Two Countries, Seven states, and more planes than I can count.

 

   

   So it’s 2018 now, which is pretty crazy to me. Last year went by faster than I ever imagined. 2017 was filled with so many special memories that I really don’t think I could fit all of them into one post without boring you guys. For today, I am just going to give you guys a review of the absolutely amazing trips I was able to go on this past year and put lots and lots of pictures that I have from them.

  February ~ Colorado & New Mexico

  April ~ London, England, Ireland, and New York

  July ~ Louisiana & Massachusetts

  August & September ~ Massachusetts 

  October ~ Oklahoma

  December ~ Florida, New York, Colorado 

   Every single one of these trips impacted me in some way. There were downs to some of the trips, but those probably impacted me the most. I am going to write about ONE moment from each trip that I remember the most. To give you a glimpse into the entirety of my trips, I’ll make sure to add a lot of pictures!

Colorado 02/08/17-02/18/17

  This was a snowboarding trip. The one thing I will never forget from this trip is when my friend Ellie and I were shredding together and ended up climbing to the peak of one of the mountains. It was the most surreal feeling in the world. I seriously have never been more terrified, breathless, and in awe our world at one time. I remember every time I started to panic I would take a deep breath and trust that God would keep me safe. It’s probably the #1 experience of 2017 that I wish I could relive a hundred times over.

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London, England 03/31/17~ 04/03/17

   Of course every bit of England is a dream. The architecture on every street corner of London is picture perfect and the parks make you want to drop everything and have a picnic. I have two favorite memories from England, but I’m just going to write about one…going to see The Phantom of the Opera! Phantom is one of my favorite musicals, and I have to say, seeing it in London of all places was really, really special. The whole night was an event as we had a fancy dinner reservation before hand at 5:00. This gave us time to go back to our flat and take a nap after spending the day exploring the city. Regan and I slept until the very last minute, which made getting ready extremely hectic. Guys, we literally had to sprint to the Tube (and can I just say that riding the train in heels takes talent), to our train changes, and through the city to our restaurant! I was wearing a maxi dress with heels that had strings which wrapped around my ankles. Little did I know that those shoes were a terrible decision on my part and I would be tripping over them the whole way.

  We made it to the reservation on time, so our running paid off! The reservation was at a lush Italian restaurant across from the Theatre Royal and next to Her Majesties Theatre where we saw the show. The food was delicious, but the cheesecake I had for dessert—that cheesecake was the closest to heaven any food has ever gotten. I had to eat it super fast because the show was starting, but it didn’t take away from how perfect that piece of cake was.

   Her Majesties Theatre was extremely small, so watching the Phantom of the Opera there was a totally different experience from when I saw it for the first time at the Bass Hall in Downtown Fort Worth. The theatre was stunning inside and out, from the exquisite architecture to the tiny details on the inside walls. You could tell the building was very old; I felt like I got a glimpse of what going to the opera in the 1800s would’ve been like. As for the show itself, it blew me away. Every single actor had a remarkable voice that has stuck in my mind to this day. The man who played the Phantom was especially phenomenal. He literally had the voice of an angel; it’s crazy how talented some people are. I really can’t say whether the show was better when I saw it at home or in London. Both were amazing experiences with ridiculously talented people. There was just something about seeing it in London though that made it more memorable than the first time. That whole night was perfect, with the exception of running through London in a long dress and heels—but that makes it all the more memorable, right?!

 

Ireland 04/03/17-04/20/17

   This trip, this trip was better than I ever imagined. I have wanted to go to Europe since I was ten, especially Ireland. My mom has a huge Irish heritage and has always told me about our Irish cousins in Ireland whom she wanted me to meet. Last year was when I finally got to make both these dreams realities! Overall, my whole trip to Europe (England & Ireland) was a wonderful experience, but the one day of my trip that I remember the most is when I went to the Cliffs of Moher. It was a close second to climbing that mountain in Colorado.

  Standing atop a gigantic cliff looming above crystal clear waves crashing against the shore beneath, I felt like I was like standing on the set of “The Princess Bride.” The day I went, it was foggy and freezing, but midway through the day the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful spring afternoon. I was actually incredibly lucky with the weather I got while visiting Ireland; it was partly cloudy most of the time and not much rain, which is rare for Ireland. I am so excited to go back in a few days for the All Ireland Irish Dance Championships and visiting family!

