Well, 2017 is almost over. And I don’t think I’m alone in saying good riddance! But, despite this dumpster fire of a year, there were some positives our the travel world.
- We kicked off the year spending a week escaping life in San Diego.
- In February, I flew to Ohio & surprised my Dad for his 60th birthday.
- I spent my birthday in March plane spotting in St. Maarten.
- April saw a surprisingly pleasant business trip to Pittsburgh, a new city for me, & a quick trip to Ohio
- May was an extremely busy month for me professionally, with trips to Chicago & two trips to NYC
- In June, I hopped across the pond in partnership with Visit Holland for a whirlwind tour of Dutch country & popped back up to NYC for a business trip.
- We spent 4th of July in Alaska, America’s last true wilderness & some time at the end of the month seeing family & friends in Ohio.
- In August, I got to check a bucket list item off my list, thanks to a quick business trip to San Fran: driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in a convertible!
- Our Labor Day tradition of spending a few days lakeside in the Finger Lakes was renewed this year.
- We spent six glorious days eating our way through Italy in September.
- Thanksgiving was spent at my Dad’s in Ohio & we spent Christmas at my in-laws in Florida.
- And, despite my very adventurous return from Italy & final few months of the year, I’m on the mend & ready to hit the ground running next year!
The only month I didn’t fly somewhere this year was in September!
Top 10 Instagrams of 2017
My “top nine” on Instagram weren’t actually photos I really liked, so here are my own, personal, favorite top 10 from Instagram in 2017:
Of course, on our first day back from our California vacation, the weather in DC is positively miserable. So tonight I’m dreaming of a week ago, when we were sipping sunset drinks amongst one of San Diego’s most beautiful settings. Hat tip to my brother-in-law for letting me borrow his sunglasses for a quick photo.
Yesterday was my 12 year DC-a-versary. My life now looks nothing like it did when I moved here on two weeks notice as a naïve, eager 22 year old, ready to take on Capitol Hill & the world. Now I’m on my 4th DC job & I have a husband, a house & a new home. I’ve lived in DC twice as long as I’ve ever lived anywhere else in my life &, shockingly, I’m okay with that. 📸the Lincoln Memorial, looking gorgeous on my commute home one evening last week
#NoFilter necessary in this stunning summer day in Rotterdam! I walked 11,000 steps all over the city, exploring interesting architecture, eating way too much at the food hall & zipping through the river on water taxis. I’m totally smitten with this hidden gem in Holland! #thisisHolland #loverotterdam
Our ship didn’t make it down the Tracy Arm Fjord during our Alaskan cruise because there was to much ice (heck, we barely made it half way down Endicott Arm!). But luckily, we had already registered for a small ship excursion which meant that we were one of a handful of people on the ship that got to see this magnificent place. I am now officially obsessed with the landscape of fjords & cannot wait to head to Norway to explore their dynamic fjords!
The light at the Colosseum this morning was absolutely amazing! Golden hour makes 8am tours worth it! Snaps to @walksofitaly for two awesome (non-sponsored) tours in this trip. Our guide at the Colosseum & Forum today & at the Vatican yesterday we’re both top notch. They’re a tour company I’ll definitely be using again!
Top 10 Blog Posts of 2017
These were the top 10 blog posts that you loved, read & commented on in 2017! I love how varied they are:
- Cruising to Alaska on the Celebrity Solstice
- Plane Spotting in St. Maarten
- Hotel Review: Four Seasons Prague
- Exploring Prague by Walking Tour
- 31 Tips for a Great Trip to Rome
- Cruising to Alaska on the Celebrity Solstice
- Hotel Review: Sonesta Maho Beach (this makes me so sad…. the hotel is closed indefinitely because of the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Irma & Maria. I’m looking forward to returning to my beloved St. Maarten – hopefully soon!)
- Exploring Budapest
- 48 Hours in Rotterdam
- 49 Hours in Richmond, Virginia
I actually read 18 books in 2017! I loved so many of the books I read this year, it’s hard to narrow it down to my favorite. Do you love to read? Join me in my quest to read 18 books next year & add your 2018 favorites to my hashtags #18booksin2018.
#17booksfor2017 Book 18: What will likely be my last book of the year was possibly my favorite piece of fiction I read this year. The story of a Russian aristocrat sentenced to house arrest in one of Moscow’s grand hotels, the story was captivating, the writing lovely. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the book – it’s an easy read.
#17booksfor2017 Book 17: I loved this book. A wonderfully written tale of @wheresandrew’s journey from Washington, DC to Antarctica on a bus (yes, seriously), juxtaposed with a memoir of his life growing up gay in the Mormon church (& meeting his husband Brian). This book left me a mess of emotions, not only because I’m lucky enough to call the author a friend, but because of our mutual shared experiences growing up in Ohio & being bullied in school. My 17th book was an easy read, but is best devoured two chapters at a time. And don’t worry: I already started book 18!
