To say 2016 was a strange year is understating it. It started right off the bat with a scary family health issue (which, mercifully, is much much better by now) that took us all quite by surprise. The year also had other small ‘hiccups,’ which is just life on any given year. Nevertheless, and as is often the case, God certainly brings good out of the bad, and provides other great things to keep us balanced (or, sane!).
I want to share some of those great things, at least the ones that related to travel, exploring, hiking, relaxing, or enjoying food/wine to wrap up this year. While I did not get to write as much this year as I normally do, I certainly never stopped dreaming of travel or of sharing the experiences. Here is to a great 2017 for all!
Elton, Sir Elton
A work trip in early January resulted in getting invited to a private concert with Sir Elton John. I got to stand close to the stage and enjoyed his music and showmanship (and the complimentary drinks with two great co-workers)! While the year started with Elton John’s music, I can say that the song of the year (in my head, anyway) is “One Night in Bangkok,” if nothing else because I heard it too many times in anticipation of a trip that happened much later in the year.
Brunswick in coastal Georgia
A brief work trip in February took me to coastal Georgia, to the sleepy-ish town of Brunswick. I took some time to drive around the old part of town and caught a great sunset as I hunted for a place to sit down and eat. Not bad!
Oldest church in Atlanta
The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Atlanta is the oldest church in Atlanta. I got to work at the homeless shelter in the basement overnight a night in winter. I loved the reflection of the church on the modern building across from it…
Hiking in north Georgia
Spring brought many opportunities to go hiking around and north of Atlanta. Whether with my regular hiking buddy, Phil; or with my friend Troy and his two oldest children, Rehm and Caitlyn; or with a group from church that included my friends Chris and Wendy, springtime was full of hiking. Here are photos from my hikes around Vickery Creek, up Pine Mountain, up to the top of Stone Mountain, or to and back from the awesome Hike Inn in north Georgia!
In June, I got to visit my friends Annette, Kent and Austin to celebrate two great events in their lives. It also gave me the opportunity to tour the Stanley Hotel which inspired Stephen King, and to finally hike around the table mountain right west of Arvada. Oh, and I got to see a few other friends that I had not seen in a few years!
Celebrating with my Mom and sister
In July, my Mom, sister and I made a long weekend getaway to the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota. We got to relax, laugh, and -of course- eat a lot of delicious food!
Wine in California
I was fortunate to be able to go to California for work which allowed me to visit ex-Atlanta residents Jenny, Jason, Phoebe and Zoe. While the kids were in school, my hostess and I escaped for a wine tasting at Testarossa – great locale and great wine! Among the best things to do in Cali – wine tasting!
Cheap fare to Stockholm
John, a college friend who knows how to find a good airfare, suggested a long weekend ‘jump’ to Stockholm. A little bit mad, perhaps, but I could not say no to have another opportunity to explore this great city. And then we drove away from the city to see what we’d run into. Good stuff for another post!
My travel capstone in 2016 – Asia
Great stuff up to this point but my trip to Southeast Asia certainly took the cake – not just for the long distance to get there (37 hours!). I got to explore and sample Bali, Singapore, Bangkok and the countryside near it, and amazing Cambodia. Wish I had had two more weeks to include Laos and Vietnam – and/or just for more time in these places. Leaving something unseen for a future trip hopefully and grateful for the opportunity to see what I saw!
Have a happy and blessed 2017, everyone!!!