The Best of 2018: Looking Back
The new year is only a short breath away, so it’s time to look back at the best of 2018. Thank you for coming along on the journey.
Once again, 2018 was a year of ‘No Bears,’ but as I finally came to terms with the fact I may never see a bear in the wild, I also realized it’s a bit like ghost-hunting – you find the hunt a thrill, but what would you do if you actually faced-off with a spirit? My daughter and I took a ghost-hunting expedition through the ancient streets of St. Augustine during our girls-only spring break trip. But it wasn’t all about the spirits- there was plenty of good food and other explorations as well 😉 Moms- if you get the chance, a mother-daughter trip is a must, and whether you hunt for apparitions or seashells on the beach, a day spent without the tug-a-war of personalities when other siblings around can strengthen your relationship with your child.
This was the year we by-passed Disney to tackle the unknown at Universal Studios. Universal’s Islands of Adventure was named ‘Best Theme Park in the World’ by TripAdvisor, and for good reason! With an eye for detail and knack for the hocus pocus of movie-making illusions, it’s a sensory experience. And the rides are down-right fun! From log flumes to a trip through Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat book. We were there to investigate the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Have you done it yet? It’s definitely worth the trip!
Stepping Back in Time: Historic America
Our family travels took us to historic locations, like Charleston, South Carolina. Dating back to pre-American revolutionary times, it’s a must-see destination for the family. Did you know George Washington visited there? Walking is the best way to explore- past the plantations and manors- oh what stories they must have to tell!
Earlier, we had hunted for the best beignets in New Orleans- a yummy city, but there are some things about NOLA you should know before you go– and our flops and failures will hopefully make your trip a success.
The Scenic Outdoors
We hiked to waterfalls, explored a regal family manor, and caught the most brilliant sunsets over the smoky mountains. Anyone who followed the journey on Instagram kept with us each step of the way. Thank you for all of your questions and comments on Insta- it’s become my favorite form of media. I’ve taken a deep dive back into photography this year, and am even selling photos from Brick City Gallery in downtown Ocala! Swing by to check them out (they’re in the gift shop ;)!
Writing for a Cause
This year my piece on Eco-Tourism in Florida appeared in stores and airports across North America in the 2018 Travel Guide to Florida. I even spotted a copy in my local Walmart! An avid spring-hunter, eco-tourism is a passion of mine, and introducing your kids to the outdoors, may be the key to saving these wild places. You probably have already heard about swimming with manatees, but have you taken your kids on a geocache tour? Zipped across limestone canyons? Or paddled through a glowing river at night? Rich with natural resources, like freshwater springs, eco-tourism provides a way for you to experience the wonders of the sunshine state while helping to preserve them for future generations. Seriously, check out the story!
I am still doing the happy dance over winning 1st place in the Excellent in Craft writing awards for Family Adventures at the 2018 Florida Outdoor Writer’s Association Conference, which took place in Weeki Wachee, home to the Florida mermaid (yes, really).
Unforgettable Paddle Trips
While staying on Florida’s Adventure Coast, I kayaked the Bayport to Linda Pedersen Park Coastal Paddling Trail along the Gulf of Mexico and up Jenkins Creek. I also paddled the popular Weeki Wachee River for the very first time. Two very different paddle adventures, yet so close in proximity.
First times are important- they mean you are moving forward- sliding that chess piece another inch in life and stretching out of your comfort zone. I may not face a fear a day like Michelle Poler of the 100 Days Without Fear (her project is an eye-opener). Would you join her movement? We all have our fear facing moments- I choked back my mom-worry-wart mind at an open-sea paddle- it turned out to be pretty neat! And also confidently back-paddled furiously as a water moccasin swam across the river in front of me.
Life Lessons for the Year
My son and I learned a lot trying to paddle upstream on the Silver River – against the 600 million gallon daily flow of one of the largest natural springs in the world. (It’s a super-workout). We had journeyed downriver twice already, but this was our first time upstream- and whew- what a paddle!
Life lessons in the face of adversity:
- Like life can be difficult at times- very difficult.
- There are times when you are trying to get ahead and seem not to be moving at all ( you are actually growing- steeling up- inside).
- And sometimes it’s worth paying for that shuttle, and not being a cheapskate 😉 Needless to say, we used the shuttle on our next Silver River paddle- downstream!
Plans for 2019:
Lots of outdoor fun- hiking, biking, & more kayaking adventures. We hope to return to Georgia for some more explorations- and of course hike a piece on the Appalachian Trail- we always try to touch it every year (one year we just went under it– really!).
What fears did you face this year? What lessons did you learn? And what hopes do you have for the New Year? Let us know in the comment section below!
And be sure to:
Follow the Adventures on Instagram! And feel free to send me a message, or just say ‘hi’. I post on there almost every day. Seriously cool pictures 😉
Or join the fun on the Adventures of Mom Facebook Page.
And now to close this year with some words of wisdom…
We wish all of our readers, family & friends a happy new year, filled with great health and many family adventures! Take care and see you in 2019!
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