Pena Palace

2023 has probably been the best year of travel for us so far. We had several amazing, life-changing trips and visited many new-to-us destinations. We started the year in an airport: as the clock struck midnight we were walking through the Atlanta airport for a few hours shut-eye before catching our early morning flight home from Puerto Rico.

We discovered a love of train travel this year and took several weekend trips to Chicago on Amtrak. The train takes about the same amount of time as driving and it allows you to relax and do other things as you travel. We have found our favorite neighborhood in Chicago (River North) and are planning to return in 2024.

Disneyland Train Station

In March we crossed off another state in my goal to visit all 50 states before I turn 40. This time, we headed to California and took a wonderful cruise that allowed us to see a lot of the coastal cities. I understand why so many people love California. Each place was more beautiful than the last. The cruise also took us to Mexico and we have been trying to figure out when we can squeeze in a return trip. It was our first Celebrity cruise and it will not be our last. And of course, I realized my lifelong dream of visiting Disneyland.

In May, Chris went to a conference in Austin and I got to tag along for the weekend which was a fun way to break up the time between big trips. I have come to realize that some of the best meals of my life have been in the Austin area so I never turn down an opportunity to visit.

Sunset at Sea

Sunset at Sea

Less than 3 months after our spring cruise, we hit the sea again for our longest and most crazy cruise yet, a transatlantic from Florida to Portugal. It was a return to our favorite cruise line (Norwegian) after 3 cruises and it felt like coming home. The ports were amazing and afterward, we spent a week and a half exploring the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) with a stopover in Iceland on the way home. This trip was life-changing and we’ve just been figuring out how to return to Europe since we got home.

Enjoying a Glass of Wine at Bonobo

We stayed closer to home in the second half of the year. We took a few camping trips around Michigan, and in August, we spent a week in one of our favorite places, Traverse City, and we took our furry friends. While traveling with the cats added some challenges, not having to worry about them while we were away was worth it for us.

In the fall, we discovered how one-night getaways can be a fun way to break up the routine without having to shell out the money for multiple nights of lodging. We spent a night in Milwaukee that was surprisingly enjoyable and I would love to go back and see more of the city.

Icelandic Sheep

Overall, this was a year of seeing new places for short amounts of time. I have added many new places to my “to return to” list which I put into writing this year. I am struggling to figure out where to go in 2024 between the places I have never been and the places I want to return to. This will probably be a lifelong struggle. Stay tuned to find out where I end up next year!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. To read campground reviews check out my Michigan Campground Reviews page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.