TRAVEL RESOLUTIONS FOR 2016 (AND HOW I DID IN 2015)

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It is that time of year once again! A time to reflect on my past year of travel while looking back on those resolutions I made some 365-odd days ago…

This year has been quite possibly the most hectic year of my life (at least since I started the blog 5+ years ago). As you may have noticed, I’ve been posting a lot less on the site (a trend I hope to fix!). Keeping a seven-year laptop alive while the time invested in moving across the country to Oregon hasn’t given me much time to concentrate on writing at all. I’m determined to at least double my output of last year, so bear with me!

So, anyway, let’s recap the 2015 resolutions and see how I did:

A massive Maersk shipping liner makes its way toward the Panama Canal. This is easily the largest ship I've ever seen with my own eyes - it was just massive.

A massive Maersk shipping liner makes its way toward the Panama Canal. This is easily the largest ship I’ve ever seen with my own eyes – it was just massive.

 

  1. Visit three new countries: PASSED!

This one set up quite nicely, considering I was already somewhat expecting to visit two countries before I even made the resolution. In the winter, Breeah and I (along with two of our best friends) visited the Bahamas (specifically the Exumas in the out islands) – a trip we consider to be one of our best experiences since I started sharing our travels. After that, we went out to Panama in May (spending most of it on Contadora Island). I then snuck in a very wild and unpredictable weekend in Mexico with my friend Sean in early June.

Visiting out-of-the-way counties allows one to take in America's great sites...um, like the Mothman museum...

Visiting out-of-the-way counties allows one to take in America’s great sites…um, like the Mothman museum…

2. Visit my 1,000th U.S. county: PASSED!

I actually hit county #1,000 (Franklin County, Washington) this past October and currently stand at 1,013. I was 109 counties away from my goal and nabbed 122. I originally expected to rent a car and take it around the Virginia counties I had been missing (maybe dipping into other east coast states), but moving cross country changed that plan (and allowed me to grab a ton more counties in many other states).

Oregon was beautiful until Halloween. Its been raining since... Starting to dream of the spring and summer months...

Oregon was beautiful until Halloween. Its been raining since… Starting to dream of the spring and summer months…

3. OREGON!: PASSED!

This is completely creepy and weird – but I never intended on moving to Oregon when 2015 began. It never, ever, ever crossed my mind. Well, it’s Dec. 31, 2015 as I type this, and I’ve lived in Oregon for an entire four months now. My initial goal was to visit my 49th state. Now, a state that was unfamiliar territory is now in the top five for states I’ve spent the most time in! Life can be unpredictable, to say the least…

I haven't yet got to all the counties in Minnesota (or any other states beside Delaware and Maryland), but we visited Red Wing, MN (Goodhue County) earlier this year and stood by the largest boot in the world!

I haven’t yet got to all the counties in Minnesota (or any other states beside Delaware and Maryland), but we visited Red Wing, MN (Goodhue County) earlier this year and stood by the largest boot in the world!

4. COMPLETE A STATE: FAILED!

Now here’s a resolution I can blame my move for not being able to complete it. I had grand intentions of collecting every county in another east coast state – but my time there was shorter than I expected it would be this year. I had hoped that maybe I’d do a grand drive around Minnesota this year – but the week I spent there was spent sorting and moving Breeah’s stuff. In fact, I’ve now gobbled up 26 of Oregon’s 36 counties – so my great west coast “catch up” has officially began.

Travel - for me - is relatively unexpected and unplanned. I don't know where I'll visit as I go into 2015. Here I'm standing in Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho (late August) - a place that had crossed my mind before but never made my travel plans until just two weeks prior to visiting...

Travel – for me – is relatively unexpected and unplanned. I don’t know where I’ll visit next as I go into 2016. Here I’m standing in Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho (late August) – a place that had crossed my mind before but never made my travel plans until just two weeks prior to visiting…

2016 RESOLUTIONS

To be honest, I have NO IDEA what travel plans I’ll have this year. I know I’ll probably take 1-2 fairly major trips, but most of the 2 and 3-day weekend stuff will probably be spent driving around the Pacific Northwest. So this is way more of a shot in the dark here than last year, but here goes…

  1. Visit my 20th country/territory

I have a broader approach to my “country counting” in that foreign territories generally count as new country visits to me (for example, I count my visit to Montserrat, a U.K. territory, as a separate country – I even have a Montserrat passport stamp). There are exceptions. I generally probably wouldn’t count a U.S. territory as another country in my own heart, but, then again, I’ve never had to travel across the world to, say, Guam…

I’m pretty darn sure I’ll add at least one country to my travel log this year, so this is easily doable. Here’s hoping I can maybe add another one or two on top of that for good measure… I’d like to get out to the South Pacific again (haven’t been since my epic Easter Island journey) – but we’ll see…

2. Alaska and completing all 50 states

You’d think I’d be more excited about this, and I am, but I had grand visions for my 50th state visit. Driving to Alaska has always been my preferred way of visiting the last frontier, but it seems like I’d have to invest way more free time than I can afford at this point to do that. Breeah’s goal is to get to 50 before her 30th, so we have a year-and-a-half to accomplish this. A long weekend fly-up seems most possible – so perhaps we’ll target a national park and get going on that once the summer comes…

3. Visit at least my 25th U.S. National Park

This will be the summer of road trips – I’m sure of it. Because of that, I can easily see us getting four more “major” U.S. National Parks and ending the year at at least 25. We got three in Washington and a couple in California I’d like to target (as well as an Alaska park – or two – if we complete our 50 state run).

4. Write more!

Duh… This also involves buying a new computer – something I’ve been dragging my feet on forever! I also am hoping to launch a completely different website for a completely different topic that is sure to keep me clicking on the keyboard all year.

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