2016 was the first year within the last decade that I lived in one place for the entire year. And the first whole year that I held a full-time career (not a filler job or working abroad). It was also the first year that I was able to replenish my bank account from the damage of years of traveling and working abroad.
So in 2016, I made an attempt to keep travel a priority while living a more settled lifestyle. I've realized that I am much happier when I have a trip (big or small) to look forward to. For the most part, I spent 2016 completing one adventure only to plan for the next. And when there were no weekend getaways on the calendar, I explored closer to home.
January [Whole30 + DC]
Travel took a backseat in January as I kicked off the year with the Whole30 challenge. A month of healthy eating and cooking meals at home allowed time for DC exploration like a visit to the newly renovated Renwick Gallery.
February [New York City + Asheville]
I was lucky enough to attend Social Media Week in New York City. I spent my days learning about the biggest trends in digital marketing and my evenings eating my way through the city. I also celebrated the marriage of two of my best friends in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. We spent the rest of the snowy weekend visiting and sampling beers from the many local breweries.
Our second annual snowboarding excursion brought us to Lake Tahoe in Nevada and California. (Our first annual trip was Taos in 2015). We hit the slopes hard each day and enjoyed beers in our cute mountain chalet at night. I'm looking forward to this annual trip for many years to come!
The Cherry Blossoms in DC this year were gorgeous and I was able to catch them early in full bloom. I ran the Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler for the first time but the freezing temps and high winds on race day blew all flowers off the trees. I also celebrated my 27th birthday with a sunny, low-key day at Union Market with my mom.
May [DC + Lake Anna]
May was a very rainy month in DC in Virginia. I hosted some friends and we explored DC over gloomy weekend. I also ventured down to Lake Anna for a very muddy beer festival.
10 days in Las Vegas for work was a lot of time in Vegas. I mostly worked long days but snuck in a few late nights out on the strip and even got a couple hours by the pool. After the long work week, I flew to San Diego to spend time with my cousin and her family who recently moved back from Italy. She gave me quite the tour of San Diego and I loved it all, but eating delicious meals with family while laughing at a toddler was my favorite part.
July [Miami + Topsail]
I made a career change in June and had a enough time in between jobs for a girls trip to Miami. I've heard people talk about the between job vacation and I'm now a firm believer as well. I also spent some family beach time on Topsail Island, North Carolina for a week filled with sand soccer, shrimp boils and good sunsets.
For my big trip of the year, I traveled with my friend Shannon to Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver, and Whistler. This was a jam-packed trip. We definitely splurged a little, but it was all well worth it. We hiked, biked, swam, flew in a seaplane, attended two sporting events and treated ourselves to a day at the Scandinave Spa. I enjoyed Seattle, but I fell pretty hard for British Columbia and I'm dreaming of my next trip back.
September [Lake Anna + DC]
To take advantage of the warm September, my boyfriend and I escaped to Lake Anna during our free weekends. We also celebrated at a friends' wedding and I enjoyed walking around the monuments outside my new office on Constitution Avenue.
During an extended weekend in New Orleans, I tasted a ton of delicious food, drank many strong cocktails and wandered around the different neighborhoods of this unique city. It's a great short trip from DC and I'm hoping to be back for another weekend in 2017. I also visited my college town of Boone, North Carolina for the first time since I a graduated in May 2011. It was so good to be back for homecoming weekend in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. I loved meeting up with old friends and showing my boyfriend around one of my favorite places in the world.
Family, friends and feasts took up the majority of November. Somehow, this month flew by but I did take a little time to #OptOutside (Thanks for the idea, REI!). I'm so happy to have finally visited the Billygoat Trail.
I traveled back to Las Vegas in December for another work trip with my new job, but this time I rented a car and explored outside the city. I also discovered some amazing restaurants and a place to get rainbow lattes! I rushed home from Vegas to join some friends on a trip to New York City at Christmastime. We saw all the usual sites and discovered the best, most festive holiday bars in NYC.