Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Happy Holidays!

Hello! The holidays are here and steaming through in full-gear.

How was your Christmas? Was it filled with snow and endless amounts of cookies? Hopefully Santa brought you a few goodies and you all were able to spend some quality time with family. My two younger brothers and I spent about five days back at our parents home. It was a full house and it was wonderful. That prolonged time together with all five members of my immediate family was the best present I received this year. When shopping for Christmas presents, at the very last-moment per usual Robby, I decided to focus on a theme of 'getting outdoors.' So I bought everyone annual admission stickers to our incredible batch of Wisconsin state parks and forests. Needless to say it was a big hit with everyone. My brothers and parents were stoked, thrilled to have unlimited access to all these cool places to adventure in until the end of 2017. I've always advocated that giving the gift of exploring is always an excellent and meaningful act. Plus, since Wisco has a self-sufficient park system, the funds from every sticker sold goes right back to supporting the state parks and forests. It's a win-win. If you're looking to buy a 2017 Wisconsin State Park online, you can do it here. My middle brother and his girlfriend recently also share a common lust for traveling, having lived in Spain for numerous months teaching English and recently trekking around the Midwest too. To my surprise, neither one of them own a tent. That changed on Christmas morning when Chris smiled when he saw his very first tent. I wrote "Home is where you pitch it" on the candy cane colored wrapping paper to spark some enthusiasm. Tents also make perfect gifts. You don't need to give a super expensive backpacking tent, rather, a simple basic starter tent from Walmart or Target is a reliable fit for casual camping a few times each year. My first tent I ever had was a two-season, cheapo $40 Coleman four-person tent I bought from Walmart and it lasted great for quite a while! Whether it be fore the holidays, a graduation or birthday- helping someone get into the outdoors and making it easier for them to recreate is an amazing gift. Which reminds me, I need to think of something to get myself for Christmas this year. Maybe a new kayak I can take on overnight paddle trips? Or more rock climbing gear to set top-rope anchors at Devil's Lake State Park once this summer rolls around? Maybe another annual pass to access all the U.S. National Parks, Forests, Recreation Areas and Wildlife Refuges? We shall see.

So 2016 is wrapping up and coming to a fast close. I mean, let's be honest, this year just flew by crazy quick. There are a lot of great things I'm looking forward to next year. Lots. I'm counting down the days and eagerly awaiting 2017 because it's a new year of adventure and personal growth both personally and professionally. There will be a blog post about that with new year's resolutions and the annual adventure trip bucket list. Thanks for continuing to follow along with my travel blog the past year...traffic to the blog continues to rise and I do very much appreciate it!