Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals!

Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals!

Happy 2017, everyone!

How long into January is it acceptable to wish people a happy new year? A week? Two weeks? The entire month? For me it takes until the end of January, sometimes into February, to actually remember that I’m in a new year. I’ll be writing 2016 on all of my documents for the foreseeable future. Does that happen to anyone else?

Every New Years Day Ryan and I sit down for our own State of the Union where we put on our comfiest pajamas, make a pot of coffee and get to business. We talk about everything: the past year, the coming year, successes and failures, hopes and dreams, realistic professional goals and personal developments. This year travel will be featuring pretty heavily into our address, and I thought I would share my 2017 goals and resolutions here with you guys. That way I have even more people holding me accountable!

2017 Resolutions

I think that resolutions need to be specific, but fun, you know? I can’t make a resolution like “travel more” or “get healthier” because they’re too vague. I need resolutions where I can track myself. So instead I’ll make a goal to travel to Canada once. I’ll make a specific resolution to take a photography/camera class because it’ll help me become a better photographer, which is the end goal.

Take a photography course in early 2017.

This is my number one goal. I’ve been using my Nikon D3200 for the last three years and I can’t honestly tell you what some of the buttons do. I had a scare in Zagreb where I thought I had broken my camera because the photos all came out incredibly underexposed. Little did I know that I had been playing with a dial that I thought did nothing, surprise! Thankfully Google knew how to fix it.

I don’t want to have to worry about Googling answers to my camera questions. I want to know how to actually use it! I found a technical camera class through one of the community colleges for less that $75 for a six-week course. If that’s not a score, I don’t know what is! Maybe if the technical class goes well I can see about taking a creative class!

Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals!
My camera is an extension of my right arm.

Plan one travel adventure in 2017 that includes friend(s).

So as we all know, I travel with Ryan. We’ve gotten really good at being travel partners; seven months on the road with only each other to hang out with is a sure way to make sure you’re married to the right person. But one of our main goals when we move home is to create a travel pod for ourselves. I’d love to find some friends, either new ones or ones we already know and love who want to travel with us.

We came across friends travelling a lot while we were in Europe. And they always look like they’re having so much fun! We met a foursome from Illinois while we were in Split, Croatia. I picked their brain a bit and found out that this was a regular thing of theirs, to pick a place and spend however long possible exploring. What struck me was how at ease they were, and how many jokes they had between them. I think they referenced past trips and their life at home every other thought!

I would love to experience travelling in a new dynamic. Whether that’s a friend, another couple, or travelling with a family we know! Just thinking of the memories to be gained from it makes me smile.

Turn my travel mementos into keepsakes.

This resolution is really three-fold: I want to print out travel photos to hang, make a scrapbook, and DIY at least one other item for our future apartment. I’ve been saving up my Pinterests for what feels like months. I’ve saved all of our ticket stubs and pamphlets, and as I mentioned in my last post I have about a million photos. I don’t want them to just live on my computer forever.

Hopefully we can choose a few photos to add to our walls. I would love to create some sort of scrap book that can be left out on our yet-to-be-bought coffee table, so I can page through these memories with Ryan, our families, or just a cup of coffee. I have some ideas on creating magnets, Christmas ornaments and other baubles for around the house.  So I hope in the future you’ll enjoy a post or two about any DIYs that are worthy of being shared!

Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals!
Just a fraction of our tickets, maps and other mementos.

Create a bucketlist for Pittsburgh and cross off at least one item every month.

I think reconnecting with my city will be one giant, ongoing highlight in 2017. So much has changed in Pittsburgh since we left, and I can’t wait to rediscover it! Whether it be trying new restaurants, walking around city parks we haven’t been to yet, going to museums we haven’t seen, I think this might be the most fun resolution I have!

Go backpacking once this summer.

When I told Ryan I wanted to go backpacking once we’re back he laughed at me. Just because I sometimes whine when he refuses to take public transport to and from the train station doesn’t mean I hate backpacking.

I want to go backpack camping! We have these really great packs that we’ve broken in, and I don’t want them to feel lonely when they’re left in our closets for months at a time. I’ve been dreaming of taking our bags out on the Appalachian Trail and getting lost in the wilderness for a few days or a week. We love car camping, so I think this would be the next logical step, right?

