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Unfortunately, like 2020, 2021 was still not the best year for travel although I did manage to get some great trips in, both in the U.S. and abroad.
After 18 months of no international travel (other than a trip back to my home country of New Zealand), it definitely felt good to visit a couple of different countries, even if I have visited both of them before in the past.
In 2021 I traveled to four countries and fourteen U.S. states, spending time with friends and family in my home country of New Zealand for six weeks in summer, finally experiencing (and embracing) winter in Colorado’s mountains, started a new career working events, lived in our new RV in LA for five weeks then took it across the country, did a Great Lakes road trip, visited four new states, spent five weeks in Greece island-hopping solo, did a winter hot springs road trip in Colorado for my birthday, completed three housesits, and spent the last three weeks of the year backpacking the Caribbean Coast and San Andres Island in Colombia.
Before I get into my travel goals for 2022, I thought I would go over my 2021 travel goals to take a look at what I managed to do, and what never eventuated.
Review of My Travel Wishlist for 2021
Visit New Places in New Zealand
Yes. During my six weeks in New Zealand at the beginning of the year I visited a few new places – beautiful Great Barrier Island for a week, a day trip to Rotoroa Island – one of Auckland’s Harbor Islands, camping at Uretiti in Northland, and I did the hike to Kitekite Falls and the Mercer Bay loop on Auckland’s West Coast.
Do a Great Lakes Road Trip
Yes. Although I didn’t get to do the full Great Lakes road trip that I had wanted to do, we spent three weeks roadtripping the Great Lakes – along the south shore of Lake Superior, the north and west shores of Lake Michigan, and a quick trip to Lake Huron.
I swam in Lake Huron and Lake Superior so I just have to swim in one more Great Lake – Lake Erie – to meet my goal of swimming in all the Great Lakes.
Visit Four New States
Yes. I visited Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio for the first time this year. I now only have four more states to visit – Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Delaware, and West Virginia.
Visit Two or More New National Parks
No. Unfortunately, I only visited one new to me National Park this year – Channel Islands National Park in California. I did visit a few new National Monuments and Lakeshores including Pecos National Historical Park, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Yucca House National Monument, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Do at Least Two Backpacking Trips
Kinda. I hiked the three-day Aotea Track on Great Barrier Island in New Zealand, then we were planning to do a two-day hike on Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Park but one of the campgrounds was full.
I still did the hike but I did the full 14-miles in one long day, with Toby getting the boat straight to our camping spot for two nights and setting up camp.
Return to Canada
No. Unfortunately, the border didn’t open till fall when I was busy working back-to-back events so I didn’t get to go to my beloved Canada this year.
Hike a 14’er
No. I only ended up spending a month of summer in Colorado this year and it was early summer when the trails would still have been covered in snow at the top so I didn’t hike a 14’er this year.
Enjoy Some Winter Sports in Colorado
Yes. Although I still haven’t been snowshoeing, I did a day of ski lessons and some of the green runs at Keystone and LOVED it. We also went dogsledding in Leadville, ice-skating in Keystone on a frozen lake, and I did a few wintry snow hikes in the mountains.
Travel to Two New Countries
No. I did visit two countries this year other than my home countries of New Zealand and the U.S. – Greece and Colombia – but I had visited both before.
My Travel Wishlist for 2022
Visit Some New to Me Places in Colombia
The first month of the year we will be in Colombia (we are already here now), and although I have visited Colombia before, I am planning to visit some places in the country for the first time including the Rosario Islands off Cartagena, Medellin, Guatape, Jardin, the Pacific Coast, and Leticia to do an Amazon tour.
Do a Central Mexico Trip
My brother-in-law is getting married in Puebla in early May so we are planning to go around a month or two early to do some traveling before the wedding. I haven’t spent much time in central Mexico and I want to visit Mexico City, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita, and Huasteca Potosina for the waterfalls.
Visit One New Country
No idea if this will happen this year, possibly between Colombia and Mexico to a Caribbean island or Costa Rica, or at the end of the year depending on if there is a Christmas event we need to work or not.
It is my choice for our next big trip and Nepal and Japan are at the top of my list. I would love to combine a trip to both of these new to me countries with time in New Zealand but not sure if this will happen in late 2022 or early 2023.
Do a Multi-Day Hike
I should be able to make this work whether it is in Canada, Colorado, or Washington State. Once my summer plans are more concrete I can start looking into which multi-day hike I can do.
Explore the San Juan Islands in Washington State
The Gulf Islands of Canada are one of my favorite places in the world so I really want to see the U.S. side. I particularly want to visit Orcas Island, Whidbey Island, and Lopez Island.
Visit Two New National Parks
I hope I can visit a couple of new National Parks this year because I only made it to one last year. Possible options are North Cascades National Park in Washington, Lassen Volcano National Park in California, and southern Florida’s National Parks: Dry Tortugas National Park, Everglades National Park, and Biscayne National Park.
Spend a Month in Europe
This is probably not going to happen because I don’t know how I will fit it in, but I hadn’t planned to visit Greece in summer until the last minute and I had such an amazing time so I wanted to put this on here as a possibility.
If I do go to Europe for a month or so, I would love to visit Romania and Bulgaria – two new to me countries.
Visit One New State
I only have four states left that I haven’t been to so it is getting harder to visit new states each year. If I end up visiting my friend Dani in New York or if I am on the East Coast for work I would like to add a trip to Philly as I haven’t visited Pennsylvania yet.
Do a Canada Road Trip
As I didn’t get to visit Canada in 2020 and 2021, I am definitely keen to make this happen in 2022. Ideally I want to drive up into Vancouver from Seattle, spend some time there, maybe go to Vancouver Island, then drive to Kelowna to visit a friend, and finish in the Canadian Rockies – one of my happy places.
If I don’t end up doing a road trip then I will try to fly to Vancouver and then to Calgary for the Canadian Rockies like I did in 2017.
Spend Fall in Colorado
I was really bummed to miss fall entirely in Colorado this year because I was working back-to-back events in Ohio and California so I don’t want to miss it again this year. I would love to do a fall road trip for a week or more through Colorado’s mountains to see the best of the fall colors in late September.
An Epic Adventure For My 40th Birthday
I am turning 40 at the end of 2022 (!) and a big birthday means a big adventure. Originally I wanted to do an Antarctic cruise from Argentina but it is just so expensive so I have been thinking of other possible options like trekking in Nepal and Japan, sailing the Galapagos Islands, and island-hopping in the South Pacific.
We will see what I land on closer to the time and what is possible as COVID will still probably be a deciding factor, as will work.
Return to New Zealand
I have got to get back to New Zealand sometime soon, and I am really hoping it can be in February/March 2022 depending on whether there will be further changes with the border. Alternatively, I will travel there at the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023.
I am dying to spend time with friends and family in Auckland, Hamilton, and Tauranga, and if I only have a month I will probably just visit these three places.
What are your travel plans for 2022?
Check out my Travel Bucket Lists for the past few years for further inspiration: