It’s no great secret that I’m a fan of the retrospective. So I’m reflecting on my bests from 2014 as we count down to the New Year — and there were many! Best restaurant bites, dishes from our kitchen, travel moments, writing and reading… here we go!
Austin and I love (live) to travel, and we were fortunate to spend five weeks abroad this year, plus some weekend adventures closer to home.
I was chatting recently with a fellow travel-lover about plans for 2015, and the concept of itineraries came up. We both like building them. For me, the itinerary isn’t something prescriptive to follow to the letter, but a means to better understand a destination before I even arrive through the act of research and plotting the details. I afford myself the luxury of time and choice in my travels by sorting out the fine print and anticipated logistical hurdles before the plane touches down.
And as I reflect on many-an-itinerary taken (and abandoned) this past year, I realize that it isn’t standing before a famous site or carrying out the extravagant plan that usually sticks with me, but the small moment, diversion-on-a-whim or collapse into happiness when I least expect it. To that end, here are my top 10 travel moments from 2014.
Skipping along the breakwater at Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse in South Portland, Maine
We visited a handful of lighthouses during our summer trip to Maine, but Spring Point Ledge was something special. I was a kid skipping along the massive rocks of her breakwater, and giggling with Austin as we tried not to fall into the deep crevices.
An indulgent solo lunch as I strolled the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX
I tagged along for the sunshine when Austin attended an urban planning conference in San Antonio earlier in the year. During a solo day of exploration, I stumbled upon The Luxury. I put my feet up, ordered a glass of icy pinot gris and blissed out in the 80 degree sunshine.
Sunning on the beaches of Longboat Key, Florida
This past winter was one of Toronto’s coldest on record and seemed to last forever. It felt so good to escape to Florida for a week in March and welcome spring a bit early with family. Lounging on the beach, taking in the sun and losing myself in a book felt glorious on my winter-worn skin and spirit.
Making El Castillo sing in Riviera Maya, Mexico
We stood below this immense monument, an ad hoc group of twenty, clapping a call and response with the pyramid, and laughing as it sang back to us.
Sitting out a sudden rainstorm with Austin over beers in Cozumel, Mexico
As Austin and I sat enjoying a beer beneath a palapa on the ocean in Cozumel, we watched a massive storm roll into the island, overtaking it with curtains of rain. We said “what the heck” ordered another round and waited as the storm give way to sunny blue skies to continue exploring.
Strolling along the High Line with my husband in New York City, NY
Austin and I managed to find ourselves on the High Line on a surprisingly quiet summer afternoon. We strolled along, hand in hand, pointing to the different development projects underway and talking about urban planning. It’s moments like this when I pinch myself that I have such an intelligent husband.
Anniversary photos in the rain in Paris, France
While in Paris celebrating our first wedding anniversary, Austin and I decided on a whim to have some professional photos taken around the city. We set out with our photographer on a rainy October morning to explore by foot, camera and umbrellas in hand. IT RAINED BUCKETS. But we had so much fun braving the weather and have sweet (if damp) photos by which to remember our anniversary.
Lunches at our Le Marais apartment in Paris, France
While in Paris, we rented a perfect little apartment in Le Marais, surrounded by cheesemongers, bakers, markets, wine shops — the makings of a splendid lunch. For all the fine dining we experienced, sitting across Austin as we leisurely nibbled cheese and bread with a bottle of rose takes the top spot.
Walking in solitude to the Trianon in Versailles, France
When we visited Versailles, we had no interest in taking the site’s train from the main palace to the Trianon and Petit Trianon. Instead, we walked for 20 minutes alongside the property facing the farm in near-solitude — our only companionship the palace’s sheep. It was surreal to be in such a crowded, frenetic place like Versailles with no one else in sight.
Stepping into the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland
Visiting this Olafur Eliasson-designed building was high on my list for our visit to Reykjavik, but I didn’t expect to be so totally overcome by the space. I spent at least an hour ascending the structure, taking dozens of photos and marveling to Austin about the sweeping glass work that framed the ocean.
My first live NFL game in Buffalo, NY
Paris, New York, Tulum, Reykjavik… Buffalo? Indeed. Seeing the raw excitement on my husband’s face as we watched the Bills take on the Chiefs will remain one of my most smiling travel memories from 2014.
[Our 2014 adventures: Buffalo, NY — Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON — Reykjavik, Iceland — Paris, France — Stratford, ON — Portland, ME — New York City, NY — Twenty Valley, ON — Longboat Key, FL — San Antonio, TX — Riviera Maya, Mexico — Dallas, TX]