I’ve been slow to do my year in review post. Instead I took the holidays off to just *be* with my family and not worry about writing or visiting places that I would later have to write about. It was a nice and much needed break after a year of going going going and writing writing writing.
Talking about writing, this year instead of just looking back at my travels, I also wanted to look back at what I have achieved in blogging. As I looked back over the year, I realized this was my first real year of official blogging if you will. From the end of December 2014 to the end of 2015, I managed (almost) to write at least one post every week, with most weeks seeing 2 posts. In the month of April, I participated in the A to Z Blogger Challenge, where I posted every day for a month. That seems to be the impetus I needed to get back into blogging more seriously. It was so fun to relive all of my favorite travel destinations through the month. It was through this challenge that I realized I have so much travel knowledge and information to share that I can’t just sit on it any longer. One of my favorite things about travel is sharing it with others and with the hope to inspire their own adventures.
This year, I also began attending travel blogger meet-ups here in LA where I met some great people. Through the guidance of some of these friends, I have made tremendous progress on growing my readership and social media stats. I know for you as my reader, this probably doesn’t mean much, but for me it is a great boost to know so many more people are reading my posts and seeing my photos from our travels.
Of course the entire point of this blog is to share with you all our travel learnings, tips and experiences. This year we were able to visit quite a few places, not as many as I had hoped, but overall I would say we did pretty well this year. Many of our adventures kept us in California and even more local to the Los Angeles metro area, with a few big trips thrown in to satiate my wanderlust. Through all of our trips, the one common variable was our love of outdoor adventures. I am finding, through my son, that my happy place (and his) is anywhere outdoors! Realizing this love of the outdoors has really opened up the possibilities of where and how we want to travel.
In just the first month of 2015, we were able to explore local beaches – Abalone Cove, Crystal Cove and our all time favorite Malibu.
Far from the beaches, we headed to the rocky desert to explore Vasquez Rocks which left us all reeling with wonderment at the amazing landscapes we are blessed with in Southern California. In January, we also made our first trip to Mt Baldy to play in the snow.
February is the month of my birthday which always means a trip! This year we scrambled at the last minute and put together a week long road trip around the Big Island of Hawaii. It was quick paced but amazing! We saw so much diversity on the island in just a week. I finally saw the allure of Hawaii that pulls our friends back every year. It was on this trip that Cian completed his first 4 mile hike in a record time of 2.5 hrs and was ready for more. We spent the week exploring beaches, waterfalls, and of course volcanos! It was truly amazing.
For Mother’s Day, Cian and I made a quick trip to Oklahoma to see family. It was a fun filled trip which included my sons first time fishing with his ‘chickenpa’. This also was the trip where he found a love for all things cowboy (If you follow us on Instagram, you will have noticed his recent obsession with his hat and boots!). His great grandma bought him real cowboy boots and I got him the hat to go with them! They have been put to good use throughout the year!
And then summer arrived which meant time for another national park adventure with our friends from Austin. This time it was just me and Cian (and our friends) for a 10 day road trip to Arizona and Utah in 100+ temperatures. Traveling with my son on my own isn’t uncommon, but moving around so much and being “on” without any family help for 10 days was something I hadn’t done since he was a baby. We survived (and thrived!), but I will admit the oil pastels did not!
Cian was ecstatic to earn 5 park ranger badges on this trip bringing his total up to 15. He managed to also suck in his friends Henry and Arthur too, which made it even more exciting for him. Visiting the Grand Canyon, rafting down the Colorado River and hiking the Narrows at Zion was truly breath taking for all of us and an experience we will treasure for many years.
Plans to go to Ireland for the summer never came to fruition. Instead we stayed local and enjoyed all that SoCal has to offer in the summer….the beaches!! With the coming El Niño, the water was warm enough for the first time that my son to actually get in it. A summer of many firsts.
If you know us, you know that our year would not be complete without a few trips to Joshua Tree and Palm Springs. We were awed there in late summer with the Perseid meteor shower. It was a remarkable experience for our son to be out in the middle of the night, in the middle of the pitch black desert, listening to the yowl of coyotes while watching shooting stars slide across his view. Definitely worth the sleepless night to experience that together as a family. It has spurred him on further to learn and explore our mysterious skies.
In recent years October has been the month of our big trip of the year. This year it was to another island in the middle of the ocean – Fiji! Had I known we would have the opportunity to go to Fiji I probably wouldn’t have gone to Hawaii for my birthday, but that is just how it happened. And it was amazing. Even with bad weather, we had a beautiful trip and can’t wait to visit again some day. From our first stop at the mud baths to the private island resort in the Yasawa Islands with pristine turquoise waters, to the penthouse bungalow at Nanuku ending with a beautiful rainforest retreat, we were spoiled with amazing food, exquisite views and extraordinary people. All of our trips inspire our son in some way, but Fiji really grabbed his attention, resulting in an epic Halloween costume he even contributed to making.
Rounding out the year we headed to the mountains, to Big Bear for snow tubing. It was too cold to do the hikes we had planned so we will have to go again, but we are glad we were able to experience it in the snow.
This year was a beautiful year full of explorations near and far. 2016 is already set up to be pretty busy (and expensive says my husband!) with trips to Seattle, South Africa, San Francisco, Ireland and Yellowstone already on the books! I’d also like to sneak in a trip to Lapland, Finland but that just might be pushing things a touch 😉
I’m excited to continue on this journey in 2016 sharing all of our explorations around the world with you all.
Happy New Year!
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