cuba. I am so thankful I got to visit when I did and I hope to return again soon.
Some friends from my Colts Cheerleading days who I’ve stayed close with over the years had been wanting to plan a girls trip for a while. This summer we finally got around to doing it! We rented a beautiful condo in Fort Myers Beach and spent a fun filled weekend lounging on the white sand beach, sipping cocktails by our private pool, exploring the cute shops and eateries along Old San Carlos Boulevard and reconnecting with one another. We had such a great time that we’ve already set a date for next year’s getaway!
My 2nd girls’ trip of the summer landed me in the Big Easy. Two friends from work and I headed down to New Orleans and indulged in oysters Rockefeller, po’ boys and one too many Hand Grenades. After a fun afternoon eating and drinking our way through town, we ended our trip by dancing the night away in the French Quarter.
Summers tend to be a bit crazy for me with work at the airline, but I do make time to spend a few weekends back home at the lake in Rockville, Indiana. Now that my Russian and I have a lake house, it has become my favorite place to spend time with friends and family during the summer.
Something I look forward to every year is my birthday trip. I’ve been fortunate enough to celebrate in Costa Rica, Madrid and Brazil. This year, I had very specific criteria for a potential destination- warm weather, history, culture, beach and romance. It didn’t take long to decide on the South of Spain. My Russian and I spent a lovely weekend enjoying the beaches and nightlife of Malaga, beach hopping along the coast, visiting the UK and the rock of Gibraltar and wining and dining our way through the romantic city of Ronda. It was a special trip in a stunningly beautiful place.
Attending Oktoberfest has been on my bucket list for a while. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but attending the world’s largest festival is something I wanted to experience. So when September rolled around, yes Oktoberfest takes place in September, my Russian and I decided to pick up our dirndl and lederhosen and head to Munich, Germany! Just kidding, we didn’t actually wear traditional attire, but we should have! Almost everyone in attendance dresses up for the occasion! We spent two full days enjoying the festivities, eating sausage and strudel, drinking too much beer and enjoying all that Munich has to offer.
In November, my dad and I took a father/daughter trip to Europe. 5 days, 2 countries, 4 cities and a whole lot of fun. Our first stop was Portugal, where we visited the capital city of Lisbon, the seaside city of Cascais and the fairy tale town of Sintra. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to explore. If it’s not already, Portugal should definitely be on your bucket list for 2018!
The 2nd country on our father/daughter trip was Brussels, Belgium, where we stayed in the capital city. We had about 24 hours to explore Brussels and managed to squeeze in quite a bit of site-seeing. The highlight for me was visiting the chocolate museum and sampling the freshly treats.
It has become a bit of a holiday tradition for my Russian and I to visit the tree at Rockefeller Center, Winter Village at Bryant Bryant Park and the festive windows at Saks and Macy’s in New York each December. It always gets me into a festive mood and is such a fun way to kick off the season!
In early December, my mom invited me to road trip with her up to Chicago for the day. I accepted and we spent a fun filled day in the Windy City eating, drinking and shopping at some of the city’s main sites.
Just before Christmas, my Russian and I ventured all the way Armenia to attend a friend’s wedding. We spent several days exploring the capital city of Yerevan, took a day trip to the mountain town of Jermuk, visited ancient churches, sampled delicious traditional cuisine, consumed an embarrassing amount of local cognac, and rounded out the trip by attending an extravagant wedding with some wonderful friends.
As I’m finishing up this post, I’m also in the process of planning my last trip of the year. My Russian and I are packing our warm weather gear and getting ready to head off to Montreal to ring in the New Year. For the last few years, we’ve spent the holiday with our close friends who live up there. This year the plan is to rent a cabin in the mountains and I cannot wait! It will be a cozy weekend spent enjoying the great outdoors, gathering by the fire, playing music and indulging in delicious food and plenty of celebratory drinks with dear friends.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve spent with love ones as well! Thank you all SO MUCH for following along throughout my travels this year. Cheers to 2018 and many more adventures to come!