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36 In Recaps/ Travel/ Travel Talk

2016 Travel Roundup

Can you believe it?! 2017 is here! 2016 was a great year for me, but the end of the year means it’s time for my 2016 travel roundup + the opportunity to have 365 days of even more adventures! 2016 was a pretty amazing year, especially considering this was a saving year!

My Year In Numbers:

Miles Traveled – [30,074]  This is my best approximation of road miles, flight miles etc. 

Days Traveling – [71]  While this is the first year in a couple of years that I didn’t break 100, this was also a building year. Because we’re heading to Southeast Asia in 2017! We still were able to travel much more than planned!

Beds Slept In + Campsites – [19] – I stayed with friends, family, in hotels and we even slept in the back of our 4Runner (yay for SUV camping) to cut back on costs and get to take even more adventures! 

Flights Taken – [16] – I took a decent amount of flights considering 99% of my travels were domestic and I much prefer road trips over flights, but I still spent plenty of time in the air this year.  

States Visited [13] – I’m very happy to have been able to take so many domestic trips this year, since 2017 will be very international. I got to visit Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Countries Visited [1] – I got to keep my streak of leaving the country for the last seven years alive! When my dad and I went to Big Bend National Park in Texas we were right at the Mexican border and we just had to go to Mexico for lunch! It was an absolute blast and it will be a must for all my future visits to Big Bend. 

My Year From A to Z:

 

A – ‘Akaka Falls

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‘Akaka Falls was just a short drive from our base in Hilo, and we stopped twice during our four days on the Big Island. Both times we arrived just around sunrise and we managed to have the view of this beautiful waterfall all to ourselves. Landing on the Big Island was also another huge accomplishment of mine because I have been to all fifty states!

B – Bachelorette Party

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All my amazing bridesmaids, some friends and family all came together, from all over the country, to meet in Eureka Springs, Arkansas! It’s an unbelievably charming small town in NW Arkansas fill with art, history, great food, shopping and loads of fun! It was the perfect place for a girls weekend and my amazing squad made it all happen!

C – Crabtree Falls

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Matt and I managed to sneak in about 48 hours in Asheville this fall and it was just so incredible! We even got to get out and hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We hiked to Crabtree Falls with Matt’s parents and got to share one of our favorite places with them.

D – Dream Lake

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Dream Lake was my favorite lake of the four we hiked to in Rocky Mountain National Park. We celebrated Matt’s birthday weekend here and getting to go outside with him always makes for a great adventure!

E – El Cosmico

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I had been wanting to stay at El Cosmico for a couple of years, but my dad finally made this dream come true this year on our father / daughter hiking trip. We went all the way to Big Bend National Park, which put us decently close to Marfa, and my dad made moves to make my teepee dreams come true. In fact, he ended up being teepee crazed as well! Many sweet bohemian dreams were had here.

F – Falling Water Falls

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Photo by Matt

Matt and I made a couple of trips to this stunning turquoise waterfall and swimming hole in Northwest Arkansas! It’s a local favorite for a dip on a hot summer day, so don’t forget your swimsuit!

G – Botanical Gardens

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Lilly took me to the Botanical Gardens on our day alone together in DC and it was the perfect, earthy place to catch up with a dear old friend. I loved the ability to see rare, unique and beautiful plants all in one gorgeous location.

H – Hanging Lake

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This was one of my favorite hikes of 2016. I’ve been dying to make it here and we finally made it happen. Colorado has some true natural beauty and this trail is a striking example of why the state is known as ‘Colorful Colorado’.

I – Indian Creek

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This trail was absolutely stunning, even with missing that grand finale, and after we made it back to cell  service we also realized that we took the ridiculously hard route – typical. Even though we didn’t make to Eye of the Needle or Tunnel Cave Falls, we still loved all the other falls on this trail in Arkansas and hope to conquer it next year.

J – Johnson’s Shut-Ins

This is one of my favorite state parks of all time! I’m so glad I finally got to share it with Matt!

K – Kaua’i Helicopter Ride

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What an amazing gift! Two very dear friends gave us a doors-off helicopter ride over the Garden Island and I’m pretty sure I said, “WOW!” every 1.25 seconds. Because it was a first for the both of us and such a spectacular ride this quickly became one of the top experiences of 2016!