#17booksfor2017 Book 16: I know this was a critically acclaimed book… but I just don’t know. I thought it was about 300 pages too long & actually about 4 books in one. I liked the overall plot of the book, but there were so many subplots… ugh! I don’t know what to think. Have you read it? What did you think?
#17booksfor2017 Book 15: This book left me gutted. Maybe it’s because I read it on the plane on the way back from Italy with my medical emergency. Maybe it’s because my heart is still broken over the death of my Nonna. Maybe it’s because I also am the best version of myself while I’m traveling, but am so darn clumsy at it sometimes. Maybe because @theeverywhereist is my spirit animal/long lost twin/mess of emotions fairy godmother. Anyway: you should read this. It’s really good.
Social media often (rightfully so) gets a bad rep for only highlighting the glamorous side of life. So I’m here to share reality: on Friday, while in Rome, I suffered a hernia. It has been getting progressively more uncomfortable as our days have passed & walking has become more challenging. On Monday I visited an English speaking doctor in Florence who confirmed it wasn’t appendicitis (which was great news). I am very limited in what I can do – we’ve had to adjust our schedule to basically do one thing per day so I can rest. Yesterday, we made the heartbreaking decision to leave Italy tomorrow & not continue onto Bologna & Venice. My guilt for this is ample, as I feel like I’m ruining what was supposed to be our romantic anniversary trip. But there’s no point in continuing when it’s so physically challenging for me to get around & could benefit from seeing a doctor in the U.S. sooner rather than later. I am emotionally exhausted – this certainly isn’t at all how I envisioned this much anticipated trip going & there’s nothing more humbling than being unwell while traveling in a foreign country. This morning, while B runs to the cheese shop across the river, I’m staying in bed with a cappuccino, a whole lotta Nutella, a book & a little self care. I’m determined to have a wonderful last day in this beautiful county. PS this is also book 14 of #17booksfor2017! Such a great one full of emotions & intertwining stories. Loved it!
#17booksfor2017 Book 12: I picked this book up on a whim at the Amsterdam airport, fueled by jet lag & a new found love of everything about Holland. I read most of it on my flight home, but then it sat on my bedside, waiting for me to finish the last 100 pages. My brain moved onto Alaska & ballerinas (my 11th book), but my heart knew I couldn’t leave this one unfinished. Fascinating history & hundreds of random facts on the Netherlands, written by a British ex-pat who also fell in love with the country. Would recommend to anyone planning a trip there!
#17booksfor2017 Book 9: I really enjoyed this book – & am so clueless I didn’t even know it was being made into a movie with Tom Hanks & Emma Watson! The story does not end the way you think it will, which was oddly satisfying. I read my first Dave Eggers book in high school (“A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”) & have enjoyed everything I’ve read of his since.
#17booksfor2017 Book 8: Unsurprisingly, I loved this book. The editor, rather famously, published a previous anthology of essays written by various famous people saying good riddance to NYC. She got a lot of flack for it because, like me, there are a whole lot of people madly in love with New York City. So she published this as a bit of an apology – an ode to the city. I really enjoyed this collection of stories about all the little things that make the Big Apple so addicting. I especially identified with this passage by author Jason Diamond: “Hemingway wrote about Paris being a movable feast, the kind of place that stays with you for the rest of your days once you’ve truly experienced it. That’s what this place feels like to me. No single city truly affects a person like New York does.” 🍎
#17booksfor2017 Book 5: Woah nelly. My mind is spinning from this book. It’s a gut wrenching look at racism in America. White readers will spend the majority of the book feeling uncomfortable; I would love to hear from African Americans who have read it. Oh & know going in that the ending is totally bizarre (reading reviews online, it doesn’t seem that I’m alone in that assessment).
#17booksfor2017 Book 4: When I’m looking for a new book to read, I usually pick from a long list of recommendations from friends, coworkers & magazines I have saved on my phone. But occasionally I also browse the “what’s popular” section on the library’s e-book site, which is how I stumbled upon this book. I had never heard of the prequel or the movie or the author, but knew it was popular so I thought I would give it a go. I can’t say it was the most high brow thing that has ever been written & the story was somewhat predictable, but it was an enjoyable commuting read, so I’ll take it.
#17booksfor2017 Book 3: It has been a long time since I’ve read a book in less than a week, but I couldn’t put this one down! I know it has been out for a few years, but for some reason I never picked it up (haven’t seen the movie either). Compared with my last two books, it was a relatively easy, short (about 250 pages) read &, honestly, it was really nice to read something relatively uplifting. I thought the main character was going to disappoint me in the end, but she came through. If you haven’t read this ode to Ireland & NYC yet, it’s worth your time.
Here’s to 2018 everyone!
I can’t wait to see what the year is going to bring. I’m starting it off with a big life change: I’m getting a new job! I’m so excited to start my dream job on January 8th & I promise to share more about it as soon as I can (so follow me on Twitter!). Things might be a little quiet around here as I get settled, but I promise I’ll be back.