December 16 marked my fourth anniversary of dipping my toes into the travel blog-o-sphere. These last four years went by in the blink of an eye and I love looking back to see how far we’ve come; we’ve experienced more than I could have ever imagined and have met so many incredible people along the way. 48 adventurous months packed with exploring, planning, island hopping, plane catching, scuba diving, personal growth, incredible memories, and much, much more; and while it’s been an eventful four years, I can’t help but feel excitement to think about where we’ll be four years from now.
Four short years ago, we started off this adventure with a travel-heavy schedule as we explored seven different countries, traveled to three U.S. territories, and checked off a handful of bucket list items, including: snorkeling with sharks, traveling to St. Lucia, swimming in Trunk Bay, and attending a football game in Cowboys Stadium.
Top left (clockwise): Beautiful Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Swimming with Sharks in Nassau; Sailing around St. John for our first anniversary; Lovely St. Lucia; Lucky shot in St. Maarten
In Year Two we checked off another two countries from our never-ending must-visit list--including a visit to my family’s homeland of Norway. I waited 26 years for that adventure and am so grateful that my sweet grandmother and I were able to take this trip together. Cody and I made our annual visit back to our beloved Kauai where we completed two more bucket list items–skydiving and whale watching, and that Fall we celebrated Cody’s birthday with a football game down South.
Clockwise: Exploring a Stave Church in Oslo, Norway; Cheering on the Bulldogs in Athens, Georgia; Enjoying a beautiful morning on Poipu Beach in Kauai
Our trend of “living the Aloha spirit” was in full force during Year Three when we explored three different Hawaiian islands throughout the year. We checked off even more bucket list items as we flew above the Kilauea volcano and its bright orange lava, and went on a manta ray scuba diving adventure. Cody and I have now explored five out of the six main Hawaiian islands–Molokai, we’re coming for you soon :) Though we have a lot of great memories there were also some inevitable lows, and my cancer scare last fall was one of them. However, this scare helped me to put life into perspective and reminded me of our limited time here on Earth. After surgery we gave ourselves a chance to relax, unwind, and to recover on one of our favorite islands in the world. This trip came at a much-needed time and helped me bounce back mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Top Left (clockwise): Having a great time at the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui; Our first flower Leis; An early morning in Kona-on our first visit to the Big Island; Making new friends while volunteering with the Kauai Humane Society
All is not right in the world if a visit to Hawaii is not in our yearly plans at some point, and the beginning of Year Four marked our third visit to beautiful Maui. I’ll never forget our incredible cottage in the middle of the jungle; we loved it so much that I’m already trying to coordinate another stay. Last summer we added another new continent to our travels, and our visit to Southeast Asia was just what we were looking for–an adventure. Thailand was incredible and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have explored this beautiful corner of the world. While year four was relatively quiet on the travel-front, we were able to check off some personal goals by staying close to home this past fall. We did have plans to explore more of our home state but they fell through, however, that means we are adding these adventures to our plans in 2016 and we couldn’t be more excited.
Top Left (clockwise): The beautiful Road to Hana; Loving our time in Maui; The incredible pool in Koh Samui, Thailand; Celebrating our fourth anniversary in Koh Tao, Thailand
So what’s ahead for year five? Well, Hawaii, of course. :) We are so excited to show off our favorite islands to some of our favorite family members and I’m looking forward to creating memories that we will cherish forever. This spring we’re seeking out adventure close to home with a few different local adventures planned, and we’re welcoming summer by going on an incredible five-year anniversary trip to check off one of my “ultimate” bucket list items. (Can you guess where it is?) If we play our cards right, hopefully in the fall we’ll do some country-hopping, and I’ll be working to complete all of the goals on my 101 in 1001 goals list by September.
Another amazing year in the books, and I’m looking forward to another happy year full of adventures with my best friend. Thank you for following along on this adventure! Your comments, insights, recommendations, and active discussion make this whole blogging thing a lot more fun. :) Cheers to an adventurous 2016!
What do you have planned for 2016?