It’s the end of the year, and I’m officially looking back at my travel time. I really can’t say that I’ve done LOTS of traveling, especially for someone who writes a travel blog and compared to people who pretty much go from one place to another. Family mostly keeps me grounded here in Colorado, but I think I manage to get around quite a bit.
My goal for the coming year is to guest blog and to see my articles in print. They’re pretty simple, but both are very important to my professional progress and personal ego.
While I’m writing this, I’m listening to Billboard’s top 100 songs of the year on Spotify. Hearing all of this retrospective music, even though it’s mostly pop stuff that my kids love, is helping me associate the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit this past year (especially true for songs by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Imagine Dragons, Daft Punk and Robin Thicke).
So here they are, from fifth place to first:
5.) Austin, Texas
I had never been here before until February, when I went to a writer’s conference. And I really didn’t see a lot of city, thanks to said conference, which kept me busy indoors. But what I did experience, I loved, especially that “keep Austin weird” vibe. I was especially lucky to see the Austin Marathon take place, and I’ve put it on my bucket list of races. I’ll be returning in February again, and hopefully I’ll see more this time out.
Visiting this Southwestern high desert epicenter twice in the past twelve months, I observed two different sides to it. One was more family-oriented with my husband and kids, the other more geared to my writer’s side. And the ironic thing here, in a highly artistic city, was I didn’t take nearly enough pictures on either trip. So serendipity has taken hold, and I’ll be heading back in April to take a photography workshop – finally.
Yeah, you might be sick of hearing about the City from me. But my all-time favorite place in the world will always make this list, as long as make the frequent trips I do every few months. I’ll put it this way – even if I lived there, it would still be a favorite place to discover, and I’d still include it on this list. ‘Nuff said.
I internally debated which cities I should include on my European trip: Zurich, Montreux, Zermatt, Rome, Florence. But I ultimately decided to write about the smaller towns in Italy, both of which left a lasting impression on me enough to want to return someday. We only stayed in this sun-washed Mediterranean seaside jewel one night, which didn’t do the place justice. And I definitely want to hike that crazy Cinque Terre trail the next time we’re there.
1.) Tuscany, Italy
Here’s the irony of this destination: I started reading “Under the Tuscan Sun” before our vacation and while we journeyed through Switzerland and the first part of Italy. But I really didn’t understand the subtleties, culture and astonishing physical beauty of this magical area described by Frances Mayes until I experienced it myself on two wheels and in incredible summer heat. The book then came more alive for me when we left and headed to Rome. Now I’m thinking about when we can go back, but next time with the girls and going beyond Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra and Radda in Chianti.
Happy New Year! Safe and memorable travels to you in 2014!