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2017 Recap – How We Spent Our Year

The Wandering Dragons

It’s hard to believe 2017 has already come to an end! Life passes by too fast and before you know it, it’s time to step into another year on this earth. This year started off a bit rocky for me personally as there were some big changes and decisions that we had to make but ultimately, everything worked out for the best for us. 2017 was yet again a light year for us in terms of travel but we were still able to get a few good trips in when we could! As the dust settles on this interesting year, here’s a look back at some of the highlights we experienced in 2017 (travel-related or not) and what we are looking forward to in 2018!

January

Destinations Visited: Portland, Oregon

January started off with us living in a Winter Wonderland! It snowed 11 inches at our home in Oregon, rendering us a bit helpless and at the will of the snow. Although we were snowed in at our home for a whole week, we could thankfully walk across the street to the nearby shopping center to enjoy hot meals, a delicious beer or four, and even attend a wedding reception of two of our new Portland friends. Unfortunately, both of us also caught really bad colds at the beginning of the year that lasted for weeks!

A Big Change

At the end of January, I said goodbye to a job that I had been at for 13 years of my life. It was a big change that I wasn’t completely mentally prepared for and I spent the whole month of January stressing about my uncertain future! It didn’t help being stuck in the house due to the snow, having to battle one of the worst colds of my life, and desperately missing our family and friends. Alas, with huge thanks for my former boss, a generous job opportunity presented itself that still allowed me to work from home and the stresses of 2017 became just a little bit lighter!

February

Destinations Visited: Portland, Oregon; SF Bay Area, California

Enter February when I started my new job! While still battling my horrendous cold, I started training for my new position as a Project Manager for an IT Support company. It was slow going, but I eventually found my place with my new people. We also got to travel a little! We made it back down to California to visit our family and friends that we missed so desperately over an extended President’s Day weekend.

March

Destinations Visited: Portland, Oregon

March was focused on eating and drinking our way through Portland. Favorite food discovery: the Laotian food truck at Happy Valley Station (Khao Niew) just outside of Portland! Nam Khao, this amazing crispy rice salad dish, is one of my all time favorite things to eat. And funny enough, I found out that the owner is a cousin of a friend of mine! Small world. Check it out if you get the chance. They make it with either meat or vegetarian friendly if you’re like me!

We also day tripped in Portland eating sandwiches and visiting the ducks and geese at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, which I wrote about on the blog here and checked another brewery off our list – Gigantic Brewing – a spot that we had been saying we needed to get to for far too long!

April

Destinations Visited: Portland & Hood River, Oregon

In April, we took a little day trip out to Hood River. It was a beautiful drive through the Columbia River Gorge, ending with lunch at pFriem Family Brewers, and a little walk along with waterfront to watch the kiteboarders. On our way back to Portland, we stopped in Skamania, at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, and Thunder Island Brewing for some beers and nachos. A typical day trip for us!

We also made sure to visit some of our favorite spots in the Alberta Arts District, like the best brewery at the moment – Great Notion Brewing. Just look at those beauties!

May

Destinations Visited: Portland, Oregon; SF Bay Area, California

In May, we made a really tough decision to move back to California. We had such as great experience in Portland and we made some really great friends! We can’t wait to get back up there again someday. Portland will continue to remain my favorite city in the U.S.!

Before we said goodbyes to our Oregon home, we made sure to enjoy some spring sunshine in PDX. We hit up more new breweries, along with cramming a few more brunches in, and ended our last weekend in Portland with a visit to the Japanese Garden. You can read all about our last day trip in Portland on the blog here!

June

Destinations Visited: SF Bay Area, California

June was all about settling back in to our old home in Cali. I also cut my hair! We got reacquainted will all our favorite food spots, played Dungeons and Dragons, hung out with friends, and went to our only A’s game of the season.

July

Destinations Visited: SF Bay Area, California

In July, we celebrated everything the Californian summer could give us. Micah finally got to get back out on the water and go fishing, we played trivia at our local taproom, we celebrated a friend’s birthday, and I got to meet up with my old co-workers!

We discovered a tasty new Thai spot close to home that actually delivers! We got pretty spoiled up in Portland with Delivery Dudes delivering all our favorites right to our door. It’s the little things that can make us most happy sometimes!

August

Destinations Visited: SF Bay Area, California

In August, we celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary! Five years of life, love and travel, and we are looking forward to many more years to come. We also celebrated another good friend’s birthday, played more Dungeons and Dragons, and enjoyed all the food that our fortunate life allowed us too.

I also signed up to be a Travel Consultant! Anyone want to book any trips to Hawaii soon? This has been a goal that was years in the making after I graduated from Travel Marketing school a few years back. Just one more step in helping others realize their very own travel dreams!

September

Destinations Visited: SF Bay Area & San Diego, California

September came and it was finally time to travel again! We’ve been wanting to make it down to San Diego forever so we finally took the opportunity to take a long weekend getaway over Labor Day weekend. It was hot as all hell! And so humid. It was kind of miserable and made it hard to enjoy a lot of our time in the city but we made the best of it. We definitely ate a lot, as usual, and one of the coolest things we did while there was explore the U.S.S. Midway Museum which I highly recommend. One of these days, we’ll get back to SD and give it a second go!

