A Year of Travel - 2018 Edition

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Travel round-up time!! Unless this is your very first visit to my blog, or you’ve been living under a rock, it comes as no surprise that I’m reflecting on my travels for this past year. I like to look back and see where I’ve been before I think about where I will be going. The first half of my year was actually spent more at home here in Maryland than out and about, which was a nice, albeit strange (for me) change. So here’s a month-by-month review of some of my adventures of 2018.

January

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I eased into the year nicely with some time at home in Baltimore and an early month trip to DC. Todd and I went to see Walk the Moon and ventured into the city the next day with some friends for an architectural photo assignment my friend commissioned me to do. Other than how cold it was, it was a great assignment, getting to wander and look at buildings and get some abstract shots. At the end of the month I timed getting the flu with going to Phoenix for the Alpha Rho Chi winter board meeting, and intense 2-3 days of discussion and planning. The fresh citrus was my only savior and I stuffed my suitcase with lemons to come back home.

February

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February was another month of lots of time at home, including lots of cultural activities like plays, music, art and movies. I got sick AGAIN so I tried to slow down before the only trip of the month up to Penn State for a hockey game. My family used to try getting together for football in the fall, but the logistics were never great so this year we went up to “Hockey Valley” for our first game and had a more relaxed, if colder, time in State College. I think Mom was surprised how much she enjoyed it, but I’m pretty sure you can enjoy anything if you’re in the 4th row! Can’t wait for our next game in just over a month.

March

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Pretty much all of March was spent preparing for the Alpha Rho Chi Convention here in Baltimore, which meant I didn’t need to travel because everyone came to ME for a change! I enjoyed showing off my city and taking some of our students around downtown for an architectural photo tour. The one quick jaunt out of Baltimore was to meet with one of my board members in Central Maryland and I took the opportunity to pop down to DC to have lunch and tea with my bestie, Cait. Laduree opened a location in Georgetown within the past couple years and it’s been on my list since I heard!

April

I saw like 9 or 10 concerts this month (more than that if you count each individual artist at each event), but outside of running around to various shows, no travel! Just a ton of music and culture.

May

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I certainly made up for April’s lack of travel in May! We started off the month by heading up to New Jersey for our nephew Carter’s first birthday party where he successfully smeared icing over every inch of his body. The following weekend I took a girls trip down to Alexandria, Virigina. Old Town is a beautiful place to do some sight seeing and bonding with my girlfriends, away from families and the general distractions of life. Then it was time for Germany! My friend Jordana moved there last year and I immediately knew I wanted to go visit her. This was my first time to Germany and Todd’s first time to a non English speaking country so there was a bit of general logistical challenges, but we quickly figured out the train system and ate as much bread products as we could. Our visits included Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle, Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, and Heidelberg in addition to a solid few days in J’s town with her and her son. It was the perfect balance of sight-seeing and relaxation.

June

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This month stayed a little closer to home! I went to Virginia for a photography workshop which ended up being a turning point in some of the work I’m doing. We had an overnight trip to Philadelphia with my parents and brother to see Paul Simon in his farewell tour, which was absolutely amazing. Todd and I keep saying that one day we will go to Philly just to be tourists and not solely for music, but that has yet to happen. My parents haven’t spent too much time in Philly, being from the other side of the state and Pennsylvania is LONG, so it was fun showing them around the old parts of town.

July

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Where do I start?? We were super lucky to have 2 big trips this year. For the second, we heading out to Denver with some friends to see the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks. It is hands down the best place I have ever heard a show and THANK GOD we don’t live in Denver because I would have no money from seeing everything there. While in Colorado, we visited the Denver Botanical Gardens, went hiking with some local friends, had great ice cream and tacos, did some shopping and exploring, and just enjoyed the quality time with our friends. After 3 days, Todd and I drove the 9 hours from Denver to Teton Valley, Idaho to visit my aunt and uncle. To break up the drive on the way out we stopped in Medicine Bow National Forest to hike at 10,000’ in the snow. Since we arrived July 3, we spent the 4th of July at the Victor parade and saw fireworks and music that night in Driggs. We took a walk through the preserve near their house and saw MOOSE, went hiking in Grand Teton National Park and Darby Canyon, bought cowboy boots in Jackson Hole, and saw the Kitchen Dwellers in a free show one night in Victor. I 100% understand why my aunt and uncle moved there and I wouldn’t complain about heading that way myself…. An extensive Spotify playlist got us through the long drive back to Denver and while I am glad we were able to combine the two trips, next time I’m flying straight to Jackson!