2017 Travel Goals

I’m fully aware that this is the oddest assortment of places to want to visit in 2017. But I’m trying to keep my travel goals a little more realistic, especially after spending seven months in Europe in 2016. I haven’t really started doing any research into these places, so if this list feels a little well, lacking, it’s because these are literally just the few places we’ve been kicking around in our potential travel discussions.


Do you have a place that you are just dying to go to? The kind of place that you find yourself daydreaming about? For me, that’s Iceland. There’s something so mysterious and beautiful about the country. Plus all of the photos I have ever seen have left my jaw on the floor! I think if we go anywhere that isn’t to visit family, Iceland is the number one destination.

With WOW Air arriving in Pittsburgh, direct flights to Reykjavik are now possible. Sign me up!

Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo from Hair to There Blog!
Photo from Hair to There Blog.
Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo from Hair to There Blog!
Photo from Hair to There Blog.
Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo from Hair to There Blog!
Photo from Hair to There Blog.
Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo from Hair to There Blog!
Photo from Hair to There Blog.

Photos from an amazing blog that I LOVE, Hair to There! Check out their site here, and their Iceland archives here. They’re two best friends travelling the world, and I wish I could be their third wheel. Seriously though, can I be the third wheel?

Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo From The Manini Experience.
Photo from The Manini Experience.
Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo From The Manini Experience.
Photo from The Manini Experience.
Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo From The Manini Experience.
Photo from The Manini Experience.
Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo From The Manini Experience.
Photo from The Manini Experience.

These photos come from The Manini Experience. Check out their website here and their seriously drool-worthy Instagram feed here. I love their photography style and I think you might, too!

Mexico City

This is a bit of a random destination, even for me. For years Ryan and I have talked about going to Mexico. We’re both slightly obsessed with the food, the people and the culture. But things have just never worked out for us for various reasons.

When we were talking to a good friend about travelling next year, he threw the idea of us going to Mexico City with him. Little did he know that when you invite me anywhere, even jokingly, I’m going to take you up on it. After doing some preliminary research on the city, I was a woman possessed: we will be going to Mexico City in 2017. And if this is a chance to hit another resolution by adventuring with a friend, I’m going to take it.

El Salvador

We have a good friend originally from El Salvador, which is how this tiny country first came on our radar. We spent Christmas 2015 with him, and hearing all of his stories about the country made me fall in love from afar. I’m ready to fall in love with the country in person. El Salvador really would be the perfect outdoorsy trip, with beaches, rainforests, volcanoes and mountains so close. I think it would be the perfect trip for us.


Speaking of friends, we both have friends who live in the city of Boston. Ryan has never been, and there was a time in college that my best friend and I planned on moving there because we loved it so much. It also happens to be within the optimal road trip radius of Pittsburgh, and I think our car could definitely use another road trip or two this year.


I don’t really have much to say about Montreal, other than I follow an Instagrammer who lives there. She has really incredible photos of the city, so I have to add it to our list. Canada is also only a handful of hours away from Pittsburgh and I’ve never been. We can make it to Montreal within nine hours, which makes it a nice road trip as well.

Plus I’m always up for adventure, so why not go to Montreal?


I want to get to Cuba before the country’s beauty and atmosphere are completely lost. It’s becoming one of the most popular travel destinations, and for good reason. Since it’s been off-limits to US travellers for years, there’s a lot to discover on this island. I will just be sitting here, daydreaming about Cuba until we can get there.

Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo from Island Girl in-Transit!
Photo from Island Girl In-Transit.
Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo from Island Girl in-Transit!
Photo from Island Girl In-Transit.

Photos from one of my all-time favorite blogs, Island Girl in-Transit. Check out her blog here and her guide to Cuba here! I know I’ll be using it to plan our trip, because she has the best guide out there!

Cheers to 2017! New year, new goals! Photo from Wanderlust Vegans!
Photo from Wanderlust Vegans.

Photo from Wanderlust Vegans. Check out their blog here! They have the best information for any vegans who are travelling! Even though I’m not vegan, I’d love to head to the restaurants they go to!

Now I’d love to hear from you! What are your travel goals and resolutions for 2017? Do you have any destinations you are dying to go to? Is 2017 the year you finally make it a point to buy a new camera kit or backpacking bag? Let me know in the comments below, I’m always on the lookout to add new and interesting places on my wishlist!

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  1. Love this! Thanks for sharing your goals and possibilities (no matter what stage of development they’re in). I think you’ll really enjoy Boston – summer will be super humid and hot but the history is amazing and it’s very budget-friendly, many places to see interesting historical things for free.

