Blogaversary Round Two: Looking Back on a Year of Travel & Storytelling
Today, Adventuring the Great Wide Somewhere turns two years old! A small part of me can’t believe it’s been two years already. As a part-time traveler with a full-time job and minimal spending money, two years is a long time to continue finding ways to travel and make time for the hours of writing, editing and the dozens of little side projects that go into blogging.
But if I’m being completely honest, a much bigger part of me is surprised that it’s only been two years. I had to double check before writing this post that it has, in fact, been just two years since I published my first ever blog post. Traveling, writing, and sharing my stories and photos have become such a huge part of my life. Even before establishing myself as a blogger, I was constantly posting photo albums of my adventures in Florida and in Washington and sharing the funny little stories that made those trips so memorable. I always loved writing and taking photos of my everyday adventures, so transitioning into blogging seemed like the natural next step. I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner!
While blogging is at times exhausting or even feels like busywork, I wouldn’t trade it for any other career. I love having the chance to get out there and see the world, and share it all with people I care about. I love that I have a reason to write every week, an excuse to book airfare as often as possible, and an audience for the hundreds of photos I take during my trips. I am humbled and thrilled by the sweet messages I’ve received over the last couple of years, whether it be a comment on a blog post or heart-eyed emojis on my latest Instagram photo. Chatting with my readers makes truly makes my day, and gives me a reason to keep going even when I’m suffering from writer’s block or just don’t want to get out of bed. So thank you to everyone who has stuck it out with me and come back for more over the last two years.
I don’t yet feel like I’ve hit my blogging stride. While there have been no real discernible lows in my self-made career, my numbers aren’t quite as high as I would like, and I haven’t exactly quit my job to travel the world or anything like that. Still, life has been good lately, and I’m proud of the places I’ve been and the things I’ve written since my last anniversary post.
To celebrate, I’d thought I’d share some of my favorite moments from the last year or so, lifted from my Instagram page! To see more, follow me here.
I spent so many weekends at Epcot throughout the year, starting with the annual International Flower & Garden Festival in the spring.
For our three year anniversary in March, Dan and I had lunch at Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The food and atmosphere were terrific (we can’t wait to go back!) and seeing animals roam the “grasslands” just outside the restaurant was such a fun and unique experience.
The very next month, I hopped a plane back to Washington, where I spent a fun-packed week with family and one of my oldest friends. This rainy airport welcome was just what I needed to get me in the mood for one of my favorite places on Earth.
While in Washington, I met up with my bestie Nadya and we took the Clipper up to Canada for a girl’s getaway in Victoria, British Columbia! We had the best time just catching up and walking around till our feet couldn’t take it anymore.
What we looked like trying to photograph that totem pole. We loved everything about Victoria. That view behind us was surreal, like we'd walked into a painting. The people were incredibly friendly. We didn't meet a single rude person during our stay. And the gorgeous landscapes and abundance of outdoor activity had us enchanted from the start. Victoria, we love you.
Nadya and I being super casual in the shadow of the world’s tallest single piece totem pole! I’ll be honest guys, I am really itching to share every single photo from that trip, but I’ll refrain! If you are interested in seeing more, just click the photo above, or click here to see all my blog posts about Victoria.
This sweet shot may look like it was taken in the Alps, but it’s actually part of a super cute themed town in Washington called Leavenworth. I could not get enough of these Bavarian details and gorgeous mountain views. Read more about Leavenworth here.
I only had a week and a half between my departure from Washington and my trip to Europe with Dan! We spent the week packing, breaking in shoes, and finding time to finish out the Flower & Garden Festival with this dreamy La Vie en Rose alcoholic slushie!
Laugh if you will, but getting to fly on the gorgeous Hekla Aurora plane from Icelandair was a definite highlight in an incredible year! After seeing this Aurora Borealis-themed beauty all over social media the year before, actually standing in the chill Iceland air (see what I did there) and boarding the famous plane was a surreal treat. Did I mention the overhead bins feature Borealis-esque dancing lights!? Yep, we will definitely have to come back soon to see more than just the tarmac.
The reason behind our visit and the people who made the whole trip possible! If you haven’t met them already, these are my cute grandparents. We had such a wonderful time just hanging out with them. The barriers of distance and language have always made it difficult to get to know my grandparents well, but that wall was finally knocked down during our short stay in Chaumont, France. Dan and I definitely did not want to leave them behind when the second leg of our Euro trip arrived.
For the second time in my life, I got to visit the charming little town of Langres and walk the ramparts that once guarded the stronghold from invaders.
The second leg of our trip begins: Paris at last! Be still my heart! Staying in le Marais and walking past Notre Dame de Paris every single day was a surreal and incredible experience.
The breakfast of my dreams! Espresso and croissants at a sidewalk cafe in Paris. Later that day, I bought a beautiful tan trench coat from that department store across the street. Best souvenir ever?
