I know it’s cliche, but at this time of year — as 2011 comes to a close — I can’t help but reflect on what a good year it’s been for The Vacation Gals. As always, we’ve enjoyed sharing our firsthand travel tips and vacation destinations with our loyal readers (thanks for sticking with us over the last two years!). We were interviewed by media outlets, such as More.com — I even appeared live from Oahu’s Aulani resort on a local Denver news program. We presented talks and served on panels at industry conferences, such as Travel Blog Exchange, North American Travel Journalists Association and BlogWorld & New Media Expo. And it’s always nice to pick up some awards for our work: in February, NATJA named us the top independent travel blog.
It’s certainly been a time of change for my colleague TwinCitiesGal Beth Blair, who went back to work as a flight attendant after a 7-year hiatus! It’s been a busy year for all of us — juggling our work, our other websites and our families. In fact, this is the first year since 2007 that the three of us have not been in one place together in person! Sure, we email almost every day, and talk on the phone occasionally, but I think back to the three of us having a ball together over the years in places like Kansas City and Park City…. well, we definitely have to rectify that in 2012. Here’s hoping the three of us can gather at TBEX in Keystone, Colorado, this June — if not figure out a way to meet before then!
Although the three of us didn’t meet up in person somewhere in 2011, we did enjoy some pretty amazing trips with our families and our husbands. Here are my favorite The Vacation Gals travel posts from this year:
Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge, by Twin Cities Gal Beth Blair: Taking the long scenic route to get there from their Minnesota home, Beth and her family drove to this dude ranch in Montana. I remember reading Beth’s Tweets as they left the flat Midwest and first spotted the snow-capped Rockies — pure delight! The Blairs spent an entire week at Flathead Lake Lodge feasting on gourmet meals, horseback riding, canoeing, swimming, roasting marshmallows and generally relaxing together in the great outdoors.
Bike Tour of Lucca, Italy, by SoCalGal Jennifer Miner: The way that Jen described her family’s bike excursion in the small town of Lucca, Italy… well, it made me want to hop on a plane with my own active family to explore the medieval town on two wheels! It sounded like such a nice change of pace from the big crowds at the Coliseum; I like that you can eat a big midday meal of pizza and pasta, and then work off some of those calories on a bike!
Making Family Connections at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, by ColoradoGal Kara Williams: My trip to Oahu with my husband in May was a bit of a last-minute getaway (courtesy of the Oahu Visitors Bureau). What an absolute treat it was to snorkel, stand-up paddle, kayak and eat my way through Honolulu with him — no kids! But our most poignant excursion took place at Pearl Harbor, where my husband’s grandfather was stationed on December 7, 1941. Not only was I incredibly impressed with the site’s recent expansion and renovation — the museum exhibits are excellent — but after digging into family history a bit, I uncovered some fascinating personal connections to this important historic place.
We hope your 2012 travels bring you similar exciting, rewarding and fun-filled experiences. Best wishes for a marvelous New Year.