Wanderings & Ramblings
Goodbye2016, Hello2017

Goodbye2016, Hello2017

This was my view while doing yoga by the beach - it couldn't have been more peaceful.
This was my view while doing yoga by the beach – it couldn’t have been more peaceful.

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2016, and Hello 2017.

A brand new year – new adventures and experiences to look forward to. But first – let’s rewind a little.

Sometimes, you don’t even realize how fast life is moving. The rhythm of everyday life seems to take over, and you find yourself in a routine.

I haven’t been able to write recently because I have been stuck in the monotony of the adult routine. Since I graduated university, my life has been a series of days where I wake up, go to work, come home to relax and sleep – only to repeat the process the next day. And sure, there are weekends and evenings. But when you work a second job (as I currently do), there is not a lot of time left to go on adventures. Or even to catch up with friends.

But I have also been quite lucky.

In the brief term between my two contracts, I was able to go on one bigger adventure.

If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat – any of those social media sites – you probably would have seen my barrage of posts from the beautifully captivating Hawaii.

In October, for 10 days, my family went to Waikiki, Hawaii. I have traveled with my family many times throughout my life, but this trip was special. We also traveled with my aunt, my cousin and his wife, and their 2 kids – all of whom had never been before.

Not the best quality photo, but probably one of few where everyone is in the shot. First day in Hawaii!
Not the best quality photo, but probably one of few where everyone is in the shot. First day in Hawaii!
The pink skies and palm trees were probably the best parts about the evenings in Hawaii. I could get used to seeing this from my window.
The pink skies and palm trees were probably the best parts about the evenings in Hawaii. I could get used to seeing this from my window.
Being a fan of Hawaii Five-O, it was only right that I visited and got a photo at this iconic building! I was like a little kid, smiling ear to ear.
Being a fan of Hawaii Five-O, it was only right that I visited and got a photo at this iconic building!

It was so cool to experience Hawaii again. I absolutely loved it the first time. In all honesty, I had wanted to go somewhere else this trip, like Mexico or Central America, but I’m so glad it was Hawaii. We had such an amazing time!

From relaxing at the beach, to shopping until we dropped; from luaus and the Polynesian Cultural Center, to waterfalls and hiking volcanic craters; from zip lining in the valley, to doing yoga at the beach. Every experience was made far more interesting and enticing with my awesome family.

The sun goes down so fast in Waikiki, but it always beautiful. And sometimes you get amazing shots like this.
The sun goes down so fast in Waikiki, but it always beautiful. And sometimes you get amazing shots like this.

We all had such a great time adventuring together. Levi got to do flips all over the island; Madison and I got to hang out as cousins, chilling in floaties on the ocean, shopping, and zip lining. Everyone had such a great trip (except maybe my brother who was sick with the flu for most of the time – but he still made appearances on outings).

Some highlights, you ask? Well, there were too many good adventures, but I will try to limit it to a few amazing moments.

Our day at Kualoa Ranch was definitely a highlight for everyone. Madison and I went on a zip lining adventure in the valley. We hiked, curled up like coconuts to make it down a line, bet ice cream to drop a kakui nut in a bucket, and made it across a suspension bridge with some difficulties. The rest of the family toured the ranch, seeing numerous filming locations for movies, like Pearl Harbor, Jurassic Park, King Kong, 50 First Dates, and soooo many others. It is such a cool place and I highly recommend it! On our way back, we even had time to stop at Waimea Falls for Levi to swim.

We spent an entire day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, learning about all of the Polynesian cultures, watching shows, eating amazing food, and seeing a luau. It was a long day, but fun and interesting! Other days – we hiked Diamond Head, an inactive volcanic crater that was used as a base during the wars; we shopped at Ala Moana mall, an expensive outdoor shopping mall; and we toured Pearl Harbor and hit up the flea market at the stadium.

The others went on an excursion to swim with dolphins and the turtles one day, while my family went on an amazing catamaran boat ride along the southern coast of the island another day. We all got to have our amazing adventures and experiences, enjoying the beaches, the views, and the fun.