  2. I love your approach to goal setting. The idea of attending photography course sounds great. Are you serious about having million photos? What program do you use to process your photos?

    1. I’m SO serious about having a million photos. Well, maybe not a million, but we have over 10,000 from our Europe adventures and a little over 500 from our last road trip. I just got a new computer, so I’m currently searching for a new editing program (I switched from a Windows to a Mac). If I find anything worthwhile I’ll definitely share it!

  3. I love your new year post ! Taking photography class wouldn’t be a bad idea for me either… What you said about travelling with someone else (on top of your spouse) is something I’ve been thinking about since recently… I’ve traveled with friends before, but it was just for week-ends. I’d love to do a couple of weeks long trip with friends, I think that would be a great experience! Also I have a place I’m dying to visit and it’s not Iceland (although I definitely want to go there) but Antartica… A bit less accessible, but I’ll make it one day! Have a great 2017 !!

    1. Antartica… Oh my goodness how amazing would that be?!? Definitely a trip of a lifetime! I hope you have the chance to go someday, too! I think travelling with friends would just be the best!

  4. ohhh… how I love your 2017 goals… it is so specific that I want to apply it for myself.. How I wish I have the patience to learn the camera/photography tricks,.. but I know learning it will worth all the effort…
    And the rest of your resolutions are soooo inspiring… So I am wishing you goodluck… a blessed 2017 to you…

    1. Thank you, Louiela! I with you a happy and healthy 2017, too! I feel like taking photography lessons will be really worthwhile in the end, but I also have to agree that the nitty gritty of learning everything might be a bit overwhelming.

  5. Your travel goals are my travel goals. I’ve never been to any of those places, and hope to be more realistic, as you stated, in my goals to get out and explore. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Wow, you have some serious goals! I love the idea of reconnecting with your own city and you have inspired me to do the same for Madrid. It’s a little easier for me though as I only moved here 3 months ago! Also, that photography class is a great idea, you have a great camera, get a grasp of aperture and shutter speed and you’ll get some great shots with it. Finally – one of my fave things I have created is a collage of all on old travel money, I try to save at least one note from each country I visit, it now hangs proudly on my wall!
    Happy New Year and good luck woth your goals!

    1. I LOVE Madrid!! What an incredible city to call home, you’re so lucky! I also love, love, love the idea of a collage of travel money, I wish I would have saved more notes. I have a bag full of change, but only three notes! I will have to start saving notes when we go places.

  7. Love it! As someone living abroad, I can tell you, you will fall in love again with your hometown and area. Every time we go back we make a list of things to do, of course, we only go back for a week or so, so sometimes we don’t finish that list but… As for traveling… we are moving to Panama City so Cuba is on our list this year for sure!!! Thanks for sharing

    1. Moving to Panama City sounds so exciting!! I’m excited to be back in my hometown after three years. Now that we’ve settled in I’m looking forward to exploring (once the snow stops, that is).

    1. Happy travels to you in 2017! Iran would be a really interesting place to visit. Sadly, I don’t think we can even consider it for the next few years, which is unfortunate and really, really sad.

  8. Here is what you need to do. When in Boston you must go to Cheers! And when in Montreal go to Schwartz’s Deli. Frank sinatra use to have his smoked meat sandwich flown to him right from the deli. There will be a lineup so be prepared! Good luck!

    1. Can you be my travel planner?? These are both such perfect ideas! I told my husband and it has made him even more excited at the thought of getting to these cities.

  9. I love setting new goals at the new year and reflecting back on what we have accomplished the year before! Have you checked out lynda courses for photography? They are great and there are tons to choose from for basic photography to any specialized type as well as many different ways to edit. We use it and love it! You also have a great year of travel planned ahead! cheers!

    1. I haven’t checked out the lynda courses, but I’m going to have to now! Thanks for the heads up! Happy 2017 to you and I wish you luck in your travels!

  10. I love your goals – I’d like to learn more about photography too! I’ve been to Iceland, it’s amazing, you’ll love it – my 2017 plans include hopefully, Hong Kong and Bali and the Amalfi Coast – have to see what happens!

    1. As I sit in my apartment on a cold wintery morning nothing sounds better to me than Bali! I hope you get the chance to visit all of those places this year!

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