L – Library of Congress

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I had read in a book that this was a really beautiful spot in DC that I had missed the first time I was there. As a result, I knew that it had to be at the top of the list this time and that book was so right. This is one of my new favorite places in DC.

M – Monument Rocks

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Finally, I fell in love with a site in Kansas. I feel bad that Kansas gets such a bad reputation for being boring, but, to be honest, I hadn’t taken the time to find things to inspire + wow me in this state. That is, until now.

N – Na Pali Coast

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The Na Pali Coast just blew my mind. It’s this coastline made up of deep, sheer, valleys that are just lush with vegetation, flowing with waterfalls and have some unreal views and beaches. Because it’s so rugged and wild, the only way to access this part of the island is by foot or by boat. (Which, then, you’d have to hike anywhere else). We were able to hike 11 miles total in the Na Pali Wilderness which starts at Ke’e Beach. If you’re physically able to hike, don’t miss this.

O – Ozark Beers

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Every time I come home, I find that something has changed, or perhaps, I just notice something I hadn’t before. Having become a beer-lover while living in Asheville, I came back to the Ozarks and discovered an amazing beer-culture brewing here in the Ozarks! I visited eighteen breweries in this region alone, along with a cidery and a meadery. I did interviews during my visits and complied a guide to the breweries. Of course, this was one of my favorite projects of the year!

P – Petit Jean State Park

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This State Park in Arkansas was actually a contender to be the first National Park, and it’s easy to see why. There’s so much natural beauty squeezed into a small area and I’m so glad that even though it wasn’t America’s first National Park, it was Arkansas’ first State Park!

Q – Queen’s Bath

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I was so excited that this famous / infamous (depending on your personal view of this tidal pool) that I had read about years ago was not only on one of the Hawaiian islands that I was visiting, but it was right by our condo! We made the short hike down to this gorgeous spot and I hope to return my next time in Kaua’i.

R – Rio Grand Crossing

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Since 2009 I’ve left the country at least once a year, and my dad allowed me to keep this tradition alive by taking a johnboat across the Rio Grand with me, into Mexico for lunch! We spent a morning and early afternoon in Boquillas del Carmen taking a tour of the town from a local, my dad took his first tequila shot ever with me at their bar and we had delicious green chili enchiladas while overlooking the Rio Grand. It was such a fun escape from the USA for part of the day!

S – Sam’s Throne

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Matt and I have really made a dent in our Ozarks bucket list and Sam’s Throne is one of my favorite short hikes in Arkansas. We’ve camped here a handful of times and we were able to soak up this stunning view at sunrise and sunset. It’s definitely a favorite.

T – Trails of Big Bend

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Big Bend is such a special place. It’s totally off the beaten path which makes it seem more elusive. There’s no stumbling upon this place, it takes intention and it’s so worth the long drive. We did a little over 20 miles in our three days there and saw some truly spectacular sites! The big draw of Big Bend is that there is so much to see there. There are the Chisos Mountains, there’s the Rio Grand, there are loads of canyons, rock formations and even some rock formations. Now you just have to have time to see it all!

U – Unique Green Sand Beach

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When I found out that there’s a green sand beach on the Big Island, and that there are only four green sand beaches in the entire world it became right up at the top of the list! We opted to take the budget friendly (and healthier) option and hike the 5+ miles roundtrip. It felt like a long hike because you’re exposed to the sun the whole time, but we were greatly rewarded by this olive-colored sand beach found inside a collapsed cinder cone. I highly recommend this extremely unique stop if you’re on the Big Island!

V – Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

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Honestly, this national park is the whole reason I chose the Big Island as one of the two islands we visited on our honeymoon. I’ve always wanted to see an active volcano and walk through lava tubes, so it was such a joy to be able to do these things with my husband!

W – I Became a Wunder

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This was without a doubt the BEST THING about this year. 2016 is the year that I married my soulmate and my partner in life. We had a beautiful wedding under a massive tree on my grandmother’s farm surrounded by our loved ones. It was the most beautiful celebration in the world and we kept the party going with a beautiful reception in my parents backyard where we drank craft beer, danced under the stars surrounded by loads of cozy lights, amazing homemade decorations and more succulents + flowers than you can imagine! My family + friends put so much effort + love into this day and came from all over the U.S. to share in the best day of my life – the day I became Mrs. Wunder.