There's a funny story here - but essentially this was during our backstage tour at the Polynesian Cultural Center. (And yes, I promise, I am tanned.)
There’s a funny story here – but essentially this was during our backstage tour at the Polynesian Cultural Center. (And yes, I promise, I am tanned.)
The views of the coast and Diamond Head were amazing while we cruised the ocean on the catamaran.
The views of the coast and Diamond Head were amazing while we cruised the ocean on the catamaran.
One of my favourites of my photos - surfboards galore!
One of my favourites of my photos – surfboards galore!
You can only get these in Hawaii - so my last few days, I had to have a few!
You can only get these in Hawaii – so my last few days, I had to have a few!

Funny enough, we were in Hawaii during Canadian Thanksgiving. While my friends ate turkey dinners at a table with their families, my family sat down to a lovely meal at Cheeseburger in Paradise – yes, that was our Thanksgiving dinner, and it was awesome.

It was a truly awesome trip, and I will cherish the memories forever.

Of course, I tried to have other small adventures after that.

Around Halloween, I went with my brother and friends (the twins) to check out a corn maze that had craft beers! Long story short – there was a really long line-up, but the corn maze had fallen over due to a storm. Somehow, we lucked out and were given tickets to get in for free! It was a pretty fun day.

I went on a “date” with my grandpa to see Mary Poppins when my grandma was sick. Funnily enough, a friend of mine from high school was in the show! It was a fantastic show and a great night. Just before Christmas, I went out on a Friday night to stand in the snow for the CP Holiday Train. Even though I couldn’t feel my feet, and feared losing a toe to frostbite, I got to see Dallas Smith (one of my favourite country artists) live for the second time in 2016. It was a great night (I mean, once I gained feeling in my feet again, haha!).

The holidays came quickly, and for me, they were all about relaxing now that I’m working full time. But that didn’t stop me from a little adventure either.

One of my best friends, Brittany, had never been to Victoria. As it is one of my favourite cities, I decided that I wanted to show her around the amazing city!

Just chilling in an unsquished section of a very sad corn maze.
Just chilling in an unsquished section of a very sad corn maze.
The gorgeous sunrise from the ferry. Even though we were exhausted from a 5.30am wake-up call, the sunrise was totally worth it.
The gorgeous sunrise from the ferry. Even though we were exhausted from a 5.30am wake-up call, the sunrise was totally worth it.
The Parliament Buildings in Victoria look so pretty lit up at Christmas!
The Parliament Buildings in Victoria look so pretty lit up at Christmas!

For those not from the area, you have to take a ferry to get to Victoria, which is on Vancouver Island. As we had an interesting experience with a ferry ride in Ireland, ferries have become kind of a joke in our group of friends. Nonetheless, we had a great trip over and back, enjoying the views from the ferry.

The two days we spent on the island were perfect. I got to show my best friend all my favourite places to grab sandwiches, get a great shot of the Parliament Buildings or Empress, and my favourite pub to grab a pint to finish a great day. Not to forget walking the breakwater and checking out the little town of Sidney before heading out.

Because on cold days, you just have to drink warm, delicious tea out of dainty tea cups. And people watch.
Because on cold days, you just have to drink warm, delicious tea out of dainty tea cups. And people watch.
The sun setting behind the beautiful Parliament Buildings.
The sun setting behind the beautiful Parliament Buildings.
This is Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown, Victoria, and it is the narrowest street in Canada. It is really cool!
This is Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown, Victoria, and it is the narrowest street in Canada. It is really cool!

And a sort of precursor to something even bigger.

Again, if you follow me on any social media, you will see that I posted some exciting news not so long ago. Brittany and I are going to be backpacking Europe for 2 months this spring!

I couldn’t be any more excited.

Ever since I left Ireland and Europe two years ago (I still can’t believe it’s been two whole years), all I have been thinking about is going back. There are still so many places to explore, cultures to encounter, so much food to try!

As Brittany didn’t get to do the backpacking thing like I did, we are going to a couple places that I have already been to – but I’m ecstatic! The places I am repeating are some of my favourite cities. Plus, we will be going to many more countries and cities that I have never been to before.

Selfies with the Christmas-y Parliament buildings!
Selfies with the Christmas-y Parliament buildings!

But as I plan and prepare for this amazing trip, I have resolved not to neglect this blog again. Although I might try writing some different kinds of posts – more focused on travel itself instead of simply my travels – I want to continue to write about adventures that I take leading up to my trip and during.

Otherwise, look for me on social media, as I am ever-present in one way or another.

So here’s to the adventures that I will seek in 2017, and I hope you all live the adventure, too.

May the road rise up to meet ya.

From

JH

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