Friday, February 12, 2016

The 2016 Adventure Wish List

It's a new year, well as of almost two months ago, which means it's obviously an open, fresh 365 days for travel.

When you're in a bit of a rut, whether it be in your personal or professional life, I've always advocated to escape for a while. It's not running away from your problems, rather you're taking a brief hiatus to explore somewhere unfamiliar in an effort to learn more about yourself and what you want in life. In simple jargon; life is better spent on the road meeting new people, trying new things and seeing new places. That's a quote I live by every, single, day.

I made a list last year with high hopes, but a horrendous dead-end job that kept me inside all day in combination with a terrifying 'rock climbing-and-skiing-induced' knee injury limited my travels significantly. However, it's now 2016 and that's in the past. My MCL and meniscus have gone through surgery and I'm so close to being done with post-op treatment. But more importantly, at the start of this new year, I started what I'd call a dream job for me, working for our state's department of natural resources where I'm outside literally everyday at a state park with an accommodating, flexible schedule. For an optimistic transient millennial, things are going pretty well for me and I feel like I've finally got my path figured out, but there's still more room for growing.

But that's my wrap. 2016 is going to be such an important and special year for travel. Airfares around the globe continue to plummet and you can now fill up your car for less than a dollar per gallon in some places. It was an El Nino winter which means excellent skiing snow in the Rockies and the National Park Service turned 100 this year, giving us all the presents of free admission days throughout its properties over the course of the next twelve months. And "Lonely Planet" named Milwaukee, my hometown one of their top places to visit in 2016. Woot woot. More people are getting outside and taking advantage of this insanely beautiful planet we live on.

Obviously there should be a big disclaimer stating that "this list is subject to change," but here it is. Thankfully a few of these destinations below are already hashed-out and scheduled, planned to happen which is super exciting. Some are solo trips while others I've got a few loyal companions tagging along with me to share the adventure. Some trips will be for straight-up backpacking while others will be road trips with a kayak strapped on top. I've been exposed to a good chunk of the wild Southwest part of this country, so this year I'm especially looking to get out to the Pacific Northwest -Washington I'm looking at you. There are also a few places in the Midwest and Wisconsin I still need to check-off my bucket list. Let the travels begin:

-Badlands National Park, SD (again!)
-Mount Rainier National Park, WA
-Rock Island State Park, WI
-Olympic National Park, WA
-Craig Lake State Park, MI (again!)
-Big Bend National Park, TX
-North Cascades National Park, WA
-Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
-Glacier National Park, MT
-Isle Royale National Park, MI
-Peshtigo River State Forest, WI (again!)
-Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
-Pattison State Park, WI
-Rocky Mountain National Park, CO (again!)
-Copper Falls State Park, WI
-Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, MI