As the end of the year approaches I feel very nostalgic and incredibly grateful about all the amazing experiences I had and the things I saw and did with my family. As I look at this list I feel more than fortunate and I know all of this is such a gift that many people don’t get to experience.
I don’t take any of this for granted. For several years I dealt with really crippling post-partum anxiety, periods of intense insomnia and a lot of fear. This anxiety held me back from doing things that I loved — including traveling. A big reason for starting this blog was to take back ground that anxiety took from me and to thrive — even if I had to take fear along for the ride. A God-given gift, this blog and all the experiences this year have been so healing. I feel braver, freer, and less worried about the future.
Traveling and seeing and experiencing life enables me to be completely present, experiencing sounds, smells, and sights in real-time. No longer dwelling as much in the past or future, its been life changing to finally be where I belong — in the now. Thanks for reading, and following along. I love hearing from people who read this blog and I hope that my posts inspire you in your own journeys.
Now onto some of my favorite memories from this year:
1. Disneyland —
We bought Disney Annual Passports at the beginning of 2017 as Christmas and birthday presents for our family. 20+ visits later, we loved every minute of our year at Disney. Read this post about Insider Tips at Disneyland — and Read this post if you are interested in getting a Disney Annual Passport and if its right for you.
2. Ziplining and offroading in Costa Rica —
There is a reason why Costa Rica is such a top destination for tourists, adventurers, nature lovers, surfers and families. Its safe, beautiful and the ziplining is second to none. Before you go to Costa Rica, read this post on things you should know before you go.
3. Seeing a sloth —
I mean, this is totally self explanatory right? What’s better than an adorable sloth, in the wild?? It was hard to capture a good photo of the sloth in the trees but we got some fun video.
4. Eating at Alinea
I haven’t written a post yet about my experience eating at Grant Atchatz’s incredible three-star Michelin starred restaurant in Chicago but its safe to say it was the most incredible meal, and food experience of my life. More than food, it was a show, it was like watching a magician perform with surprises in every course. Its definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity – if you get the chance you should go!
5. Walking around Oxford
When my husband and I were in London this fall our favorite day was our day trip to Oxford. Its such a magical little walking town rich with history, historical pubs, churches, the university of course, botanical gardens and shops and things to see. Check out my post on London to read more about our experience in Oxford.
Floating in Lake Tahoe at Sunset
I’ve been going to Lake Tahoe in California’s Sierra’s my entire life. The lake is normally freezing year round. This year however, likely because of how full the lake was, the shore was dare I say, “warm?” – It was incredible. We had so much fun camping and walking to the shore at sunset and floating in our inflatable chairs watching the sunset and the boats going across the water. (With a glass of rose of course!). Read all about our trip to Lake Tahoe in this post.
River life in Santa Cruz
Another place I have been going to my whole life, Santa Cruz, California still surprises me! This summer we had so much fun hiking and for the first time we went to the San Lorenzo River. The beauty of the redwoods surrounding us, and the clear water was so stunning. The kids had so much fun floating on their boogie boards down the “rapids”, skipping rocks and catching crawdads.
All Inclusive in Cabo San Lucas
As the mom of young kids, life at this stage includes a lot of service. Everyday we cook, clean, run kids to and from activities, help with homework, and ensure our kids are loved and taken care of. Going to an all-inclusive (without kids) is so amazing at this time of life because we get to be served. “Ma’am, can I get you another Margarita?” The waiter says as I read a book by the pool. I look up at him with a huge smile, “Why yes I would like one.” BLISS.
Eating in London
If you haven’t noticed I love food, cooking and eating 🙂 London has some incredible restaurants. Before going to London I had started cooking out of some books by Yotem Ottolenghi. (Plenty, Ottolenghi, Jerusalem, and Nopi) and loved every recipe I tried. When I found out I was going to London, I excitedly booked reservations at Nopi and Ottolenghi. I wasn’t disappointed, they were amazing and were some of our favorite experiences in London. We had several other amazing food experiences you can read about in my post on five days in London.
Hiking in Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is my happy place. Surrounded by the giant granite rocks, the pines and the glorious blue of the Lake, it really does fill me with such immense joy, gratitude and awe. Luckily my family seems to feel pretty great about Tahoe too, so even though its an 11 hour drive we have gone several years now. This year we did some amazing hikes that even my 5 and 7 year old rocked. Check out more details in my post on Lake Tahoe.
Morning mist in Mendocino
My cousin got married this fall on the gorgeous northern California coast. We stayed in the cute little town of Mendocino. The morning after the wedding my mom and I got up and went for a walk (it was so cold!). We got some coffee and walked down to the water’s edge. I love the rugged coastline of California’s north coast. I really want to stay longer in Mendocino this summer. Adding it to the bucket list!
After such a great year, I can only hope to see and do more next year. Stay tuned for my next post on my 2018 travel bucket list.