A Year of Travel in Review – 2017

by Madam ZoZo

Another year of life and travel has come to a close. As I celebrate the holidays with family and friends, I look back on a year of fun, adventure and mishaps on the road. Putting together this yearly review makes me realise just how much you can pack into 365 days when you are really committed. Again this year, we hit our target of travelling once per month (if only for a weekend).

This year, in particular, I am grateful for the travel and new experiences that have pushed me outside my comfort zone because they make me a more interesting, tolerant, open-minded and creative human being. I’ve learned a lot, as an expat and traveller, about the importance of seeing the broader world, meeting new people and being open to different ways of life. I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to travel once, and they seize it with enthusiasm.

Here is my 2017 in travel photos, some never before seen or written about on Duende!

Darling Downs drive

I began 2017 at home in Australia after 18 months away. A trip home for me always means a tour of the Australian east coast visiting family and friends. It usually involves time spent in Sydney, Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast at a minimum. This holiday, a little extra time and a happy coincidence took me further west to the Darling Downs region, a farming area that extends westward from the inland side of the Great Dividing Range. Here, I found plenty of duende including fields of sunflowers, gorgeous heritage architecture and waterfalls in the Australian bush. See my photo diary of my road trip – Duende on the Darling Downs – for more.

Warwick Post Office designed by government architect A.B. Brady, opened in 1898
Silos and sunflowers, Allora, Queensland
Silos and sunflowers, Allora, Queensland
Warwick, Australia | A Year of Travel in Review - 2017
Mural in Warwick, Australia

Pittsburgh weekend

After returning from Australia in January, my February excursion was scheduled as a road trip to Pittsburgh. The weekend getaway got nudged into early March due to some important sights that were closed over the coldest winter months. I found plenty to explore in Steel City, so I have narrowed them down to a shortlist of weekender essentials in Things to do in Pittsburg.

Pittsburgh, U.S.A | A Year of Travel in Review - 2017
"Point of View" sculpture at the top of Mount Washington, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Dale Chihuly exhibit at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh |
Dale Chihuly exhibit at Phipps Conservatory
Frank Lloyd Wright designed home - Fallingwater, outside of Pittsburgh

Southern Swing

James and I named our road trip from Memphis through to Nashville our “Southern Swing.” We took a less than a direct route, crossing the border into Alabama to indulge our love of music at Muscle Shoals and then on Lynchburg, Tennessee where the Jack Daniels historic distillery is located. See my posts on Memphis street art and my top things to do in the “Birthplace of Rock’n’Roll” and “Home of the Blues.”

Live music on Beale St
Beale Street during the day
Elvis Presley's Graceland
Country Music Hall of Fame
Piano and drum kit with microphones in RCA Studio-B, Nashville
Touring RCA Studio-B, Nashville where Elvis, Dolly Parton and other legends have recorded

Ecuador adventure

Bucket list alert!! We took advantage of April’s mild weather to visit the Galapagos Islands. Planning our Galapagos Islands trip was a long process involving A LOT of research, and I got a lot of questions about how we went about it. So, I wrote an extensive post on planning an island-hopping style trip to the archipelago here and shared our packing list. We also spent a lovely 24hours exploring Quito, the capital of Ecuador – you can see the highlights in this Creative Corners post.

Sealion photobomb in the Galapagos
My husband being photobombed by a sealion that swam right up in the camera
Sierra Negra
Overlooking the world's second largest caldera - Sierra Negra
Quito, Ecuador
The beautiful colonial streets of old Quito, Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador
Quito's magnificient doors

Exploring Ohio

Spring brought Australian visitors to Ohio, and we took the opportunity to make mini-road trips around the state. You can read posts on a grand, Tudor-Revival country estate, and an Art Moderne gem I found in Cleveland, along with Things to do in Northeast Ohio.

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
Cleveland, Ohio
Basket building, Newark, Ohio
The former Longaberger Company basket building in Newark, Ohio

Chicago long weekend

During an early summer getaway to Chicago, I explored the impressive architecture of The Windy City including Oak Park home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright. I wrote about my favourite art moments from the Art Institute, and what makes Chicago unique from other Midwest cities in City Signatures.

Chicago neighbourhood street art
Public sculpture, Cloud Gate, with skyscrapers in background
Cloud Gate by Sir Anish Kapoor
The Chicago Theatre, Chicago, U.S.A.
Interior of Frank Lloyd Wright's studio
Interior of Frank Lloyd Wright's studio
Tree of Life Window - Wright | Highlights from the Art Institute of Chicago | Duende by Madam ZoZo
Tree of Life Window - Frank Lloyd Wright (1904)
Deep dish pizza
My first (and probably last) deep dish pizza

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Our summer road trip through Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks was so filled to the brim with natural beauty, I published two Art by Nature posts including one just documenting the stunning wildflowers. If you are planning a summer road trip to these astounding National Parks jump on my comprehensive planning guide.

Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Bison in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Snake River with Teton Range in the background
Snake River with Teton Range in the background

Indianapolis weekend

Indianapolis is the perfect weekender for those who love Indy and art! I shared Indianapolis’ most inspiring spots in a Creative Corners guide.

Indy500 track
The Indy500 track is a National Historic Landmark
Indy car ride with a professional driver on the Indy500 track
Indy car ride with a professional driver on the Indy500 track
Obelisk-shaped, limestone monument in neoclassical style
Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Indiana State Capitol
Untitled - Tara Donovan, 2010
Untitled - Tara Donovan, 2010 at thte Indianapolis Museum of Art

Savannah sojourn

It was only 48hrs after we left Savannah that it was evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Phew – that was close! The Georgian town is as darling as you would expect with beautiful architecture, lovely green spaces and art galore. See Savannah’s creative corners in this post.

Leopold's Ice Cream and SCAD, two Savannah institutions
Rear of Owens-Thomas House viewed from garden
Oak lined promenade with white fountain at centre
Forsyth Park and Fountain
Telfair Academy, Savannah
Inside the Telfair Academy, Savannah

Canadian exploration

Our Ottawan odyssey marked two-years living in the US, as this trip was first and foremost a border hop to renew our visas. In 2017, Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary of Confederation and we were only too happy to help eat the birthday cake! Ottawa is home to world-class museums and galleries, and a delicious destination for foodies. Meanwhile, nearby Gatineau is the perfect place to experience the change of season as Canada’s leaves turn.

National Gallery of Canada
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Largest indoor collection of totem poles in the world at the Canadian Museum of History
Views from Gatineau Park, Quebec

Go west! Nevada to New Mexico

Thanksgiving week we headed Southwest and road tripped our way from Las Vegas to Santa Fe stopping at the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Mesa Verde among other highlights. Plan a similar trip with this Southwest Road Trip Itinerary.

Southwest road trip itinerary: 10-days Vegas to Santa Fe
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
Monument Valley
Ancient cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, Colorado
Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde

I can’t wait to see the destinations and new experiences that 2018 brings. Please join me in January when Duende returns after a holiday hiatus at home Downunder.

If you want to up your travel game for 2018, the free 15×15 Travel More Challenge might help. It only takes 15 mins per x 15 days to plan your next short vacation or weekender, I will walk you through the process with daily email prompts, inspiration and resources. Sign up for the Challenge here whenever you’re ready to start and repeat as many times as you like.

Peace, love & inspiring travel,

Madam ZoZo

2017 Year of Travel in Review

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