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I really feel like I say it yearly, however yearly it feels increasingly more true: the final 12 months has flown by!

Whereas the COVID-19 pandemic is not actually “over,” journey restrictions eased significantly and a few semblance of “regular” journey returned in 2022, particularly within the second half of the 12 months. I traveled much more this 12 months than within the earlier two years (mixed, truly), and so I am returning to recapping my high 10 journey experiences out of a listing that features far more than simply 10 highlights.

Whereas nearly all of my journey this 12 months was returning the locations I have been earlier than, I nonetheless had tons of latest and memorable experiences!

2022 journey by the numbers

My 2022 travels (map created on TravellersPoint)

Here is my 12 months in journey by the numbers:

  • International locations visited: 6 – USA, Canada, United Kingdom (each England and Northern Eire), Eire, France, and Iceland
  • US states visited: 9 – New York, Washington DC (x3), Nevada, California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas
  • Complete flight legs: 33
  • Days on the street: 101 (roughly 28% of the 12 months)

Some notable issues that occurred this 12 months embrace:

  • My first worldwide journey since 2019! Elliot and I dusted off our passports (and he truly used his British passport for the primary time) once we went to London and Paris in Could. It was truly the one journey we took the place we needed to take COVID exams with us and check ourselves earlier than returning residence.
  • Lastly occurring the journey to Baffin Island that had been canceled and rescheduled a number of instances since 2020! (Extra on this later; it was superb, and definitely worth the wait.)
  • Getting COVID. Yup, it caught up with each Elliot and I this 12 months, him in January and me in April. Fortunately we each had gentle instances and recovered comparatively rapidly.
2022 travels

My high 10 journey highlights from 2022

And now on to the true purpose you got here to learn this publish: the journey highlights! A few of these are complete journeys, whereas others are elements of journeys that basically stood out.

As all the time, it was exhausting to slender this checklist down!

10. Discovering new corners of Eire

Amanda at Keem Beach on Achill Island
Me at Keem Strand on Achill Island

In late September, I went on a piece journey to the Republic of Eire, traveling with Globus Journeys on considered one of their new Alternative Touring journeys known as Inexperienced With Envy.

The tour was jam-packed with Eire highlights from Dublin to Galway, however the true stand-outs for me have been getting the prospect to discover extra of Westport in County Mayo (the place I even have some ancestry!) and visiting the wild and delightful Achill Island for the primary time.

Many vacationers do not like returning to locations they’ve already been, however I personally like it! I all the time uncover new issues on each journey.

>> Learn extra: 8 Fantastic Things to Do in Westport, Ireland

9. Getting horsey in Lexington

Amanda with race horse statues in Lexington
Me with some race horse statues in Lexington

As a self-professed “Horse Woman,” I’ve all the time wished to go to the Horse Capital of the World, AKA Lexington, Kentucky. However for no matter purpose, it did not occur till I used to be 35 years outdated!

I spent an extended weekend in Lexington this previous summer time, absorbing all of the horsey highlights like touring Keeneland Race Monitor, going to Kentucky Horse Park, visiting a thoroughbred breeding farm, and extra. I snuck in a distillery tour, some nice meals, and a little bit of Lexington historical past, too – there’s rather a lot to do in Lexington!

>> Learn extra: The Best Things to do in Lexington, KY: The Perfect 3-Day Itinerary

8. Cherry blossom insanity in DC

Amanda under a cherry blossom tree at the Tidal Basin
The scene behind me wasn’t truly tranquil in any respect, however the Tidal Basin at the least appears to be like beautiful!

I truly visited Washington, DC thrice in 2022, however my favourite go to was the impromptu weekend Elliot and I spent there in March with a view to see the blooming cherry blossom bushes.

We have been capable of plan the journey on a whim since we reside inside driving distance, and spent a weekend dodging the crowds (as a result of whew are there crowds!) and seeing as many white-pink blossoms as we might. Together with visiting the well-known Tidal Basin, we additionally had a cherry blossom-themed afternoon tea and went to the annual Blossom Kite Pageant.

This was a bucket checklist merchandise for me, and I am so glad I lastly acquired to do it! (I am going to write a information earlier than the subsequent cherry blossom season.)

7. Causeway coast in Northern Eire

Causeway Coast drone shot
The Causeway Coast is gorgeous! (Drone photograph taken by Elliot)

Elliot and I took a visit to rejoice his birthday this 12 months, and he determined he wished to go to Eire and Northern Eire for the primary time! We spent per week touring from Dublin to Belfast to Derry to Galway and again to Dublin, with the spotlight for me positively being all of the stops we made alongside the Causeway Coast in Northern Eire.

Stuffed with fortress ruins, secluded seashores, and epic coastlines, that is such a stupendous (and I believe underrated) place in Europe. Elliot beloved attending to fly our drone a couple of instances, and we lucked out with fairly good climate!

