Best Travel Moments of 2016
It’s been quite the year! From moving to Ireland to starting this travel blog and traveling to 8 different countries – it has been a year that just keeps on giving. As we wrap up the final days of the year I wanted to take some time to reflect on our best travel moments of 2016. Hopefully this post will inspire you to tackle your travel dreams this year!
Moving to Ireland!
2016 was a huge year for us. Moving to Ireland with the pup and feeling as if we were settled for the first time in our lives. We finally could explore as much as we wanted to and as a result really grew into our marriage. Over the next couple of days I'm going to share our top moments of 2016. #1: Our very first day in Dublin we walked over 5 miles exploring our new home. I snapped this picture of Trinity College unaware that seeing an empty plaza like this was quite rare. Looking back our first day as residents of Ireland was one of our favorites. ❤️🇮🇪
After taking the hubby to Europe for the first time in September 2015 (to Germany) he fell in love with the slower way of life. Upon returning to the states he asked me if it would be possible to eventually move to Europe with my job. He had his own company and was mobile so moving was really up to my career. I went to the office that week and asked my boss’s boss if it would be possible to move to Dublin (one of our main offices) by 2018. He looked at me and said “Well, we have a position open now in Dublin. Do you want to think about trying for that position?” Wait, what?! You want us to move to Europe NOW?
Flash forward four months (January 2016) and we were on a plane with our four bags en route to Ireland (with the pup shortly behind us)! Neither of us had ever stepped foot in this beautiful country and we were moving there! Talk about a surreal experience. We have loved every moment of it (except that time they threatened to deport my husband because they gave him the wrong Visa – story for another day) and are so thankful for this awesome opportunity. We are soaking up every minute of it and have no plans to move back to the states any time soon.
The beginning of Boots not Roots
Quickly after moving to Ireland I begged my husband for a camera. This is how the conversation went down:
Me: “Honey, can I pretty please have a camera to take pictures of beautiful Ireland?”
Husband: “Nope. You’ve had plenty of cameras and have never used them.”
Me: “But those were silly point and shoot cameras. I want a MIRRORLESS camera! Do you even know what that is?!?” **I talked his ear off for about 10 minutes explaining to him why this was different**.
Husband: “Prove to me you’ll use it and I’ll get you one.”
For a week I wrote down hundreds of different ways to prove I would use the camera. Sell my photos. Post them on Facebook. Reach out to local photographers. Etc. Etc. Etc. The one that stood out the most was “start a travel blog”
**A week later**
Me: “Honey, I’ll use my camera to start a travel blog!”
Husband: “If you blog from now until your birthday (it was March at the time) then you can have a camera for your birthday.”
I frantically started my wordpress blog and lo and behold I have a camera now! **Queue creepy photo of me geeking out taking pictures**
Real talk: I love this blog and have so much fun with it. The day it becomes a “job” is the day I’m done with it. I truly just enjoy sharing our experiences, exploring locally owned places to share with all of you, and meeting lots of other awesome wanderers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Thank you to everyone for following along on our quirky journey through life!
Frolicking in fields of tulips in the Dutch countryside
2016 was a huge year for us. Moving to Ireland with the pup and feeling as if we were settled for the first time in our lives. We finally could explore as much as we wanted to and as a result really grew into our marriage. Over the next couple of days I'm going to share our top moments of 2016. #2: Visiting @visitkeukenhof in April was a huge deal for me. I love greenery and flowers and I was running around like a kid at Disney World. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. ❤️🌷 #visitkeukenhof #bestof2016 #visitamsterdam
Tulips, cheese, and stroopwafels – What more could a girl ask for in life? Visiting Keukenhof on our trip to Amsterdam in April was a dream come true. I couldn’t get over just how pretty these gardens were and could have spent all day here. If it’s not on your bucket list yet it should be! P.S. This was before my camera! I guess we’ll have to make another trip. 😉
Road tripping with the bestie
For my birthday in May my best friend visited me and we went on an epic road trip through Scotland and Northern Ireland. We saw four castles, discovered TWO off-the-beaten path hikes, almost died on tiny roads on the Isle of Skye, and went glamping for the first time. This is tied for my favorite trip of 2016 (other being Portugal) purely because of the company and the scenery of beautiful Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Hiking in Europe
In 2010 I lived in Washington state for a summer internship. Every weekend we would go hiking around Washington and Oregon and I fell hard for the outdoors. While I’ve never done a hiking trip longer than a day, I absolutely adore hiking and exploring the outdoors. When we lived in Austin we were only able to hike for about four months out of the year due to the heat. So, when moving to Ireland in January I quickly got back out on the trails and hiked over 500 miles this year! Ireland and Europe in general is the perfect place to hike. This year we tackled multiple hikes around Dublin, a hike in Northern Ireland, the scariest hike of my life in Portugal, multiple treks along the Wicklow Way, and an ancient pilgrimage in West Cork. My resolution for 2017 is to hike 1000 miles so I’ll be hitting more and more trails this year to get to this goal (would love any European hiking destination suggestions to reach this goal!).
Portugal trip for the hubby’s birthday
Ah, Portugal. This was the most anticipated trip for 2016. The hubby asked for a beach holiday, and an epic beach holiday was delivered (with some additions of hiking, kayaking, and Sintra day-triping)! We had an amazing time road-tripping through the Algarve, eating the fanciest dinner on the cheap overlooking an epic sunset, and just enjoying each other’s company for 7 days on the road. The people of Portugal are so friendly and the scenery is breathtaking. We’ll be back, that’s for sure!
Meeting my dad on a day trip to London
Sometimes the smallest things can leave the largest impressions. In the spring my dad had a business trip to London. He asked me if I would be able to meet him for a day so I hopped on the earliest RyanAir flights and did a “day-trip” from Dublin to London. Now, I would never suggest doing a day trip from Dublin to London to anyone (I was EXHAUSTED the next day), but it was so nice to be able to see my dad and explore the city together.
Discovering the “savage beauty of Ireland” in Connemara
Hands down, Connemara is the prettiest place I have ever been. Maybe next year something will top it, but for now Connemara sits cozily at the top of the list. In September, one of our favorite couples came to visit us and we headed for the west coast on a long weekend. Road tripping through Connemara with these two was a joy and I am so thankful we were able to spend some quality time with them. Despite getting pretty car sick (and boat sick on our way to the Aran Islands!) this was one of my favorite experiences of 2016.
Eating my weight in waffles in Belgium
I hate to say it, but my expectations were extremely low for Brussels. I hadn’t heard great things about it and was more looking forward to the markets then anything else. Man, I was so so wrong. I fell hard for Brussels. The towering churches. The buttery waffles. The friendly people. The strong, tasty beer. And finally the unbelievable food. I LOVE Brussels. Plus, I had one of my best friends to tow along with me as we literally ate our weight in waffles. Word to the wise – if you are a foodie, this might be your perfect city.
Welp, that’s a wrap. Thank you so much for an awesome year and looking forward to more adventures together in 2017! Happy New Year!
– Boots not Roots