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I loath to start writing with someone else’s words, but I can’t help but think this quote sums up my 2017 perfectly:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness”
I’m not sure yet if this will go down as a year that will forever define me, but it’s one I’ll never forget.
In 2017, I realized what an incredible impact we can have on everyone around us, whether we know it at the time or not. That the things that happen or the choices we make can turn our world upside down and give us a new perspective. That everything can change in an instant. That we may have big dreams, but something bigger than ourselves could have different plans. It’s how we meet those challenges or opportunities that determines our path, and is the difference between living a life of what-ifs or knowing you gave it your all.
Usually when I share my annual year in review piece, it’s a light-hearted overview of all the shenanigans I got up to (except in 2015 when I got robbed or whatever. Twice). And I’ll get to all that fun stuff soon, because there was a lot of it, but first I want to say that my biggest learning this year is that relationships are everything. We can have all of the things, or go all of the places, but there inevitably comes a point when the only thing that matters is the people next to you. Who they are may change over time, but I’ve found the best experiences happen when there’s someone to share them with, and in the worst times those same people can be your lifeline. I’m not just being existential here guys—my friend is literally alive today because of the incredible support of his family, who refused to leave his side in the hospital room and their mere presence saved his life when he suddenly stopped breathing and there was no medical staff around.
So who are those people to you? Who are the ones you want to share everything with, take care of, are always on your mind and you’d trust them with your life? All I can say is that whenever I’m asked what my top travel experiences have been, it always comes back to the people. Whether fleeting, like the kindness of perfect strangers after getting lost in a foreign country, or relationships that will last a lifetime thanks to fast friendships formed over bucket list experiences, shared meals and long conversations, it’s always about those I met along the way.
Fortunately, I met some pretty amazing people this year.
And that, my friends, is the perfect segue into the fun part of my yearly round up!
So normally I do a play-by-play of my year, but 2017, as my friend Andrea likes to say, was cuckoo bananas. I was on the road a third of the time, and if I went through all of my trips in detail you would probably stop reading now because frankly even my mom likely doesn’t care enough to know what the deuce I got up to. So, here’s the abridged version…
Phoenix- Got to hang with the GREATEST group of gals in the desert, sipping champs by the pool, doing goat yoga (yup that’s a thing, not even kid-ding #SeeWhatIDidThere), riding in a hot air balloon and nearly breaking our necks trying to scamper up a mountain in time for sunrise. Totally worth it for this view:
New York City- Felt like a celebrity staying in the most amazing suite in a fancy 5th Avenue hotel, and got to tour their $25,000 per night rooms.
Golden, B.C.- That time there was such a crazy blizzard that I had to request file photos to use in my story because OMG why can’t we see the mountains?!
Winnipeg- So there’s a reason it’s nicknamed Winter-peg. The city totally embraces it though, and I had a great time ice climbing right downtown (bicep burn for days), eating a gourmet meal on a frozen lake and relaxing in one of Canada’s best spas.
Tofino- With only two nights on the island this trip was way too quick, but it was heavenly to stay in the beautiful Wickanninish Inn right on the ocean and hang with some of Canada’s top Instagrammers. Also hilarious to see the self-proclaimed adventurers lose their lunch over the side of the boat when we went whale watching.
Saint Lucia- Two words: Overwater bungalow.
Toronto- That time I flew out for a spa day and magazine photo shoot. Pinch me, is this real life?
Panama- When I ate lunch with a monkey sitting on my lap.
London- Pretty sure we spent more time inside pubs than sightseeing…but isn’t that what one does in jolly old England?
Portugal- The most GORGEOUS beaches. Mouthwatering pastel de nata that I’m legit still dreaming about. Adorable streetscapes. Portugal, you’re awesome.
Connecticut- Heartbreak, loss, hope.
The Cariboos in B.C.– An experience I’ll never forget, and it turns out there’s a Matterhorn here too.
France- That time Type-A Tamara found out where she was heading as she boarded the plane. Yay for surprise trips! And canoeing under castles! And sipping Chambord liqueur in Chambord!
New Brunswick– All of the seafood.
Halifax- Friends and fun.
Argentina- It doesn’t get much more baller than ice-trekking on a massive glacier, then sipping whisky poured over ice that you SCOOPED OFF THE FREAKIN’ GLACIER.
Uruguay- Because why not add another passport stamp?
Belize- Can you Belize I went here for my birthday? #SeeWhatIDidThere
Guatemala– Because when you’re 15 minutes from the border, you have to hop over. And I guess the Mayan ruins of Tikal were pretty cool too…
So there it is folks, my 2017 in a nutshell, and I have a funny feeling next year is going to be even more memorable. I hope it is for you too, and you find yourselves enjoying incredible adventures with the people who have your heart.
Happy 2018 everyone xo
Globe Guide’s 2017 stats:
Countries explored: 12- Canada, USA, St. Lucia, Panama, England, Portugal, France, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala
Travel days: 106 (Side note: I was le tired)
Number of flights: 55 (Side note: OMG HOW DO I STILL NOT HAVE AIRLINE STATUS)
Favourite destination: It was a close one, but Portugal narrowly beat out Argentina and Belize thanks to the gorgeous beaches, picture-perfect architecture, laid-back vibe and perfect weather.
Biggest fail: Trekking through Patagonia and seeing Mount Fitz Roy at sunrise was totally bucket list for me…unfortunately due to freezing, torrential rain our group instead did what felt like a two-day death march, and didn’t even see the damn mountain peak. On the plus side, I have an excuse to go back.
Bucket list accomplishments: 6
- Spend a day taking in the highlights of London
- Beach it in Belize
- Soak in the epic landscapes of Patagonia
- Drink port in Portugal
- Ride a camel
- Take a hot air balloon ride
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