2017 was a year for the books.
Each year around this time, when we’re about to look forward to the next year, set goals, make resolutions, I always think about how lucky I am to get to travel and live the life that I’m currently living. I remember for years, I’d always look back at the year and highlight all the negative things that happened. I’d always say to myself: “thank God this year is over”, but now I appreciate each year and all the experiences (even the bad ones).
When I look back at a year, I can never believe how fast time goes! How is it already the end of 2017? It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating the Millennium.
Anyway, this year I had a lot of great adventures both near and far, here’s a little recap.
January: Ottawa, Ontario
In January I went and visited my friend Jessica who just moved back from Australia where her fiance (now husband) was studying. What I was greeted in Ottawa with was freezing cold temperatures, I mean, record breaking cold temperatures. Since it was so cold, our fun winter activities were cancelled and we spent a lot of time indoors. However, we did head over the border to Bristol, Quebec for some dogsledding. It was SO cold (think -40C) but it was a lot of fun.
February: Port Charlotte, Florida
In February I had a busy month of travel. Not to mention that it’s already a short month to begin with! I jetted off to Port Charlotte, Florida as per tradition to visit my Dad and Step Mom with my siblings. We’ve been doing this trip for a few years now and it’s always a fun one.
My Dad rents a house in Port Charlotte each winter, as many Canadians do, and even though there isn’t too much to do in the area, it’s always nice to enjoy the sun and relax. Plus, we always have a good time when we’re all together. This year we rented a boat and went out on the canal one day, and we also did our annual pub crawl in Punta Gorda which is always, for lack of a better word, a shit show!
Check out this video that recaps our craziness:
February: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
About a week after my trip to Florida, I was off to Mexico to visit my Mom who travels there for a few weeks every winter. I flew into Puerto Vallarta and spent a few days in that area, followed by exploring and visiting places in Bucerias and nearby. Even though I was only there for a few days, my Mom knows all the best spots to go and we had lots of adventures.
We visited a beach club located in Las Animas which was absolutely gorgeous, I did a cooking class in Bucerias, and we did a day trip to Chacala, Sayulita and San Pancho. We also ate a lot of great food, including going on a taco tour in Puerto Vallarta, which was fantastic!
Watch my video recap of this trip:
- Three Beach Towns to Visit on the Pacific Coast, Mexico
- Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta
- Two Days in Bucerias, Mexico
- Where to Eat in Bucerias
- Two Days in Puerto Vallarta
- A Day Trip to Casitas Maraika in Las Animas
- A Cooking Class with My Mexican Kitchen
- An Evening Filled with Tacos in Puerto Vallarta
April: Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
In April I was invited to a wellness retreat located in the jungle near Sigiriya, Sri Lanka called Mahagedara Wellness Retreat. I have to admit, this trip was a whirlwind. I mean, who flies all the way to Sri Lanka for a week? Apparently I do!
Anyway, I had less than a week in Sigiriya where I was pampered at the retreat. I had a chance to unplug, and unwind on this trip, but also get out in the area and explore what it had to offer. Each day we did yoga, relaxed in the beautiful grounds of the resort and ate amazing vegan food prepared in house. We also went on a few adventures in the area such as climbing the Sigiriya Rock, hiking the Pidurangala Rock, seeing all the elephants at Kaudulla National Park, and visiting the beautiful Dambulla Temple.
Overall, although the trip was short and I definitely need to go back to see more of Sri Lanka, it was definitely a trip I will not forget. Plus, we even had a short layover in London, England on the way there where we got to explore the city a bit with Small Car Big City.
Watch this video recap of this trip:
In May I took off for a one week roadtrip in Ireland to celebrate my Mom’s 60th birthday and my sisters 30th with eight people including myself. This wasn’t really my typical preferred trip just because I’m not used to traveling and organizing a trip with eight people, however, it turned out to be a blast!
We started our trip in Dublin where we drove to Galway, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, Dingle, Killarney, Cork and back to Dublin. Driving through Ireland is really the only way to go because you get to see so much, the countryside is beautiful and there are so many little stops along the way in cute towns and at beautiful tourist spots.
