At the end of each year, I find myself not really making resolutions, but trying to look back on the past year and figuring out what I need to do differently...2017 was a pretty decent year for me in some ways, but also a REALLY bad year for me in other ways. I had struggles with work, I got a major case of writer's block, my daughter moved out, moved back in, then moved back out again...I was sitting on a flight coming home from a work trip to San Francisco recently and I was too tired to really do "work," but I was feeling a little inspired to take a look back at what I'd really accomplished in 2017. I want 2018 to be a great year, and the only sure fire way to make that happen is to reflect what I did right and wrong in 2017. I did A LOT in 2017...the travel alone? It was a pretty crazy, hectic year for me...and I loved every moment of it! Here are the 17 Places I Traveled to in 2017 - I think you may agree, and I hope that this inspires you to travel more in 2018!
17 Places I Traveled to in 2017
I began 2017 in Cuba
I went with a good friend and two of her friends (whom I can now also call my friends) to Cuba right after Christmas and rang in the new year there. Now, to be perfectly honest, it wasn't the best trip.
Sometimes I think about going back and trying it again, but with our Cuban culture so strong and vibrant in Miami, I am not sure that the "real Cuba" will ever live up to my expectations. You can read about that trip here - I have only written one blog post so far...if that gives you any indication on my feelings towards that trip!
I Drove a Cool New Kia Niro Around San Antonio
While I did go to Detroit for the NAIAS with Kia in January, it was so freaking cold that I never wrote about Detroit - we basically stayed inside as much as possible! I worked with Kia again on a press trip to San Antonio and drove their 2017 Kia Niro all around San Antonio, and it was SO MUCH FUN! Two of my best friends were there, and I made new friends too; making new friends is one of the best part of my blogger press trips!
I'm currently driving a Kia Niro as a loaner car while Angeline uses my car...she wrecked her car in October and Kia was nice enough to loan me a car while she car shops because sharing a car was...well, it was REALLY difficult. I'll be writing about the Kia Forte that I took to Disney later, as well as a review of the Niro later this month. Don't forget to check back for those posts!
I Went to Karneval In Dusseldorf, Germany
One day my friend told me that she'd been invited to a press trip for Karneval in Germany and while I wasn't invited as a blogger, they did allow me to buy my own flights and tag along and share her hotel room with her (her room had two beds so it didn't cost them anything extra).
I had an AMAZING time, even though I was usually on my own, and I even met a really cute German guy and partied with him and his friends for an entire day!
I went home for a while, saw a friend off to his deployment, brunched...and then I planned a girl's weekend trip to Canada...
I Did a Girl's Trip to Toronto
Yes, it was cold. Yes, it snowed at one point. We drank wine, we ate really good food and we shopped A LOT.
I ate so much poutine...
It may be part of the reason why I gained so much weight in 2017 - I gained 18 pounds, but I've lost a few of those since making a concentrated effort the last month or so.
We got dressed up and went out dancing every night! It was really so much fun to spend a weekend with my girls outside of our natural habitat, eating, shopping, dancing, having lots of girl talk. Girl's weekends are where it's at, man!
Next, I headed off for another work trip, this time it was to attend the Cars 3 Sonoma Raceway event in San Francisco.
I Rode in a Race Car at Sonoma Raceway
While this was 100% work-related for Disney Pictures, I had an amazing time getting to know new bloggers, meeting up with a local friend for cocktails one night...and RIDING IN A RACECAR!
I also got to visit Pixar Studios during this press trip, which has been a dream of mine for a very, very long time!
Next - literally, NEXT, because I flew from San Francisco straight there...wait, this still counts as part of the 17 Places I Traveled to in 2017, right? It was a different state even though it was back to back...
I Went to CinemaCon in Las Vegas
I went to CinemaCon for work, actually, to interview Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer about their new movie, Snatched. It was a very short and sweet trip, I drank way too much and fractured my wrist and ended up escorted to my room by security because I made my friend cry.
The memories are hazy. They are also the reason I don't take Lorazepam anymore.
We did have an awesome time meeting people dressed up for CinemaCon though - especially when I met these British guys dressed as Romans, once they saw my Aphrodite tattoo!
I Celebrated Saint Patrick's Day in Saint Pete, FL
Next it was off to St Pete, Florida, to surprise one of my best friends, Stef from MommyMusings.com for her birthday...
I actually went to St Pete a billion times in 2017, to visit my friends, but I will keep it short and suite with just this trip...
We drank a lot of Jameson. It was Saint Patrick's day, after all!
I caught this amazing sunset on Saint Pete Beach shortly after that trip...this is no filter, guys. Saint Pete Beach doesn't need one!
And then...probably the craziest thing I've ever done in my life...I booked a flight to Croatia to spend 10 days - including my birthday - with a man I had a kinda-sorta relationship with who had been sent there for six months for work.
I Went to Croatia for a Guy
I can't really say anything bad about #FakeBoyfriend, because he is a great person and I still see him as a very good friend. You can read here about how He's Kinda The One Who Got Away.
It was a "I Miss You," "Let's See Where This Goes" and "I am Lonely" sort of trips - all those things coming from him, not me. I paid for my flight, he said he'd cover the hotels, since they were paid for by work anyway. We had a huge emotional roller coaster ride situation the day before I was scheduled to leave, and it pretty much overshadowed the entire trip.
I spent my birthday alone. I didn't get a card. I didn't get a present. I spent the day writing and reflecting alone.
Then I got totally wasted and we had a fight when he finally got off work that night. I didn't get a birthday dinner. It's totally my fault...but it could have been avoided with a little more empathy from him. Meh. It is what it is.
The trip was good, it was bad, it was boring and it was exciting. I can't quite say that I regret it, but I will say that if a man ever asks me to come visit him again, I will not spend $1277 on a flight and risk going through something like that again.
The best part of the trip was seeing my gal pal Pam of TheSkinnyChick, a fellow travel blogger and all around amazing human being. I saw her on my last night and if it weren't for that, I'd probably hate all of Croatia. Ha! I kid. Or do I?
I just realized that due to my incredibly busy schedule last year....this is going to be a VERY long post...so I am breaking it up into three sections: Spring, Summer and Fall...
Stay tuned for the next installment: 17 Places I Traveled to in 2017 in the Summer! Romania, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, England, Las Vegas...and the very dangerous Category 5 Hurricane Irma thrown in the mix!