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2017 year in review and my plans to make 2018 the best ever

· Travel and photography ·

I cannot believe how fast last year flew by.  But as I’m writing down some of the fun adventures that we had I guess we did manage to fit a lot in!  From horseback riding in Waipi’o Valley, to zipping around Funchal in a sidecar, to hiking around a glacial lake via the 2nd tallest funicular in Switzerland, and of course I can’t forget almost missing our international flight due to a car accident on the way to the airport.  Stay tuned for blog posts about some of these events, in the meantime here is our 2017 travel in review and my goals for 2018.

 

2017 Travel Recap


This was an amazing year for travel, we had the chance to discover some new favorite countries and go a little deeper into places we’ve been to before.  I scored some super low plane tickets by flying out of Toronto and we cashed in some frequent flyer miles for one trip to cut costs.  Plus my husband was invited on an awards trip to Hawaii for his company so we were able to add that to our list as well. 

overview, scenic, skyline, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, city, travel, cruise ship

Azores/Madeira

I stumbled onto cheap flights from Toronto to Madeira, Portugal with a 24 hour layover in the Azores and I was sold!  Let me just say that 24 hours is not nearly enough time in the Azores, I hope to go back another time and visit several of the islands, hopefully when the hydrangeas are blooming.  But I did find the one spot that I really wanted to photograph while on Sao Miguel, I’ll share that in an upcoming post.  Madeira was one of my all time favorite places.  The food, people, scenery, and hikes were all amazing.  We even caught a few Carnival celebrations. I’d love to go back sometime when it’s not raining.  Now is the time to go to Madeira, it’s ready for tourists but it’s not over run with them yet.  Everyone spoke English and they don’t see many Americans (more Germans and British).  It’s a tiny island but it’s packed with adventures and and things to see.  

lush, green, tropical, valley, Waipi'o, Big Island, Hawaii, travel, summer

Hawaii

Not long after returning from Portugal we jetted off to the Big Island of Hawaii for a week, thanks to DH’s company!  While tropical and totally relaxed is not usually my vibe this trip was absolutely fantastic and it was just what we needed.  I didn’t even get sunburned, but I did enjoy some shaved ice that was ridiculously yummy.  My favorite part was the night snorkel with Manta Rays (read about it here).  I find that some of my most memorable experiences are the ones that are just outside of my comfort zone, that definitely applies to the night snorkeling!  We’re trying to focus our vacations to Europe or more eastern locations since we hope to move to Colorado in the next few years and we figure it will be easier and less expensive to travel west at that point.  But every time I see an affordable flight to Hawaii I’m tempted to ditch that plan!

art, project, installment, bear, blue, Denver, Colorado, tourism, sculpture

Denver/Boulder, Colorado

We had scheduled a week long trip to revisit Boulder and when DH’s aunt and uncle asked to join us we were super excited to show them where we hope to build our dream home.  They even got to watch us stake the corners of the house from a diagram in a tiny little photo on an iphone since someone (guilty) had left the actual print outs at the hotel.  Oops.  While there we spent a little time in Denver since we usually head straight to Boulder from the airport.  And it was fun to do more of the touristy things like city tours and explore new restaurants. Did I mention that we submitted our house plans for site plan review in person?  Well, we did and it was super exciting (at least for us).

sunflare, lake, glacial, hiker, adventure, outdoors, Switzerland, Gelmersee, Gelmerbahn

Switzerland

I originally planned on going to Scotland this year.  It’s always been on the bucket list and with the better currency exchange I thought it would be a good time to go.  But then DH requested one vacation where maybe it didn’t rain every day (we haven’t had the best luck with that recently).  So I switched gears and planned a trip through Switzerland….where it rained almost every day.  I can’t make this stuff up!  Rain or shine though, Switzerland just bounced to the top of our list, just behind New Zealand as one of our favorite spots.  I hope to revisit Switzerland again in the future, especially the Matterhorn since we couldn’t fit that into our trip this time.  And I really want to stay at the Whitepod hotel next time, how cool does this place look? 

dog, newfoundland, canoe, lake, autumn, fall, life jacket, canine, newf, adventure, outdoors

Muskoka region of Canada

This was our second fall cottage trip to Canada in the fall.  It’s a tradition to rent a cabin or cottage and take one of our Newfoundland dogs, Sadie, on her own vacation.  We’ve gone to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a few times and recently we’ve been exploring parts of Canada.   This year we went to the Muskoka region of Ontario and thoroughly enjoyed watching Sadie taste the water from several different lakes.  And we got to stand in a cranberry bog during the annual Cranberry Festival that we attended.  For once, it didn’t rain every day so that was an added bonus.  Sadie is 10 now, and that’s pretty old for a newf, so we cherish every trip that we can take with her.

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St. Augustine

A fairly short trip to Florida to meet up with DH’s parents, who live in Ocala.  We love to meet up and explore new cities together so we flew down for a Thanksgiving feast.  It rained every day except one (notice the trend?) and of course it never rains on the day we leave, but we managed to have a great time.  If you’re ever in St. Augustine you absolutely have to rent the little motorcycle cars, it’s ridiculously fun.

airplane, plane, wing, window, sunset, blue, travel

2018 Travel & Photography Goals

It’s a strange situation for me right now, I’m looking ahead to 2018 and I have no major trips planned.  And I’m not entirely freaking out about that.  So far it looks like we might do more long weekends- heading to Florida to visit family, Colorado to work on house plans, and some trips around Michigan.  My biggest issue is finding someone to watch our zoo.  With 4 dogs (three of them are ours and one foster dog) and 2 foster cats (both have medical issues) it takes a special person to deal with our crew.  And if 2018/19 does include building a new house it’s not a bad thing to save some money and explore more of Michigan before we leave!  It also wouldn’t hurt to finish processing all of my images and write the blog posts from our 2017 trips, which brings me to my 2018 photography goals.

Instagram, grid, photos, travel,

Video is the theme for 2018.  I gave my husband a GoPro for our anniversary last year and we started playing around with it on our trip to Madeira, but there is definitely a learning curve involved!  And then there’s the whole issue of processing video vs. images.  But I’ve been watching my CreativeLive courses and lots of Youtube videos.  So I think I’m ready to dive into video in 2018.  You can check out my first videos on Youtube here, just remember that I’m totally new to this!

I’ve also broken my Instagram account into three separate accounts based on specific types of photography (links below).  So my goal is to actually keep up and post consistently on IG this year.  That goes for my blog posts as well!

My last photography goal for 2018 is probably the toughest one for me.  I’m going to try to get into more of my pictures.  I’m much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it but I have to admit that one of my favorite pictures from Switzerland is the one some other tourists took of us jumping in the air.  They had pantomime asked if I would take one of them and afterwards the offered to take one of us.  Normally I would say no or we’d just stand there and smile.  But since they looked like there were having fun jumping up and down I decided we should do it, too.  It’s silly but it still makes me laugh everytime I look at it (that hair though!).  I’m not going to become a selfie queen, but I am going to make the effort to get a few every trip.

 

So those are my travel and photography goals for 2018.  How about you?  Any specific goals that you’re working on?

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Jennifer McCallum

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