 

New Orleans 06/29/17 ~ 07/11/17

   This was definitely my least favorite place I went in 2017. I really don’t like the city of New Orleans, but I was there for the Irish Dance Nationals. It’s dirty, smells like vomit, and the humidity in July is awful. But aside from how much I dislike the area itself, the moments I had with my best friends were truly unforgettable. I was staying with Regan (I literally always do for big dance trips). I don’t have one moment in particular that stood out to me, but more the small moments in the span of this week-long trip. 

    I spent basically every moment of free time I had with my close friends, Regan, Cameron, and Devon. I laughed more in that one week than I have in the span of a regular month of my everyday life! We explored downtown NOLA (which again is disgusting but the company was good), walked all over the hotel making complete idiots of ourselves, watched friends dance, and took multiple trips to to the food court (in the mall connected to the venue) for Canes and Cafe Du Monde. At one point, Regan, Devon, and I found a hidden hallway and sat there for hours just talking and laughing hysterically over the most random things. I can’t even remember what was so funny, but whatever it was we couldn’t stop laughing. This happened a lot during that week and I remember stopping in those moments to watch my friends laugh and talk. In those moments I was incandescently happy and I realized, that THAT is the secret to enjoying life. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing…if you’re surrounded with people who you love you and get you, that’s when you will find true happiness! 

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Massachusetts 07/18/17~09/12/17

   I go to Cape Cod, Massachusetts every summer for a month and a half. I’m extremely lucky to have the most generous grandparents who let us stay in one of their rental houses all summer! Saying I am thankful is an understatement; they have made it possible for me to spend quality time with them and lots of extended family I’d barely see otherwise. Not only that, they have also given me the chance to enjoy my favorite place in the world for 17 years in a row! Every year I can’t decide what my favorite moments were, but this year I think I know. It wasn’t a moment; it was multiple days. I stayed two weeks longer than my family, so I could get some time alone with my grandparents and extra time to enjoy my favorite place in the world. I took so many bike rides, did lots of outside workouts, read Harry Potter on the beach, swam in crystal clear September water, and took long walks on sunset lit beaches by myself. I was ridiculously happy. These first two weeks of September were by far the happiest two weeks of my life. I have never felt so at peace, free of stress and worries, and just perfectly content. I actually have a few selfies (one is on Instagram, you should check it out 😉 ) that I think really captured the happiness that was literally radiating from me at the time.

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Putting it here too just incase you did’nt check my instagram lol

   The best moments of this time were when I got up at 5:45 am, rode my bike to the beach, put on my favorite playlist at the time, walked to a giant rock, and just sat watching the sun rise over a silent beach.

   Have you ever watched the ocean when its calm and just wondered what it would feel like to be as calm and peaceful as its water? I have, and I did multiple times during those last weeks on the beach. I think I actually got a glimpse of what I always imagined that to feel like! I could continue to try and explain this to you for hours, but I’d bore you, so I’ll end with this: I am extremely thankful for those two weeks. They taught me what pure happiness and contentment is, what it feels like to be truly happy within yourself. Even now, if I feel lost, hurt, or just in a down mood, I always remember that time and how it is and always will be possible to be that happy again! I just want to say that I would never have had the chance to feel that amount of joy and happiness and experience those beautiful moments if it weren’t for God. He created this earth for my (our) enjoyment and that is absolutely mind blowing to me. I have done literally nothing to earn those special moments yet He still gives them to me because He loves me so much. He is the source to those two weeks filled with peace and happiness and there are no words to explain how thankful I am for that.

 

Florida  11/30/17 ~ 12/06/17 

  I was in Orlando, FL for the Southern Region Oireachtas (regionals). Orlando is not my favorite place, mostly just because I’ve been there so many times and I’d rather go somewhere new. But it was a really good trip and the weather was absolutely amazing! There is actually one moment from this trip that I can pinpoint as my favorite without a second thought. Regan, Cameron, and I were hanging out before awards on the day I competed. We were all hyper and crazy, probably due to lack of sleep. Cameron randomly started showing Regan how to swing dance and do all the crazy flips. We were videoing and laughing; it was hysterical and we were all so happy. At one point, I asked to try one of the flips… it was a major fail, lol, but the videos we have of it make me laugh every time I watch them. I think I was just too small to do it because every time Cameron tried to swing me around he ended up dropping me/throwing me across the room. I look like a real life rag doll in the videos! I wish I could insert videos on my blog so you could see because it was honestly priceless.