We additionally spent two nights at Galgorm, a spa resort with an out of doors thermal village that you simply most likely would by no means look forward to finding in the course of Northern Eire.

6. Desert street journey

Amanda on Movie Road in Alabama Hills
Me on “Film Highway” in Alabama Hills

One of many first journeys I took in 2022 was out West with my pal Kat from World Wide Honeymoon. We flew to Las Vegas and rented a automobile for per week to discover locations like Dying Valley, Alabama Hills, and Joshua Tree. We additionally hung out in Las Vegas, and visited each Pink Rock Canyon and Valley of Fireplace close to Vegas.

I really beloved each a part of this journey, however the spotlight for me I believe was the day we spent in Death Valley National Park. The climate was gentle in February, so we have been capable of do all of the hikes and see all of the wild landscapes.

>> Learn extra: The Perfect 7-Day California Desert Road Trip Itinerary

5. Going to the F1 USGP

Amanda and Elliot at the USGP in Austin
Elliot and I on the F1 USGP in Austin

One of many first issues Elliot and I splurged on after getting our COVID vaccines and feeling invincible was a visit to Austin, Texas to see the System 1 United States Grand Prix. Elliot has been watching F1 races since he was a toddler, however had by no means truly been to a race in-person!

We ended up having to postpone the journey from 2021 to 2022, however the wait was value it. We purchased Paddock Membership tickets, which meant entry to a hospitality suite above the pit lane, a particular behind-the-scenes paddock tour, pit lanes walks, and extra.

I am unsure we’ll ever spend that a lot on sporting tickets once more, but it surely definitely was cool for a weekend.

4. Iceland street journey

Amanda on Stokksnes in Iceland
Lastly visiting Stokksnes in Iceland was superior!

I’ve truly been to Iceland a number of instances since 2012, however I hadn’t but checked “driving the Ring Highway” off my bucket checklist. So when by mishap my pal Adventurous Kate needed to reschedule a deliberate Iceland street journey, I impulsively volunteered to tag alongside.

She took me up on the supply (I imply, splitting prices in Iceland isn’t a nasty concept), and we spent simply over 2 weeks in August exploring all completely different corners of Iceland. (And sure, I’ll ultimately publish our complete itinerary!)

A few of my private highlights have been re-visiting the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, spending a day within the lovable city of Husavik, driving by the East Fjords, chasing waterfalls alongside the South Shore, taking an in a single day journey to the Westman Islands, and visiting as many hot springs as we presumably might.

>> Learn extra: 25 Epic Things You Have to Do on Iceland’s South Coast (and What You Can Skip) and 10 Essential Tips for Visiting Iceland Hot Springs and Thermal Baths

3. London/Paris journey

Amanda with a red phone box and Big Ben in London
I am all the time glad in London!
Eiffel Tower with red flowers
Eiffel Tower in spring

The primary post-COVID (or, post-start-of-the-pandemic, I assume I ought to say) worldwide journey that Elliot and I took occurred in Could of this 12 months. We determined to deal with ourselves to a reasonably luxurious journey to London and Paris, staying in some good accommodations and splurging on some cool excursions and actions.

We did a number of touristy things in London, but in addition indulged in some afternoon teas and spent an evening on the uber-luxurious Shangri-La Resort inside The Shard. We then took the Eurostar to Paris, the place we have been the final word vacationers (Eiffel Tower? verify; Louvre? verify; Seine cruise? verify), and took a extremely enjoyable day journey to Versailles.

We largely had wonderful climate for the entire journey, and it felt unbelievable to be touring considerably “usually” once more.

>> Learn extra: The Perfect 10-Day London and Paris Itinerary for Your Dream Europe Trip

2. Mountaineering to see a volcano

Amanda looking at an erupting volcano
The hike was completely value it!

Okay, so this technically occurred throughout my Iceland street journey, but it surely deserves its personal call-out as a result of it was so epic!

As Kate and I have been planning the ultimate particulars of our Iceland journey, a volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula began erupting. It was near the place a volcano erupted for months in 2021, and there was already a partially-established mountaineering path to get near it. We instantly agreed that if it was nonetheless erupting once we arrived, we must do the hike.

We deliberate the hike for our first full day in Iceland, and headed from our Reykjavik lodge straight to the parking space for the hike. The hike was reasonably tough, being 8 miles whole round-trip with some elevation achieve in a couple of spots and a big, uneven lava subject to hike throughout for about an hour. Fortunately we have been ready with the proper gear plus snacks and water, and the Icelandic Climate Elves have been variety to us.

I do not suppose I am going to ever neglect cresting the ultimate little hill to see that volcano spewing molten lava. I gasped audibly, and couldn’t cease exclaiming “holy shit!” It was SO COOL.

