2018: A Year in Review

Ah 2018. Another year of travel in the books with a number of firsts along the way. Looking back at the very beginning of 2018, we had no idea the experiences we would have and the new places we would visit. No doubt the year went by fast, however if you take the time to sit back and reflect on what you have accomplished and experienced, it makes the year seem more meaningful and richer than just living day to day. Without further ado, here was our 2018:

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

As an avid avgeek, I use OpenFlights to track all of our flights, which comes in handy when you need to look back at where you’ve been. 2018 was our most travelled yet, as we travelled to new countries, new continents, and marched futher towards our goal of visiting all 50 US states. Both working in finance, we love some great statistics, so here we go:

Miles flown: 124, 261 over 88 separate flights (full disclosure, this does include about 25,000 miles flown for work)

Time flying: 12 days, 4 hours, and 9 minutes

Longest flight: 6,529 mile San Francisco to Auckland, NZ

Shortest flight: 24 miles Stiegler’s Gorge Airstrip to Mtemere Airstrip in Tanzania

Countries visited: 12

New countries visited: 2

US states visited: 27 (+5 Canadian provinces!)

New US states visited: 10 (+4 Canadian provinces!)

 

Kyle’s Favourite Trip

 

For a number of years I had been dreaming of doing a camping trip through the San Juan mountains of Colorado, and completing the famous Alpine Loop, which you can read about here and here.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

This past August we made the long trek from Chicago out to Colorado and were able to complete that dream. The high alpine views were spectacular and better than I had imagined.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

We also experienced the Great Sand Dunes, which you can read about our scary first night tenting here and Denver (read about our day in Denver here) on that trip and had an absolute blast!

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

Bettina’s Favourite Trip

 

Although we were only in Cancun for less than 48 hours, it was the most relaxing trip all year (get my full review here).

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

Having heard other people rave about Mexico and the temperature in Chicago still freezing cold in April, I couldn’t wait to spend some time at the beach and enjoy the sun.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

Staying at the Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun, the trip was everything you could imagine – pristine beaches, warm water, a beautiful pool area, and more guacamole and chips that I could eat.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

Should winter be just as long as last year, we might escape to Mexico for a weekend again!

 

Other Highlights

 

Tanzania

One of our most recent, and most exotic, trips was to Tanzania which was also amazing. Going on safari was a definite highlight and better than we could have imagined! We thought we’d be lucky to see one giraffe far in the distance running away, but instead, we saw hundreds far and wide. You can read about our safari here and here and our exploration of Dar es Salaam here.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

New Zealand

Of course, how could we forget our first trip venturing into the Southern Hemisphere! Heading down to New Zealand (for only four days no less), was a trip we will not forget about anytime soon, and is a place that we have pegged to visit again in the near future.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

We had a great time exploring the beautiful countryside, which you can read about here, as well as Auckland (read about here), and everything in between (Geothermal Wonderland and Lake Taupo).

 

Eastern Canada Roadtrip

Lastly, we spent the fourth of July on a great American road trip – to Canada – and explored the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

The weather was great, the people were friendly, and we covered a lot of ground, however we are most proud to have eaten seafood and ice cream on each day of the trip! You can read about our trip here, including Prince Edward Island, historic Peggys’ Cove and Lunenburg Nova Scotia, and the impressive Bay of Fundy here.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

We also thoroughly enjoyed a weekend in Paris, a few days in Bruges, a family get together in Venice and the Dolomites, visiting Montreal, exploring Charleston, and eating our way through New Orleans!

 

The Next Trip in 2019

 

We’re not wasting any time in 2019, starting the year off in Switzerland our first flight will be heading back to Chicago on January 2nd. Shortly after, we will be heading back to Iceland for a weekend in January hoping to catch some Northern Lights. Looking further into the future we hope to round out all 50 US states, so that means trips to hotspots like Hawaii, Alaska, and North Dakota (?), as well as Tennessee, North Carolina, Utah, and New Mexico. We will likely also have a small handful of trips to Europe and hopefully somewhere else warm and sunny! Stay tuned for more adventures on The Next Trip in 2019 and thank you for being here!

