Beaches, Brussels, and zip lining in a prom dress – My favorite moments from 2017

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As cliché as it sounds, 2017 was a year of new beginnings for me. I reconnected with so many important people in my life, spent time in new countries, and got a new job that allows me to travel a ton! Since the New Year means we are all supposed to sit around and reflect on our lives, I figured I should put together some of my favorite moments from 2017. Thank you to everyone who has made this year so memorable!

In no particular order…

My favorite moments from 2017

And if you’re not feeling all happy and reminiscent, you can check out my biggest travel blunders of 2017 here! 😉

Winning trivia like the true royalty we are

My family and friends are die-hard trivia nuts. We plan our weeks around Monday night trivia, we have deep rivalries with the fellow teams, we study and prepare days in advance using the hints given out on Facebook. And this summer, we finally won. It wasn’t even our best game, but what a thrill! Finally, our team on the top! We celebrated in true fashion with dippin’ dots.

Visiting Kure Beach, NC for a weekend away

We had two weeks left in the school year when one of my teacher friends asked if I just wanted to get away for the weekend. Yes, girl. Always yes. We found a cute Airbnb just a few blocks from the ocean in Kure Beach, NC and packed our bags. It was amazing to reconnect with my friend and begin to unwind after a long school year. Even though we had worked in different states for two years, we picked up right where we left off. We read books on the beach, befriended the old man at the 24-hour bait and tackle shop that also sold chocolate bars and snacks, and posted up at the best breakfast diner long into the afternoon. By night, we watched re-runs of the Bachelor. It was amazing.

Kure Beach
Evenings on the Pier at Kure Beach, Photo credit to G 🙂
Kure Beach
The Pier at Kure Beach, photo credit to G 🙂

Swimming at Punta Uva with Dad

Dad and my trip to Costa Rica had so many highlights. As we traversed country, we swam in the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, drank amazing pour-over Costa Rican coffee, ate bananas and some strange starchy orange vegetable from a roadside stand off the highway, got an adrenaline boost from a waterfall with the force of a thousand fire hydrants, and ate at every local soda we could find. Punta Uva stood out because it was absolutely pristine and too remote for the typical tourist.

Punta Uva Beach
Punta Uva Beach

But the best part of the trip for me was the time we got to spend together, just the two of us. I’ve lived away from home for three years, and even though my family has always been very close, it was really special to get to spend time together having an amazing adventure. I always knew my dad and I were alike. Now I know that we are even more alike than I thought. And that is really great for me because my dad is awesome!

Punta Uva Beach
Punta Uva Beach

Bumping into a college friend at 4am in the Fort Lauderdale airport

Dad and I flew back from Costa Rica right after Hurricane Irma. Luckily, we didn’t see any of Irma’s wrath, but we did end up having our connecting flight delayed in Fort Lauderdale on our way home. We spend an uncomfortable but hilarious night sleeping on the floor next to the luggage carousel – which would periodically turn on and throw suitcases into our sleeping faces.

stranded at the airport
Stranded at the airport

By 4am, our gate finally opened and we waited out the rest of our time in the equally uncomfortable, but more dignified leather chairs upstairs. I remember seeing this girl sitting across from me that looked so familiar. Because of the sleep deprivation and the fact that I wasn’t expecting to see anyone I knew, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Where did I know her from? We stared at each other for probably a solid minute, neither of us wanting to jump up and say something in case we were wrong and it was a stranger with “one of those faces.” She offered a small, sleepy wave. Then it clicked! It was a friend of mine from college who I hadn’t seen in three years! And she just so happened to be sitting right there, across from me at the same gate in the Fort Lauderdale airport, also stranded by the storm. How does that even happen? Deliriously tired but thrilled nonetheless, we caught up until our flight was ready to board. She even gave me some chocolate she brought back from Finland. The best chance encounter ever!

My parents finished renovating their amazing 100-year-old house

A lot of thought and love went into this house, and I was really excited to get to help out a bit. Okay, okay. I really did very little in terms of manual labor on this house. But I did get to tear down some drywall in the bathroom which was actually quite fun and a great stress reliever! I totally didn’t contribute to the house being finished at all, but I’m so happy for them getting to live in this amazing home they created!