Iceland volcano

We sat on a hill a protected distance away (with a number of different folks) and watched the lava for about an hour. Together with the sensible coloration of the lava, I used to be additionally amazed by the SOUND of lava churning in a crater; it gave the impression of a large lava washer!

Our timing ended up being good, as a result of by the point we left Iceland, the volcano had gone dormant as soon as extra.

>> Learn extra: I haven’t got a weblog publish about this one, however I did make this Reel on Instagram in regards to the hike!

1. Baffin Island safari

Amanda in the Arctic
Me within the Arctic

Lastly, probably the most memorable and epic expertise of my 12 months was the one I waited the longest for. I had first booked this journey in February 2020 for that summer time, after which had it canceled and rescheduled twice due to the pandemic. Nicely, it was positively definitely worth the wait!

In June, I packed up my warmest winter clothes and headed the furthest north I’ve ever been, to the group of Mittimatalik (AKA Pond Inlet) on the northern finish of Baffin Island within the Canadian territory of Nunavut.

I spent almost per week sleeping in a (very cosy) tent on high of not-yet-melted sea ice, spending my days touring by way of conventional sled to go to the floe edge the place the ice meets open ocean. We have been there to see what Mom Nature would present us, and she or he confirmed us every little thing from bowhead whales to a couple elusive narwhals.

This expedition-style journey was unbelievable in so some ways. It was the best factor on this planet to disconnect from the surface world and simply soak in all of the Arctic magic. Actually a once-in-a-lifetime expertise.

>> Learn extra: At the Edge of the World: A Floe Edge Safari on Baffin Island

Arctic landscape in Baffin Island
Arctic landscapes are superb

And that wasn’t even all of the journey I did in 2022! I additionally went to New York Metropolis, spoke at a convention in Memphis, lastly visited Franklin, Tennessee, and explored the Interior Banks in North Carolina for the primary time.

What a 12 months!

My “bests” of the 12 months

Listed here are a couple of random “bests” of 2022 that I assumed can be enjoyable to share.

Greatest new vacation spot: Nunavut and Dying Valley

Whereas most locations I visited this 12 months have been repeats for me, I did squeeze in a couple of new locations. My high favorites most likely should be Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada, and Death Valley National Park in California. (I can not select only one!) Each starkly lovely locations.

Greatest lodge: Shangri-La the Shard

Amanda taking a bubble bath at Shangri-La the Shard
Bubble tub within the clouds

We splurged on one night time at this London hotel, the place we slept within the largest mattress I’ve ever seen, took a bubble tub within the clouds (no joke, the lavatory had floor-to-ceiling home windows!), and went for a morning swim in an infinity pool on the 52nd flooring.

Greatest historic website visited: Manzanar

On my desert road trip, Kat and I spent a couple of hours exploring Manzanar Nationwide Historic Website within the California desert. This was the positioning of one of many camps that Japanese-People have been imprisoned at throughout WWII. I personally by no means discovered a lot about these “Conflict Relocation Camps” in class, so visiting and witnessing the historical past first-hand was each fascinating and shifting.

Greatest tour I took: Versailles bike tour or RIB boat tour in Iceland

Bikes along the Grand Canal at Versailles
Our Versailles bike tour was superior

One other tie! The primary is the day-long bike tour Elliot and I took from Paris to see the palace and gardens of Versailles. It was such an amazing day; we noticed the palace earlier than the crowds descended, shopped for lunch at an area market, and ate al fresco alongside the primary Versailles canal.

The second was the hour-long RIB boat safari Kate and I took in Heimaey within the Westman Islands in Iceland. We zipped round in a speedboat, seeing cool rock formations and caves and rocking out to music in between stops. It was simply pure FUN!

Greatest hike: Mulagljufur Canyon

Mulagljufur Canyon
Mulagljufur Canyon

I am not an enormous hiker, however I am not against tackling quick hikes when there are nice views promised! And by far one of the best hike I did this 12 months was into Mulagljufur Canyon in southern Iceland. This canyon is a bit difficult to get to (you must drive down a really bumpy unpaved street, after which hike uphill for at the least 45 minutes), and possibly due to that hasn’t been beloved to demise but.

Kate and I had the epic views all to ourselves for some time, and the hike was 1000% value it.

Greatest wildlife encounter: Crack whales

Bowhead whale in a crack in sea ice
A crack whale!

Whereas we noticed no polar bears and solely a pair narwhals on my “Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari” in Nunavut, we have been delighted many times by encounters with gigantic bowhead whales. Essentially the most distinctive encounter was once we stumbled upon a pair whales simply hanging out in a big crack within the ice. They have been shut sufficient that we might have reached out and touched them.

And there you will have it! One other 12 months executed, and one other highlights reel printed.

2023 is about to be much more travel-filled, with return journeys to a couple locations, and a number of other new adventures, too! I hope you will proceed following alongside.

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