I can’t believe 2013 is coming to a close and with sunny days in the Bay it’s easily to think it’s Spring rather than December. A new year is upon us and it’s time I start thinking up new goals and dreams for 2014.
I thought today is a perfect time to reflect on 2013 and all the unexpected travel that came before me.
January: Istanbul, Turkey
If you had asked me in November what my plans were for New Year’s, my answer would have been, I have no idea. One because I find NYE a bit over-rated and expectations always too high. Yet when my room mate invited me to join his girlfriend and a Spanish friend of his, Porque no? Naturally, I said yes to 5 days in a country I hadn’t planned on visiting.
I was happy to be among new folks, practice my Spanish and take in new sights in a very different travel fashion than I’m used to- nose to the guidebook and on a schedule of fitting everything in.
February: Asturias, Spain (Aviles, Oveido and Gijón)
You may remember I decided to take a leap of faith and travel with another gal with my name I hadn’t met yet. I’m pretty picky when it comes to travel partners having lost a friend after a few days traveling together because our styles were grossly different, I don’t say YES to just anyone. Not only did we get along, we’ve become good friends! We had a fabulous time soaking up the sights, hanging out at hip cafés that reminded me of home and snapping away the charming towns and cities as we ate to our hearts content with locals we had just met.
March: 3 night, 3 cities in Belgium
Before my Africa adventure become a reality, I longed for making new friends, and like-minded travel kind of friends. My day job as a nanny didn’t provide many prospects of meeting people so I was grateful when I met a gal who lived in my town doing similar things with the wanderlust like me. She’s been encouraging me to come visit her country for a long while, except she’s been touring the world for the last few years it was perfect when she was home for a few weekends and I was based in Spain. I couldn’t say no to the opportunity.
April: Visit with my mom (Madrid, Segovia and Toledo)
My mom’s visit was a dream come true. I had waited for the day that she could join me on an adventure and my second year in Spain proved to be the moment for her to see my life in Northern Spain and travel as much as possible while in this diverse country. We walked, we trekked after gorgeous landscapes, we filled our bodies with delicious food until we couldn’t’ eat anymore and then filled them with delicious wines as we people watched. Every day was non-stop, living what felt like multiple days into one.
May: Basque Country- Spain and France
May brought me back to San Sebastian to indulge for round 2 and 3 on amazing pintxos. Then I was off to visit Biarritz with a good friend with a pit stop in San Juan de Luz. The weather was beautiful but our airbnb was a bit strange.
June: London, Berlin and Belfast and… Asturias
I debated and questioned, researched flight options and after much uncertainty decided to visit a friend in Belfast before heading to London and then see the artsy and fun city of Berlin. Then I came back to Gasteiz and soon after hopped in a car with a friend exploring small pueblos in Asturias, a region I wanted to venture back to after enjoying my visit so much with Lauren of Sobremesainspain. My last night in Berlin was a night to remember…
July: Road tripping to Shasta
When a friend invited me to join her camping, I couldn’t say no. It would be a spontaneous adventure with kayaks adorned to her van, goodies packed in the cooler and sleeping bags to keep us warm at night with the goal to arrive to Shasta. We opened up our California map and decided upon Lassen National Park as our pit stop before Shasta, where we happened upon a rainbow gathering that later lead us to watch Shamans do a ceremony at sunrise in the mountain. All unexpected, interesting and curious. My type of trip.
August: Black Rock City, Nevada
One of the most epic years for me yet in this magical place. A place that tests you in every way possible surrounded by music, art, love and overstimulation.
September: Food Sovereignty tour
Life has a way of surprising me, sometimes in the way of smacking me in the face of So- you- may- not- understand -it- now- but- -you- will- in- a- year. When I wasn’t sure of what came next for me , I networked and did informational interviews with Food Policy organizations before making the decision to go back to Spain. It turned out this organization I admire also does food tours in a few places in the world including Basque Country. Go figure. What I didn’t know (nor did they at the time) is that they’d be hosting their very own first tour in the Bay Area for Basque farmers and food advocates a few months after I would return. Through networking and a little help from the universe, I found myself with my Basque friend (who coincidentally heard of the tour through his network and was already planning to come visit me the same month, Small world) on a tour looking at my food system in the Bay Area and beyond. It was a treat. A week spent with amazing Basque folks and local food activists, learning more about my food systems, meeting great people and conversing in Spanish!
October: Day trips and my 30th!
Was a big month of celebrating my birthday with friends and a day trip to SF with my mom. It was also the month full of big transitions! Day trips were plentiful and fun. I spent many a day on the beach, writing in my journal and enjoying the little moments, unexpected conversations with neighbors and strangers. traveling while being in a new part of the Bay I was getting to know.
November: Day tripping with friends
Began a new tradition with friends to take one weekend a month to get together, explore a new town or trail and have some good ole’ deserving friendship time. We headed off on the trail in the Marin headlines in November and then changed in the car and enjoyed happy hour in small quaint town I had never been before. Like I said, there is so much to discover in the Bay Area…
December: Wine tasting in Healdsburg
Ladies day turned into an overnight sipping beers at breweries in Sonoma County (three in one weekend!) and enjoying delectable wine and wineries off the beaten track. Well, complimentary tastings led us to new wineries and sights! Since being home it’s been a lot of hanging out with friends on the weekends, and exploring as much as possible. I’ve been surprised at how many places I have never been that are in my backyard! It’s awesome to come home to my state and find so many special places still to be discovered. I can travel without hopping on a plane. For now, that’s ok by me.