It is that time of year again. With one year coming to an end and another beginning, I always find it the perfect time to take stock of where we are, what we’ve done, and what we hope to achieve in the new year.
2011 was a year of significant change for Rachel and I – some happy, some sad. No, things did not go exactly as we planned this year, but that’s nothing new. We feel fortunate for all that we have and for all that we have experienced, and we are very excited for the things we have lined up to participate in and share with you in 2012.
Here’s a quick recap of how the last 6 months went for us as we worked to transition out of our old lives and get this project and site up and running, as well as a look ahead to a few things we are working on for the coming year:
Where We’ve Been:
Six months ago, I sat in that office cubicle back in San Diego for the last time, putting the final touches on Rachel’s and my initial travel plans – plans that were intended to keep us out of the country up until right about now.
Our intentions were to tour all throughout Europe, participating in work-trade and volunteer opportunities all along the way. We left in early July and did not plan on returning to the States until my birthday, December 14, when we would spend the morning eating French pastries under the Eiffel Tower, and the evening eating the world’s greatest pizza (Lou Malnatti’s) in my old hometown and favorite city, Chicago.
Needless to say, things did not go as planned.
In early-to-mid August, while working on the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy, we learned that my beautiful and loving Grandmother, Ruth, had become terminally ill. The severity of her illness quickly became obvious, so Rachel and I made arrangements to return home to see her and to spend time with family.
50 days from the date we left, we found ourselves back in the States. Given the circumstances, there was nowhere else we wanted to be.
My Grandmother passed shortly after our arrival back in the US, but not before Rachel was able to meet her for the first time. We felt extremely fortunate to be there and spend time with her over the course of her last few “good” days. Ever-smiling, she was a bright spirit who’s love brought the individuals of our large and loving family together, quite literally from the far ends of the Earth.
Following our time with family, Rachel and I decided to make the most of our new-found time back home and set out to explore and volunteer in some of the most popular tourist destinations in the US which we’d never taken the time to visit, to see what all the fuss is about.
What we learned: Americans truly do not need to go overseas to enjoy some of the most beautiful sites and scenery in the world!
Our 10-week journey has lead us back to our friends families in Sacramento and San Diego, and it is now Christmastime. We are enjoying spending time with them and taking in a few final days of rest and relaxation, before our next round of adventures begin…
What’s to Come:
December 28th starts a new period of volunteer and and adventure travel for Rachel and I, taking us to many destinations that neither of us have ever been but have always dreamed of going, including but not limited to:
- New Zealand
Activities & Partnerships
In keeping with our Mission & Vision, we continue to target sustainable travel opportunities that mix both elements of adventure and volunteerism.
We are working on finalizing a few different partnership arrangements that will allow us to bring greater exposure to activities and projects around the world that cater to each of these interests by providing exciting and meaningful experiences in a responsible way.
Our first trips in 2012 will include a quieter, culture-focused experience in Fiji and a 3-week adventure travel experience in New Zealand. Stay tuned!
Simultaneous with our travels, volunteering and work to maintain our sites and the T|G|L|T Community on Facebook, Rachel and I also do our best to advance our own personal interests and projects. From time-to-time, our efforts towards these projects will manifest their way into content that we share on our sites and on Facebook.
My projects for the year are photography and yoga.
As many of you know, Rachel is an avid yogi – both student and teacher – who shares her inspirations for a happy and healthy life on her personal website, The Traveling Yogi.
Inspired by Rachel, as well as the geographic areas we will be visiting and my own personal interest in both the spiritual and physical practice of yoga, I will be making a conscious effort to improve my education and appreciation for yoga in the coming year. This will likely result in a series of inadvertantly comical and educational posts following my progression, which I will contribute to The Traveling Yogi.
As for photography, it will continue to be a personal project, since I just began my education and practice of photography in October of this year. I look forward to learning and improving much more in the coming year, and being able to share our experiences with all of you through photos of increasing quality and interest.
Thanks for your Support!
Rachel and I remain tremendously grateful for the support of each of you fans, followers and community members, and look forward to getting to know you more personally and growing this community with you in the year to come.
Next stop, Fiji!
Post on the Wall – Tell us your name and something about yourself, and attach a link to your site (if you have one) so we can all get to know you better.