 


 

Fun Times at the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is well known for extreme tides and the rock formations that result from the tidal erosion. The thing about tides is, they kind of just happen without regard to your travel plans and when you plan to be near the water. We had a bit of a late start leaving Halifax (which you can read about here) and so missed the low tide in the morning when we arrived at Hopewell Cape on the Bay of Fundy in the afternoon. (You can learn about the technical aspect of the tides here and check out the tidal timing here.) Luckily for us, there are two high and two low tides each day, that’s semidiurnal for those in the know.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

We arrived just after high tide and walked around to the various viewpoints to take pictures. The views were good, but not quite the awe-inspiring vision we had in mind and saw during our online research.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

With the two high and low tides each day there is about six hours separating each extreme. The tides here are considered the highest in the world. Twice each day 160 billion tonnes of water flows in and out of the Bay of Fundy. The tides peak at around 16 metres (50 feet) which is as high as a five-story building!

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Having seen the bay at high tide which meant that a few walkways were barred off and covered in water, we expected the landscape to change dramatically at low tide. We had planned ahead and knew we would have a bit of a wait, and so enjoyed a picnic in the afternoon sun while the tides were changing.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

A few short hours later we headed back to the viewpoints on the Bay of Fundy and were awestruck at how much everything had changed. Where did all of the water go?

 

Low Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

The tide movement is even more spectacular when you compare high and low tide moments next to each other.

 

High Tide

 

High Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

Low Tide

 

Low Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

High Tide

 

High Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

Low Tide

 

Low Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

We were able to walk around the newly exposed seafloor and take pictures as the sun began to set in the distance.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Shop Bettina's Look:

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

The extreme tides here are very special to see and you won’t believe it until you see it yourself!

Not far away from Hopewell Cape is the village of Alma, which experiences the extreme tides right in its harbour.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fisherman here definitely are aware of the tides and store their boats on stands! How they got the boats on the stands in the first place is beyond me.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

We really enjoyed our evening drive along the Bay of Funday and south to Saint John as the setting sun brought new views around each bend in the road and revealing the beauty of the Canadian Maritime Province.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Bettina was especially smitten with the fields of daisies.

 

Field of Daisies New Brunswick

 

Field of Daisies New Brunswick

 

Field of Daisies New Brunswick

 

We arrived in Saint John late in the evening and needed to leave fairly early for our long drive back to Boston. Even though it’s not usually our strong suit, we managed to get up early in order to take a short walk around the city before heading out.

 

Sunrise in Saint John

 

Sunrise in Saint John

 

Morning Walk in Saint John

 

We enjoyed walking around the Saint John harbour the most. There is no doubt that the waterfront would be buzzing with life on warm summer afternoons or any time after 8am, which is when we were there.

 

Morning Walk in Saint John

 

We even spotted Theodore Tugboat on vacation from Halifax this summer.

 

Theodore Tugboat in Saint John

 

Our drive back to Boston was fairly uneventful. We wanted to leave with lots of extra time as border waits and holiday traffic can be unpredictable. We spent a grand total of 2 minutes waiting in line to cross the border, and stopped at the nearest gas station to fill up the car where we met this friendly Canadian ready to celebrate the Fourth of July!

 

Dog with Hat and Glasses in Convertible

 

Would you go on a trip over Fourth of July to get more use of your day off? Or would you fear you’re missing out on celebrations at home? Let us know in the comments below!

 


 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

Arriving in Nova Scotia was a highlight for us, as we had now reached all three of the Maritime Provinces.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

We started our day in Lunenburg, a UNESCO world heritage site, and home to many colourful buildings. It was, unfortunately, a bit of a cloudy and grey morning, but you wouldn’t know it looking at all of the colourful houses!

