The blog recently turned three years old (HBD, TPP!) but this will be the first year I share a travel recap post. I thought I’d highlight not just the trips I took, but also what I wrote about during the year.
I have a goal of writing at least one post a month, and so far I’ve managed to stick to it. No matter how uninspired I may sometimes feel, it is always so rewarding to sit down, start writing, and get into the groove of creating something. And what a perfect reason to revisit photos that I might otherwise leave in the invisible corner of a hard drive – to find a way to actively celebrate these beautiful, interesting (and yes, sometimes frustrating) moments, instead of getting instantly caught up in what’s coming next.
So in the spirit of celebrating a year of not just travel but also taking the time for myself to write about it… here we go!
A 2019 Travel and Writing Recap
I started the year writing about one of my favorite 2018 experiences: a fall road trip through northern California.
Heading to Cali in 2020? I’ve got some inspo for you:
On the blog, I continued my California recaps with Five Amazing Lake Tahoe Hikes.
Meanwhile, I headed to Boston with Dan for the weekend to visit two friends and their adorable baby. (So, three friends!) I went to college at Boston University, so Boston is always a favorite for me. We walked around Beacon Hill and Coolidge Corner, visited the Boston Public Library, had brunch in the South End, and spent some time across the river in Cambridge.
March was my busiest travel month of 2019. After starting the year with no big trips planned, I booked two one right after the other. The first was to Oaxaca City, Mexico, where I spent time with my sister while she participated in a photography workshop.
Oaxaca was hot, sunny, lively, and full of color. It was so nice wandering around the city and soaking up all of the Vitamin D. We also visited the unique and beautiful Hierve el Agua.
In a not-so-fun twist but in the interest of keeping things *real*, I fell while hiking at Hierve el Agua and caught myself on my left wrist. I noticed after several days and then weeks that the pain wasn’t going away, and unfortunately almost a year later it still doesn’t feel quite right. Since it’s no secret that travel blogging tends to offer the highlight reel, I want to be sure to include some of the lows, too – and this was one of them!
I definitely seem to have a knack for hurting myself while traveling. File under: Things to Work on in 2020!
Five days after getting home from Mexico, I was on a plane to Italy with Dan. We spent two weeks visiting Venice, Florence, Siena, Lucca, and Milan. We also checked off two big bucket list items: hiking in Cinque Terre and taking a road trip through Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia.
On the blog, I shared details on visiting the Jardín Etnobotánico in Oaxaca City. Are you having a moment with plants these days like so many of us seem to be? If so, this one is for you.
In April, I recharged. And after three weeks away in March, that was okay! On the blog, I shared details on A Budget-Friendly Boat Ride in Venice, Italy.
In May I road tripped to Pittsburgh with my mom to help my brother Russell and his girlfriend Michaela move apartments. My brother was unexpectedly held up on a work assignment in South Carolina, so we wanted to make sure Michaela had some extra hands on deck.
This was my second trip to Pittsburgh since my brother moved there a few years ago, and I love visiting. Similar to the first trip, food and coffee was a highlight: dinners at Driftwood Oven and Noodlehead, ice cream from Millie’s, coffee from Constellation and Espresso a Mano, and one of my favorite breakfasts *ever* at Pear and the Pickle in Troy Hill.
Dan and I also visited friends (again with an adorable baby) in nearby Ithaca. We’re just far enough from Ithaca to make it challenging for an impromptu day trip, so I never seem to make it there as often as I’d like.
On the blog, I shared A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Oaxaca City.
In June I embraced the travel where you live philosophy at Green Lakes State Park, Chittenango Falls State Park, and the Root Glen. Upstate New York can be challenging during the wintertime, but summertime is about as dreamy as you can get, and I always try to take advantage of the sunshine while we have it.
On the blog, I recapped my first US National Park visit with a photo diary from Yosemite National Park.
In July I took a long-awaited girls trip with three of my best friends from childhood. We drove a couple of hours downstate to the Catskill Mountains and stayed in the tiny town of Phoenicia, New York. The trip fell during an intense heat wave followed by a day of torrential rain; nonetheless we had a great time exploring the towns of Andes, Phoenicia, Kingston, and Woodstock.
The next weekend Dan and I drove to New York City for a Mets game. (My first!) We also visited the High Line, the Vessel at Hudson Yards, the Met, and the South Street Seaport.
July’s blog post featured one of my favorite experiences of the year: our road trip through Italy’s Val d’Orcia.