X – XoXo, So Many Romantic Adventures with My Love

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Matt is my biggest supporter. He reads my posts, encourages me to try new things, lets me use his amazing photos – and even takes photos specifically for my blog and more than all these things he shares the vast majority of these adventures with me. I couldn’t have asked for a better husband.

Y – Yum! Shaved Ice + Food Trucks

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I fell in love with all aspects of Hawaii including the food! Now, you’re probably thinking traditional Hawaiian food, but I’m talking about the amazing + unique food trucks that we encountered and frequented and more than anything the shaved ice! We had it at least once a day, but more like twice a day. Haha. Our favorite was Wishing Well Shaved Ice in Kaua’i. They made the most beautiful and tasty organic shaved ice creations! Generously, after we got back from Hawaii they mailed me a few of their stickers.

Z – Zig-Zagging My Way to 166.38 Hiking Miles

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I’m seriously proud of this one. Last year was the first year that I met my hiking miles goal, but this year I completely crushed my goal this year. I added 10 miles to what I did last year which put my goal for 2016 at 116 miles and I hiked 166.38 miles this year! Woo! Matt gets loads of credit for this one because he’s so energetic and always up for a day in the mountains or chasing waterfalls.

2016 was definitely one for the books. I had so many exciting new adventures + experiences and my life has changed in a pretty amazing way. I’ve started a whole new chapter and the best part is this is only the beginning. Here’s to 2017 + all the excitement it will bring!

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36 Comments

  • Reply
    Debbie de Juan nee Keating
    December 27, 2016 at 9:13 am

    What a year. Wow!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 27, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      It really was! I had so much fun! Can’t wait for 2017!

  • Reply
    hmunro
    December 27, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    As much as I love your beautiful photos (and envy the extent of your travels!) my favorite highlight of the year by far was “W.” Looking back on five decades of my own travels, I can tell you without hesitation that the best journey of all is the one you take through those small, seemingly insignificant moments of daily life with the person you love. My best wishes to you both for every happiness. And I can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 29, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      I have to say that it was my favorite part as well and thank you so much for the well-wishes. It’s greatly appreciate! Xx

  • Reply
    Cori Carl
    December 27, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    You guys did some really amazing hikes this year! Posts like this made me wish I had a car, since so many cool spots (especially in the US!) are completely inaccessible without one. And it’s a reminder that I still have to make it to Hawaii so I can cross off all 50 states!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 29, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      That is one thing about the US, you need a car unless you’re in a major city. It’s just too big and spread out. Is Hawaii the only state you haven’t visited? It was my last state! Cheers!

  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    December 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    This is such a cute idea to recap your year! I wish I had thought of it! Congrats on getting married this year! We just tied the knot last month, and like you it was the biggest highlight of the year for us too! Gorgeous photos and collection!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 29, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      Awe! Congrats to you too! I loved your traveling cake toppers! I’m glad to hear everything came together and you guys finally tied the knot! Where did you get married! Thanks for commenting! Xx

  • Reply
    Claire Summers
    December 27, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    What an incredible year you have had! I can’t wait to be able to do a post like this next year to mark my first year as a full time traveller! I must say your wedding photos look amazing, you just both look so happy! Wishing you all the best for the year ahead.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 29, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      That will be incredible! This was just part time travels, but next year will be closer to full time for us! I can’t wait to see where all that year of adventure takes you! Thank you so much – my wedding day was the best day of my life. I got to have my dream wedding! Best wishes to you as well! Xx

  • Reply
    omobtomtom
    December 27, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    i loved your 2016 recap- especially the A-Z one- quite creative 🙂 and congrats on getting married! you went to so many awesome and beautiful places this year 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 29, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      Thank you! I did it to recap a 13-state, 17-city road trip a few years ago and I thought it would be a lot of fun to do again this year! I love fun ABC things. Haha. Thanks for commenting and for the congratulations! Xx

  • Reply
    Chantell
    December 27, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Far out! These are some serious numbers. I couldn’t even hazard a guess at how many beds I’ve slept in this year (that sounds a little sordid doesn’t it? he he). You have definitely been keeping track! And what an incredible year you’ve had/ Here’s to an even better 2017 🙂

  • Reply
    Live Learn Venture (@LiveLearnVentur)
    December 27, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Wow — that’s a lot of miles! It looks like you had an epic year. Here’s to an amazing 2017! 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura Nalin
    December 27, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I loved reading this post! What a fun idea and a great way to track the year. I love how you included some of my favorite spots in the USA, too — Colorado and Asheville! Congrats on your wedding!

