Looking back on 2017, it was without a doubt one of the most exciting and memorable years of my life. 2018, you have some VERY big shoes to fill!
Last New Years, knowing all of the major milestones that 2017 had in store for me (graduate school interviews and acceptances, completing my final semester of undergrad, becoming an alum member of my sorority, graduation, beginning grad school, etc.) I set a new years resolution for myself to jump on every opportunity I was given to travel before my schedule began to revolve solely around grad school.
This past year brought me more experiences and adventures than I could’ve ever imagined! Throughout 2017, I was lucky enough to travel to 7 very different and unique destinations with so many of my favorite people. Having this many consistent travel opportunities in one year helped me to realize just how passionate I am about traveling, especially when it allows me the chance to try something completely new (I’m looking at you, Mexico Xenotes)!
In February, I traveled with my family, along with Connor and my brother’s girlfriend, on a five day trip to Denver, Colorado. Although we stayed in Denver, we drove to Vail for what we had truly come to Colorado to experience… the mountains! While my dad and brother took on the mountains by snowmobiles on a private tour, I skied the mountains at Vail Ski Resort with Connor, my mom, and Erin.
I’ve been skiing since I was 11 years old, and even though I’ve skied Michigan’s Boyne Mountain and a variety of other ski slopes around Michigan, nothing could have ever prepared me for how incredible the mountains of Vail would be! After skiing down slopes covered in three feet of fresh powder snow, I understood why people from all around the world come to ski these mountains.
You can watch the video I made of our time at Vail Ski Resort HERE!
We also toured Coors Brewery, explored the shops and breweries of downtown Denver, and even went to a Colorado Avalanche hockey game! Needless to say, Denver completely stole our hearts. Connor and I haven’t stopped talking about this trip since the day we left (and I know we won’t until we go back)!
Pine Mountain, Kentucky
In March, I traveled with 17 of my sorority sisters to visit our sorority’s national philanthropy, Pine Mountain Settlement School, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.
One of the reasons I fell in love with our philanthropy when I first joined AST is that it allows us the opportunity to coordinate yearly service trips to volunteer our services and time in addition to raising money each semester, opposed to sending a check to a large foundation like most greek philanthropies. Pine Mountain is a small philanthropy that truly relies on Alpha Sigma Tau’s volunteer services and fundraising to stay up and running. Immediately after becoming a member in 2013, I knew that my time in AST wouldn’t truly be complete without making the trip to Pine Mountain.
Heading into my final semester of membership, I decided that it was the most perfect time (and my last chance) to travel to Pine Mountain! Going my last semester allowed me to create some of my final sorority memories (when 18 girls are staying in a cabin in the woods for five days, you’re likely to create a few memories), reflect on the reasons why I joined AST four years ago (while writing in the AST journal kept at Pine Mountain for every sister that travels there), and to, most importantly, finally experience the incredible place that I had been raising money and awareness for throughout my undergrad career.
You can watch the video I created of our trip HERE!
Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
In April, I traveled to Grand Bahama Island for a Mary-Kate and Ashley style spring break trip with my best friend, Sarah. Since we traveled to Pine Mountain over our actual spring break, we decided to take a week off from school because… well, why not??
We spent the week at an all-inclusive resort soaking up the Caribbean sun (a little bit too much), drinking Mai Tais, eating fresh fruit in a pool-side cabana, wading in the warmest ocean water, reading under palm trees, and enjoying every. single. second. of absolute paradise! It was the most perfect way to cherish our last few weeks of inseparable-ness before starting our own adventures (grad school and student teaching).
New York City, New York
In May, I traveled to New York City over Memorial Weekend with my mom, grandma, aunt, and cousin for the ultimate girl’s weekend! This was our second trip ever to NYC so, with the exception of some of our absolute favorite things, we spent four days exploring new places that we didn’t get the chance to see or experience on our first trip back in 2014.
We all agreed that our favorite parts of this trip were Bryant Park, biking Central Park, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, a tour of Radio City Music Hall, shopping in Times Square (of course), Madam Tussauds, lunch at the Plaza Hotel, Steve Cohen’s Chamber of Magic, and the BEST New York style pizza at a little place called Anthony’s.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
In July, I traveled to Riviera Maya Mexico with my family, Connor, and Erin and stayed at an all-inclusive resort right on the gulf coast.
We spent seven days chilling in the infinity pool (necessary on Mexican summer days that are 100+ degrees), drinking a countless amount of the world’s best margaritas, tanning with a view, walking on white sand beaches, dancing at foam parties, snorkeling at a nearby reef (while the captain of the boat provided beer), and taking an excursion that might’ve just been my favorite part of 2017:
If you missed my blog about our Mexico Xenote experience, you can read it HERE!
You can watch the video I created of our trip HERE!
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
In August, I surprised Connor with a trip to Pictured Rocks for his 24th birthday. This was a trip that we talked about taking for a while and after debating on what to get him for his birthday, I decided that a weekend getaway would make both the best present and the most perfect ending to our summer together.
We camped for two nights, ate plenty of s’mores and hobo pies, hiked waterfalls and the shoreline, picnicked on the beach, and had the most perfect weekend together.
If you missed my blog about our weekend at Pictured Rocks, you can read it HERE!
Last but definitely not least, to end 2017 in the best possible way, I traveled to The Music City with my three best friends to ring in the new year!
You can read all about our trip to Nashville in my last blog post HERE!
This summer I started following The Bucket List Family on social media (if you don’t follow them yet, you should) and I’ve loved seeing how they live their lives by being rich in experiences rather than possessions. After traveling to 7 different destinations this year, I’ve seen just how positive this switch in mindset can be. I would love to continue living out my future years by spending less on possessions and more on new experiences.
Here’s to hoping that 2018 is full of even more memories and experiences!