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

A few more houses in case you didn’t get the idea.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Lunenburg is full of old and historical buildings. The Bank of Montreal branch made us feel like we were transported back in time or landed in a Harry Potter movie.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

The town has a rich history of agriculture, fishing, and ship-building. You may have heard of, or at least seen the most famous ship built here, the Bluenose, featured prominently on the Canadian dime. The commemorative replica, the Bluenose II, was docked in Lunenburg during our visit.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

We left Lunenburg relatively soon (not completely unrelated to me being freezing cold and the views being quite grey). In the hope for more sunshine, we drove to Peggy’s Cove and were amazed by the views! It was at this point that Nova Scotia completely stole our hearts.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Seeing the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse from a distance was simply breathtaking.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Once we actually arrived at Peggy’s Cove we loved walking around and exploring the small fishing community.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

I was worried Peggy’s Cove would be an over-hyped tourist destination, but we found the place surprisingly undeveloped, and almost magical. Walking around the village you can get a real sense of the simple life of the people that lived here (before all the tourists arrived) and the struggle of living right on the wild Atlantic Ocean.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is clearly the star of the show here.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

We could have walked around the lighthouse for hours. Even though there were a few tourists there, the place felt calm and we enjoyed watching the waves break on the rounded rocks.  Peggy's Cove is exactly what we thought Nova Scotia would be like and we highly recommend you visit.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Shop My Style

 

My necklace is by GLDN and my purse is from the cutest Chicago online boutique called White Elephant Designs. I linked a similar one below.

 

 

After some delicious mint chocolate ice cream sorbet, we were on the road again, pointed North towards Halifax - the capital of Nova Scotia.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

We saved our exploring of the city for the next day, so sought out a restaurant for dinner and can highly recommend the seafood at Five Fisherman. Our selection for the evening included local Mussels, PEI oysters, a shrimp cocktail, brussels sprouts and some lobster mash for good measure.  We also dared each other to take ever-increasing dips of wasabi on our shrimp. There were no winners. 😀

Also, if you are still keeping score, we were now three for three on the seafood and ice cream challenge.

 

The next morning we were greeted with sunshine as we walked around the Halifax waterfront and explored the city.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

 

As we walked around the waterfront, we came across a few very Canadian food booths. We'll leave it up to you to guess whether we had Beavertails, Poutine, or Cow's Ice Cream for breakfast.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

The city has a large number of historical buildings, almost all of which have a view of the harbour as the city is situated on a hill overlooking the bay.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

If you have more time to spend in the city there are also a number of museums dedicated to the extensive history and culture of the area.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

As we were preparing to head back out on the road, we had one last ‘attration’ to see. Every day (other than Christmas) at 12 noon, a canon is being fired from Citadel Hill as a tribute to Halifax’s history as a major stronghold for the British. We drove up near Citadel Hill just before noon and waited.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Now, we knew it was going to happen, and when it was going to happen (give or take a minute) and we still jumped out of our skins. It was LOUD! And with that we were off with a bang heading West!

 

Have you been to the East Coast of Nova Scotia? Have you ever tried Beavertails? Let us know in the comments below!


 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

After a day of driving, we were ready to tour Canada's most densely populated province: Prince Edward Island. Manhattan this is not, as its capital Charlottetown, is home to about half of the 150,000 people that call this island home. Most people arriving in Prince Edward Island will begin their sightseeing about 12.9km away as they cross the Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

We stopped at the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre just before you begin the drive across the bridge to get the best views and can highly recommend it.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

From here you can walk around on the sandy beach and dip your toes in the (frigid) waters of the Northumberland Strait. Fun fact: The Confederation Bridge is the longest bridge in the world over ice-covered waters, and it even cuts cool patterns in the ice! (see these pictures here).