  • Reply
    nycgingeronthego
    December 27, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    What a cool recap post. I am working on mine, and it’s not quite as creative. You had a wonderful year and it sounds like 2017 is set to be fabulous as well!!

  • Reply
    AlicevstheWorld
    December 28, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Oh my goodness El Cosmico looks AMAZING! I think I may be in love! And congratulations on your wedding, you look absolutely gorgeous in those photos!

  • Reply
    yodandalek
    December 28, 2016 at 3:58 am

    Absolutely loved this post, a lot of thought must have gone into the metrics & the A-Z. Can’t wait to read your 2017 SE Asia adventures. Many congratulations on getting married, the pictures in W do stand out the brightest! 🙂

  • Reply
    Alyssa Ramos - MyLifesAMovie.com
    December 28, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Wow! What an amazing way to showcase what you did this year! I love the A-Z roundup!! Looks like you had a great 2016, wishing you even more awesomeness to come in 2017!

  • Reply
    livein10countries.com - Danni
    December 28, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    A nice rundown! 16 flights is an impressive number and pleased you left the country too! your hiking effort is awesome, I could never be that fit.

  • Reply
    shobha42016
    December 28, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    wow! I love the A-Z roundup, my favourite had to be the Mexican food lunch run across the border. What a fun thing to do!

  • Reply
    Jen Morrow
    December 28, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    The A to Z roundup is a great idea to organize your 2016 travels! It looks like you had quite an adventure. Best wishes for 2017.

  • Reply
    Gina Bear (@ginabearsblog)
    December 28, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I really love how you started the year numerically and did the A-Z roundup! It’s a great idea and I might use it for my own blog! Usually I do something cool every month of the year, but this is more memorable. I was truly astounded by the beauty of Colorado. I can’t wait to get back to America and explore my own country!

  • Reply
    The Soul of Seoul
    December 28, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    What a great year round up! I love your A to Z idea. Congrats on the wedding and all of the amazing adventures you’ve had. To many more and wedded bliss! Take those Ozark beers and cheers!

  • Reply
    mappingmegan
    December 29, 2016 at 6:27 am

    I’m impressed that you managed to fulfill the alphabet!! Massive congrats on what sounds like a great year, and especially on your marriage! Here’s to an even more amazing year in 2017!

  • Reply
    Anna
    December 29, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Love this overview – such a cool idea! It sounds like your 2016 was an amazing year (congrats on the wedding as well as on the 166.38 hiking miles!), but I’m sure 2017 will be even better. What places are you planning on visiting?

  • Reply
    Alina Popescu
    December 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Wow, what an incredible roundup. Loved all your photos, and those from your wedding are absolutely gorgeous. I had a similar year, with more domestic trips than anything else. Day trips in the countryside, visiting a few cities, a nice and unexpected week-long vacation, and one trip abroad (which was partly business).

  • Reply
    gnetwanders
    December 29, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    you had an amazing year! more travels to come!

  • Reply
    Nano @ Travel With Nano B.
    December 29, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Your year was truly filled with so many beautiful adventures! Wedding photos are absolutely stunning, congratulations!! Looking forward to your international travels this year, how exciting!! 🙂 xoxo, nano

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 12, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Thank you so much, Nano. Our wedding day was very magical and better than I ever dreamed! I hope your 2016 was amazing and that 2017 brings you even more joy! Xx

  • Reply
    Susanna Kelly
    December 29, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Our travel styles are very similar! We could be awesome travel buddies. I really enjoyed seeing all the hiking, nature and outdoor travels mixed in with a good beer and library. It’s very impressive you completed the alphabet! Happy travels in 2017!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 12, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      That’s awesome! Where are your travels taking you in 2017? If our paths cross we could always meet up for a tasty beer! I love meeting up with fellow travelers and bloggers! Xx

  • Reply
    fittwotravel
    December 31, 2016 at 1:05 am

    Great year! Cant wait to follow along with you in Southeast Asia!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks! We’re getting pretty excited! Everyday is one stop closer!

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