Monday Musings: Best of 2016 Adventures

Well, it’s 2017. I won’t lie, many a time last year I found myself thinking ‘man, I cannot wait for 2017.’ In many ways, 2016 was an utterly exhausting year. Coping with an 8+ month injury, dealing with fitness setbacks, feeling like my immune system crapped out on me for the latter half of the year, these things made it hard to be optimistic at times.  But lest you all think I had the world’s worst year, I think it’s important to balance out my penchant for negativity with a celebration of the good from 2016.

When I really take a step back and think about it, 2016 was actually a pretty spectacular year full of travel, adventure, and many fortuitous opportunities. Each and every month had a major highlight, and I can’t say that’s always been the case in year’s past, where I’ve sometimes struggled to even remember anything from several months in a row.

January Highlight: First annual Leavenworth couples’ weekend.  If you haven’t heard of Leavenworth, it is a kitsch-lovers’ paradise in the form of a Bavarian-themed village.  Pro-tip: the best schnitzel of your life (well, at least in North America) can be found at Andreas Keller.

Bavarian-themed Christmas town AND schnitzel?!? You cannot go wrong with that combo.
Bavarian-themed Christmas town AND schnitzel?!? You cannot go wrong with that combo.

February Highlight: Long weekend in the Rockies.  I took my boyfriend to Canmore/Banff/Lake Louise for a whirlwind winter adventure. We hiked in the snow. We sat in the nicest mountain rooftop hot tub I’ve ever seen under falling snow.  We danced to a really bad cover band at one of my favourite old haunts in Banff.  It was long weekend perfection.

The mountains are my happy place.
The mountains are my happy place.

March Highlight: Easter in the Rockies. Just a month after our visit to the Rockies, we went back for Easter. Once again we hiked in the snow and visited old haunts in Banff. On top of that, my parents bought my boyfriend onesie pajamas, which is pretty much the greatest possible Easter gift imaginable.

It's totally normal to do push ups on a frozen lake right?
It’s totally normal to do push ups on a frozen lake right?

April Highlights: Disneyland!!!! I am a five year old at heart and, say what you will, there is no age at which it is inappropriate to visit Disneyland. We did four full days in the parks and the only thing I grew tired of were the lines, standing in which for hours on end is still–in my heart of hearts–what I believe to be the cause of my SI resurgence this year. No matter, this trip was wonderful start to finish. There is a reason it’s called the happiest place on Earth.

Sigh.
Sigh.

May Highlights: May Long Camping Couples’ Weekend.  Our Leavenworth couples’ friends joined us for a weekend at the campground, complete with some tame hikes, oceanside strolls, discovering a delightful local cheese-maker, and many a campfire. I heart campfires.

So strong I can hold up a tree.
So strong I can hold up a tree.

June Highlights: Wedding in Niagara. My big brother got married in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which meant an epic family weekend frolicking through quaint shops, dining out, and visiting the best cider house that I have ever encountered.

Not too shabby for a wedding venue.
Not too shabby for a wedding venue.

July Highlights: Wine Weekend in Naramata. My parents met up with my boyfriend and me in Penticton for a wine-filled weekend. I scored a brand new condo rental that was the best VRBO I have ever encountered in all my years of renting vacation properties. We bought 60+ bottles of wine (ahem, and be “we” I mean just me and my boyfriend) and I had ice cream every. single. night.

Land of the wine.
Land of the wine.

August Highlights: Guns n’ Roses. I have never before in my life spent a whole stadium concert  standing on my feet and singing along with every single song…at least while stone-cold sober.  This concert was the most amazing concert I have ever seen. The day also involved ginger beer, oysters and the best ice-cream cookie sandwich I’ve ever had.

Get one of these immediately.
Get one of these immediately.

September Highlights: Wine Weekend in Kelowna! No one who reads this blog regularly will be surprised that there’s two wine trips in this ‘best of’. I love my wine. I took my boyfriend to Kelowna for his birthday. We visited nine or ten wineries and I got to golf with him, and by golf I mean I drove him around on a golf cart all day. It was more fun than it sounds.

More wine!
More wine!

October Highlights: Eurotrip 2016! We hit Rome, Florence, the Chianti region, Cinque Terre, Nice, Hermitage, and Lyon on a whirlwind adventure of hiking, stuffing our faces with crepes, macarons and pasta, and guzzling as much amazing wine as we could.  It was perfect.

Epic sunset in Manarola.
Epic sunset in Manarola.

November Highlights: Leaving my Job. After several months of sticking around in a soul-crushing role, I finally left my job. It was a like the world’s heaviest weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I cannot even put into words how much I needed–and still need–the time away. Best decision ever.

December Highlights: Holidays on Holiday! Is there a better way to spend the holidays than not working? No. Holiday shopping stress? None. Holiday baking stress? None. I had the time to do everything, including some time to snow hike.  Throw Christmas into the mix and you have yourself a winning month.

Ahhhh, our tree makes me feel so festively warm and happy.
Ahhhh, our tree makes me feel so festively warm and happy.

Now that I’ve convinced myself last year wasn’t all that bad, it’s time to look only ahead to 2017. Here’s to health, adventure, and reminding myself to put things in perspective.

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