Overall, the trip was an adventure! Driving on the wrong side of the road on the backroads of Ireland, drinking too much beer, and embracing everything Ireland had to offer (even the crazy weather).
Watch my video recap of this trip:
- One Week on an Ireland Roadtrip: A Sample Itinerary
- Pub Crawling in Dublin
- Two Days in Dingle
- Pub Crawling in Dingle
- Pub crawling in Doolin
- How to Spend One Day in Dublin
- Things to Do in Galway
July: Sarnia, Ontario
In July my friend Marcy and I picked up a rental car and headed to Sarnia, Ontario, located in Ontario’s southwest in Canada. Sarnia is a city that doesn’t get too much attention, so when we were invited by the tourism board we were eager to explore and see what it had to offer. Plus, it was nice to get out of the city for a weekend in the summer.
We had a jam packed weekend where we ate a lot of food at some fantastic local restaurants, drank local beer at the local watering hole, and even tried wakeboarding which was a big fail for me. The weekend was a lot of fun and a great mini getaway from Toronto.
August: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
In August, my friend Asal and I decided to take off to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a night to hit up some wineries and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. Niagara isn’t too far from Toronto so it’s the perfect weekend getaway.
While there we did a biking winery tour which took us to four different local wineries ranging from big to small. Then we did a dinner cruise on the Niagara Belle and the next day did something a little different, we went on a jet boat tour which was like riding a ride at an amusement park except it took place on the Niagara River. It was a ton of fun!
- Two Ways To Cruise the Niagara River
- My Grape Escape in Niagara-on-the-Lake
- How to Spend a Weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake
October: Grand Bend, Ontario
In October I went on a fun weekend getaway to Grand Bend, Ontario and Norfolk County. I was invited by the tourism board to go on a wine and beer tasting extravaganza! And who doesn’t love wine and beer?
The weekend was jam packed! We visited local restaurants, wineries and breweries, and discovered the lesser known wine country in Ontario. Everyone usually thinks to go to Niagara or Prince Edward County, but there are a ton of fantastic wineries and breweries in this area and it was a lot of fun to explore them with other Toronto bloggers!
- Ride the Bine: Exploring Ontario’s Hidden Wine & Beer Country
- Drinking My Way Through Huron County with Tour The Shore
October: Collingwood, Ontario
Every year in the fall, my family usually gets together in Collingwood, Ontario where my Dad and Step Mom have a house. The weekend is usually jam packed with activities and a lot of fun since none of us really spend too much time in this area but it has so much to offer.
This year we went paintballing in Wasaga Beach, we tested out some local breweries and wineries, and ate a lot of good food. I love exploring new places that aren’t too far from my home base in Toronto!
In November I headed out on my big adventure for the year to Morocco for two weeks with G Adventures. This trip originally started as a girls trip but as usual, everyone that was supposed to come backed out, so it ended up just being myself and all my new G Adventures travel buddies.
I spent two weeks in Morocco and saw a ton! Starting in Casablanca, then heading to Tangier, Chefchaouen, Meknes, Fes, the Sahara, Todra Gorge, Ait Benhaddou, the High Atlas Mountains, and then ending my trip in Essaouira and Marrakech. The trip was a busy one, but I got to cover a lot of ground and see some amazing things. Morocco is truly a hidden wonder that more people need to get to!
Suggested reading (more coming soon):
What’s next for 2018?
2017 was a great year of adventures. I covered a lot of ground and also got the opportunity to explore places in my own backyard too!
Looking forward to 2018, I’m not sure where my adventures will take me. Since this coming year I have a lot of other commitments like weddings to attend, I’m thinking of keeping my travels a little closer to home in 2018. Plus, I need a break from 19 hour flights that take 10 years off my life each time I take them!
I’ll definitely be heading to Nashville with my family at the end of March for Easter weekend. But other then that I have a few ideas up my sleeve like Portugal and Nicaragua, or somewhere else in Central America.
Happy New Year everyone! May 2018 bring you all sorts of adventures.