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  • Writer's pictureKayla Brock

5 Best Travel Experiences of the Year

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Naturally, as 2021 comes to a close and the days become colder and colder, we all start to reflect on how the year has shaped us (or didn’t) as we go into the new year. For me, 2021 was a pretty solid year and as cliché as this is going to sound, it definitely was a turning point. Therefore, to honor 2021 and all her (yes, the years are female) glorious 365 days, I decided to do a countdown to pay homage to some of the best things and destinations I’ve done/gone to this year.

To start, let’s talk about comfort zones. We all love being in our comfort zone, I mean the appeal of it says it all. We enjoy our individual space, being comfortable, minding our own business (I hope), and just riding the wave. Well, there are many times in our lives where we need to step outside of our comfort zone to grow or to try something new. Without further ado, here are the top 5 travel experiences I've embarked on in 2021.

1. Parasailing

Ok, so I’m not a huge fan of heights. Would I ever jump out of an airplane, no. Would I ever bungee jump, hell no. So, what made me do parasailing you might ask? Honestly, I’m not sure…my mom wanted to do it and being the person I am, I’m pretty open to trying something new. My mom and I went parasailing in Los Cabo, Mexico during her birthday trip with Happy Flights. Let me tell you, the experience leading up to the main event was honestly the scariest part. When we arrived, we had to wait for our water taxi which took us to the parasailing boat. Man, that ride was brutal. It was a low boat, so you felt every hit as the boat would come crashing down on the wave. My mom was holding on to me for dear life. The next scariest part was being put into our harnesses which you would think would be quite nice to know you're protected, but it made the soon-to-be flight more real. After all that worrying and nerves, we‘re pushed back to go up above the boat and it ended up being one of the most peaceful experiences I've done. You barely feel yourself moving. It was like sitting on a swing. I just listened to the waves and looked out at the view and talked to my mom about my dreams and that is a moment I'll never forget.

Now, this was pretty cool! A girl I follow on Instagram posted herself at Kenmore Air, a seaplane operation company in Kenmore, Washington, just along the northernmost shore of Lake Washington. At the time they were celebrating their 75th anniversary and were offering discounts on their scenic flights. The flight gave you a birds-eye view of Seattle, University of Washington, Shilshole Bay, and Discovery Point and included headsets where you could listen to narrated highlights about the city. It was a short 30-minute flight, but I absolutely loved watching how we took off and landed on the water. The plane doesn't fly too high so you get an amazing view all around. I get a little nervous flying, but I felt completely safe with our pilot and the staff was so nice and reassuring.

3. ATVing

This year was my first time going ATVing. I chose it as an activity to celebrate my 26th birthday while my friend and I were in Aruba. We booked a Sunrise City ATV Tour with Dirt Lovers. ATVling had been on my bucket list for a long time and the company was nice enough to give me money off for my first tour with them. I loved this tour because it allowed us to explore outside of the touristy area on the island and visit San Nicolas known as Sunrise City. Not to mention, I got a birthday shoutout on the local radio! I really felt like I was seeing a bit of the true Aruba. We drove on main roads, on the side of cliffs, alongside the ocean and it felt amazing. It didn't feel too difficult and I wasn't overwhelmed trying to keep up with our tour guide although my friend did run into some bushes.

4. Attending a music festival

Yup, I went to my very first music festival in 2021. Ok, I've been to plenty of concerts but I'd never been to a full-blown, three-day, full of big-name artists music festival. I chose Governors Ball in New York City which was held in Queens for the first time. I mainly wanted to go because there were a lot of small artists who were headlining. I got to see Tate McRae, Billie Ellish, Leon Bridges, Kehlani, Amine, Megan Thee Stallion, and Burna Boy. It was a nice time but it was extremely overwhelming for me with that many people. At one point, the crowd was so big that we weren't even moving and I felt so trapped! If I went to another one, it would definitely have to be on a bigger lot!

5. Partying on a hot tub boat

Imagine being on Lake Washington in Seattle, cruising in a small boat filled with water that stays at a temperature of 104 degrees F with several of your friends. Yeah, that sounds like a fun time to me too. During Memorial Day weekend, my friends and I rented a Hot Tub Boat. It's just like the name suggests. You navigate it using a joystick to steer and it comes with a speaker.

You just get to sit out on a nice day on Lake Washington, listening to music and relaxing with your friends. If I had the money, I would be on here every day. It's perfect for any occasion and was such a fun and unique activity during a holiday weekend. Paddleboarders and boat owners would pass us with a friendly smile and would chat with us about the boat or just say hi. It's definitely a conversation starter. The staff was so accommodating and friendly even when some of us were a little late.

I've always cherished experiences over material items. Memories last a lifetime and I'm grateful for these new experiences and for those out of my comfort zone moments.

As we countdown to Christmas, stick around for the next blog highlighting the 4 Best Restaurants I went to this year. Of course, it’s hard to narrow down, but I had some favorites that stuck around with me all year.

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