October

Destinations Visited: SF Bay Area, California

In October, we co-hosted a Halloween party at our house! It was so much fun. I took the opportunity to dress up as Moana (it only made sense right?). I even had my own personal Hei Hei! As much as I love to travel, I equally cherish the moments we get to spend with our friends and family having fun and enjoying life.

November

Destinations Visited: SF Bay Area, California; Negril, Jamaica

November was hands down my favorite month of the year. We went to Jamaica! It was such an epic trip and I have many blog posts to write. Stay tuned! We also celebrated our birthdays – my 34th and Micah’s 40th, and had a small Thanksgiving celebration with our friends.

December

Destinations Visited: SF Bay Area, California

December was all about holiday dinners, company parties, and just unwinding. I also had some extra time to catch up on photo editing and writing blog posts which I desperately needed!


Travel Book Recap

I promised myself I would read more this year so I bought two new books at the beginning of the year that were travel themed and got right to reading!

The Alchemist: This book is probably on many travelers’ must-read lists and in all my years dreaming of traveling the world, I had never read it up until now. A friend was reading it in a book club for work and I decided to read along with her so I would have someone as equally interested in discussing the book as I was. Paulo Coelho’s words are always inspiring, and while there was a huge religious influence in the book (not my thing), I really appreciated getting some travel inspiration when I needed it most!

Girls Who Travel: I definitely loved reading this book this year! I finished it on the plane while coming back from Jamaica. A good few life lessons can come from this lighthearted book about reflecting on what travel really means to you, and what life can bring you when you aren’t traveling.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Yep, I’m still trying to make my way through the HP books…and I only read one this year! At least it was a good one and I loved learning extra little details, like the identity of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs which they don’t necessarily talk about in the movies. I should really finish the rest of those books this year…#2018Goals


Instagram Recap

In 2017, I slowed down a bit on the Instagram posts – in fact, I posted half as much this year as I did last year! Which also means half as many likes. I also didn’t focus on growing my following either. I’ve barely climbed to just under 600 followers, up from 500 last year. How do people do it?! Instagram is such a mystery to me but I’ll still continue to post my favorite photos. One of my goals for 2018 is to get back into the regular habit of posting on Instagram daily or at least a few times a week and make my profile a little more cohesive.

Here’s a look at my Best Nine of 2017 – the photos which people “hearted” the most! We got a little love for Vancouver, Maui, Portland, and Paris!

My most popular Instagram photo was actually a throwback post to Paris! Go figure…I guess people love Europe photos.


Pinterest Recap

Holy cow – Pinterest! I joined a few group boards and some of my pins really took off, one being being re-pinned over 1,500 times, and several others  hundreds of times, driving traffic to our little blog significantly!

Our most popular pin was from this blog post: Vancouver Weekend Itinerary


YouTube Recap

I still struggle with making videos since we’re both quite camera shy; however, I still love the different element it brings to sharing our travels. We are up to a mere 72 subscribers (HAHA) and have reached nearly 20,000 views of our videos. 20,000 up from 1,500 last year is quite a small accomplishment in my opinion! Next up for YouTube we’ll be releasing videos from our weekend getaway to San Diego, California, as well as our epic trip to Jamaica! Stay tuned and subscribe to our channel to get updates when they are uploaded!

Our most popular video this year was Vancouver in a Weekend, which I attribute to our Vancouver Weekend Itinerary post. It’s been viewed over 6,000 times, edging out last year’s Solvang video.


Popular Blog Posts

Our most popular blog post this year, thanks to Pinterest, has been our Vancouver Weekend Itinerary, that has been viewed nearly 9,000 times! WOW. We had such a good time in Vancouver – spreading knowledge was only the right thing to do.

A close second was How to Spend a Weekend in Solvang! It seems like these weekend itineraries are pretty popular.


On the Horizon for 2018

We are really hoping to focus a little bit more on travel for 2018. I’m planning a return to Europe this spring and we are hoping to not only make it back to Italy, but to also visit a few new countries – Croatia and Slovenia!

We are also eyeing New Zealand in the fall, a country that both of us have been dying to visit. I attended a travel seminar back in October on selling New Zealand to clients (as a travel consultant) and it solidified my determination to make New Zealand a top priority.

While we are in California, I’m also making it a goal to try and take a day trip or weekend trip to at least one new city a month. It might be a little ambitious but when we can’t travel too far, there’s always something worth exploring closer to home!

We are also planning on getting in better shape and eating better in 2018. I am sure those are everyone’s favorite resolutions to make but after seeing my swimsuit photos from Jamaica, I feel it’s a bit of a necessity!

A big thank you to all our readers out there. We travel to not only experience life, but to share knowledge that we’ve gained to help others do the same! Here’s to wishing you the best of luck in making your travel dreams come true in 2018!

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