Blog, Travel

Our Year in Review – 2017

This year has been another exciting year. It was a year full of adventures with family and friends. We traveled within the United States A LOT for weddings, reunions, celebrations and family. We also managed to do our annual NHL game by going to not just one, but two NHL stadiums to watch our favorite team, the St. Louis Blues. Being new to the East Coast, we also explored as much of it as possible this summer. We were able to visit two beaches, Rehoboth Beach in Delaware and Chincoteage Island in Virginia. We also attended two outdoor summer concerts, we saw Jack Johnson and Muse. Our big trip and annual honeymoon was to Africa! We went to South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, where we had the time of our lives.

 

If you did not already know, we both work in the hospitality industry. We work in a luxury resort in the hotel operations and culinary industry. Adam puts in at least 10 hours a day at work, while Christina puts in 8 hours a day at work, in addition to countless hours at home with her travel agency business. We both put in a lot of time doing what we love, so that we can enjoy what we also love – traveling and blogging about our experiences! Working in the hospitality industry is not easy, we work holidays, we work weekends and we work crazy hours. So, how do we manage to find time to travel? First of all, we have amazing bosses who understand the importance of a work-life balance. We also take advantage of our days off and will do 24 or 48 hour trips. We maximize our time and money as best as we can, so we can live a happy and well traveled lifestyle. If we could, we would travel more, but here is a summary of where we traveled this year and things we loved!

 

Wedding Shenanigans

We were invited to quite a few weddings this year, but due to our availability, we were only able to attend two – Adam’s best friend’s wedding, (he was also a groomsman in the wedding) and Christina’s cousin’s wedding. Both were held in the summer, one in Kansas City and one in Green Bay. We were able to explore both cities a lot and coincidentally drink a lot of beer and tour a brewery in each. In Kansas City, we had the best barbecue ever at Joe’s Kansas City’s Bar-B-Que and in Green Bay, we toured the famous Lambeau Stadium, home of the Packers. Even in a busy wedding weekend, we still find time to explore and enjoy the city’s culture.

 

Reunions

Reunions are simply the best! Christina was able to go back to Texas in March to be reunited with her closest girl friends from Texas A&M University. The girls wined and dined their way through Fredericksburg, Texas as they caught up on each other’s lives. The last time they were all together was at our wedding in September 2015, so this reunion was long over due and special for everyone.

 

Christina was surprised to find out that Adam bought tickets for the two of them to visit Brownsville, Texas for her family’s Fourth of July reunion. Ironically enough, like her girl friends, this was also the first time her family was together since our wedding. Christina’s grandmother, Meme, spoiled everyone with amazing food every day, whether it was by the pool or in their dining room. All of the cousins shared the living room together with sleeping bags and air mattresses everywhere – it was their biggest sleepover party yet! Overall, it was a really great family reunion with a lot of time spent enjoying everyone’s company.

 

Let’s Go Blues!

Every year we go to a different stadium to watch the St. Louis Blues play against their opponent.

We went to Philadelphia in February (2016-2017 season), to watch the Blues play against the Flyers. It was one of our crazy trips, we were only in the city for 10 hours, but they were well spent. Before the game we enjoyed one of Philly’s finest cuisines, the philly cheesesteak and took a step back into history at Independence Hall. Though our time spent in Philadelphia was short, we really enjoyed it and want to revisit with more time to explore. Oh and the Blues WON!

 

This was a special year because the NHL added a new team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Why is this extra special to us? Las Vegas is where we met and fell in love, essentially where our lives truly began. So, when they announced the schedule we HAD to be there for the first game against each other. The atmosphere was the best NHL experience to date. Though the Blues lost in overtime, we had an amazing time! In addition to the game, we were also able to spend time with one of Adam’s best friends, Danny, and more friends from Las Vegas that we miss dearly. We hit the night clubs one last time, went hiking for the first time at Valley of Fire State Park and paid our respects to the Las Vegas memorial. It was an incredible weekend that made us really miss “home”.

 

 

Life’s A Beach

We think it is a sin to not go to a beach over the summer. If Adam had it his way, we would be living on the beach….one day. So we took advantage of the East Coast waters being so close to us and went to Chincoteague Island, Virginia to watch the annual Pony Swim and Rehoboth Beach in Delaware with Christina’s family.

We always enjoy our trips, no matter how big or small, but sometimes we find places that really leave a mark with us – Chincoteague Island is one of those places. We ate some amazing food at three different food trucks, a seafood joint and an ice cream parlor. Of course, the beach was wonderful and has wild ponies relaxing alongside with you! The island also has an inland lighthouse that we were able to explore. We went for the Annual Pony Swim and were able to watch the ponies swim across the Chincoteague Channel – it was an incredible experience.