I mean, does this one even need a caption? I miss Paris so much.
Our Eiffel Tower visit happened in pouring rain and even hail, just an hour or so before the attraction was set to close. We waited for the rain to slow down, then made a run for it and bought our tickets…just moments before an enormous bolt of lightning split the sky. Too late now! While all the sane people left and sought shelter, we ascended the giant lightning road and were rewarded with a nearly-empty top platform from which to admire the city.
Looking out over the beautiful gardens at the Chateau de Versailles. The grounds provided a welcome respite from the crowds inside the chateau. In fact, the grounds were my favorite part of the whole experience! Read more about it here.
Truly, Paris has my heart. Just seeing this photo brings back all the emotions of an incredible night in the most beautiful city in the world. Can I go back already?
Sadly, our trip to Paris did come to an end. Fellow Parisian-wannabes, you definitely want to read more about the trip and see the hundreds of photos I took here.
We arrived in Rome late last night, and I'll admit It wasn't love at first sight. Paris is one tough act to follow. But once we got to walking around, it was hard to resist all those postcard perfect views! Today alone we saw the Pantheon, the Trevi fountain, the Spanish Steps, and a bit of Villa Borghese. The best part? We didn't plan any of it, just stumbled upon monuments as we strolled. I'd say things are going pretty well.
The third and final leg of our trip found us in Rome, our first-ever trip to Italy! It was such a beautiful city, and the warm weather and sweeping city views won me over before the first day had ended.
Rome was like some version of heaven for this door-loving blogger! Seriously, I could dedicate an entire blog post to the dozens of door photos I took…what do you think? Should I do it?
Piazza Navona, the home base for our short stay in Rome. Crowded, touristy, but oh so beautiful. It was the perfect central location, and a gorgeous place to just relax and share a bottle of wine after a day of sightseeing.
Dan enjoying the view over the Colosseum. If you couldn’t tell from the look on his face, this was his favorite part of our stay in Rome.
And now for my favorite part…a visit to the Roman Forum! Yep, this picture is all you get, but for those who can’t get enough of these beautiful old ruins, head on over to my photo essay on the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Back to Florida! It was so hard to say goodbye to Europe, a place I dream about visiting literally every single day. I escaped back to “Europe,” in a manner of speaking, with frequent visits to Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Salted caramel blondie ice cream, anyone?
I love this man! September brought with it not one but three hotel stays! We visited the brand new Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando for a little post-vacation getaway; the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort near Walt Disney World for some birthday pampering; and finally, the ever-beautiful Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal when my brother Jared came for a visit.
Yummm. First visit to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! We spend so much time (and money) at Epcot during these festivals, but I never get sick of them. Who wouldn’t love sampling international food and wine options while wandering between miniature “countries” in World Showcase? See my guide to the Festival here.
What a weekend! We went to Halloween Horror Nights and did not one but all nine haunted houses! We stayed at the gorgeous Portofino Bay Hotel and got upgraded to a garden view villa, and topped it all off with a rainy day at Universal. Today is Jared's last day in Orlando, and we are headed out to Disney soon for roller coasters, cheetahs, and maybe a second trip dining around the world!
Hanging out with my cute brother Jared at Halloween Horror Nights! I didn’t share too many photos from this trip, simply because most of them were hideous front-facing camera shots and goofy pictures that I promised would never see the light of day. What a fun little staycation!
A spooky fog hangs over Halloween Horror Nights as nightmares come to life.
Bam! Back to Seattle for the second time in a year! I feel very spoiled, getting to see my family and my home state so often in a short period.
I even got to see some snow while visiting my sister and her fiance in Tacoma! Seeing snow at a Christmas celebration was extra magical…
…and while I was away, Dan was planning a little magic of his own! He proposed at Cinderella’s wishing well at the Magic Kingdom just one week after I returned. It’s been nearly two months, and I still can’t stop staring at that gorgeous ring. Seriously, the picture does not even come close to doing it justice.
Just a few weeks ago, I got to be a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my best and oldest friends in the world. It was such a beautiful and emotional wedding, and I wish I could preserve these flowers and the memories they stir up forever.
And finally, I got to hang out with these witches (including the new Mrs!) at Diagon Alley for a little while post-wedding! Damn Facebook and its terrible photo compression!
I’m really looking forward to what the next year will bring. While there are no immediate travel plans on the horizon (a terrifying prospect for this travel blogger), I have so much still to cover from September 2016 onward, and even more to plan for 2018! I’m sure there will be plenty of little weekend trips here and there, and if I’m lucky, even another trip to Washington before the year is up! Stay tuned, and remember to follow me on Instagram to see updates as they come! Thank you again, so much, for coming along for the journey. Here’s to another great year!