For us, 2022 was a year of spectacular travel experiences. And profound loss.
John and I like to do a retrospective about this time, looking back on our travels and other significant events that shaped our lives through the past year. It’s a time to reflect – with deep gratitude – on the opportunities we’ve had to travel and also to experience life in our amazing adopted country, Colombia. This year did not disappoint in either aspect, even with some pretty gnarly curve balls thrown our way.
For starters, about three weeks ago I broke my ankle while hiking in a beautiful but remote area near Salento, Colombia. It was quite an adventure for both of us – here are all the gory details!
Earlier this year, our family experienced a sad loss: the death of our brother-in-law, David Kuhn, to complications from Covid. David was a very special person and is deeply missed by all of us. He was only 58.
Also, 2022 will forever be etched in our hearts as the year that we lost both of our fur kids and found ourselves without pets for the first time in our 27-year relationship. Last February, Tango, our sweet, 14-year-old cocker spaniel, left us after a short struggle with cancer and pancreatitis. Losing Tango was terrible, but the pain was compounded because we were traveling in Spain at the time. To this day, we are sorrowful that we weren’t able to be with him and say goodbye (thankfully our wonderful house-sitters stepped in).
And only this week, we lost Rosie, our golden retriever and our angel. She was almost 14, and her kidney disease and recently diagnosed lymphoma finally overcame her. We set her free to play with Tango and her other heavenly brothers and sisters last Monday.
We are awash in grief. But we’re also deeply aware that our lives have just changed fundamentally. Now, we will be able to travel without time limitations. And without the grinding worry about our sweet senior dogs back home, who were never far from top-of-mind wherever we roamed. Therefore, 2023 looks to be an exciting year for travel – once I’m no longer hobbling around on crutches!
But this is a retrospective. So here is our Year in Travel for 2022!
We spent most of February exploring Spain’s Costa Blanca region, starting in Valencia and traveling to Alicante and as far south as Cartagena. This beautiful region along the Mediterranean has captured our imaginations and is likely our next “home base” for exploring Europe (spoiler: it will probably be Alicante!).
Spain blog links:
12 Things We Love About Valencia, Spain
8 Things We Love About Alicante, Spain
Hiking in Spain: Los Órganos de Benitandús
Cartagena, Spain: In Roman Footsteps
Spain’s Costa Blanca: Six Fantastic Towns
In April we spent 23 days roaming an area of central Mexico we’d been keen to visit, with stays in Mexico City, Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, and San Miguel de Allende. Mexico City was a revelation: a dazzling, colorful, and chaotic melding of culture, history, and – oh, my Lord – cuisine. We also happened on Guanajuato just in time for Holy Week, which added an extra dollop of culture (and chaos) to that visit. All in all, it was a fantastic and unforgettable trip.
Mexico blog links:
6 Amazing Mexico City Discoveries
Things to Do in Mexico City: Centro
Things to Do in Mexico City: Beyond Centro
Guanajuato, Mexico: A City That Glows
Two Days in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico
This was the trip of a lifetime! For our very first visit to Brazil, we focused on a small portion of the southern coast from Rio de Janeiro south to Florianópolis. We started with 8 days in Rio, which exceeded our expectations in every way. From there, we headed south to the wild and otherworldly Iha Grande and then the enchanting seaside town of Paraty. We finished up with Florianópolis and Santa Catalina Island, home to fantastic beaches and a rich Portuguese culture.
Brazil blog links:
Brazil Discoveries: Tips for First-Time Visitors
Rio de Janeiro: What to See and Do, Part I
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Part II: Exploring Downtown Rio
Ihla Grande, Brazil: An Island Paradise
Historic Paray, Brazil
Enchanting Florianópolis, Brazil
In 2022 we continued our Colombia explorations, discovering more charming colonial towns and making some much-needed and relaxing beach getaways. We started the year with a visit to Concepción, a scenic little town that’s off the beaten tourist path. Next came a return trip to Isla San Andres, Colombia’s little-known Caribbean paradise. We followed that up with a visit to the colonial heritage town of Santa Fe de Antioquia for John’s birthday, and then a return getaway to Tayrona National Park. We marked my birthday with a week-long visit to the capitol city of Bogotá. And finally, there was the fateful trip to Salento just three weeks ago, which was cut short when I broke my ankle.
Colombia blog links:
Colorful Concepción, Colombia
San Andres, Colombia: An Off-the-Radar Gem
Santa Fe de Antioquia: A Colombian Gem
Bogotá, Colombia: 7 Cool Things to Do and See
Visiting Colombia’s Caribbean Coast
Looking Ahead With Gratitude
In addition to the trips above, we made three trips to Texas to spend time with family and also traveled to Boquete, Panama to finalize the sale of our house there – a bittersweet trip. Although the Covid pandemic is far from over (the tragedy unfolding in China is truly mindboggling), 2022 brought us more freedom and a closer sense of normalcy as we traveled. And here we are, facing a brand-new year and new beginnings as pet-free travelers. We’re already thinking Puerto Rico, Bolivia, a return trip to Brazil, and – maybe – an excursion to Antarctica toward the end of the year.
It’s time for a big THANK YOU to our fabulous dog caretakers. First, Jennifer and Norm Sun, who showered Tango and Rosie with love and gave us tremendous peace of mind for the long Spain, Mexico, and Brazil trips. Also, Karen Hadley and David Anderson, who stepped in for our last trip to Austin in November. Of course, Francisco y Martha at Pets Pro, for giving the kids a fun and loving home-away-from-home for shorter trips. And Eliana Robledo of Help Vet, our awesome and compassionate vet, who somehow made the loss of Tango and Rosie a bit more bearable.
As 2022 draws to a close, we’re filled with gratitude. We’re so grateful that we got to share so many wonderful years with our dear fur kids. Grateful that my injury was not worse. Grateful that we had the resources, energy, and health to be able to have those mind-blowing travel experiences.
And we’re grateful to you, our loyal readers, for all your support.