 

Even though the water was FREEZING, we had a great time in Rehoboth Beach. We brought ladder golf and played in the sun until our skin was almost red. We ate unique flavored ice creams and fantastic fish and shark tacos at Dogfish Brewery. It was the perfect day trip to the beach because we were with family and we all left wanting more.

 

 

Summer Concerts

We went to two outdoor summer concerts this summer and we had a blast! We went to see Jack Johnson at the Merriweather Pavilion in Maryland and drove all the way to Pittsburgh to see Muse perform at the KeyBank Pavilion.

This was our first time seeing Jack Johnson perform and it was the most relaxing concert we have ever been to. We were watching Jack and his friends play music on stage, but it felt like we were at his house watching him perform in his garage. Jack is very authentic and humble in his performances. He connects with his audience, which made it a really fun concert. Maybe we can watch him perform at the beach one day – that would be the best.

 

This was our second time to see Muse together and Christina’s fourth time total. Muse did not disappoint us – they never do. Muse had stunning visual effects to go with each song. We were not just watching a concert, but almost a cinematic experience. If you enjoy rock music and concerts, you must watch Muse perform live. They are voted time and time again as one of the best live acts for a good reason.

 

Our Sister’s Celebrations

We both have younger sister’s and they both celebrated big accomplishments at their respected universities this year. Andrea, Adam’s little sister, graduated from Webster University in May and Shelby, Christina’s little sister, received her class ring from Texas A&M University, one of their biggest and more proud traditions. We are both so proud of our sister’s and are very grateful we were able to be there for their big days.

 

Our sister-in-law, Madeline, (Adam’s older brother’s wife), gave birth to their first baby. We traveled to St. Louis to be with Adam’s side of the family for their big moment and to celebrate the holidays. We always enjoy going back to St. Louis to be with family, no matter if it’s freezing or warm. Welcome to the family, Julian!

 

A lot of family celebrations this year!

 

 

Our Annual Honeymoon Spent in Africa

We always say that we do not have a favorite trip because each one is amazing in its own way, but our trip to Africa was the best trip, hands down – we both cried on the plane ride home, it was that perfect. Our trip started in South Africa, where we were able to see and experience Johannesburgs rich culture and history. Then we traveled to our safari resort, AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge, in Phinda’s Private Game Reserve where we went on game drives twice a day to see Africa’s most beautiful animals and landscape.

 

After four beautiful nights at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge, we traveled to Zambia and stayed at another wonderful resort, Tongabezi. We donated school supplies to Tongabezi’s school and visited a nearby village – both experiences opened our eyes and enriched our hearts. We not only saw the thunderous Victoria Falls (on both sides), but we were swimming on the edge of it too! We went to Devil’s Pool and literally lived life on the edge. During this time, we also traveled across borders to Zimbabwe to live out Christina’s biggest dream, encountering a cheetah in Africa. We were able to ethically encounter Elephant Camp’s ambassador cheetah, Sylvester. We walked along Sylvester at the Victoria Falls National Park for an hour and it was a surreal experience for both of us. Lastly, we crossed borders into Botswana, to go on another safari in Chobe National Park. We saw hundreds of elephants – we watched them bathe at a water hole and even attack a pride of lion right in front of us! During our river safari we saw several hippos and watched them play with each other. It was another great safari experience in Africa.

 

 

A Christmas Miracle in New York City

The day after Thanksgiving leading all the way up until Christmas, is Christina’s favorite time of the year. Since she was a little girl, she dreamed of spending the holiday season in New York City and this year Adam made her dream come true. We spent 48 magical hours in New York City a week before Christmas and fell in love with everything (except the metro). We had so much fun viewing all of the holiday window displays, ice skating around the biggest Christmas trees and watching The Nutcracker. It was the perfect Christmas trip to New York City.

 

Making New Friends

This was our first full year of travel and food blogging and it has been a lot of hard work, but fulfilling experience. Through travel blogging we have been able to connect with a lot of people from around the world. We have even become close friends with three people through blogging and have been able to spend time with them.

We have become friends with Meghan from The Traveling Teacher, who actually lives close to us in Washington D.C., so we are able to see her a lot. In addition to spending time in the city with Meghan, we also took a day trip to Kings Dominion riding roller coasters all day long!

 

We have also become friends with Kallsy and Logan from Pages of Travel. They live in St. Louis, so we were able to visit with them when we went to visit Adam’s family. We wish we all lived closer because we would have so much fun going on a lot of adventures together. In fact, we may be crossing paths in Ireland this March!

 

 

Total states visited in 2017:

8 – Nevada, Texas (three times), Missouri (four times), Wisconsin, Delaware, Pennsylvania (twice), New York, Maryland and Virginia (where we live).

Total countries visited in 2017:

4 – South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana

Miles flown in 2017:

40,498 miles

Miles driven in 2017:

At least 4,122 miles

 

Happy New Year everyone!

Christina and Adam