2016: A Look Back
The year is coming to an end, and based on celebrity deaths and other....political things, I can say that most people seem to be ready to start fresh with the next one.
This year has been following a trend of the last couple of years; my wife and I are going on more exotic trips and have been really expanding our travels in other ways. My boss at work recently said "you really went crazy this year" in terms of the amount of trips we took.
The year started off with a trip to Taiwan that was absolutely amazing. Both my wife and I really love Asia and this trip was no exception. We had a layover in Beijing of 14 hours on the way to Taipei which allowed us enough time to visit the Forbidden City as well as stay in one of the nicest hotels we have ever stayed in. Taipei was wonderful as well, with plenty to do and see; we also went to Taroko Gorge a couple hours south of Taipei. This trip was punctuated with quite the adventure at the end.
We took off from Taipei without our full tickets printed, as they told us we could not get from Beijing to New York, we would have to have them printed in Beijing. We tried to do just that, only to be told our flight was canceled and the next one was in one week. Our shock was high, and we eventually were put on a flight to Los Angeles, but instead of the following day, it was in an hour. We made it to Los Angeles only to find our next flight canceled. We stayed the night at LAX and tried for a flight to JFK in the morning, but they were all canceled as well, but we were able to make it to Boston, where we rented a car and drove through the worst snowstorm of the year. It was a nail-biter, never sure how we were to get home to our dogs (our dogsitter had gotten sick and had to leave) but after many changes, we finally made it home.
Our next trip was to Medellin, Colombia, somewhere I do not think either of us had considered, but Delta was running a low fare for their new route, so we booked and off we went. We do not make a secret of the fact that we love South America, each country is rich in culture, wonderful people, and amazing sights. Our weekend in Medellin and Guatape (a day trip) were uneventful, I met some new people and we saw some things that we likely would not have ever planned a trip to see, like El Peñón de Guatapé. (I should really write a blog post about this trip). This was also the first trip with my new camera, my GF670w.
This camera is my new go-to, it is just awesome and is the perfect complement to my GF670. If you're ever in the market for a medium format rangefinder, this camera is perfect.
Our next venture was to Maine to spend some much needed time with my parents. With us living in Baltimore and them living in the far reaches of the south, we rarely get to spend time together, so when they invited us to Maine with them on their vacation, I said "sure!" I love spending time with my parents and we spent four days together in Bar Harbor. We visited Acadia, one of our great national parks. We were able to bring the dogs, and they had a blast.
At some point around here, I was asked to shoot a wedding with a friend. After the wedding, which I think went very well, she asked if I wanted to partner up and start our own wedding photography business, which is exactly what we did, Blue Bike Photography. We have since shot a few more weddings as well as booked some for the next year. Hopefully 2017 will see us increasing our business and allowing me to quit my job.
Our next trip was to take an Amtrak trip, one which I have wanted to do for many years but has been constantly pushed back and looked over for more exciting international trips. We took the train cross country, and although we had many amazing trips this year, this might have been my favorite one. You can read all about it here. Amtrak has actually contacted me to write something about this for their blog, so you can look forward to reading that in January of 2017.
My next trip was a solo one, well, I met with some friends, we went to Denmark and hopped down to Hamburg for a day. This was a quick, long weekend and my first experience with a budget carrier that I actually enjoyed, Wow Air. Going to Denmark was a great time and seeing more of Germany was nice, too. I was worried I was not going to make it to Europe for the first time in five years, and Denmark was new, so I booked. The flight was cheap, the city was not.
Our final trip this year came in October and was one my wife has been wanting to do for the last few years; Patagonia. She has always mentioned going here and I never seemed interested, but for her birthday this year, we went. I have to say, this trip was stunning. We rented a car in southern Chile and drove all the way up into Argentina. We then went hiking, saw glaciers, did more hiking, and slowly meandered back down to the Chile where we saw more glaciers and did more hiking. I also found out that we went to the bottom of Continental South America. I am still in the process of compiling a post about this trip, but as it was quite extensive, it is taking some time.
All things taken into consideration, this year was our best so far, and next year is shaping up to be more of the same, with trips to Cuba, Korea, and a trans-mongolian trip on the horizon, I have to say, I'm ready. I'm glad 2016 is coming to an end, but it was great.