Our lives are made up of memories, moments strung together to complete our human puzzle. For me, 2017 was a year made up of unforgettable adventures, countless new experiences, magical new (and old) friendships, and 12 months of beautiful memories.
In January, I spent time learning to appreciate where I come from. Though small, there is charm to find in my small hometown in Northwestern Pennsylvania.
February brought me closer yet to home. With backyard hikes and cozy teas, I spent this month in Lafayette, finding peace in the nature and warmth of my hilltop residence.
In March, the snow began to melt and I travelled to the charming (but still freezing) Philadelphia to experience the nation’s largest horticultural event, which transported me straight to a daydream of roaming through the Netherlands. I took a roadtrip to Cleveland to see Mark Haddon’s novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” brought to life on stage and explored the city, from Gordon Square to The Arcades.
April took me on an art-seeking roadtrip to the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History. It took me on a rainy flight from Buffalo to Orlando, and straight to the heart of the Eastern Caribbean on a life-changing Carnival cruise. I found self confidence in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, fell in love with the mountainous and enchanting Charlotte Amalie and St. Thomas, was elated by the wild animals roaming throughout the turquoise island of Grand Turk, and left a piece of my heart in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In May, I visited Ellen’s Stardust Diner in New York for the first time and fell even more in love with show tunes. I wandered through Times Square on a rainy night and felt alive at a Cage The Elephant concert in Rochester, NY.
In June, I ran through a field with my best friends, I felt grateful as I admired the September 11th memorials in Battery Park, took a ferry to Ellis Island and passed the State of Liberty on the way (this is the most touristy I have ever been and ever will be), spent even more hours of my life inside Strand Bookstore, got my first tattoo – a wildflower, and took a miniature roadtrip to Lakewood, NY with my family to chase down the nearest cup of playdough ice cream.
I spent Independence day at Twin Lakes, soaking up the sun (which doesn’t matter because I will never be tan), went full-nerd mode at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and tracked down all my favorites at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I spent time in the Oculus station in NYC with almost no one else around, found a magical hidden gem in the act of taking a ride on Battery Park’s SeaGlass Carousel, walked through Central Park and was completely enchanted by it, and ate the best grilled cheese in the world at The Famous Cozy Soup N’ Burger.
August finally fulfilled my need to ride some roller coasters, brought me to Pittsburgh, where I wandered around a summer festival and let my inner Steelers fan loose at the Family Fest. I danced my heart out with my mom at a Jason Derulo concert after a long day of exploring the Erie County Fairgrounds and being tempted by every single fun house, got lost in a giant field of sunflowers, and spent a day in Allegany State Park appreciating the lovely friendships I have formed this year.
September brought me back to the city I love two weekends in a row and set the stage for the fall festival where I managed to successfully sell my artwork. I got lost in Heather Gardens and Fort Tryon park with my mom, turning our trek to The Cloisters into an entire morning-long adventure (that I don’t regret one bit)! I stood in the center of Washington Square Park, lit a memorial candle in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, walked the entire length of The High Line, had the most incredible rosemary french fries at Olio e Piú, visited Union Square because it’s my favorite part of the city, wandered through the Flat Iron District, saw Rockefeller Center minus the holiday crods, and ate my favorite sandwich from Pret a Manger on the terrace of the New York Public Library while I watched the sun go down.
I spent October watching the leaves change colors in Ellicottville with my favorite people, watched my mom reunite with her sister from Australia after 26 years of being apart and experienced Canadian tourism at its finest with our Aussie family and their lovely friends from Montreal. I got my second tattoo, an airplane, to symbolize the event of my travel writing heading to the web, and dressed as Sandra Dee for a Halloween Party in Lemont, Pennsylvania.
November welcomed my 17th birthday, which I spent back in Canada, with a room overlooking the falls and an unforgettable night of fun featuring Wizards’ Golf on Clifton Hill and I celebrated Thanksgiving surrounded by the people I love.
I started out December by going on a Night At the Museum scavenger hunt in the Museum of Natural History (and got lost MANY times), was whisked into the wild world of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde while dining at a club of the same name, stood in a line for an hour all for a cup of cookie dough from DŌ, and wandered around the adorable holiday shops in Bryant Park. I rode the subway right up into Oculus station, checked “ride the SeaGlass Carousel at night” off my bucket list, and stood under the massive Rockefeller tree.
2017 was the year that I took my passion for travel and turned it into something with the potential to become my career. This was a year that I will never forget and one I am excited to be able to memorialize within this post.
Happy New Year, my fellow wanderers.
What was your favorite memory from 2017? Tell me all about it in the comment section below!