As 2017 approaches and I reflect back on this year I must admit, I couldn’t wait to leave 2015 behind me and welcome 2016. In fact, I can remember thinking I wish I could just close my eyes and wake up a year from now. At the end of 2015 a relationship that I thought I would be in for the rest of my life ended. It was extremely heartbreaking and took a toll on me. I had my fair share of mourning and at one point I knew I had to pick myself up, dust myself off, and embark on the most adventurous year of my life. I decided to turn to my life long passion of traveling and make 2016 the year of adventures. I gave myself one year to be sad, selfish and go on every adventure that came my way. As 2016 ends I am so thankful that I didn’t close my eyes and wake up a year later. I would have missed so many amazing adventures, in fact some of the best of my life.
Here are all of my favorites from 2016!
My first international trip of the year was to South Africa. I don’t think I could have picked a more exotic destination. I got to experience my first Safari! Viewing animals in their natural environment is unlike any experience I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of. After going on safari we explored Cape Town like locals with two of my favorite South Africans!
I had the pleasure of celebrating my 29th birthday in Chicago, Illinois with my friend Melissa. I love celebrating other people’s birthdays but I have to admit I am not very good at celebrating my own. That’s why I decided to celebrate with the Chi-Rish in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day (which just so happens to be the day before my birthday). We celebrated in green and explored the city!
Read more: What to See, Eat, and Experience in Chicago
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs is a desert oasis that is sunny almost all year around. It is a perfect place to bask in the sun, relax, and partake in the pool parties. This year I was lucky enough to be a part of a very fun group trip to celebrate a friend’s birthday Palm Springs style.
Southern Road Trip
One goal I had this year was to see more of my own country. When deciding with a friend of mine where to road trip this year, we couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate LIFE than the South!! We drove from Nashville to New Orleans stopping in Memphis, Tennessee and Natchez, Mississippi.
Nashville > Memphis > Mississippi > New Orleans
I love Vail all year around. I have been there in every season and I just can’t pick my favorite time of year to visit. My Southern road trip ended with paddle boarding and hiking in Vail, Colorado.
Catalina Island, California
My absolute favorite California getaway destination is hands down Santa Catalina Island, one of California’s Channel Island’s. There is something so “California” about the Island with the hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling but there is also something so quaint and exotic about the town of Avalon on the Island. I don’t think there is anywhere else on this earth that encompasses all of my favorite characteristics in one single destination like Catalina Island does.
Miami, Florida was all about my friend Taler’s bachelorette party. Let me tell you it did not disappoint. We went snorkeling in Key Largo and brunched hard at Nikki beach!
New York City
Before heading to South America I made my way to New York City to check out the Big Apple and hang like a local with my friend Melanie. We cruised around The Statue of Liberty and explored Times Square like proper tourists!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
South America officially marked traveling to my sixth continent, which landed me in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I met with my friends Kelsey, Karlyn, and Bonny (our South African safari ranger). We had the amazing opportunity to go to the Paralympics and beach hop our way around Rio….and drink our fair share of Caipirinha’s!
Trekking to Machu Picchu, Peru
To end our South American adventure with a bang we headed to Peru. We explored the ancient Incan City of Cusco and trekked our way to Machu Picchu. A challenge that was both mentally and physically demanding with a destination at the end unlike any other. What a perfect way to end my year of travels!
Thank you to all of my friends and family who supported me through a very challenging time. You know who you are! Xoxo
I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me!
Where would you like to see One World State of Mind go in 2017??? Let me know in the comments below!