With 2008 gone and 2009 just starting, it's time to take a look at the things that were and the things that are yet to be. For a traveler, this yearly assessment generally revolves around, well, travel. Where did you go? What did you see? Did your travel goals reach fruition? What's in the works for the new year? But it's not all reminiscing and dreaming. It's organization. Careful examination of where we've been and where we want to go can help keep us on track in our quests to make travel a priority.
When I look at my own 2008 travelogue I see a year that was one of the busiest yet. Everything started with the big move to Paris in February. Finishing my graduate studies turned into hanging around for the summer and a mid-October return meant that I spent more than half of 2008 overseas. Living in France allowed me to travel around the country to visit new and familiar locales, including Normandy, Champagne, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, the Mediterranean coast and the French Alps. A weekend in Belgium brought the foreign country total to two, but I do wish I had spent more time exploring France's neighbors. Next time. In addition to Europe there was the return to Washington, DC and a fair amount of time spent in Minnesota. Overall, a banner year for a favorite pastime.
2008 ended on a high note, as December brought one of my proudest travel milestones to date: the expiration of my first passport. With ten years of international travel (and quite possibly the most hideously embarrassing passport photo ever) behind me, I'm ready to satisfy my travel bug in 2009 and beyond. A new job will keep me in DC and will probably, in the short term, limit my ability to go abroad for long periods of time, so I plan to take advantage of my eastern U.S. home base with plenty of day and weekend trips. New York City is a priority, the Atlantic coast would be nice, and the history buff in me simply has to check out a Civil War battlefield or two. Will I get back to my ultimate travel destination, Paris, this year? There's nothing in the works so far, but all it would take is good deal on a plane ticket and the promise of a melt-in-your-mouth pain au chocolat to get me to go. Stay tuned. Whatever 2009 might bring, I look forward to sharing the adventure with you!