2018 was another epic year for me and although I only managed to fulfil half of my 2018 travel goals, it was still a very busy one.
In the past year I got married – twice!, traveled in seven countries and nineteen(!) US States – including 13 that were new to me, road tripped all over the place, housesat a lot, completed two convoluted visa applications, and got to show my friends and family around Denver. What a year!
Before I get into my Travel Bucket List for 2019, I thought I would go over my Travel Bucket List for 2018 to take a look at what I managed to do, and what fell through the cracks.
Review of my Travel Goals for 2018
Road Trip Around the North Island of New Zealand
Yes. We did indeed get to road trip around the North Island of New Zealand – for 3.5 weeks in January. It was an awesome trip and I loved showing Toby around my home country for the first time.
Visit Indonesia for the First Time
Yes to this one too. I spent nine days in Bali in February and it definitely made me want to return to Indonesia to see more – as well as going back to Bali.
Explore More of Northern Thailand
No, I didn’t end up making it to Northern Thailand but I did go to Ayutthaya to see the ruins there.
Discover a New Thai Island
No. Although I technically didn’t make it to a new to me Thai island, I did explore a lot more of Koh Phangan – I had only spent two rainy nights there on my first visit. On this visit, I spent six wonderful nights on Koh Phangan and scootered all over the island, but I especially loved staying in Thong Nai Pan.
Hike Mount Taranaki in New Zealand
No. I didn’t get a chance to hike Mount Taranaki in the end as I got a short term position as an Executive Assistant that started as soon as I got back from Asia so I didn’t have the time.
Visit my Utah National Parks Oversights
Yes – I finally made it to Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef National Parks on a road trip with my Dad, and I loved exploring these red rock beauties.
See a Performance at Red Rocks
No. I didn’t get to see a performance at Red Rocks this year but I did return to Movie on the Rocks – this time to see ‘The Big Lebowski’.
Get Married in the Colorado Mountains
Yes, this one happened. After months of planning, we had our wedding in the mountains of Colorado in September. We actually signed the paperwork to get the ball rolling on my visa in July – hence the two weddings mentioned above.
At Least Two Back Country Camping Trips
No, I only did one back country camping trip in 2018 – an overnight trip to the Pinnacles in the Coromandel, New Zealand. I was hoping to do at least one back country camping trip in Colorado, but with the wedding planning and all our traveling around, we just ran out of time in the end. I am hoping to make up for it this year.
Hike a 14’er
Yes – in fact I hiked two 14,000 foot peaks in one day! I did the Grays Peak and Torreys Peak hike that is 8.5 miles return and tougher than I thought it would be – mostly because of the altitude. I was wrecked afterwards but loved it anyway.
Hit up my Colorado Oversights
Yes and No for this one – I did make it to Colorado National Monument and Grand Junction, along with some new hot springs and hikes, but I still haven’t made it to Fort Collins and Great Sand Dunes National Park. Next year!
A Big Southern US Road Trip
Yes, we did do a two month Southern road trip for our honeymoon and hit up all the main spots that we wanted to see including New Orleans, Savannah, St Augustine, and Charleston. An absolute highlight of our trip was sampling the food scene in Louisiana – Cajun food is so good!
No, I didn’t get the chance to return to Canada this year. I haven’t been able to leave the US since I re-entered in July on a Fiancé visa. I won’t be able to leave the country until I get my green card which will hopefully be sometime in the next six months.
Introducing Toby to one of my Favorite Places: Hawaii!
No, but we are heading there on the 10th January for at least two months. We will be volunteering through Help X then traveling for a couple of weeks at the end.
Finally Getting to Patagonia
No, as I wasn’t able to leave the country, there was no way I could go to Patagonia. But we’ll get there one day.
I may have been a bit too ambitious with last year’s travel goals so this year I am going to be a bit more conservative. I also didn’t realise when I wrote my goals for 2018 that I wouldn’t be able to leave the US once entering, well, until I get my green card and that can take a year or more.
Because of this, we will be spending most of the year (if not all of it) in the US, although I still have lots of exciting travel plans up my sleeve.
So here is what I have on my travel wishlist for 2019!