 

Confederation Bridge - A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Confederation Bridge - A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Driving around PEI we were immediately at ease and got a sense of the relaxed pace of island life.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

The province is mostly rural, containing lots of sprawling fields and farms. Summertime is a great time to visit PEI as lupins are in full bloom around the island in vibrant colours of purple, pink, and white!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Of course, Bettina couldn’t resist a picture or two amongst the flowers (while trying not get to stung by a bee)!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Shop Bettina's Look

 

Her necklaces are from GLDN and she wears them almost every day.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Arriving at to the entrance gate of Prince Edward Island National Park, we were getting our wallets out to pay the entrance fee, where the friendly park ranger informed us that *unfortunately* due to it being Canada Day, the entrance was free!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

We quickly spent all the money we saved though as we came across Richard’s, an island-favourite fish shack serving up delicious lobster rolls and fish and chips.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

It was possibly the freshest fish and chips we had ever eaten and we would go back any time!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

We strolled around the beach a little bit but left for Charlottetown soon as the dark clouds rolled in.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Charlottetown is a very quaint, historic town, and easily walkable. We really enjoyed wandering the streets,  checking out the many boutiques, historical houses, and waterfront path.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

As we were walking along, minding our own business, we came across a formed crowd around a blue waterfront building. It was Cow's Ice Cream!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Cow’s has been scooping up old-fashioned ice cream with some very clever names for decades and is considered one of the world’s best places to get ice cream. On a summer day by the ocean who can resist ice cream? This was the second day of our road trip and so far we were two for two on having seafood and ice cream each day.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

How about some Wowie Cowie, Caramel Moocchiato, Cowconut Cream Pie, or a classic Cownadian Maple? There’s just too many good ones.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Bettina couldn't resist spending some time talking and posing with the locals also.

 

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

After exploring the old town, we made our way to the Beaconsfield Historic House but were a bit late to check out the museum.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Instead, we followed the crowd and walked over to Victoria Park to take in some live music, views and festivities before heading out of the city to our next hotel. It was Canada Day after all!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Have you been to Prince Edward Island and sampled some Cow’s ice cream?


 

New Brunswick in June

Kyle and I decided to make the most out of July 4th - and spend it in Canada! 🙂 All joking aside, July 4th was the perfect time for us to go on a slightly longer trip as we could use the holidays as our day off and could save some PTO. Never having been to Canada's East Coast before, we decided to fly to Boston using the Southwest Companion Pass and drive north to explore the Canadian Maritime provinces - starting with New Brunswick.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

We got to Boston late on Friday evening and left the city heading North early the next morning. Having a 7 hour drive ahead and not knowing whether the border crossing was going to add additional travel time, we tried to get out as early as possible.

Of course, we couldn't hit the road without our mandatory stop at Starbucks...

 

 

...and some ice cream at Gifford's Famous Ice Cream. I went for the raspberry sorbet and must say it was really delicious.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Once we drove past Portland, civilization began to wane and we were more and more surrounded by trees and nothing else.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Very much to our surprise, we didn't see a single sign indicating that we were about to leave the United States and cross an international border into Canada. until about 1km away. If you weren't paying attention as to where you were driving, you could be in for quite the surprise! I was even more excited when we finally arrived in Canada and were greeted by familiar moose signs. Most people don't know this but New Brunswick is the only Canadian province which is officially bilingual and as such, all signs must be in English and French. "Attention" works out quite nicely for the French and English moose among us. 🙂

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Just before sunset, we arrived in Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick, and wandered around to explore the historic old town. Fredericton is a quaint Canadian city and definitely has a European feel to it.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Shop My Look

 

My purse is from a Chicago-based online boutique called White Elephant Designs.

My necklace is from GLDN and was a birthday present. I've been wearing it almost every day since.

 

 

New Brunswick in June

 

I enjoyed walking around the old streets, reading about some Canadian history, and watching everyone and their mother gather in the town square, getting ready for the Canada Day celebrations.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

We still had a two-hour drive ahead of us until we reached our final destination for the day and hit the road again, but not before stopping by a Tim Hortons and getting an espresso to keep us awake for the rest of the drive.

 

 

 

It was long day of driving but we were sure happy to be back (home) in Canada!

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Have you been to the Canadian East Coast? What was your favourite Province? Let us know in the comments below!