What a whirlwind Wanderlust 2016 has been! This year we traveled to more destinations than we have in previous years and soaked up some of the most gorgeous sites the lower 48 states have to offer! As 2016 is coming to a close, we’re taking some time to reflect back upon our 2016 adventures before we look ahead to the adventures of 2017.
We started the year off with a family trip to Colorado for skiing and snowmobiling. Of course we stayed in our absolute favorite Colorado town, Grand Lake, Colorado. The kids had a blast snowmobiling even though I thought I was going to freeze to death! My one tip to snowmobilers, be the driver! In my opinion, the driver stays much warmer than the passenger. Even though I thought I was going to lose some fingers and toes I couldn’t skip soaking up the beautiful scenery. Maybe it’s my age these days, but now when I travel I soak up every site, color, sound, smell around me. I take time to just look, smell, and really immerse myself in my surroundings. This was the kids’ first time snowmobiling and I think they had a blast. This was also their first trip skiing and that was an adventure in and of itself. Let’s just say that there may have been the ski patrol involved and 3 out of the 5 kids thoroughly enjoyed it! This trip was a great way to kick off Wanderlust 2016.
This was my very first trip to Niagara Falls. It was an unexpected trip so we were in and out and the weather did not cooperate but it was still amazing to see none the less. We’re actually going to be taking the kids back there this summer and will definitely venture over to the Canadian side. From what I could tell on this trip, you definitely want to view the falls from the Canada side. As we stood there in the howling winds and rain I still was in awe of the absolute beauty and power behind those falls. I always think about what it must have been like for those early explorers to happen upon these falls, and I also think about how they formed. I always seem to do some deep thinking and reflection on my wanderlust adventures, I guess I’m weird like that.
My husband is originally from Western Pennsylvania, just northeast of Pittsburgh in a tiny town nestled in the mountains. We try to take the kids back once a year on Memorial Day weekend and this picture is one I snapped while we were ATV trail riding in the mountains. The sheer beauty of this location, the lush green combined with the rocky terrain is so gorgeous. I always wonder if those that live in the area realize how absolutely gorgeous it really is and fully appreciate their surroundings. When you don’t get to see this every day you’re amazed at its beauty. We’ll be heading back this year for our annual family trip to visit all of our PA family.
Panama City Beach, Florida
This year’s extended family vacation was to Panama City Beach, Florida. We typically like to travel to the beaches of North Carolina, but this year we decided to give the Florida Emerald Coast a try. It was a wee bit populated for my taste, but you can’t not enjoy a beach trip, right? The waters were warm and beautiful. This picture was taken from my bedroom balcony, I mean who wouldn’t want to wake up to that every day?!? The kids enjoyed kayaking, snorkeling, and their first airboat tour where we spotted some ‘gators. Being neck deep into winter right now I’m dreaming about the beach as I’m writing this.
Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
For my 40th birthday this year the only thing I wanted to do was take a trip to the PNW. I have wanted to visit Oregon and the PNW for as long as I can remember. I found this cute little log cabin that was over 100 years old and nestled into the lush green woods through VRBO. It seriously felt like we were staying in a little gnome’s house. We spent six days exploring the Portland area. We hiked up to the top of Multnomah Falls, hiked through the Oneonta Gorge, and drove over to Cannon Beach (aka the Goonies beach). It was everything I thought it would be and more! I will definitely be back to the PNW.
Grand Lake, Colorado/Rocky Mountain National Park
If you asked me what is one place I could visit year after year and potentially move to, it’s Grand Lake, Colorado. Grand Lake is nestled on the west entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park and I could spend all day, every day in that park. We always try to make a trip in the Fall (September) when the elk are in rut. To hear the big bull elk bugle is simply amazing, nature at its finest. If you go in the Fall you’ll also get to see the vibrant yellow aspen nestled amongst the green pine trees. I highly recommend making this trip at least once in your lifetime!
Isn’t this world we live in absolutely gorgeous, yet amazing. To think about the different terrain just here in the United States is amazing to me, not to mention the thought that all of this beauty is planted onto a rock that spinning in space amongst other planets and stars. It’s mind boggling to me. My sense of wonder is what drives my wanderlust. Sitting here at 40 years of age I want to soak up as much beauty as possible. I want to smell the ocean air, see the lush greens, feel the soft needles of the pines. I want to experience every landscape, every season, everything I possibly can while I’m still here. My goal is to plant the seed of wanderlust not only in my kids but in all of you. I firmly believe wellness is tied to our overall mental, physical, and spiritual state. Being able to travel and soak up this beauty is definitely part of my overall wellness.
My one challenge for all of you is to pick just ONE place you’ve always wanted to visit and make that happen in 2017! Make it a non-negotiable, make it happen for YOU!!