Perfect form for drywall removal

Girls Trip to Washington, DC and Ocean City, Maryland

In summer, I got to reconnect with two of my teacher friends that I hadn’t seen in months. On this trip, we learned that we’re probably too old for boardwalk amusement park rides. We ate the best french fries and frozen custard in Ocean City and feasted on amazing tapas in DC. We visited the Lincoln Memorial at night to see it all lit up and glorious. This trip may or may not have involved an 11 hour car ride where we listened exclusively to my new favorite podcast, My Favorite Murder.

Lincoln Memorial at Night
Lincoln Memorial at Night
Ocean City, Maryland Boardwalk
Ocean City, Maryland Boardwalk

Road-trippin’ to Greenville, SC with Nannie

Right after I finished school, I took a road trip to Greenville, SC with Nannie. On our harrowing drive through downtown Atlanta traffic, we swapped stories while I gorged myself on an entire bag of Boom Chicka Pop. Nannie’s story about how she and Grandaddy met is probably my favorite! Once we arrived in Greenville, we enjoyed long, hot days with family and neighbors, complete, of course, with hors-d’oeuvres and fabulous cheese plates.

It wouldn’t be a true Nannie get-away if we didn’t break out the prom dresses for a photo shoot. You see, when we go anywhere as a family, we bring along all the prom dresses we have accumulated over the years, just in case the perfect photo opportunity arises. These dresses have seen their share of trampolines, sandy beaches, and cow pastures. When word got out that there was a backyard zip line, those dresses were plucked from their bags before you could say “cheese plate.” Long story short, I ended up zip lining in a prom dress.

Zip lining in a prom dress – Photo credit to Nannie 🙂

Spring Break at St. George Island

When we were little, my family took summer vacations to St. George Island. I have such fond memories of friends and family piled into a beach house, playing epic games of “Star Wars” and spending afternoons solving scavenger hunts set up by pirates (aka my parents). This year, we brought the tradition back! For the week of my school spring break, the whole family traveled down to St. George Island. It was a relaxing week of beach walks, endless books, sweltering bike rides, sunsets from our back porch, and only one major splinter incident from the weathered boardwalk. The best!

St. George Island
St. George Island is always a good idea

My sister came to see me in Brussels!

Oh Happy Day! Since October, I’ve been house sitting in Europe. I was in Brussels for the holidays and since Sister had a break from school, she was able to come visit! We had an amazing time exploring Brussels, eating frites, and hanging out at the Delirium Cafe. We took a memorable weekend trip to Paris – by the way, do you know how cool I feel that I’m now a “weekend trip to Paris” kind of gal? – where we ate crepes and took more than our share of pictures with the Eiffel Tower. DJ’s entertained us at the Brussels showcase music festival and the city of Brugge charmed us on Christmas Eve. It was so great to have Sister as an exploring buddy!

Sisters see Paris!
Christmas in Grand Place, Brussels
Christmas in Grand Place, Brussels

What were your favorite memories of 2017?

8 Comments on “Beaches, Brussels, and zip lining in a prom dress – My favorite moments from 2017”

  1. I want to claim all of those as my favorite memories of 2017! What a fun year—can’t wait to read what 2018 has in store for you!! ❤️

  2. A lot of your best times are my best times too! I’ll add just a couple for me though…my retirement party, planning our Costa Rica trip together, staying with Iris in her cool primitive airbnb and seeing Arenal volcano once again. You are right! Awesome year!

    1. When are we going to build our own primitive airbnb in the jungle? I volunteer to live there as the host for the guests! 🙂

  3. I love that I was part of your favorite memories. I am thrilled when anyone wears a prom dress for sports. Thank you.
    And I can claim to have been to St. George, the Eiffel Tower, North Carolina, your parents new house that you helped build, but I still want to play Trivia with your team. I have slept in an airport on the cold hard concrete (as on old lady) and almost missed the dawn connection. Your Mother was born in Washington DC so I have been there too – in the hospital, in Georgetown.
    See how much we have in common? Thank you for all your memories that sparked mine. Love, Nan

    1. I love hearing about your adventures! Prom dress sports should be its own category at the olympics… and an extra ten points for each layer of tule! Sleeping in airports is rough, but it certainly makes you appreciate a nice bed once you get home 🙂

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