As with any year, there were ups and downs, but as I reflect on the year that’s winding down, it’s important to really think on those exciting adventures and not the downs. That cycle is a part of life. Among my ups, I explored new places, saw beautiful wildlife and nature and enjoyed writing. Compared to the last few years, it felt full with a lot going on. Full in a great way. Here’s looking to more adventures in the New Year, but as I reflect on the last twelve months, a few highlights from my year follow below. I hope as you reflect on your past year, there are many moments that bring you a smile.
Initially I thought to separate out various trips this last year, but decided to combine for a couple of reasons. One: there were a few to new (to me) destinations that have written about or will continue to write about, so no one “new” destination to call out on its own. And two: there was more a theme that ran through these trips. After a few years of not traveling and starting to travel just a little bit again, this year was a fantastic year to explore new places. From the Pacific Northwest to Mexico, introductions to new national parks and history and also to just incredible, incredible experiences.
I became absolutely enamored with the PNW with just one visit. From the enchanting forests in Olympic, the views of the bay and the mountains from Seattle, and the crisp coolness in the air from being so close to the water. Several months later I drove through the curving roads of Virginia’s Shenandoah just as the leaves were beginning to turn. It wasn’t the blaze of fall colors, but as I explored the park in the short time there, I loved seeing a hint of gold amongst the green. Fall was on its way. And finally, the city I visited, that introduced me to Mexico (and that I may write about separately) was so charming and a welcoming introduction to the country.
In short: I have loved really getting back out into the world these last two years. And fingers crossed, I have more to look forward to next year.
Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands
Okay, so I know I said I wasn’t calling out individual trips, but this one really deserved its own section. I wrote about how my original trip inspiration to Washington was for this: whale watching in the San Juan Islands. The trip expanded to include Olympic – which was magical – but whale watching and seeing killer whales in the wild was an experience on which I’d long had my heart set. I even scheduled two whale watching tours for my time in the island just in case the first one didn’t pan out. Which, I have to say first and foremost even if I hadn’t seen whales, the trips out on the water were still incredible and there was so much to see.
However, I’m so incredibly thrilled that we saw whales on both trips, and on that first trip at least two different pods that really graced us with their presence for quite some time. I don’t think I could stop grinning and I certainly kept my finger poised on my camera for much of the trip. At one point though, not caring about how many pictures I had or what I may miss out on, I took my finger off the camera and just took in the experience: the whales, the rocking of the boat, the lush, green islands rising up all around us and that chill, late spring breeze.
I am incredibly grateful to continue writing monthly for The Mat Yoga Studio, but this year I also stepped back into non-yoga blogging. Since the spring, I have added a second post most months to my schedule. It has mostly been about travel so far, catching up on memories of trips taken in the last few years since the pandemic, but who knows what the new year will bring? Certainly – hopefully! – more travel posts, but I may also offer other thoughts and musings. I hope you’ll enjoy. It’s been fun writing these second posts for much of the year and I look forward to how this will develop in the new year.