2017 Traverse Blog Travel Recap

With another year in the books, I’ve got another year of travel adventures to recap. 2017 was a busy year for travel for me — 4 international trips and 12 domestic trips!  I’ve got lots of fond travel memories to look back on from this past year including some destinations that had been on my bucket list for a while. 

Aside from travel, 2017 has been all sorts of interesting. It’s been a tough time, not gonna lie. I can’t say 2017 was my favorite year, but I certainly feel like I have learned a lot, came to grips with the difficult challenges, and have become more active than ever. 

Thankfully, many of the tougher moments from 2017 were punctuated with long-weekend getaways, new destinations abroad, and treasured time spent with family and friends.

I managed to accomplish another year with 12 trips in 12 months. That’s 3 years in a row! It’s hard for me to believe that this wacky idea I came up with in 2015 has turned into an annual rite of passage for me. It is something that I aspire for and that brings me fulfillment.

Actually in 2017, I somehow squeezed in 16 trips this year while working full-time. Definitely feeling grateful and lucky for another travel-filled year! I’m not going to exaggerate though — my spring schedule was pretty hectic with multiple back-to-back trips.

Here is the full recap of all the trips I took in 2017. 

  1. January — Raleigh, NC with my husband
  2. January — Kansas City, MO to visit a friend
  3. February — Breckenridge, CO for a family ski weekend
  4. February — Cuba for solo adventure trip
  5. March — New Orleans, LA for a work trip
  6. March — Naples, FL for a family trip
  7. April — Naples, FL for a family trip
  8. April — Milwaukee, WI for Women in Travel Summit
  9. May — San Miguel de Allende, MX for a wedding
  10. May — London, United Kingdom for a girl’s weekend
  11. June — Detroit, MI for a family wedding
  12. July — Ann Arbor, MI for a lakehouse weekend
  13. July — Costa Rica for a work trip
  14. August — Alaska for a family vacation
  15. October — Napa Valley, California for a press trip
  16. December — Naples, FL for a friends trip

I could probably talk about every trip for hours, but this is a recap after all! You don’t want to read about all 16 trips. Here are my 7 favorite travel memories from 2017.

New Orleans

A long-time domestic bucket-list destination, I am so happy that I got to visit New Orleans in 2017. My March trip was a part-work trip, part-fun trip full of lots of amazing culinary adventures in NOLA. I can pretty easily say this was my foodiest trip of 2017. I managed to design my own kick-ass cocktail crawl through the downtown area while eating some seriously amazing food. New Orleans is now one of my favorite domestic destinations to explore — there is just so much history, culture, music, and food to fall in love with. Plus, everybody has a great NOLA story to share if you ask around for suggestions. You can always discover new spots! If you need tips for how to spend a long weekend in the Big Easy, check out my 48 Hour guide to New Orleans!  

Cuba

One of the earliest trips I did in 2017, my Intrepid Travel trip to Cuba was probably the most impactful of all my trips this year. It really opened my eyes to a nation that I had long misunderstood and I learned some new lessons on having perspective. There were so many highlights of Cuba — learning how to roll a Cuban cigar, eating (surprisingly) delicious cuisine, taking in the lifestyle of Havana — but perhaps my favorite part was simply getting to know Cuban culture from a local perspective. I found Cubans to be a proud, friendly and approachable population who made me feel so incredible welcome during my visit! If you’re thinking about trips for 2018, I can’t recommend Cuba enough and time may be running out for Americans to visit it so don’t miss your chance. 

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

In May, I returned to San Miguel de Allende for a friend’s wedding. And it came just in time — San Miguel de Allende was named the best city in the world for 2017 by Travel + Leisure. I have a feeling it will feel different in a few years thanks to an influx of new tourism. I was lucky enough to bring my husband along for this trip, which made my return trip to San Miguel de Allende was even more wonderful than the first time! One of my favorite destinations in Mexico (at least that I’ve seen so far), San Miguel has a little bit of something for every type of traveler whether it be delicious food, beautiful architecture, adventure activities or interesting art galleries.

London, United Kingdom

megan at flower market london

A whirlwind girl’s weekend with my mom and sister, the five days I spent in London was definitely a highlight from this spring’s travel. I just love London… It’s one of my all-time favorite cities in the world. I can never get enough and it would take a lifetime to fully explore it! On this particular trip, I spent a lot of time getting to know a few specific neighborhoods and experiences like Shoreditch, Columbia Road Flower Market and Borough Market area. I had already seen a lot of the major cultural sights, so it was nice to explore some off-the-beaten path spots in London.

Costa Rica

This was the most unique trip I took this year — I led a group of students on a school trip to Costa Rica! I have never done anything like this before, but my employer, Greenheart Travel, gave me this awesome opportunity. It was a big professional challenge, and I learned a lot about myself, my limits and my capabilities. I found it so incredibly rewarding, and I came back with a newfound appreciation for educators who work with students every day.

Alaska

While I haven’t written anything about this trip on my blog, my family vacation to Alaska was one of my favorite experiences for the entire year! Normally my family isn’t big on adventure activities or outdoorsy type trips, but Alaska is the perfect destination to get out of your normal travel comfort zone. That’s exactly what we did! We stayed at two family-owned eco lodges, one on the coast and one near the mountains, which was the perfect way to see the natural scenery. We went whale-watching, salmon fishing, glacier trekking, and bear viewing! One of my goals for 2018 is to write more about this trip, so stay tuned for exciting stuff!  

Napa

One exciting achievement I accomplished in 2017 was that I landed my first sponsored press trip! It happened somewhat out of the blue, but it was such an honor to have the Tourism Board of Napa sponsor a trip for me to visit Napa in the fall. Normally a booming time for tourism, my visit was just a few weeks after the wildfires leaving the city nearly empty of visitors. While this was disappointing to see, my trip opened my eyes to the resilience and spirit of the people of Napa. Even just a few weeks after the fires, I was able to see that Napa was still thriving with lots of activities to offer visitors.

I’m already working on big travel plans for 2018. Stayed tuned to see where I’m heading next year! Got your own travel suggestions? Comment below with destinations you think I should visit!

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Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

2 thoughts

    1. Awww, thank you for the comment! It was wonderful to meet you too! Are you thinking of going to WITS again this year? I hope that our paths cross again sometime soon :)

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