2017 #Take12Trips

I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions- I believe you can start making a change any day of the year, and January 1 doesn’t need to be an end-all, be-all catalyst.

But, last year, I wanted to set a goal for myself that I could track and talk about. And, with starting a travel blog on my mind for several years, I knew it had to be travel related.

Enter the #Take12Trips. The #Take12Trips challenge was originally started by Clare from Need Another Holiday.

To #Take12Trips, you only have to commit to doing something once a month. Anything counts- it can be dinner at a new place, visiting a new museum or spending the weekend at a cute B&B in the country. It doesn’t need to be an epic trip to a foreign country, just the chance to discover something new.

Some of my trips were big two-week explorations in other countries, others were be small weekend getaways, and some were a day-trip or afternoon someplace I hadn’t explored yet.

So, a year later, how did it go?

2016_take12trips

It was phenomenal.

Where did #Take12Trips take me?

  • January: Kicked off the new year by spending a week in Florida with friends and family, and was lucky enough to return to the sunshine state for a long weekend at Disney at the end of the month
  • February: I spent time exploring Astoria, a part of the city I don’t usually spend much time in. February weather meant I limited my exploring to indoor activities (trying new restaurants, checking out new bars and boutiques), but Astoria offers plenty of outdoor activities as well, including gorgeous views of Manhattan’s skyline
  • March: Spent an awesome long weekend in downtown Charleston, a city that epitomizes Southern charm- quaint streets lined with sprawling, pastel homes and palm trees; some of the nicest people I’ve ever met; and, seriously good eats
  • April: A truly busy travel month with weekend trips to Philly and Cape Cod, as well as a week and a half long vacation to Seattle and Tulum
  • May: After a month filled with trips, I needed some time to get back in the groove of things. In May, I stayed in the city, and ventured to Bushwick, Brooklyn for a day-trip. I’ve been to Bushwick once before, but didn’t go out there with the intention of actively checking out the neighborhood.
  • June: This month, I stayed local for most of the month- trying new restaurants/bars and checking out cafes in nearby ‘hoods. I did leave the city once this month- to spend a long weekend in one of my favorite places, London.
  • July: Like June, I stayed local for most of the month. Instead of leaving the city for the long holiday weekend in the beginning of July, I opted for day trips to new (to me) places like Dia: Beacon, and re-visited a few of my favorite spots, like Governors Island. Mid-month, I flew home to Pittsburgh for a long weekend with my family.
  • August: Even though I stayed local this month, I had every intention of checking out a neighborhood I don’t spend much time in- ideally in Brooklyn or Jersey, but it just didn’t happen. My sister visited one weekend, I flew home on another weekend to celebrate her birthday, and found myself craving slower days on the other weekends.
  • September: September was an exciting, busy month. Labor Day weekend took me to Copenhagen for a quick introduction to Denmark. Two weeks later, I returned to Europe for 13 days traveling throughout Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich and Par
  • October: October kicked off in a city that’s become one of my favorite places, Paris. Coming back to New York early in the month gave me plenty of time to enjoy my favorite season in the big apple.
  • November: This month was a bit of a whirlwind with a last minute two-week trip to London, and surprise trip home to see my family for the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • December: Preparing for an international move meant staying in NYC to sort out what seemed like a million things. Fortunately, the city is one of my favorite places to be during the holidays. In addition to checking things off my Goodbye Tour, I also planned a trip home to Pittsburgh for the holidays

This year, I really came to believe that traveling is a mindset. It doesn’t need to involve a flight to a new city, a car ride to a weekend getaway or even sitting on a train for a few hours. Travel can be a staycation in your own town, or if you’re like me and live in a major city, a day trip to a neighborhood you don’t spend much time in.

Over the course of 12 months, there were awestruck moments, learning moments, moments I loved, moments I hated, and most importantly- moments that reminded me why travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.

yalewanders_full

Only fitting my “best nine” moments on Instagram were captured in some of my favorite cities.

I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds. And since I’ll be moving to Europe in January, I’ve decided to not only continue the #Take12Trips challenge for a second year, but also to try and visit 12 countries- ones I’ve dreamt of going to for a while, ones I’ve been to before and loved, and likely ones I haven’t even thought of visiting yet.

Have passport, will travel. 2017, come blow my mind.

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