Dreaming big for 2017

The third Monday of January – it’s that blue time of the year when I come to terms with a few things: the Christmas tree MUST come down; the sun doesn’t ALWAYS shine in Arizona; and I NEED to plan some adventures.

Last year at this time, I took advantage of mid-January – officially the bluest time of the year – to set some travel goals. Not only did it get me through my least favorite month, but it served as a springboard for some truly awesome trips.

At the time, I was about eight months into my travel and hiking blog, and I had some big plans for the coming year.

Now, it’s time to see how I did on my list of travel resolutions of 2016, and to set some new ones for 2017.

A quick rundown of my old list:

First up was a solo trip to a foreign country – check. OK, I didn’t make it to Europe as I hoped, but I did take an amazing solo trip into Canada. Waterton Lakes National Park turned out to be a splendid detour on my multi-state/province road trip in July 2016. So much so that I’m hoping to return to more Canadian National Parks this year for that country’s 150th birthday. (More on that in my 2017 goals).

DSC01154 (1)

Other 2016 successes:

I continued my education in blogging in a big way in March 2016, when I traveled to Irvine, California, for a Women in Travel Summit (WITS) conference. I learned so much about writing, pitching, and social media, and I also got in a fun beach get-away with a good friend. Win, win, win!


Newport Beach, California

I also took advantage of long weekends to go on shorter trips throughout the Southwest – albeit not to the level I had hoped. But I did take a day trip to Tuba City on the Navajo Reservation, several visits to Sedona, a picturesque stop at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and a couple of jaunts to the beautiful Verde Valley.


Tuba City, Arizona – Flea Market


Grand Canyon South Rim


Sedona, Arizona Red Rock Country

I succeeded in reaching out a couple of times for collaborations with fellow bloggers – one that focused on beautiful cliffs (the stunning Vermilion Cliffs near Page, Arizona), and another on surreal spots (the incomparable Ribbon Falls in the Grand Canyon).


Vermilion Cliffs


Ribbon Falls, Grand Canyon

And when it came to my goal to visit as many national parks as possible, I think I outdid myself in 2016. Not only did I make it to Glacier National Park in Montana, the Grand Canyon, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, but I also took in Waterton Lakes in Canada (see above). All spectacular!


Glacier National Park’s Iceberg Lake Trail


Theodore Roosevelt National Park


One less tangible success: Be more in the moment when I travel. I made it a point to focus on this one while I was on the road, and I think that’s what matters!

Sadly, I had a few fails as well: I didn’t get to a cooking class in a foreign destination; I didn’t really learn how to take advantage of my airline points; and I didn’t make it to Norway to reconnect with my long-lost Norwegian cousins. One good thing about failing at something, though, is that I can simply add it to my list for next year.

So here goes on my new goals (dreams?) for 2017:


Wish Canada a happy 150th! And what better way to do that than by visiting as many national parks north of the border as possible? On my list of possibilities: Banff, Jasper, and Wapusk. We’ll see how far I go!


Europe, here I come. Well, not officially, but I have my fingers crossed. This is definitely wish-list territory, but I’m thinking a road trip through the Scottish Highlands (looking at you, Outlander!), and a trip to Paris to see if the City of Lights can win me over.


Blogging 201. I’m hoping to make it to the WITS conference again – this time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While I’m in the area, I’m also planning to take in one of America’s great cities, Chicago. It’s been on my must-list forever, and this might just be my chance!


Carry on my little tradition of treating myself with a birthday trip: This year, a February solo trip to another great U.S. city, San Francisco. Hiking Land’s End, eating cioppino, and seeing a theater production of Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns” – what could be better?


Take on Texas 🙂 I HAVE been to Texas before, but just barely. And I realize a drive-through in the panhandle probably doesn’t really count. This year, though, my son and daughter-in-law are moving to Austin, so I’m hoping to go all in on the Lone Star State. Along with Austin, maybe Corpus Christi and San Antonio?


Get comfy on the rails. I’ve known it for a long time: I love to travel by train. In 2016, I took a wonderful Amtrak trip from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia, and it reminded me of how relaxing train travel can be. I need to do more of that!


Bonus (seriously wish-list territory): Cuba. I’m sure it’s on many travel bucket lists this year, and I’m following the crowd. Take me to Havana!

2 Comments on “Dreaming big for 2017

  1. It sounds like fun! We went to Texas 14 years ago and camped in a tent right on the beach on Mustang Island, Corpus Christi. I remember waking up to the sunrise over the Gulf. It is one of my most treasured memories. There are so many beautiful interesting places to visit in Texas. You will enjoy having Casey and Fiona there.


    • Thanks, Kim! Yes, I’m looking forward to exploring Austin. And lots of other places too. I’ll have to look into Mustang Island. That sounds amazing! Hope you’re doing well. 🙂


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