Top Experiences of 2016

One of my top resolutions for 2016 was to make travel a priority, and to make sure I focus on experiences over materialistic things. I wanted to start incorporating photography back into my life more, and work on promoting myself and images.

While I’m on the right path and feel like I met my expectations for the past year, I want to continue and keep doing more. In 2016 I got to travel to many different places, a whole new country, and re-visit some fun cities, and continue exploring my hometown. I will be a very lucky person if 2017 is anywhere near as close!

Here’s a run down of my top experiences of 2016:

A. Iceland: I think it goes without saying Iceland was and will probably always be on my top 10 best lifetime experiences. I had the crazy idea of driving around Iceland at the end of 2015 and did everything I could to make it happen. After a lot of planning and saving we had one of the best trips we could’ve asked for. It was everything we needed after a rough start to the year! 

One of our favorite parts during our Iceland trip was seeing the hidden waterfall in the southern part of Iceland. It was early on in our trip, and just solidified the adventure we needed. It was remote enough we could enjoy the waterfall to ourselves without tourists taking over, and it was freeing being able to explore as much or as little as we wanted! 

B. Road Trip - Iceland: As stated before, Iceland was my favorite part of this past year. Apart from Iceland itself, I also thoroughly enjoyed the actual road trip itself. Embarking on an epic road trip has been on my bucket list for awhile, and I’m so thrilled I got to cross it off my list. I always assumed my first major road trip would be around the United States, but to have it in Iceland made it that much more spectacular. I loved waking up each morning in a new town, driving past mountains and glaciers, and really experiencing every aspect of Icelandic culture. 

I feel extremely lucky that I also got to travel with my husband for two weeks. We got to spend a lot of time together, listen to each other’s music, and just relax without worrying about work or nonsense. I guess it could be a gamble for some, stuck in a car with someone for 2 weeks in a foreign country, but for us it was an amazing adventure. 

C. Savannah: In October we travelled down to Savannah for a wedding, and had one of the best mini-vacations ever. We got to stay in a historic HAUNTED hotel, walk around the city shops and take in the artistic scene, go on a creepy ghost tour in the middle of the night, and enjoy the town.

As a celiac food is very important for me on trips now, and The Olde Pink House went above and beyond dealing with my gluten allergy. One waiter even scolded another for offering me a piece of wedding cake during the reception, they took it very seriously. 

D. John Carpenter performing in New York City: We’ve been to New York a few times every couple of years and always seem to find something new to do. This was an impromptu trip credited to the horror director John Carpenter going on tour and performing his music, which we had recently become obsessed with. I feel like this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us, I can’t imagine us ever flying to see John Carpenter perform again, and I don’t think he’ll be coming to Atlanta anytime soon. It was a great night complete with dad dancing, funky glasses, and our favorite movies projected throughout the show!

E. WTC-NYC: The last time we went to NYC was a few years ago before the new One World Trade Center opened. This time we were able to take the tour and go to the top of the observation deck. As most people will mention, the elevator ride to the top is pretty cool, and the view of course is great. It was a little bit crowded, but definitely worth it! 

We also got to walk around the World Trade Center memorial, which can be a bit of an emotional experience. The park is beautiful, and very tranquil. 

F. Dragon Con: Every Labor Day weekend Atlanta turns into a giant sci-fi nerd convention, and every year we join in and unleash our inner nerds. This year was no different, except the added chaos of Pokemon Go thrown into the mix. Dragon Con isnt like other conventions, it’s basically a 96-hour marathon with little sleep and lots of sweat. It’s something we always look forward too, even if the guests aren’t great there’s always something to do or see or discover!

G. Jurassic Park - Fox Theatre: One staple of Atlanta is the historic Fox Theatre. Every summer the theatre opens it’s doors and shows popular movies, new or old, on the big screen. Tickets are cheaper than what you’d pay at a normal theater, and you get any seat you want in the house. Before every movie screening there is a performance on the organ, accompanied afterwards with classic cartoons, and news reels. This year we enjoyed seeing Jurassic Park, complete with popcorn and drinks, and a great ticket stub for the collection. 

H. State Parks: This year we crossed off two Georgia state parks from our list to visit. The first we went to was Arabia Mountain, not far from Atlanta. We’d heard a lot about this place, like how it was the little Stone Mountain, and how it was covered in colorful red ponds. We walked and hiked along some trails, and then explored the mountain itself. 

Our second park we visited was a little farther in the southern part of Georgia. Also described as the “little Grand Canyon,” Providence Canyon was a bit bigger and a bit more colorful. The park was secluded, but surprisingly busy with families (and cute dogs). We did two trails, one around the canyon rim, and the other inside the canyon which was easily the best part. We got to explore up close and see the different layers of the canyon walls, and walk along a small creek. Overall it was neat, but the amount of kids breaking the park rules dampened it a little bit. 

Lastly my best experience was finally focusing on my career and learning new skills. After a year of feeling sick all the time and unmotivated I started feeling healthy enough to create a new website, and start a graphic design class. Here’s to a new year and new goals! 

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