When we first started Road Unraveled, travel the way we do it now was still a somewhat, well, foreign concept. We were cautious about how much vacation time we asked to use—even when we had earned plenty. We prioritized domestic travel, knowing we would appreciate international trips even more once we had seen and experienced more of what our our home has to offer. But the one trip we never skimped on—the trip we planned and saved for all year—was our New Year’s Eve trip. Starting with First Night in Boston in 2013, we quickly came to anticipate experiencing the dawn of a new year in cities all over the globe.
New Year’s Eve has a kind of magic to it. If you had a tough year, the next year has the promise of being better. If you had a great year, next year could top it. All around the world, people from all walks of life gather to count down to and cheer in a future full of promise, and we have been part of those crowds in six cities on three continents. In 2020, we hit the pause button on New Year’s travel (and all things travel related) and celebrated from a place that felt truly foreign to us: our sofa. In 2021, we stayed close to home and watched a well-dressed muskrat count us into the new year. Honestly, it was a step in the right direction.
This year, we share our last post of the year from what feels like the most normal of places for us: a hotel room in Europe, where we’re hours away from welcoming 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark! This time around, our annual tradition of looking back at our year in travel is a reflection of what is has meant to us to return to exploring the globe just as much as it is a testament to how to stretch vacation days and dollars to make each trip happen. We hope you enjoy our reflections on our year of travel!
Our Year in Travel2022 had us regularly packing our suitcases: we visited seven countries and eight states! The first half of the year, when pandemic-related restrictions were still in place, we continued to stay close to home. Fortunately, our home in the Washington, DC area is close to so many great places to visit, and it wasn’t hard to fill our weekends with fun stops like Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia and Cape May, New Jersey. In May, Adam started an incredible new job working for a travel expedition company, and Stephanie boarded a plane to Florida to speak at a conference and spend time with many friends she hadn’t seen in years. In June, we visited Indianapolis, and while there we heard the news we had been waiting for: Covid testing requirements had been dropped for US citizens returning from abroad. Three weeks later, we were on our first international flight since our New Year’s trip to Tokyo in 2019: we spent a long weekend in Zurich! With that, the floodgates opened; we were back to traveling!
Since our whirlwind trip to Zurich, we have visited Reykjavik, Malta, and Munich as well as a few additional trips close to come and one more business trip for Stephanie, who visited New Orleans in October. Each trip has been a reminder of how much we love to explore new places and return to favorite destinations; each trip has stretched us, challenged us, and encouraged us to make the most of the time we had for it. Some trips were action packed, some were more relaxing, and all of them left us grateful for the opportunity to take them!
Countries/Cities Visited in 2022
- Switzerland (Zurich, Jungfraujoch)
- Liechtenstein (Vaduz)
- Iceland (Reykjavik, Vik)
- Malta (Valletta, Megalithic Temples)
- Germany (Munich Christmas Markets)
- Denmark (Copenhagen)
- Sweden (Malmö)
States/Cities Visited in 2022
- Virginia (Colonial Williamsburg, Arlington, Montpelier, Shenandoah Valley, Civil War Graffiti House)
- Washington, DC (Cherry Blossom Festival)
- Florida (Orlando, Tampa)
- West Virginia (Harpers Ferry, Greenbrier)
- New Jersey (Jersey Shore)
- Indiana (Indianapolis)
- Louisiana (New Orleans)
Number of Vacation Days Used in 2022This year, thanks to balancing local travel with bleisure travel, we only took 8 vacation days. Adam’s job transition limited how much time he could take, as did pandemic-related restrictions during the first half of the year. We also tried a new strategy of working half and even full days while traveling; while in Malta, Adam spent a full day exploring ancient temples before logging onto his computer to work from our hotel room. It was a great idea; he didn’t have to use a vacation day, and he still got all of the benefits of sightseeing! We’re planning to strategically incorporate some similar strategies in 2023 to blend some work days into our vacations and maximize every experience!
Website Year in Review
We had around 112,500 users from 195 countries/territories in 2022, around 152,000 pageviews, and we published 20 posts with an average character count right around 2,000.
Best of the Year 2022
A few years ago, we started capturing some of the highlights and surprises we remembered best from our year. Think of this as our own mini Academy Awards show with all of our travel experiences as the nominees!
► Best Places of 2022Iceland’s waterfalls and black sand beaches were unforgettable, and we spent a full day exploring them in September. We also had the chance to return to Reykjavik and Copenhagen, two of our all-time favorite cities. Both cities are spectacular; simply returning to them was a genuine highlight.
► Best Memories of 2022
As we emerged from a couple of years of quarantine, the moment we saw Adam’s family for the first time since 2019 in Malta is hard to beat! Many of us have experienced the sadness and frustration of missing people over the last few years, and getting to see our family in such a beautiful location and spend a whole week with them was just incredible.
Our runner up is the moment we found out Covid testing requirements had been dropped and the world was far more open than it had been in years; we booked our flights to Zurich that night!
► Best Tour of 2022
Our full day tour to Jungfrau outside of Zurich connected us to some great sightseeing, and the tour we took was well structured and had a great guide. Traveling to Jungfrau on our own would have been expensive and cumbersome, and we loved leaving the planning and driving to our guide so we could simply enjoy the experience.
► Best Meals of 2022It’s hard to beat Copenhagen’s cuisine, and after spending the last few days stuffing ourselves with smorrebord and herring from delicious spots like Restaurant Schonnmann and Barr we can safely say those have been among the very best we have had this year. Zurich’s decadent fondue was a memorable indulgence, too, as was the insanely good crawfish pie at Trenasse in New Orleans.
And, of course, there were the hot dogs in Reykjavik. We will never quite understand why we love them so much, but they are just delicious.
► Worst Memories of 2022
After our family found themselves seriously delayed on their way to Malta, it was our turn to spend some quality time at the airport while we traveled between Malta and Munich. More than three hours of weather-related delays left us stuck in the airport, with every clap of thunder adding more time to the clock. It cut our time at the Munich Christmas markets shorter than we hoped, and it was a reminder that not all aspects of travel are glamorous!
► Best Lesson Learned of 2022
After spending the better part of a decade traveling or planning to travel, staying home was harder and more gutting than we expected it to be. Still, when the world was more ready— and, to be fair, when we were ready, too—so much of what we loved about travel was there to meet us. Our best lesson learned is that patience is a great tool to have and to use. We tried to stay as educated, informed, and rational about our travel as we could, and our patience paid off; with the exception of a few storms in Malta, our return to the road has been pretty seamless and largely the way we remembered it. By waiting for things to get a little closer to normal, we haven’t had many issues connected to closures or changes that might have impacted our travel experiences. Patience was hard, but it was worth it to get back to travel the way we love to do it!
Final Thoughts on 2022
This was very much the travel year we hoped to have. We loved the flexibility that Adam’s job offered with regard to remote work (Stephanie’s self-employment already affords her that benefit!), and we can’t wait to continue to see the world in 2023! From a bleisure trip to San Diego that will position us for a trip to Alaska to an expedition exploring Central America to two separate cruises to celebrate a few milestone birthdays, we know next year will be just as memorable as this one. That’s why we love New Year’s as much as we do; to reflect on one year, experience gratitude for what it offered, and appreciate what it taught you is one of the best ways a person can grow.
We wish you a happy, healthy, growth-filled 2023— and we look forward to continuing our Road Unraveled journey with you!
A map of where we went in 2022
Take a look at some of our previous Year in Review articles.