  This trip was filled with a LOT more memories than this for sure…I may try to make a post about it sometimes soon. However, I won’t count that because I already wrote a whole post about my time in Disney. If you want to read about it, you can go to my “Christmas Time in Disney” post!

 

New York 12/14/17 ~ 12/19/17

   I went to New York City to visit my sister Maggie and some of my relatives. Regan was visiting the city around the same time as me, so I spent a day with her at the end of my trip! NYC is one of my favorite cities; my favorite thing to do there is walking around and exploring. The third day I was there, Maggie and I woke up late, went to the deli below her apartment to get bagels, and then spent the rest of the day walking around. We spent a lot of time in Central Park. I have walked on the outskirts of it many times, but that was the first time I actually walked through it. There’s really no specific moment that stuck out in this day; I just enjoyed all of it! It was a little chilly, but the sun was out which made for a beautiful day. We went to Columbus Circle, Central Park, the Smithsonian, and finished the day at a sushi place for dinner. We also went to the MILK Ice Cream place that everyone posts about on social media. I didn’t get anything, but my cousin Addison gave me the leftovers of his “Rice Krispy milk shake.” Basically the ice cream/milkshakes are supposed to taste like leftover cereal milk… and it does! The milkshake tasted like the remains of milk and Rice Krispies in your cereal bowl except it was way saltier and sweeter (and frozen). Maggie and I ended the night watching FRIENDS in Maggie’s bed with pizza from the pizza shop (also below her apartment!). Overall, it was just a really good day.

Towards the end of my trip, I met Regan in the city. We hung out, went to a delicious Italian restaurant for dinner, and walked around Saxs Fifth Av. and Rockefeller Center. I only was with her for about 24 hours in all, but any chance to see her is special and I’m always thankful for it.

   I know I said I’m would only put one memory about each trip, but I also got to spend time with my relatives in Nyack, NY, and I want to share some of those fun moments as well. The first set of cousins I saw, I actually stayed with for a day and a half. They were at school the first day, so I just stayed at their house with my aunt! It was so relaxing; their house is beautiful, so I found a quiet spot on their glass porch to cuddle up and do schoolwork as snow fell softly on the ground outside. One evening, I also got to visit my younger cousins, three crazy boys! We played a LOT of Mario Kart (I’m not complaining because I love Mario Kart!) and watched Elf. I loved visiting NY and getting to see so many people and do so much in such a short time span.

 

Colorado 12/31/17 ~ 01/04/18

   Technically most of this trip was in 2018 and not 2017, but since it was the last trip I took during 2017 I am including it. The whole trip was really special because I got to go with my mom and two of my sisters. We stayed in a friend’s cabin that overlooked the sparkling, frozen San Juan river and was completely surrounded by the looming rocky mountains. Every second of being in the mountains was amazing, so choosing one moment that really stuck is, again, very hard… I really don’t know how I limited myself to one moment for each trip, lol. Anyways, one of the mornings when we weren’t skiing we made a big breakfast and ate out on the deck. It was a sunny day with a light breeze; the weather was heavenly. It was so much fun to enjoy good food while visiting with my mom and sisters! Another moment that I will probably always remember was when we stopped at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The sun was going down, so the sky was beautiful hues of purple and pink. It was the last sunset of 2017, and I got to experience it surrounded by miles of sand dunes! Surreal is the only word I can think of that really describes it.

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   I am beyond thankful for every single trip I got to go on last year. Everyone of them shaped me, taught me a lesson, and showed me just how amazing God’s world/creation really is. There was at least one moment in every one of these trips where I had a moment of complete awe of God’s creation and His amazing love for us. I saw His love on my first trip of 2017 when I stood on a snowy cliff overlooking hundreds of blue mountains, I saw it while walking along the luscious green Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, I saw it multiple times in the summer walking along the beach, I saw it in my friends’ laughs and happy tears over the year, and I saw it one last time as I watched the sun set on 2017 while I stood surrounded by extraordinary sand dunes. I am so excited for even more traveling in 2018, the first of which is Ireland again…I’m on my way as I speak. (Eek!)

As always thank you all so much for reading!! ❤ These moments from my many trips this year will forever have a special place in my heart. I’m so thankful for the chances God gave me for traveling last year.

 

XoXo~ Josie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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