As we close in on the end of the year, I find myself reflecting a lot about 2015. in a zine (mini paper booklet) I got a few years ago from a friend, it suggested making a theme for the year. I have greatly enjoyed doing this each year, and have found it to be helpful to remind me about what I want to focus on. My theme for 2015 was “Be adventurous.”
I think I’ve done a decent job living up to this theme, and as a family, we have been very adventurous. So, I’m looking back at the places we’ve meandered to this year, and recalling some of the adventures we’ve had in each place.
Travel for a work conference brought us to Orlando. One adventure was when we went to a gigantic Goodwill Outlet (Z’s love of thrift stores knows no bounds). It was so insanely busy in this Goodwill Outlet, and they cleared half of the store to bring out merchandise. They had a line of workers move people to the front of the store, as if they were security at a concert. Even better, when I tried to take a video for Snapchat to document the weirdness, I was told no phones were allowed. In a Goodwill. We bought our one item and quickly left the chaotic store, our “treasure” in hand. (We did find a Kelty kids backpack carrier for $3, even though it was about 15 years old).
Highbridge Hills Disc Golf Course, Highbridge, Wisconsin:
Z and I camped at Highbridge Hills, an expansive disc golf “resort” in northern Wisconsin a few years ago, and loved the abundant disc golf and rustic atmosphere. We returned with family and friends, but this time we rented a large house on the property, called The Honka House. The Honka House was a large cabin home that was fairly unfinished, and was pretty much a bachelor party pad. Mattresses without frames, old couches, chairs (both broken and whole), empty light bulb sockets, and unfinished home improvement projects; this house was the adventure. We had a great time when we were there, even if it wasn’t a five star experience.Italy:
We traveled to Rome and Naples in Italy. One adventure was when we stayed with a couple in an AirBnB, and they took us to a restaurant on Lake Albano for dinner. The pope’s summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, sits high above the lake, and it is just a beautiful area, not far from Rome. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, the beautiful sites, and some gelato afterwards. It was a wonderful experience.Greece:
We traveled to several places in Greece, including Athens, Delphi, Santorini, and Heraklion, Crete. We had many adventures in Greece since we were there for three weeks. When we were in Sounion, south of Athens, we explored the Temple of Poseidon, an impressive Greek archaeological site on the cliffs along the Mediterranean. We had read in blogs that there was a path to a nearby beach from the ruins. We spotted the path, and then proceeded to hike down a steep, narrow, rocky path, often with barbed wire along one side to get down to the water. We made it safely, but there were definitely a few moments where I wasn’t so sure we would. And while carrying a one and a half year old. No pressure not to fall. Thank goodness Z is sure-footed, and the swim was refreshing and made the trek worthwhile.Turkey:
In Turkey, we went to Izmir, Istanbul, and the Cappadocia region. We were wrapping up our trip, and Z was looking for a neat journal to get as a keepsake. He had spotted one the day before in a small shop, and when we went the next morning to buy the leather-bound journal and get it engraved, we were disappointed to see the shop was closed. After some creative thinking, I called a phone number listed in an app that was advertised on the window of the shop. I reached the owner, and Z asked him what time he was opening his shop for the day. Fortunately, it worked out that Z was able to buy the journal and get in inscribed just in time before we had to catch the bus (crazy party bus ride is also a fabulous adventure, and discussed in this blog post) so we could fly back to Istanbul.Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin:
Soon after our trip abroad, we came home and joined Z’s extended family in the Wisconsin Dells for a family reunion trip. While in the Dells, a fairly severe stomach bug worked its way through almost everyone, myself and Z included. D was spared, along with about 5 others, out of a total 26 people. This was not a fun stomach bug, and needless say, we spent less time together than we all hoped for, and didn’t eat nearly the amount of food the crew normally consumes. But, it makes for a funny story we will be able to retell at future family gatherings.
Yellowstone National Park
My favorite adventure in Yellowstone is when Z, my mom, D, and I decided to do a relatively short (but not often used) hike to Duck Lake. We started our hike and only a few minutes up the path we were startled to notice a huge male elk laying in the woods, about 25 feet from the trail. We quietly stared in awe at the amazing creature, then quickly hurried along the path in case he decided he did not like us being so close. We were fine, and the elk decided that we were not worth any more excitement.Denver, Colorado
Our final trip of 2015 was a last minute trip to Denver, Colorado for a short weekend getaway. Since we were only traveling for the weekend and we were trying to keep our costs low, we only took three small backpacks for the weekend, and therefore did not have extensive winter gear. The forecast was for temperatures in the upper 40s and low 50s during the day, so we thought we were good with jackets, hats, mittens, and our hiking shoes. Well, we didn’t account for the snow that wouldn’t have melted off yet in higher elevations, and when we went to hike at Roxborough State park, the snow was deeper than we thought it would be. After about a quarter of a mile of slipping and carefully stepping through a small snowpack, we enjoyed a beautiful lookout, and I declared I was done trying to hike on slippery snow in not the best shoes. So, our hike was cut short, but we made it back without injuries. We then enjoyed a short film about the park at the visitor center, and D had fun running around the small theater and trying out all of the seats.Clearly, we have lived up to the theme, “Be adventurous” this year. I can’t wait to see what adventures 2016 will bring.