Happy New Year, friends! I do love the start of a new year. It’s an excuse to reflect on a parcel of time, to reminisce about the things that have passed, and to plan for the year at hand. (Confession: I do make resolutions, even though I know they never work!)
Accordingly, it’s the time to write a 2016 Year in Review post, something that has become somewhat of a happy tradition here at Wandering Footsteps (for me if not for anyone else). And so, in lieu of my Monthly Wrap-Up, let it be today a Yearly Wrap-Up.
Bruno and I rang in 2015 in the desert of Sudan, bush camping by sand dunes and snorkelling on the best coral reef I’ve ever experienced while awaiting passage on a ferry that would take us out of Africa and into the Middle East. 2015 then became a year of incredible travel statistics – 13 new countries, 4 continents, and 2 massive road trips.
This time last year we rang in the New Year with extended family at a luxurious villa in Morocco. And somehow, 2016 has ended up being about those things – being in homes and being with loved-ones.
If you’ve followed Wandering Footsteps this year, you know that we haven’t been as mobile (read “exciting” – this is a travel blog, after all) as previous years. 2016 has involved a lot of living in homes-without-wheels (much to Bruno’s dismay!). We spent almost three months living in our home in southern France, the entire summer at my parents’ home in New Brunswick, several weeks living at the home of our family friends in Toronto, returned to our home in France for three weeks, and just spent Christmas in an Air BnB cottage in Los Angeles (more on that in a future post).
While I have enjoyed getting a chance to build a routine, cook a lot, and appreciate the bit of extra comfort that living in a home allows, I admit that we may have overdone it this year with our home living!
Along with our newfound domesticity this year, we did a lot of socializing (much to Bruno’s dismay, again – I have a feral man for a husband!). We started the year off with family in Morocco, and then showed an old friend of mine what living in Totoyaya was like, also in Morocco. This spring, we spent a lot of time with Bruno’s French family, and I also received a visit from an old English friend of mine. This summer, I visited a couple friends in New York and Washington, DC, and then spent the summer and fall introducing Bruno to our long-time friends and family from New Brunswick to Toronto and down to New York City as well. Last but not least, we returned to France to host Bruno’s extended family at our home for another mini family-reunion.
We’ve never had this social of a year, ever! I am eternally grateful to all the people who hosted us and visited us this year. It filled my heart with warmth and love, though, yet again, we may have overdone it slightly (can you tell we’re all or nothing people?). I do expect that now that we’re in North America, the trend of seeing family and friends will continue in 2017. Mark your calendars!
Though our 2016 New Year’s party couldn’t have foretold this, 2016 has, importantly, been the year of searching for a new home-on-wheels. Things started when we put our Totoyaya up for sale in the spring, and then Bruno spent a challenging month in France studying to pass his truck driver’s license so that we could buy something larger than our current Toyota Land Cruiser. Our search for the new vehicle began in earnest this fall in Canada and has continued, without success, here in the Southwest USA. I hope that 2017 will bring us great luck in quickly finding our new vehicle so that we can convert it into a home-on-wheels and hit the road! 2016 has been fun, but both Bruno and I are eager to re-embark on our normal life.
Even though our year hasn’t involved as much travel as usual, it has still been a year rich of experiences. I’d like to leave you with some of Wandering Footsteps’ 2016 highlights, challenges, and biggest lessons learned.
Highlights of the Year
If the past two New Year’s moments set the tone for the year, then I wonder what tone we have just set for 2017? Whatever it is, I’ve learned this past year (well, ok, I’m still learning) to accept it with gratitude.
May 2017 bring you all many things for which you can be grateful – moments of pleasure and of stillness, opportunities for learning, and connection with others. What do you hope 2017 will bring your way?