Thursday, December 20, 2018

2018 Year of Travel Wrap-Up

While we’re not quite done with our last cruise of the year, we have our last port today (Cabo San Lucas) so I’m calling it close enough to do a wrap-up of our travel year.  It was a biggie and boy, it was a whirlwind! We spent close to 120 nights away from home. We traveled during the months of February, May, June, August, September, October, November, and December.

Here are the numbers:
  • 11 cruises
  • 7 different ships
  • 90 nights at sea
  • 12 flights
  • 19 hotels 
  • 7 National Parks
  • 2 NASCAR races
  • 2 Major League Baseball games
  • 3 road trips
This year, just by cruise ship, we visited:
  • Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Belize twice
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico twice
  • Costa Maya, Mexico
  • Cozumel twice
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida seven times
  • Grand Cayman three times
  • Grand Turk
  • Icy Strait Point, Alaska
  • Juneau, Alaska twice
  • Ketchikan, Alaska
  • Livorno/Pisa, Italy
  • Los Angeles twice
  • Manzanillo, Mexico twice
  • Mazatlán, Mexico twice
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Ponta Delgada, Portugal in the Azores
  • Princess Cays in the Bahamas twice
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico twice
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • Rome/Civitavecchia, Italy
  • San Francisco three times
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Seattle, Washington twice
  • Skagway, Alaska twice
  • St. Maarten twice
  • St. Thomas three times
  • Vancouver, Canada three times
  • Victoria, Canada,
  • Whittier, Alaska
I can’t believe I’m typing these words, but it was too much travel too spread out. 120 days over eight months again? No thank you. Squeeze those 120 days into four solid months of travel? Heck, yeah!

I have a few things worth mentioning about the year. Let’s call this list the best of the best:

*Most heartwarming feeling: Learning what happened after I posted a video to YouTube of our cabin steward on the Caribbean Princess making towel animals. His family back home was so excited to see him making towel animals on the internet. His six year old son couldn't believe his dad knew how to do it and his wife shared it with family and friends and posted it to Facebook. I am happy I was able to be part of him feeling like a movie star.

*Friendliest taxi drivers: Key West, Florida. Hands down.  Nowhere else even came close.

*Best itinerary change due to a hurricane: When Hurricane Isaac caused our ship to be rerouted to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

*Most animal sightings in the same day: The Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali National Park.

*Most unique lodging: The trailer on the beach in Islamorada, Florida.

*Best food: Breakfast – the Denver Omelet at Pig ‘n Pancake in Seaside, Oregon; Lunch – Patty Melt at the Sweet Tooth Café in Skagway, Alaska; Dinner –  BBQ at The Smoking Rooster in St. Thomas.

*Wildest weather: We thought it would be when we were trapped in Panera Bread in September in Fort Lauderdale. But it actually wound up being a couple months later when we had to walk through the flood in Costa Maya, Mexico.

*Best last-minute change of plans: Instead of grabbing breakfast at Subway we decided to head into Talkeetna, Alaska for breakfast instead. And ran across this beauty called Denali.

*Best back-of-the-car picnic: In a snowy but sunny parking lot in Olympic National Park.

*Most interesting barber shop for two middle-aged white people: The barber shop/salon in Grand Cayman where hubby got a shave.

*Longest lasting sunset: In the Caribbean, of course. Here are just a few minutes of it, but it went on and on and on.

So what’s next? Well, we need to get hubby into physical therapy to gain some strength and mobility. As for me, wrestling with the bathroom door on the transatlantic voyage may be requiring a visit to my orthopedic surgeon. He’s already done seven surgeries on me so might as well make it an even number and go for eight, right? I will also have some exciting news to share about the encouraging words project and a major woman’s magazine. I’ll announce the details soon. Otherwise we'll be back to our regular life. I'll keep making crafting videos, keep writing about cruising and travel, and keep downsizing our life.

Speaking of cruising…we currently have no other cruises booked. Like 0. For the first time ever we will be leaving a ship without any future plans to be on another ship. While I could certainly jump on a ship next week and stay for the next few months, hubby’s ready for the comfort of his rocking chair and TV for an extended period of time. If you have a disability, or care for someone with a disability, you know how tough travel can be on both parties. It can be frustrating, challenging, and downright exhausting. After spending this year getting him out into the world again, I suspect the coming year will be instead be spent at home where he feels most comfortable.

Thanks for following along, and hope to see you from a cruise ship sometime in the future. Hopefully sooner than later.