Year in Review: 2016

Happy New Year!  Even though I already have my first passport stamp of 2017, I want to take one look back at what a fabulous travel year I had in 2016!  Everyone’s talking about how 2016 stunk, but the Cubs won the World Series, guys!

In 2016, I (quietly) celebrated 10 years at my company.  This meant a bonus week of Paid Time Off, along with a generous gift of American Airlines and Hyatt gift cards, all of which helped make this a banner travel year for me!  Thanks, CDW Corporation!


January is always a lay-low month for me.  Recovering from short work weeks, holidays and holiday travel, I usually stay close to home, hibernate and try to cut back on eating and spending.  Fun, huh?!

I did set out to put a dent in my resolution of visiting museums, with a trip to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, but as with most resolutions, this one faded away early in the new year.

Also, it was so cold, my dog had to wear a coat! (A very rare occasion)

JAN2016 - frigid below zero temps :(


February – more winter, more hibernation.  I was able to catch another night in the chef series at Kendall College.  Other than that, I doubt I left the house!  Can you blame me?!


In March, I took my only business trip of the year – a quick overnighter to New York.

At the end of the month, I set off on my first big solo international trip with two weeks in SouthEast Asia.  I started off in HongKong, then a few days in Chiang Mai, on to Bangkok, Siem Reap, Phuket and back to Hong Kong!

Angkor Wat


Although the first 10 days of April were spent in SouthEast Asia, I managed one other weekend getaway to Tom’s Lake in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

I also became a godmother to this cutie in April!


May always kicks off with this guy’s birthday.

At the end of the month, I finally made a trip to Southern Illinois for some hiking.

New tent!

Cache River Natural Area


June was uneventful, other than a trip to the Field Museum to see the Terra Cotta warriors exhibit.


In July, I returned to the UP to see some new spots I’d been hearing about for years, like the Porcupine Mountains and Pictured Rocks.  It was too hot, so I came home early and made plans to return in the fall!

Porcupine Mountains State Park / Lake of the Clouds

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


August was the calm before the storm, travel-wise.  Work-wise, it was insane and I worked most weekends and nights this month.  Not exciting, but necessary!


September was the start of two very busy travel months!  First up, I headed to Mexico City for my birthday.

9/12 TuribusCondesa neighborhood

I returned home for two days, then it was a road trip to the UP (again!) for my first attempt at solo backpacking, in Pictured Rocks.

Starting the hike at Grand Sable

TwelveMile Beach Campground


The first weekend of October was spent at Mt Princeton Hot Springs in Colorado, allowing me to catch the fall colors that I’m usually too early for.

Cottonwood Pass

Two weeks later, I headed to North Carolina for a family weekend at the beach.


November was the best month of all time when the CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!  Seriously!  It wasn’t until after the parade that I finally stopped thinking it was all just a dream.  (For those not in the know, this is a really big deal – the Cubs have been the lovable losers of MLB for 108 years!!!)  Some of my favorite people came into town to celebrate, along with about 5 million other people, making this the 7th largest gathering in human history.

Another big event in November was celebrating my niece’s first birthday!  Isn’t she the cutest?!


December was the usual rush of holiday parties and shopping, Christmas Eve with family followed by a Christmas day flight to Baja Mexico, where I closed out the year!

All told, it was a great  year for travel!

Here are a few of my stats.  I love stats, I’m such a nerd!

  • Flights: 16
  • Hotel/Cabin Nights: 29
  • Tent Nights: 15
  • Vacation Days Taken:  29.5 (wow!)
  • Countries Visited: 4
  • States Visited: 6 (not including my home state)

I’ve got some pretty cool plans in the works for 2017, including 15 days spent hiking the Haute Route in the Swiss Alps!  I predict fewer flights and more tent nights, but we’ll see how it all pans out!  And I might just get to a few more museums after failing at that goal last year 🙂

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2017 Pet Blogger Challenge

While this hasn’t been exclusively a pet blog, I have featured some posts including my best pal, Bailey and we are going to be doing a lot of travel together this year, so I’ll be writing a lot about dog-friendly hotels, campgrounds, hikes…and kennels for a few spots that aren’t so dog-friendly, like National Parks!  When I found out about the pet blogger challenge, I thought it was a good way to learn more about the pet blogging community and explore a new genre for my own blog!

View from Triangle Pass

  • When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?
    • I started a blog about two years ago as friends and family encouraged me to write about my travels.  Even though I’m employed full-time in an office job, I manage to take some pretty interesting trips each year and last year I cashed in 30 vacation days over the course of the year.  I enjoy adventure travel – hiking, backpacking, kayaking, but usually with a nice hotel and spa day thrown in at the end.  Whenever possible, I’m traveling with my rescued Airedale Terrier, Bailey.
  • What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?
    • Seeing other travel bloggers visit my site and comment on my posts lets me know that people are actually reading!
  • Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why?
    • The post wrapping up two weeks in Asia – this was my biggest trip of the year, and by far the most adventurous solo trip I’d taken to date, so reliving it while writing about it was fun.
  • Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?
    • I’m still very new at this, but remembering to use Social Media to drive people to my blog, as well as getting others to share my posts, such as hotels I’ve featured.
  • Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?
    • My post about my favorite hotels got the most traffic this year.  Blog-wise, my most popular posts have been those where I can get some social sharing and in this instance, the hotels I featured also shared my post and helped drive traffic.
  • What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog?
    • One of my favorite blogs is Ottsworld, she is a full time traveler/blogger/photographer and living what seems to be a dream life, but also paints a very realistic picture about her life – the good and the bad!
  • What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?
    • Bailey is a therapy animal and we visit a group home in Chicago about twice a month!
  • What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?
    • I would like to increase traffic and start to explore options to generate income, either through affiliate links or sponsored posts.
  • Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?
    • What was the pivotal moment for you in blogging?


Check out other pet-friendly blogs here!



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Adventure Travel with a Twist of Luxury