Recap of the Best Year of My Life

If I measure 2016 by the one yardstick that matters to me, how much I travelled, it was the best year of my life. That’s hard to reconcile with how horrible the year was to the world in general, but it’s my truth.

This was a rare year of my life where there was enough money to do what I wanted to do. I prioritised paying for the big stuff, like making sure I had a roof over my head, could get from point A to point B, and that I stayed healthy. I savoured the little stuff I could afford. I refused to be a glass half empty person and bemoan that I couldn’t do X, Y, or Z because of a tight budget and instead celebrated that I was wherever I was at that moment.

I covered so much ground this year that you might have forgotten where I started. So here’s my 2016 travel retrospective.

January started in Mazatlán, Mexico. It was the second year of my life starting there and the novelty hadn’t worn off! I spent many hours cantering on a beautiful tropical beach, a weekly ritual that made me feel like the richest and luckiest woman in the world.

The lagoon at the Isla de la Piedra botanical gardens.

The lagoon in Mazatlán’s Bosque de la Ciudad.

February brought me to Mérida, in the Mexican state of Yucatán, on a scouting mission in anticipation of possibly moving there!

I saw ancient Mayan ruins!

The Mayan ruins at Uxmal.

The Mayan ruins at Uxmal.

March had me discovering the wonderful botanical gardens right in my backyard on Isla de la Piedra.

The lake at the heart of Isla de la Piedra's botanical gardens.

The lake at the heart of Isla de la Piedra’s botanical gardens.

April found me seeing Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

…and exploring Arches National Park

Landscape Arch, Arches National Park

Landscape Arch, Arches National Park

…and the town of Moab, Utah.

May took me to Cody, Wyoming

downtown Cody, WY

downtown Cody, WY

…with plenty of time to explore the Center of the West

Sacagawea at Center of the West

Sacagawea at Center of the West

… and a Japanese internment camp

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

… before going home to Haven…

Sunset at Haven, May, 2016

Sunset at Haven, May, 2016

… before getting on a plane and technically visiting my last Canadian province.

2016-map-1

So June took me to London, England (really!)…

London from the St. Paul's Cathedral

London from St. Paul’s Cathedral

2016-map-2

… and to Bulgaria!

Malak Izvor, Bulgaria

Malak Izvor, Bulgaria

2016-map-3

July took me on two trips to Sofia, Bulgaria.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

August took me to Plovdiv

Plovdiv from Nebet Hill

Plovdiv from Nebet Hill

… and across Bulgaria in a Chevy to Nessebar

Old Nessebar, Bulgaria

Old Nessebar, Bulgaria

…to Soviet ruins

Buzludzha

Buzludzha

Veliko Tarnovo

Tsaravets Fortress, Veliko Tarnovo

Tsaravets Fortress, Veliko Tarnovo

…the scenic town of Teteven

Teteven

Teteven

Prohodna (Eyes of God Cave)

Prohodna (Eyes of God Cave)

Prohodna (Eyes of God Cave)

…the Etropole Waterfall

Etropole Waterfall

Etropole Waterfall

…and a the magnificent 15th century Glozhene Monastery.

inside the Glozhene Monastery

inside the Glozhene Monastery

September saw me quit Bulgaria for Serbia and finish the month in Belgrade.

Zemun, Belgrade, Serbia

Zemun, Belgrade, Serbia

October found me in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, BiH

Sarajevo, BiH

Kotor, Montenegro

Old Kotor, Montenegro

Old Kotor, Montenegro

…blipping through Albania

an Albanian fortress

an Albanian fortress

…staying out too late in Prizen, Kosovo

Prizren, Kosovo

Prizren, Kosovo

…not being impressed by Skopje, Macedonia

Archaeological Museum, Skopje

Archaeological Museum, Skopje

2016-map-4

…ambling through Barcelona, Spain

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

2016-map-5

… then through Alicante

Alicante, Spain

Alicante, Spain

… before settling in Almería for seven weeks.

The port of Almería

The port of Almería

November was spent in lovely Almería learning to live in the real Spain.

Pedestrian street in downtown Almería

Pedestrian street in downtown Almería

December saw me in Málaga for a few days…

Málaga from the top of the itinerant Ferris wheel.

2016-map-6

…before jetting off to end the year and ring in 2017 in Amsterdam, Netherlands!

Quintessential Amsterdam scene

2016-map-7

What a journey 2016 was, from getting more and more comfortable in Mexico to becoming a seasoned European traveler!

But the most amazing thing that happened? I was offered my key to Mexico. So my 2017 is well plotted. But before I return to the blistering tropical heat of the Yucatán, England, Quebec, and Haven beckon. So clichéd as the saying is, the best really is yet to come.

Happy New Year to all of you lovely readers!

14 thoughts on “Recap of the Best Year of My Life

  1. Very interesting to say the least. But i do miss Miranda and Haven, and all you went through to get where you are at..still a fan..

  2. We are sitting here in front of our tree enjoying the holiday season with our son who is visiting from northern Alberta for the holidays.

    it is great you did the recap of your wonderful year! I have enjoyed it all from my armchair.

    . A far cry from living in Miranda parked between a house and garage to keep warm and heading to town every few days to buy more propane!! So many other adventures you had in Miranda some good, some not so good.

    Good health, happiness and prosperity to you for 2017!

    • Thanks, Norma. You know, all those winters with Miranda might have been hard, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. It’s the hardships that better put the good stuff into perspective.

  3. Well done. I will never go to those places (can honestly say most I have had no desire to go there either), but you have provided a vivid documentary about them. As a retired history museum director and art historian, I especially have enjoyed the many museum visits you described with photos and narrative. Thank you. Wishing you health, happiness, continued success with your clients, and many more travels for 2017. Lynn

    • Thanks, Lynn. This year was a good reminder to me that I need to blog if only to remember all the wonderful things I’ve done. It’s been such an amazing travel year that it’s easy to forget that 10 months ago, I was visiting Mayan pyramids! Happy new year!

  4. Such a wonderful year. Good for you for creating your dreams, directing your life and living it each day to the fullest.

    May 2017 bring you many new and extraordinary experiences.

  5. A great recap of a very interesting year. Thanks fornsharing it with us all.
    Brace yourself for the fireworks at midnight! The Dutch go crazy at New Year’s.
    I look forward to reading more…

    Best to you in 2017.

  6. Thanks you so much for taking us readers along on your journeys. I have enjoyed them and look forward to continuing to do so.

  7. Hau’ole Makahiki Hou 2017 from Maui!! I have been spending part of each winter here for the past 30 plus years… and some time each summer/autumn for my 70 plus 100 years in Hometown, SK… the best of all worlds especially since I have been to several places around the world but am not an energetic historian like you so am enjoying my chances to see these places in detail through your eyes. I also travel with my motorhome so in your early RVing blogs I was cringing as you were learning all that I had already been through though you had technical/cyber things to deal with and certainly tackled electrical and mechanical issues more than I. As they say in the vernacular, Rae, Keep on Truckin’!!!

    • Happy New Year! Hey, there’s nothing like a learning curve to make you feel alive! I learned SO MUCH while I was RVing and gained a measure of technical competence and awareness I never would have otherwise. Wouldn’t trade that time for anything.

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