Whew, 2018 has been QUITE the year for me both personally and professionally. I’ve hustled to build out new opportunities at work, discovered amazing places, and tried to stay connected to friends and family in between. Each year, I like do a New Year’s post where lay out trips coming up in the next 365 days. I thought it might be fun (and good for me) to do a look back first.

Glancing back over my calendar, I have managed to take 25 trips for work and fun, including to seven countries. Five of them were brand new to me. My most popular destination was Canada with four separate trips! I definitely love being up north! Also, another random fact, five of the countries I visited are islands (the UK is a big island, but still). Along the way, I picked up some new favorites and unexpected surprises. Here, in random order, are my 2018 Superlatives:

Best local getaway: Miracle at The Rockhill Grille, Kansas City, MO
So this place is actually part of a holiday chain of Miracle pop-ups all over the U.S. (plus New Zealand and London) that started in 2014 but it finally made it to Kansas City. Decorated in nostalgic Christmas decorations of yesteryear, the drinks are surprisingly good. See if there is one near you and get there ASAP!

Most sobering trip: St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands
As the hurricanes hit the Caribbean in the Fall of 2017, I couldn’t imagine how devastating it must be for the people. When my clean-up crew was sent to this house, complete with very sturdy storm shields over the windows, I was struck by the power of nature and how fragile we are in it. There are still so many communities struggling through the aftermath of those hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, and more.

Best roadside attraction: Cabazon Dinosaurs, Cabazon, CA
Driving down a pretty uneventful stretch of highway from LA to Palm Springs and seeing these beauties pop up on the horizon. I mean, what’s not to love? When our car of ladies rolled up, we were literally scream laughing – it was such a hoot to see.

Best new travel tech: Google Pixel 3
If you’ve hung out with me, you might have caught on that I am a bit obsessed with my new smartphone. Between wide-selfies and night sight modes (stunning results above), it’s fun to see what it can do. This photo is of the iconic Magic Kingdom, which I should note was one of my favorite nights of 2018 with my teammates. We ran around like little kids, going on rides, eating cookies, and watching Mickey’s Holiday Parade.

Best design inspiration destination: Eindhoven, Netherlands
If you’re looking for beauty in the world, you can undoubtedly find it in many places, but if you’re looking for a high concentration of art and design, Eindhoven’s maker districts are a fantastic place to explore. If I wasn’t a carry-on only girl, I would have tried to take everything home with me.

Best ice cream: Wiz Bang Bar, Portland, OR
The rhubarb anise crumble sundae – amazingly delicious.

Most fearless fun: Aerial yoga (and the hour-long golf cart drive to get there)
I guess the whole trip to Belize falls into the fearless fun category. From flying on a tiny plane to an island I’d never heard of to booking a last-minute trip. And snorkeling a reef with sharks and a boat full of strangers to the aerial yoga class above. It was a much-needed, centering trip.

Best cocktail: Who let the gin out?, Hverfisgata, Reykjavik, Iceland
In addition to having my favorite cocktail of 2018 (gin, tangerine shrub, lemon, carrots & honey, topped with Fernet and lemon foam), Iceland took a spot in my top five countries. I can’t wait to get back there for more culinary and natural wonders!

Favorite photo: Dean Village, Scotland
You know when you keep looking back at a photo you took because it doesn’t even look real? Maybe it’s just me? Anyway, this photo is my winner for 2018.

Favorite restaurant: Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, Kansas City, MO
I have had many delicious meals this year. I have returned to my hometown favorite to round out my list of tops/bests/favs for 2018 with Corvino. Between the incredible cocktails, the amazing food, the live acoustic music, and cozy decor, I could eat here every day.

There you have it, some of my highlights from the year. As I look through my photos, I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to explore the world. It’s truly a gift.

What are your favorite places, near or far, from the past year? Please share, I love discovering new spots. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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