2015 Travel Recap
“And she’ll be here until she runs. Some people just have to chase the sun.”
I’m back! After taking a week-long hiatus to spend time with my awesome niece and childhood best friend, it is finally time to get back into the swing of things. The holidays are great and all, don’t get me wrong. I love going home to Spokane for a few days and seeing my parents, but damn is it stressful. This year, I brought my niece back to Seattle with me. What are you supposed to do to entertain a 14-year-old girl? What do they eat? How often do you have to walk them? I for one, had NO clue. She left very bored, and probably pretty hungry. Oh well, such is life. Anyways, since the new year is upon us, I thought this would be the perfect time to recap my travels from 2015. Nostalgia is contagious, what can I say?
2015 started off slow. I had just transitioned into a new role at Amazon that I realized I didn’t enjoy it any more than the previous role. I had been going through some personal problems that I had allowed to overtake my thoughts and I needed a change of pace. After a couple short trips to Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR, I decided I needed to take more than a three-day weekend to myself. This sudden epiphany resulted in a 15 day solo tour of central Europe. My first solo trip may have been short, but it made me realize that I am not cut out for the corporate grind. Soon after returning, I started planning my gap year.
Leaving Europe was emotionally draining. I knew I was returning to Seattle to spend the next 14 months sitting behind my computer, wasting away my youth. Super dramatic, I know, but I was really upset that my adventure was ending. While killing time in the airport in Brussels, I booked a ticket to Palm Springs, CA. I needed something to look forward to and a country music festival in the desert was just what the doctor ordered. In April, I put on my cowboy boots and danced my heart out for three nights, leaving Palm Springs with a happy heart and dusty boots.
Late spring and early summer were spent exploring closer to home. Seattle in the summertime is something that everyone needs to experience at some point. The grey days end, the sun comes out, and suddenly the city is fully alive. People emerge from their caves, pale and chubby from their winter hibernation, ready to take on the world. It is truly spectacular to witness. Personally, I had a list that was 1000 miles long of activities that I was hoping to accomplish. Though I wasn’t able to check everything off the list, I was able to take some incredible hikes, eat some amazing food and spend time with the people who matter the most.
In August, I was fortunate enough to have an interview with Facebook at their Austin campus. Though I was not offered the role, I was still able to spend an all-expenses-paid weekend in Texas, checking a new state off the list. Austin is one of the cities I have considered moving to after I return from my gap year, so it was great to explore the city, try out some of the food, and get a feel for the culture. If you are curious, the cities that have made the short list are: San Francisco, Boston, Austin, and Nashville. The only one I have yet to experience in Boston, and that trip is booked for the end of this month! A solidified choice will be revealed after that trip, so stay tuned.
For Labor Day Weekend, I decided to take an impromptu trip home to Spokane to visit my parents and my childhood best friend, Katy. I don’t visit home very often, not for any particular reason other than I don’t have a car in Seattle and the four-hour drive becomes a 6 hour bus ride, which I love to hate. For this trip, I decided to bypass the bus and rent a car, which ended up being a lifesaver. My parents organized a last-minute camping trip, which is no easy feat on a holiday weekend, and we were off. The campground we stayed at was in Heyburn State Park in Northern Idaho. This is the oldest state park in the country, and it was great to see a part of Idaho that I hadn’t seen before. The forest had been ravaged by wildfires over the summer, and the damage was evident, however, this did not detract from the beauty.
Our winter started off incredibly mild, and I was able to continue hiking well through November. Last year I did the most hiking I ever have and it has quickly become the activity I look forward to most while I’m stationary. 2015 was the year I got to check off Blanca Lake, Oyster Dome, Goat Lake, and a number of shorter hikes as well. In 2016, I am hoping to conquer at least one tough hike every week. We will see how that goes… Especially while I am still in Seattle and there is snow in the mountains.
In December, I was again lucky enough to tag along for a free weekend in Whistler, BC with my adventure buddy Mahvish. We spent the weekend exploring the village, making snow angels, and drinking wine in the hot tub. I came away from the experience with a refueled appreciation for snow, a possible concussion, and a lot of new clothes since the Canadian dollar isn’t doing too hot against the US dollar right now. Even though I didn’t snowboard while I was there, I still feel as if I got to experience the World’s Best Ski Resort fully. Next time, I might even make it up the mountain.
2015 was a year of travel, adventure, physical activity and positive goal setting. I made huge strides towards living the life I have always wanted to live, nurtured my friendships with the people who matter, and cut out all negative influences. I decided to take the leap on my gap year, booked a one-way ticket to Bangkok, and convinced a crazy friend to tag along for some of it (Thanks again Chris!). I started B Travels Better, it grew to a large enough following that it could potentially become a full-time job while I am abroad this year, and I hit 10k followers on Instagram. 2016 is going to be a HUGE year for me, and I cannot wait to share it with every single one of you.
2015 Travel Recap
- United States
- The Netherlands
- Seattle, WA
- Spokane, WA
- Plummer, ID
- Palm Springs, CA
- Austin, TX
- Portland, OR
- Whistler, BC, Canada
- Vancouver, BC, Canada
- Brussels, Belgium
- Bruges, Belgium
- Ghent, Belgium
- Munich, Germany
- Fussen, Germany
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Budapest, Hungary
- Salzburg, Austria
- Hallstatt, Austria
What was your biggest travel accomplishment in 2015, and what do you hope to accomplish in 2016?