2017 has been a relatively low key travel year for us. Yet, we managed to explore a different part of our beautiful planet almost every month! We are very blessed to be able to travel and never take our opportunities and priviledges for granted. Here’s a recap of all the destinations we navigated to in 2017.
Cruise Ships: 1
National Parks: 7
Miami, Florida, USA
A perfect state to visit this time of the year, especially if you live in colder weather like we do and need an escape; a great airfare deal is not difficult to find after the new year and it’s still low season so you won’t be surrounded by crowds! If you have enough time, consider booking a cruise because you can find some absolute steals!
Sites Visited: South Beach
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
We went on a 5 day Carnival Cruise to Jamaica (our 44th country) and the Cayman Islands. Our day in Jamaica was spent at the Dunns River Falls, followed by some swimming and relaxing in the beautiful ocean waters of Ocho Rios.
Sites Visited: Dunns River Falls, Mama Beach
The sea was very choppy the day we arrived at the Cayman Islands, making it impossible for us to dock on time, resulting in just a few hours ashore. Thankfully, we had already been here before and didn’t feel as upset about it. The sea was so unpredictable that every time we stepped into the water, we were taking a huge risk!
Sites Visited: 7 Mile Beach
We conducted our first Spirited Navigators Tour to one of our favorite winter destinations, Banff National Park! It was such a wonderful experience for our guests, who were predominantly from warm climate AND for us! We really love the Banff area and were so happy to see our guests enjoying themselves just as much.
Sites Visited: Calgary, Banff National Park, Yoko National Park, Lake Louise
One of the most epic experiences of our lifetime and certainly this year was exploring Finland in all its winter glory. We stayed in a glass igloo at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, went sleigh-riding led by reindeers, chased the northern lights while dog sledding, took horseback rides through the forests, ice floated in below freezing temperatures, met Santa at his village in Rovaniemi, experienced authentic wood burning Finnish sauna and topped it by jumping into a nearly frozen lake sans clothing…repeatedly! Oh and Finland was our 45th country!
Sites Visited: Helsinki, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Rovaniemi
Visiting Estonia from Finland is very easy to do and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see the historic city of Tallinn, and earn our 46th country badge in the process!
Sites Visited: Old Town
Vermont is one of our favorite states to explore during the autumn months, but we decided to head up north in the most off season month, April; when it’s neither winter nor spring (visually that is). You definitely have the place (and we mean the entire state) to yourself when you go during non peak seasons.
Sites Visited: Stowe, Burlington, Woodstock, Bennington, Newport, Montpelier
Huntsville, Alabama, USA
TBEX North America was in Huntsville, Alabama and we did not want to miss an opportunity to visit one of our southern states! This makes state no. 39! We have to say, Huntsville was so much more green than we could ever have imagined. Dinner under the Saturn V at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center was the absolute highlight!
Sites Visited: US Space and Rocket Center
Savannah, Georgia, USA
We’ve been to Georgia before but Savannah had been on the list for a long while; happy to say, it made the list as one of our favorite cities in the USA! We have no complaints about the city of squares, food and of course, Forrest Gump (except the heat but that is neither here nor there).
Sites Visited: Womsloe Historic Site, Bonaventure Cemetery
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Charleston is constantly voted as no. 1 city in the USA and we wanted to see what the fuss was about. The gorgeous homes and delicious food stole our hearts (and stomachs)!
Sites Visited: Angel Oak
Nova Scotia, Canada
Sites Visited: Peggy’s Cove, Cape Breton Island
State no. 40! National Park no. 13, National Forest no. 15 (still a long way to go on both) AND Spirited Navigators Tour no. 2! That’s right. We did TWO tours this year. In a week we covered the city of Portland and all its delicious eats, the serenity of Mt Hood and the Timeberline Lodge, which served as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in the film, The Shinning. We spent a weekend in Crater Lake National Park, a day road tripping parts of the Oregon coast and even stopping for some delicious cheese and tomato soup at the Tilamook Cheese Factory! All kinds of milestones in this trip.
Sites Visited: Portland, Mt. Hood National Forest, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Coast
Arizona is on our list of top 3 states, that’s how much we love it! We seem to come back yearly but this time it was truly extraordinary. Imagine spending 8 days, rafting down 226 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon with no access to the outside world. There is nothing quite like it. Saadia spent a few years trying to make this happen, then a year ago, she finally made the leap and committed to it. Once it was over, it left a lasting impression and quite the change from within.
Sites Visited: Phoenix, Grand Canyon National Park, Flagstaff, Sedona
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Good ole Vegas; always a great place to go when you just want to escape the daily routine of life but not necessarily throw yourself into wilderness. A few days in Vegas is always uplifting in the most unusual of ways.
Sites Visited: Seven Magic Mountains
The gem of all gems; we never give up an opportunity to explore this beautiful country. It is our single most visited country in the world! While Saadia was in the Grand Canyon, Kapil headed to Zermatt where he had a different kind of extraordinary experience himself. Hiking to the suspension bridge in Randa is an experience we highly recommend when visiting the region; like all of Switzerland, it is breathtaking.
Sites Visited: Randa, Matterhorn
Maine is an incredibly vibrant and seriously underrated city. We’ve been there during the summer and autumn months and while they are both wonderful times to visit, autumn definitely is the clear winner for us. We cannot wait to go back in the depths of winter to photograph this quiet giant.
Sites Visited: Bangor, Acadia National Park, Moosehead Lake Region
Pennsylvania is not our favorite state in the country, but during the autumn months and holiday season, all the small towns of this state turn into the cutest places for day and weekend trips. From train rides, historic towns, haunted homes, famous Christmas markets and the oldest bookstore in the country (second oldest in the world), there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Sites Visited: Jim Thorpe, Bethlehem
London, United Kingdom
We attended the World Travel Market for the first time and gained an incredible amount of insight! This was a crazy, fast paced 3 days for us. We didn’t get to do much in London itself, but managed to have Afternoon Tea at Aqua Chard, which we do not recommend & visited Hatchards, the oldest bookshop in UK, which was a gem!
Sites Visited: Aqua Shard, Hatchards Book Shop
Paris is a second home to us. The minute we step foot in this stunning city, we are overcome with comfort, joy, pure happiness and a sense of belonging. We have been here so many times and yet, we discover something new each time. A city we can never be tired of and one that we hope to continue to visit regularly (hopefully yearly soon)!
Sites Visited: Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Musee D’Orsay
New York, New York, USA
We practically live in New York City given how often we are here, yet, if we happen to not travel for the holidays, then we always spend it in the city. New York is no Paris, but it is quite lovely during the Christmas festivities.
Sites Visited: Rockefeller Center, Grand Central, Christmas Markets, Time Square
And that’s a wrap for us in 2017!
Where did you travel to this past year? What are your plans for 2018?
Share below, we’d love to hear from you!
And now that we are on Day 1 of 2018, we wish each and every one of you a wonderful, positive, healthy, happy, loving, prosperous and travel filled new year!