In August I headed back to New York City. My friend Emily was driving down for a work trip and graciously offered me a ride, a place to stay, and her wonderful company!
I love living just a few hours from New York City. Being able to go there pretty regularly means that instead of having to cross everything off at once, I can slowly explore new places each time while also revisiting old favorites.
I was so excited to be able to meet up with several friends who live in the city, but I also relished some solo wandering time on this trip. I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time, enjoyed street art in SoHo, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side, stopped by Washington Square Park… and finished off the trip with some Shake Shack. (Yas.)
August’s post was all about ways to display your travel finds at home.
September’s big trip was a long weekend on Martha’s Vineyard. This late summer reunion has become somewhat of a tradition for my best friends from college, and I look forward to it every year. Being surrounded by the ocean, walking along the sand dunes, playing corn hole and eating fresh seafood; there’s something so special about New England in the summer, and Martha’s Vineyard brings it to another level. Even more importantly, quality time with close friends I don’t see often is so appreciated.
Dan and I also squeezed in a camping trip to the Adirondacks and tackled the number one item on my New York hiking list: Indian Head. Our legs were shot by the end, but it did not disappoint!
Back on the blog, I shared A Day Trip to Lucca, Italy.
In October I finally spent some time exploring Rochester, NY with my best friend and biz partner, Aurora. We went for a social media conference called Upstate Social, which was great. We’re definitely planning on working it into the schedule again this year.
Aside from the conference, we enjoyed popping into the various bars, coffee shops, restaurants and thrift stores that the city has to offer. Aurora even humored me on a mini street art walk.
I also squeezed in another visit to Ithaca!
October’s blog post was the first installment of a new Itineraries series here on The Pamplemousse Papers. I hope these day-by-day recaps will be helpful for readers planning for a specific country or region. The debut topic? 2.5 Weeks in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
November’s big trip was another highlight of the year: two weeks in Spain. We flew into Barcelona, hiked along the Costa Brava, visited the Alhambra in Granada, drove to Seville by way of Nerja, Frigiliana and Ronda, and then ended the trip with a couple of days in Madrid. It was an absolute whirlwind, and an amazing two weeks.
And to top it all off, I didn’t even fall once!
On the blog, I continued my Self-Guided Walking Tour features with a focus on Florence, Italy. This type of post has become one of my favorite kinds to write! I love walking in new places, partially because public transportation can be intimidating, but also because you can see so much that way. Plus, it’s about as eco and budget-friendly as you can get!
I was all ready to write that in December I relaxed and enjoyed the holidays, but I almost forgot: we fit in one more New York City weekend! I love visiting the city during the holidays. Despite the inevitable crowds at Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, and other festive hot spots, I still think it’s pretty magical.
We visited some favorites, including Rockefeller Center, the Oculus at the World Trade Center, and the High Line. A few firsts on this trip were trying Korean BBQ, walking through Chelsea Market, and visiting the Friends apartment!
Speaking of being magical at the holidays, Upstate isn’t too shabby, either. Here’s a festive street scene from nearby Clinton, NY.
I finished out 2019 on the blog with An Afternoon in Frigiliana, Spain, one of my favorite parts of our two-week trip.
Now it’s time to look ahead to 2020. I have two trips planned so far: a week in the Thousand Islands with my family in June and a weekend in Annapolis for a wedding in August.
My siblings and I booked the Thousand Islands trip to surprise my mom for her 70th birthday. We grew up vacationing there every year, but with all of us living in different states and juggling unique work schedules, it’s been a really long time since we’ve all been there together.
Other than that, my year is wide open. And to be honest, it’s kind of stressing me out!
That’s one of the reasons I wanted to write this post: to spend time looking back on a beautiful year and to feel grateful for what I’ve had the opportunity to experience, instead of focusing on what may or may not happen this year. To appreciate the travels I worked hard to make happen, rather than getting instantly distracted by what’s coming next.
That said, the daydreaming and planning continues! A few destinations I find myself focusing on are Slovenia, Morocco, the Dolomites, Madeira, Oregon, Michigan, Banff National Park, Peru, and Sri Lanka. As for a few favorites I’d love to revisit: Chicago, New York City, Pittsburgh, Iceland, and France are all on the radar!
How about you? Do you have a lot of travel plans lined up for the year? Do you usually book things well in advance or do you prefer to plan more spontaneously depending on flights and other factors? I’d love to hear what places are topping your list.
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