We're not gonna lie; 2015 has been pretty friggin' great. From launching our blog and living out in Hawaii for a month-and-a-half to our first media partnership and press trip sailing the waters of the British Virgin Islands, not only has this year included a ton of firsts, but it's also been one of the best years, like, EVER.
Together, we visited countless new cities and towns within four U.S. states, ticked a bunch of must-sees off our travel list, visited two new countries, stayed at our first Airbnb, worked with an amazing crew on a reality TV show, accepted a press trip and partnered with companies like Smartwool and The Outbound Collective to promote adventure travel. We've made two awesome videos, traveled more than 20,000 miles each and taken road trips totaling roughly 6,000 miles (a real bitch on our rental cars).
Conclusion: It was an incredibly busy year for us.
And as a result, we have a lot of highlights to share…
Our year started off in Costa Rica, where we were lucky enough to join the crew from Travel + Explore on their adventure through Guanacaste. We (along with our friend Andrew) spent some time exploring the country's expansive rain forest and swimming in the sulfuric runoff from waterfalls in Sensoria. The three of us extended our stay just a bit and road tripped the western peninsula in our little Daihatsu (which almost shit the bed more times than we could count). Here's what happened:
- Ignoring warnings from the travel guides, we decided to hike into the crater of an extinct volcano and then swim in the murky lagoon to cool off.
- A game-time decision led us to the Terciopelo caves in Barra Honda National Park, where we went spelunking for the first time.
- The folks over at Smartwool were kind enough to give us some of their newest merchandise and Hillary found the T-shirt of her dreams.
Next up was Hawaii, one of the few U.S. states neither one of us had ever been to. We were lucky enough to get hired by Ricky Schroder Productions to work on the third season of a TV show for the U.S. Army, which meant a six-week stay at a hotel in Waikiki.
- The two of us were lucky enough to enjoy a spontaneous weekend in Kauai, where we hiked a portion of the Na Pali Coast and saw the island from the shoulder-to-shoulder comfort of a helicopter.
- Though Oahu wasn't her favorite place (we can't love 'em all), Hillary did find love at Leonard's where she met the malasada.
- We also hiked the Olomana "Three Peaks" trail. This is probably one of the stupidest things we've ever done.
In September, the two of us had a break from work and decided to take another personal trip, this time to southern Utah/ northern Arizona. After mapping our route to see as much as possible, we flew out to Salt Lake City and started one of the best road trips we've taken to date.
- First there was Zion National Park, where we hiked The Narrows and Angel's Landing.
- We ticked off a HUGE bucket list item when we camped inside Monument Valley and visited the road Forrest Gump made famous (one of our most liked photos of the year!).
- Discovery was the name of the game when we decided to venture out after nightfall to this spot we can't tell you about.
- And Matt tells you how he got this shot (and how you can, too) at Arches National Park.
The British Virgin Islands rounds out our travel destinations list for the year. For about a week we learned to sail around the British Virgin Islands, overcoming sea sickness, heat and exhaustion, all while seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
- Here's an idea of why this place is considered paradise.
As we write this, we’re sailing around the BVIs preparing to welcome in the New Year off the coast of Virgin Gorda. Though this year has provided us with so many experiences, new friends and places to be thankful for, we're in no way planning to slow down our travels. After we finish up this press trip and all the deliverables that we promised are complete, we're planning to pursue a few exciting things like continuing to contribute to The Outbound Collective, experimenting with affiliate sales and guest posts, and, of course, planning for our next big adventures.
As soon as we have a chance to reflect on this past year and marinate some more on 2016, we'll be sure to share all our plans with you. It sure will be hard to top 2015, but, as always, we’ll be up for the challenge.