Year End Reflection & Top 5 Posts of 2017
2017 has been a weird year.
On the one hand, I had a blast traveling around the country. I hit nine different states this year: Wisconsin, Nevada, Oregon, Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois, Texas, Mississippi, and Arizona. I haven't written about all of those trips yet so stay tuned! Ryan and I celebrated our five-year anniversary; I revamped my website (thanks, Cotton Row); and had my best year of freelance writing to date.
On the other, the neverending drama of the Trump tornado was a lot to process. I've shied away from talking about politics here but was reminded recently by a friend that I should stay in the zeitgeist to truly connect with people. So, here I am. I'm sorry for not saying anything about it until now. I won't talk about politics all the time but current events have and will likely continue to impact travel in the United States.
From natural disaster response (or lack thereof) to the tax plan to the travel ban to the President stealing public lands, I'm baffled and disgusted by the current administration. I'm saddened by the systemic racism that continues to plague our country. There are US citizens afraid to take a cross-country road trip because of the color of their skin. I know our country wasn't perfect before but this year it felt like shit really hit the fan with one scandal and horror after the next.
I am an optimist (I swear). With every trip, I'm reminded that not everyone thinks in the same way. And thank goodness. A diversity of people and opinions is the key to a healthy debate and country. My rediscovery of the United States is what drove me to start this blog; it is those unexpected places and inspiring people here that keep me going and inspires me to tell stories. Thank you for following this exploration and contributing to the conversation through comments, shares, and photos to the #theusiscooltoo project. I look forward to many more discoveries on the road in 2018 and thanks for doing your part to #KEEPtheuscool.
Top 5 Posts of 2017
#5. Best Things to Do in Milwaukee - Seriously one of my favorite trips of the year - cool museums, monumental architecture, and all of the beer and cheese.
#4. Breweries in the USA Worth the Trip - I loved connecting with beer and travel writers from all over to collaborate on this post. Let us know if we missed your favorite.
#3. Local's Guide to St. Simons Island, Georgia Restaurants - Eating and drinking are some of the main activities on a beach vacay so this totally makes sense.
#2. Chicago on the Cheap - I go to Chicago to visit my sister at least once a year and I try not to spend a ton of cash. It's challenging but can be done!
#1. 5 Islands in Georgia You Need to Visit - I love that this post was at the top for the year. I never really appreciated where I grew up until years later after I moved away. There is so much history here and it is so beautiful any time of year.