2017 Year in Review

I had a goal in 2017 that I didn't share with too many people. That goal was to take a trip every month. I didn't define how far I had to go or if I needed to fly or leave the country, but I wanted to travel. For some people, this goal may sound easy, but I work a standard nine-to-five job with limited vacation days. During this particular year, I only traveled once for work (to San Antonio, Texas) and the rest of my travels were paid out of my pocket.

I like these recap posts to keep a personal record of my year and also look back on some of my favorite moments. As I write this, I'm thinking about 2018 and unsure if I want to keep traveling or instead slow down to focus on saving money... but I'm still undecided. Throughout 2017, I became more inspired by outdoor adventures rather than city getaways so I'm considering making that more of a priority. Definitely planning to spend my birthday camping on a mountain again! But for now, I'm reliving a travel-filled 2017 before looking ahead into the next year.

By the numbers: In 2017, I took 23 flights on 5 airlines. I saw 10 U.S. States (4 new ones for me), 5 countries, 1 U.S. territory, and 2 provinces of Canada. I slept in 15 different hotels, 4 AirBnBs, 2 tents, and spent multiple nights crashing with friends and family.

January [Chicago]
I kicked off my year of travel with a weekend trip to Chicago with friends. We braved the cold and spent a relaxing weekend with no set plans other than eating and drinking our way around the city. I still have a lot of Chicago to see and I'm looking forward to returning one day. Maybe in 2018 and maybe in slightly warmer weather.

(Another January highlight: ski weekend at Bryce Resort)

February [Breckenridge]
An annual ski trip with friends has become one of my favorite trips each year. For 2017, I rented a house in Breckenridge, Colorado for 18 of us. We could walk to the gondola to hit the slopes for the day and at night, we soaked in our hot tub and strolled into town to visit local bars. I loved Breckenridge so much that I'm already planning a trip back in 2018! Read more about my annual snowboarding trips: 201720162015.
(Another February highlight: hiking Raven Rocks)

March [New Orleans]
After a short work trip to New Orleans in 2016, I knew I'd be back soon for a long weekend visit. I traveled with two friends and it was a great escape from the cold spring in DC to warm Louisiana. We ate, drank, biked, and danced... a lot. And I left Nola feeling fulfilled and gluttonous.
(Other March highlights: visiting the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at the Hirshhorn Museumcutting off 12 inches of hair, and meeting The Points Guy)

April [Camping on the Appalachian Trail]
I had hoped to spend my 28th birthday in Puerto Rico but when flights didn't work out, I planned a backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail with my boyfriend Mike. We drove down to Roanoke, Virginia to hike and camp at McAfee Knob. Celebrating my birthday with a rewarding hike and a Zebra Cake at the top may turn into my new birthday tradition.
(Another April highlight: seeing the DC Cherry Blossoms)

May [Lake Anna]
With bigger trips coming up in the summertime, I kept May simple and spent Memorial Day Weekend at Lake Anna in Virginia. Mike's dad has a house at the lake and we love to visit in warm weather. Some of my favorite memories from that weekend were jet skiing to a secluded island to set up my hammock, riding to lunch in the pontoon boat, and biking to the docks to catch a sunset.
(Another May highlight: going to my first IGDC event and finally meeting some Instagram friends in real life)

June [San Francisco]
My friend Pam had a wedding to attend in San Fransisco so she invited me to tag along and make a weekend out of it. We crammed a lot into that weekend and didn't even complete our to-do list, so I feel pretty confident that I'll be back soon to explore more. I love cities that have mountain skylines and San Fran not only has mountains but also the beach. I'm looking forward to returning in 2018 or 2019.
(Other June highlights: visiting some Virginia wineries and hiking Difficult Run)

July [Puerto Rico]
Puerto Rico didn't work out for my birthday but it made a perfect trip for the July 4th holiday! Mike and I began the trip in San Juan before taking a small plane to Vieques Island. We fell hard for Vieques. It was the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation for us. We rented a jeep to explore private beaches and snorkel in clear water. While this island got hit hard by Hurricane Maria, they are in the process of rebuilding and I highly recommend visiting!
(Other July highlights: a work trip to San Antonio, another trip to Lake Anna with friends, and visiting the sunflower fields in Maryland)

August [England, Ireland & Scotland]
For my biggest trip of the year, I traveled abroad with my friends Shannon and Pam (these two have become my "yes" friends and are always eager to travel). We visited England, Scotland, and Ireland. This was my first time in the U.K. and we wanted to get a small taste of a few different parts. London, Edinburgh, the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, and Dublin were the main stops. I was so happy to finally see these countries! Next time I return, I'll drive through more of the countryside and avoid the big cities.
(Another August highlight: biking around DC and Arlington)

September [Shenandoah National Park]
For Labor Day weekend, Mike and I conquered another backpacking trip in Shenandoah National Park. This time, we hiked to Bear Church Rock and camped for the night. This was a tough hike in the September heat, but a good one. To me, Labor Day marks the end of the summer and it's nice to complete the season with some time in the woods.
(Other September highlights: going to my first Wanderlust108 Festival and attending Pineapple Camp by Pineapple Collaborative)

October [Canada]
My most unique trip of the year was traveling Canada for five days with my dad and brother to see our favorite hockey team play abroad. We followed the Washington Capitals to games in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. We explored the cities during the days and went to the games at night. The Caps only won one of three games but it was still a great experience. My favorite part of the trip was our final day in Banff, Alberta.
(Other October highlights: planning/attending my 10-Year High School Reunion and reconnecting with old friends)

November [Rhode Island]
In November, I was happy to make Rhode Island my 23rd state. One of my best friends from college has been busy with med school for the past few years, so when she matched with a hospital in Providence for residency, Shannon and I planned a trip to visit. Because Rhode Island is so small, we were able to visit Providence, Newport and some stops in between. We're hoping to make it back for another girls trip next spring or summer!
(Other November highlights: seeing Book of Mormon and Mean Girls the Musical, hosting my best friend's baby shower, and ending the month with ankle surgery!)

December [Ankle Surgery]
As much as I wanted to complete my resolution of a trip a month, my body had other plans for December. A soccer injury from the summer turned into a greater problem. I spent the majority of September and October in a boot, then had physical therapy throughout November to prepare for my surgery. The first few weeks of December I was in a cast, on crutches, and teleworking from my parents' house in Manassas, Virginia (sorry, no photos. These weren't my most photogenic days). My mobility was more limited than anticipated so I wasn't able to make the trip to New York City I had planned. Luckily, I was out of the cast by mid-December and my final day in the boot was on Christmas.

I don't feel like I failed at my resolution. Especially after writing this recap and reminiscing about all the things I've done in 2017. I'm looking forward to more rehab sessions in January and hoping to get back to hiking, biking, soccer, and snowboarding by February (fingers crossed)!

Want to know how this year compared to last? Read about my travels in 2016.

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