My Travel Wishlist for 2019
Spend Time in Hawaii
This one is all booked in – we are definitely going to Hawaii in January! After three nights in Waikiki where I am planning on eating at all my food oversights from my last couple of visits, we will be flying to the Big Island where we have committed to do a Help Exchange on a farm through Help X for six – eight weeks. It’s been a while since I have done a Help Exchange but I have had some great experiences with it, including at a hostel and a hobby farm in Canada.
We will be working for 20-25 hours per week in exchange for the occasional meal, produce from the farm, and our own private studio. We’ll have lots of free time to explore the island and I am hoping we can go and see the lava flow, and travel to the top of Mauna Kea – the tallest mountain in the world if measuring from the bottom of the ocean.
My Dad and Toby’s Dad want to meet us for a couple of weeks of travel at the end of our Help X placement, and I would love to go to Molokai – a new to me island – and Maui, as I haven’t been since 2009.
Hike Another 14’er
After my first experience hiking two 14’ers in one day, I want to hike more 14’ers in 2019. I have a couple that I have my eye on – Mount of the Holy Cross, and Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt. As we are planning to spend more time in Colorado in 2019, hopefully I can make this a reality.
Backcountry Camping at Least Once
I only got to do one short backcountry trip in 2018 – to the Pinnacles Hut on the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand – and I’m hoping to do at least double that in 2019. We are hoping to do some backcountry camping in Hawaii, as well as in Colorado.
Revisit New York
Although I am not obsessed with New York like so many other people are, I do really enjoy the city – for its diversity, the incredible food scene and for the sheer amount of things to do. I have been twice now and I’m hoping to visit my friend Dani there in spring 2019.
I have done most of the touristy stuff in New York now so I would focus my trip on eating, and exploring some new neighborhoods, although I am interested in visiting the museum at Ellis Island too.
Travel to Washington D.C. to See the Cherry Blossoms
I still haven’t been to Washington D.C. and as I love cherry blossoms, I thought what better time to visit than in spring, when there are cherry blossoms everywhere. I would probably fly to New York then take a train or bus to D.C., to spend a few days soaking up all the cherry blossom goodness and the museums.
Visit at Least Two New States
I visited 13 new States in 2018 – a pretty good effort! In 2019 I would like to visit another two states and I’m thinking that South Dakota would be a good choice as it’s only a few hours drive from Denver to Mount Rushmore and the Badlands. I’m not sure what the second State would be – perhaps I could add Philadelphia on to my D.C. and New York trip, or hop up to North Dakota when I am visiting South Dakota. We will see.
Hit up Some New Places in Colorado
Although I have traveled all over Colorado now, there are still some places that have so far eluded me. In 2019 I would love to make it to the vibrant college town of Fort Collins, Great Sand Dunes National Park, the historic town turned casino of Central City, and more of the Front Range including Evergreen.
Visit Friends in Vancouver
I haven’t been to Vancouver since June 2017 and I am having withdrawals for my favorite city. Once I get my green card I’m planning to return for at least a week, to visit friends and all my favorite places around the city. I have a long list of breweries and restaurants to try too so I want to try making a bit of a dent in that.
Go to One New to Place in Canada
As well as visiting Vancouver, I also want to visit one new place in Canada. If money and time were no object I would love to visit the remote islands of Haida Gwaii, Northern Quebec or Newfoundland, but it will probably end up being somewhere easier to get to like Powell River. Who knows, maybe we will win the lotto and I will get to go to all of them.
Spend Christmas in New Zealand
By the end of 2019, it will have been 1.5 years since I was last in New Zealand – way too long in my opinion. I am hoping to spend at least a month back in New Zealand at the end of the year, including for Christmas. If Toby comes with me and we can afford it, we will do a South Island trip, otherwise I will stick to visiting family and friends in the North Island, and spending lots of time at the beach.
Visit at Least Two New National Parks
I visited ten National Parks in 2018 – six of them new to me – and in 2019 I would like to visit at least two more National Parks that I haven’t been to before. Possibilities include Badlands National Park in South Dakota; Pinnacles National Park, Death Valley National Park and Kings Canyon National Park in California; Great Basin National Park in Nevada; and Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
So that’s what I am hoping to accomplish in 2019. What are your travel plans for next year?
Check out my Travel Bucket Lists for the past few years for further inspiration: