Kayaking the Black Canyon, Off the Strip Adventure, Las Vegas, Nevada

Our Best and Worst Moments of 2014 + A Look into 2015

Happy New Year everyone! 2014 was no doubt an exciting, yet exhausting year. We made some huge changes in our lives, which consisted of moving from Florida back to our home state of Minnesota, plus both of us jumping into freelance full-time. It’s scary and exhilarating all in one, and hopefully we can continue to make it work! Needless to say, the move and huge job switch has put us on an emotional rollercoaster, but there were many ups and downs throughout our travels, as well. Thankfully, there were more highs than lows, but here is a recap of our best and worst moments of 2014 plus a peek into our plans for 2015.

Highs:

Some of our favorite experiences always involve outdoor adventures, and this year was no different.

While in Vegas, we took a road trip to Arizona and went kayaking in the Black Canyon. The launch point was about 10-20 minutes south of the Hoover Dam, and we paddled through the canyon and to the Emerald Cave.

Kayaking the Black Canyon, Off the Strip Adventure, Las Vegas, Nevada

Santorini was filled with wandering the winding streets, eating delicious Greek food and sailing the ocean. But, our favorite activity was hiking along the caldera from Fira to Oia, which is about half the length of the island. The views were fantastic, and besides the crazy wind, the weather was gorgeous.

Santorini

I love seeing how things are made and produced, so joining in on the fall grape harvest at Cannon River Winery in southern Minnesota was quite the treat. We were able to help hand-pick the grapes and learn all about how the wine is produced—after a morning full of work we were treated to lunch and a wine tasting!

Fall Grape Harvest at Cannon River Winery in Minnesota

We were hoping to spend a large portion of the summer camping in Minnesota, but time went too fast and we only made it out a couple of times. However, both camping trips were a lot of fun, so I would have to say it was at least a partial success! We went camping at Afton State Park just outside of the city and at Cascade River State Park in northern Minnesota.

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

Last but not least, hiking through the Red Rocks in Sedona rounds out our list. We hiked many trails over the couple of days we spent in Sedona, but our favorite was the hike to Devil’s Bridge—it was a gorgeous day with stunning views in every direction!

Red Rocks, Sedona, AZ

Lows:

Although I don’t like to focus on negativity, nothing is ever perfect and we wanted to share some of our lows from the year, as well.

First and foremost, leaving all of our friends and family in Florida was incredibly difficult! While moving was a high overall, it was sad to say goodbye to many people who mean so much to us. We were hoping to go back for a visit in November, but unfortunately that didn’t pan out, so we can’t wait for our next trip planned this spring!

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West, FL

This one was really a major bummer—while Micah was working in Las Vegas this past summer, I was supposed to be in Costa Rica on a yoga retreat. Well, I made it there, but ended up getting horribly sick along the way. After spending the night on the bathroom floor in agony, I made the hard decision to head back home. Missing out on an amazing experience is always difficult, and as sad as I was to head home, I made the right decision. I could barely get off the couch for the next week, so I can’t imagine how I would have coped with daily yoga and the other activities I was expected to participate in.

We visited the Grand Canyon in February, and in many ways it was wonderful. The one way it wasn’t so great? The icy trails and lack of equipment on our part meant we were stuck at the rim and couldn’t hike down into the canyon. One thing I can say for sure is that we will definitely be hiking to the bottom on our next trip to the canyon!

Grand Canyon, AZ

I am pretty accident prone, so I always seem to have some bumps and bruises tagging along with me. Well, the worst one of the year was the nasty fall that I took in Athens. We were on our way to the TBEX opening party and while walking down a steep hill, I tripped and fell…and fell…and fell, until I crashed into a parked car on the side of the road. Yep. That happened. I ended up skinning my knees and feet, and my entire body hurt the next morning. I woke up and said that I felt like I got hit by a bus…and then laughed because it wasn’t too far off! I’m now basically healed up, but my knee is still giving me problems. I guess it isn’t a trip unless I obtain some sort of injury!

2015 Plans:

So, with that, on to the new year! As of right now, our first concrete plans are in March—we are heading to Italy, Czech Republic and Japan! I scored us an amazing deal on tickets and am so excited to finally be traveling to Asia. We are also going to be heading back to Florida and then to New Hampshire for weddings—one that Micah is photographing and one where he is a groomsman! Glacier National Park is also on the list for next summer as well as traveling around and exploring more of Minnesota. Also, we have a two-week rail pass for Europe that we need to use—I’m not sure where that is going to fit in yet, but it will definitely be used!

Our biggest news for 2015 is that we are going to be making videos for Best Western! We made our first video for them up in Grand Marais this December, and there will be more to come. Even though they will be sending us on trips around the US and Canada, things won’t be changing around here on the blog. We will still be writing about our adventures in the same way as we are now, but there will just be more stories to share!

As everyone knows, plans change—so as of now, this is our year. We can’t wait to see what 2015 brings for us and for all of you. So with that, happy New Year and safe travels for many years to come!

What are your plans for the new year?

 

16 Comments
  • Ryan Biddulph
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:22h, 01 January Reply

    Wow Jenna what a year!

    That CR sickness was rough. I know the feeling because 2 years ago I missed Machu Picchu after being violently ill and yep, laying on the bathroom floor for hours. It was brutal.

    I loved your high points, So many rocking hikes and wonderful things you experienced.

    Congrats on the video series!

    I visited 4 spots in Thailand, Klebang Moding, Bali and we had a 4 month house sit in Savusavu, Fiji so it was an amazing year.

    As for 2015 we have a 4 month house sit in Jimbaran Bali all lined up starting on February 1. Excited!

    Happy New Year 🙂

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…12 Tips to Gain TrustMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:48h, 14 January Reply

      Oh no, sorry to hear you missed out on a trip too! Machu Picchu would be amazing–I feel bad you missed out on it! Thanks so much though–it was a great year and we are really excited about 2015, too! Sounds like you had a great year as well! I would love to try house sitting sometime–especially in some of the places you are doing it–sounds wonderful! Happy new year to you, too–enjoy Bali and the rest of the year!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Santorini, GreeceMy Profile

  • Angela
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:59h, 02 January Reply

    First off, sorry to hear about your fall in Athens; it is never fun to get banged up at the beginning of a trip. I understand that trips do not pan out as much as you hope and liked how you incorporated it into your post showing that traveling isn’t always luxurious! I really hope you guys make it to Glacier NP. I was a little sad to see that Seattle didn’t make the list (jk)…but you have tons planned already. Here’s to more camping, adventuring, and traveling in 2015!
    Angela recently posted…Early Snow on Bootjack MountainMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:45h, 14 January Reply

      Thanks! The fall was definitely not fun, but it is pretty comical to think about it now at least! We really hope to make it to Glacier as well–it’s been on our list for so long! We actually might make it to Seattle now–it’s not set in stone, but a possibility. Would love to meet up if we do make it out there! Happy 2015 to you as well!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Santorini, GreeceMy Profile

  • Hannah
    Twitter:
    Posted at 16:24h, 02 January Reply

    Congrats on a great travel year- I’m glad the highs over-rode the lows! 2015 sounds like it will be quite the adventure- I’m super excited for your Japan trip, I can’t wait to visit myself one day, so in the meantime I’ll be sure to stalk you ( in a non-creepy way, I promise!) Happy New Year!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:33h, 14 January Reply

      Thanks, Hannah! Haha–too funny, stalk away! 🙂 We are really excited for the trip, too. Hope you guys have a great 2015 and Happy New Year to you as well!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Santorini, GreeceMy Profile

  • Lauren
    Twitter:
    Posted at 19:54h, 02 January Reply

    It’s always difficult to deal with being ill on a vacation – thankfully, I’ve only ever been sick at the END of a vacation and not the beginning of one! Looking forward to reading about your adventures in 2015, especially that trip to Japan!
    Lauren recently posted…New Years Resolutions for Travel and Life in 2015My Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:27h, 14 January Reply

      Glad you’ve never been sick at the beginning of a trip, although it’s never fun being sick at any time! We are excited about Japan too–can’t wait! Hope you guys have a great year!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Santorini, GreeceMy Profile

  • Megan Claire
    Twitter:
    Posted at 13:43h, 03 January Reply

    Thanks for this really honest article – I actually like that you highlighted your lows as well, because as you said, everyone has them, and traveling is amazing, but it’s unrealistic to only ever paint a pretty picture.

    Though sounds like you had an amazing year despite the lows (sorry to hear about Athens – glad you’ve now recovered)…and if it makes you feel any better lol the day we drove to the Grand Canyon we drove into a freak blizzard so we literally couldnt even see our hand in front of us let alone the canyon itself!

    Happy new year guys 🙂
    Megan Claire recently posted…Arrival of Autumn in KashmirMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:23h, 14 January Reply

      Happy New Year to you, too! Definitely agree–glad you enjoyed hearing the lows as well! That’s so sad you didn’t get to see the canyon with the blizzard! Weather can be so frustrating sometimes. Hope you made it back or can visit again soon!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Santorini, GreeceMy Profile

  • JR
    Posted at 15:35h, 03 January Reply

    Congrats on your expanded role with Best Western. How cool. A great year of adventures and more to come. Happy travels!

  • Lance
    Twitter:
    Posted at 19:27h, 04 January Reply

    Congrats on the gig with Best Western. Makes me think of the Richard Shindell song! Hope to bump into you again in 2015!
    Lance recently posted…How We Maximized Our Vacation Time in 2014My Profile

  • antonette - we12travel
    Twitter:
    Posted at 15:16h, 07 January Reply

    Wow – Japan! Awesome. And even better: Glacier National Park! Has been on my wishlist for a loooong time and would love to see one day … have a great 2015 you both!

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