A Year of Beautiful Travels - Christie Edition
As we emerged from 2020, I think we were all a bit unsure of what travel would look like in 2021. The vaccines were just rolling out to medical professionals and the most vulnerable in the population. I remember thinking that once vaccines were really rolled out, we would start to emerge on the other side of this thing, but as we all now know, COVID is the unwanted gift that keeps on giving, now into 2022.
Still, my hubby, Chris and I were able to go on a few adventures in spite of the pandemic. Most of our travels ended up being work-related, but the opportunities to get out after a quarantined year were a welcomed change.
Group Travel Planning Summit in Cancun, Mexico
Right after we were done with our double course of Pfizer in April, we had the amazing experience of getting out of the country for the first time in a year and a half. We went to Cancun, Mexico for a group travel planning conference. Originally the conference had been scheduled for the end of March 2020 (two weeks after COVID grounded travel), which means it was canceled. This was after planning to attend for almost a year. So here we were heading to an event that was almost two years in the making.
We learned so much about serving our group clients well and getting them the most traction as they are inviting people to join their groups. At the same time, we enjoyed experiencing the all-inclusive resort, Moon Palace, for the first time. The resort was fabulous. Any free time I had was spent floating around in the heated pool. There was such a huge variety of delectable restaurants, including gourmet Italian, Mayan-influenced Mexican, an oceanview, open-air seafood spot, specialty Indian cuisine, and even Teppanyaki in the style of a Benihana chef performance!
Group Cruise to Alaska on Royal Caribbean
After most of the year staying at home, our long-awaited Alaska cruise with Royal Caribbean finally happened. This was a trip that had previously been canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. Our group consisted of a few family members and a couple of clients. We all enjoyed eating together and even went on excursions together in several ports. The cruise was incredible, and I'm so glad we went. Chris and I had a grand suite, which was amazing. Some of our most fun times were sitting in our huge room with family playing board games while we watched the glaciers go by. So beautiful! I'm so glad I had this experience, though it definitely confirmed that I prefer the beach over glaciers.
Travel Advisor Conference in Orlando, Florida
After the cruise, we were scheduled to go to Hawaii for an actual non-working vacation, however, I neglected to plan for the fact that I usually get a cold after cruising - no matter how careful I am. We canceled that trip (Thank you, travel insurance!) and rested for a couple of weeks.
At the end of September, we were due in Orlando for a conference with our host travel agency. It was so much fun to be back with colleagues and other travel professionals after being away so long. 2020's conference was virtual, which frankly, is just not the same. It was great meeting with our travel partners, having meals with fellow travel advisors, and enjoying fun entertaining sessions and a special exclusive event in Diagon Alley, the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios Florida. (Two years ago, we were in Hogsmeade, the Harry Potter section of Universal's Islands of Adventure.) Music, food, butterbeer - what a treat!
Chris and I took a few days to explore both Universal parks on our own. We had a fabulous time and enjoyed some tasty and unique meals on CityWalk.
A New Adventure in Atlanta, Georgia
In mid-December, we embarked on a brand new adventure. We decided to take a scouting trip to greater Atlanta, Georgia. We explored all over and decided we are very fond of the Northeast Georgia area around Lake Lanier.
We are excited to announce that we are now relocating our household to the other side of the country - specifically Gainesville, Georgia! Chris and I, along with both of our mothers and our two cute pups, will be relocating in mid-February. As of the writing of this blog, our house has closed escrow, and we have already taken a few trips back and forth to begin getting set up in our new digs.
We have lived in Southern California for our entire marriage (almost 25 years), so we are leaving many friends and pretty deep roots. There have been some sad goodbyes and tons of getting together with others. Moving is incredibly stressful, so please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!
The Long-Awaited Rose Parade Group Trip
Right after Christmas, in the final week of 2021, I welcomed a group of ladies from the Boston area who had been waiting to see the Rose Parade since we started the planning nearly two years prior. They arrived in Los Angeles, and I was able to spend time with them for several days that week and even chauffeur them around a bit. We enjoyed a VIP tour of Universal Studios Hollywood, a guided tour of the beach cities, a visit to the Getty Museum, a lovely New Year's Eve dinner at a historic downtown Los Angeles hotel, and of course, the Rose Parade on New Year's Day. It was a week none of us will soon forget. And though it ended with a few of us getting hit with Omicron after the Rose Parade (!!!!), I am still glad we enjoyed the time together. (Thankfully, we were all fully vaccinated, so no one became severely ill or was hospitalized.) What an interesting way to end the year and begin 2022...
While my 2021 travels were still quite different from pre-pandemic years, it was lovely to get back "out there" again and feel a little closer to normal. We are so grateful for the freedom we enjoyed to both get out of the country and explore within the country. We look forward to all the adventures that 2022 holds for us, and we will continue to virtually bring you along on the journey as we go!