A little later in the month I took a solo visit to Pittsburgh to spend some time with my parents. I can’t even remember what we did, which means it was probably the relaxing visit I needed. Todd and I rounded out the month by visiting Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA for our 6th anniversary.

August

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August included two additional new states for me, Minnesota and Connecticut. Our Alpha Rho Chi summer board meeting was in Minneapolis, and while most of it was spent in hotel rooms, I did schedule my flight home for late Sunday night to give me a day to see some of the sights. We visited the sculpture garden with it’s giant blue chicken and cherries, visited some historic redevelopments near the Mississippi River and visited a few breweries and a cidery owned by a former landscape architect (represent!). The following weekend I took the bus up to New York City where I met a few friends then hoped on the train to Westport, Connecticut. My friend Michelle grew up there and brought me up for a weekend so I could finally cross the state off my list. It was a rainy weekend, but we visited a brewery, took a walk along the beach, and judged some very questionable architecture.

September

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I had some extremely needed down time at the beginning of the month while Todd was off with friends to read some books, do some writing, and watch a bit of TV. A VERY fast trip to Syracuse was my main event of the month to help form a new colony of Alpha Rho Chi at Syracuse University. I flew out of DC, so took the train down from Baltimore and touched down close to midnight in New York. One very long day and migraine later, I turned around and got back into DC around 8am on Sunday. It was a great group of students and I’m excited to see how they do over the next couple years! Towards the end of the month I took a day trip to Harrisburg for my brother’s birthday where we had an awesome lunch at the Millworks Brewery and I snapped a few photos of the neighborhood surrounding Broad Street Market.

October

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Now we’re getting back to the travel crazies those who know and love me have come to expect! Weekend 1 was down at the University of Maryland for some training with other fraternity leaders. Weekend 2 was camping with Todd’s family in Pennsylvania at French Creek State Park, complete with campfires, tents, rain and hiking. Weekend 3 we went to southern Maryland for a wedding on Saturday followed by a drive to Pittsburgh the next morning where I was attending a conference for 2 days. It was nice being able to stay at my parents’ house and take the bus downtown, playing tourist by walking around Point State Park, Mt Washington and the North Side. I was home for about a day and a half then Todd and I took the bus up to New York City to visit friends and see the Harry Potter History of Magic exhibit at the New York Historical Society. Add in some pasta, hot chocolate and wine, mix it up with Central Park, Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, add a dash of great friends, and you have the recipe for an awesome weekend.

November

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While November was a busy month, it felt more at home, despite the fact that I actually had 3 trips down to DC for various photography related reasons. The main trip was our annual Thanksgiving trek to Pittsburgh where we also celebrated my mom’s 70th birthday by throwing her a party with all of her favorite people. We toured a crazy house turned museum, took lots of naps, visited the zoo and photographed some good friends at Hartwood Acres.

December

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Man, after writing about all the other months, it hardly feels like this has all been in the same year. I need a seasonal approach to life rather than a yearly approach. I had another quick trip to DC and visits to Pennsylvania to see family for Christmas and an upcoming one to New Jersey to wrap up the family moments of the year. We took yet another trip to New York City (post coming about that shortly) and met up with about 15 friends from across the country. Friday night was spent on Long Island with our good friends Ashley and Ryan and their son Jackson, then we spend Saturday and Sunday touring around Manhattan to see the various Christmas displays, stuff ourselves full at Eataly, do a quick photo session with some friends, and have a boisterous gathering another friend’s apartment with the entire crew.

Overall it was a great year for traveling and visiting. 1 new country, 4 new states, lots of family and friends visited. I don’t take for granted how lucky I am to be able to travel as much as I do. It introduces me to new cultures and people and reconnects me with those I know and love. I’m excited for Q1 of 2019 for which I already have a bunch of travels lined up! I actually don’t have any explicit big plans for the year (not like last year with Germany and the Mountain West) but rather I’m letting things come up as the may. Let me know where you are off to as well! I love hearing others stories almost as much as I like making them myself!