Author’s Note: I chose to write this post after listening to the Extra Pack of Peanuts Travel Podcast episode 2016 in Review: Stats and Superlatives. I thought it would be really fun to find out where I slept every night of 2016. And it was fun! At first, then I realized that I was away the most the same month that I lost Geordi (all before he died). And traveled the most during 3 of the 4 months before he died. I then asked myself a question that I should not be asking myself: “If I had been home more, would I have noticed his decline and given him a longer life?” I should not ask myself this because I cannot change what happened. I should not ask myself this because he was given six to twelve MONTHS to live and lived for three YEARS after that. In the end, I’m just sad I missed so many of his final days. Sometimes my love of travel allows me to be there for more special moments and sometimes my love of travel keeps me away from special moments. It’s just part of this lifestyle. I hope the complexities of these emotions come through just a little bit in this post.
1 – 13: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
Starting out the year at home is pretty much the norm for us. It was a typical cold and grey couple of weeks with a few highlights.
14 – 16: Homewood Suites, Carle Place, NY
The first trip of the year was CRAZY FUN! My brother got married! It was fun with family all weekend long.
I would also highly recommend the Homewood Suites. The suites are huge and so clean, breakfast in the morning is good, and some evenings there are socials with wine and snacks.
Their wedding photographer keeps a blog if you’re curious about my brother and sister-in-laws wedding.
17- 31: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
1 – 13: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
14 – 21: Friend’s Home, Cleveland, OH
My first working trip of the year. I spent a ton of time at Beth’s apartment writing, but also visited some sights like the Cleveland Botanical Garden and got really into the food and coffee scene in the CLE.
22 – 29: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
1 – 3: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
We spent three nights in Watkins Glen with our friends Cathy and Travis. We stayed in a beautiful house right in downtown where you can walk to restaurants, breweries, and the grocery store. On Saturday we participated in the Red, Red Wine winery tour around Seneca Lake. The next day we met a brand new addition to our college family – the first of our friends had a baby while we were in Watkins Glen and was close enough for a day trip! Fate sometimes works in beautiful ways.
8 – 12: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
13: Friend’s Home, Cleveland, OH
In an effort to save money on flights, I flew out of Cleveland for my trip to California. It was almost worth it.
14: Red-eye flight from Cleveland, OH to Los Angeles, CA
I had exactly one day to explore Hollywood and I walked like ten miles. The Magic Castle Hotel was really neat. You can have free popsicles delivered to you at the pool. Some days there’s a magician who does shows during breakfast and mid-afternoon. Plus it was walking distance from everything I wanted to see (Walk of Fame, Runyon Canyon).
16 – 20: Airbnb, Irvine, CA
I spent the bulk of my trip in Irvine for the Women in Travel Summit (WITS). Much learning and much fun.
This Airbnb was so cute. It’s a private room in a house, but it has it’s own separate entrance from the back deck so you have as much privacy as you like. It truly is just blocks from the beach but there’s a huge hill that you must traverse to get there, so factor that in if you decide to go. Which you should. Manhattan Beach is beautiful.
22: Red-eye flight from Los Angeles, CA to Cleveland, OH
23 – 31: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
Finally home to this one:
On Easter we took him on what would turn out to be our last family outing to Frick Park.
1 – 14: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
15: Overnight Bus from Pittsburgh, PA to New York, NY
16 – 17: Family home on Long Island, NY
I explored Brooklyn and Queens for the first time with my brother and sister-in-law. We ate and drank a ton, including the Raindrop Cake at Smorgasburg.
18 – 19: Westchester County, NY
Headed over to my parents home for a few days and we had more food! The best meal out was Epstein’s Deli. We all tried tongue for the first time (and liked it!) and the homemade pickles are amazing.
20: Overnight Bus from New York, NY to Pittsburgh, PA
21 – 30: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
Aayla got a Hawaiian shirt…she loved it. We did Go Ape for Beth’s birthday. Geordi was adorable.
1 – 5: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
Beth and I finished the Pittsburgh half marathon!
Kevin’s grandparents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary! The hotel was nice. Saginaw itself was dull. But we were so busy all weekend that it didn’t matter where we were.
9 – 13: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
Beth and I were both working most of the days we were here, but we managed to fit in a ton of fun in the evenings.
15 – 22: Airbnb, Austin, Texas
Our reward for getting all our work done in San Antonio was playtime in Austin!
23 – 31: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
1 – 2: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
3 – 4: Family Home, Western Ohio
Finally went to the Troy Strawberry Festival! It’s a big deal where Kevin’s from.
6 – 9: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
10 – 11: Friend’s Home, Great Bend, PA
I got to see college friends and attend the Christening of the baby we met back in March. We had a lovely weekend together. Photos only available to in-person friends, because babies and privacy.
13 – 16: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
We left for a true family vacation! We wanted to break up the drive so started Friday after work.
18 – 25: Airbnb, Brant Lake, NY
Honestly, one of the best weeks of my life. We had campfires, cooked over the fire and on the grill, hiked, and drank beer. We were totally carefree in that rare way you rarely get as an adult. We were even confident that Geordi was doing well because we really trusted the place we boarded him. The last time I felt this relaxed was in Italy in 2013 and before that I can’t even say…a long time…college, maybe?
26 – 30: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
We got home on the 26th and it was too late to pick up Geordi. On the 27th we got a call that when we picked him up instead of taking him home we needed to take him to the Emergency Vet to have his heart condition checked on. Our general vet assured us that he was not dying, just needed to be checked out. Well, she was wrong. His heart had grown so large it filled his entire chest cavity so he couldn’t breathe deeply. It was time to say good-bye. We always knew it would be sudden. I always feared it would be while I was traveling. But he waited for Kevin and me to get home. He was stable when he picked him up and clearly dying by the time we got to the Emergency Vet. He walked in under his own power though, because he’s a trooper. But he didn’t try to eat the box of Kix cereal next to him on the back seat while we drove.
1 – 22: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
So, my plans for this entire stretch of July was to hangout with Geordi. I was gone for most of May and June and just wanted to lay on the couch with Geordi and books. I didn’t crack open a single book until well after summer ended. I couldn’t. We decided to fill up the house with friends. We invited people to stay extra days around Kevin’s birthday party, we accepted last minute visitors, we accepted every invite we got and we actually managed to have a ton of fun in between grief meltdowns.
23 – 27: Airbnb, Nashville, TN
The big trip for July was Nashville, which was three parts: vacation, Coach Summit, and recovery. I stayed in a different place in Nashville for each part. First up, vacation! Kevin stayed with me at an Airbnb with the comfiest bed ever.
Moved over to the Courtyard Marriott, Kevin went home, and I got four fabulous new roomies for Coach Summit. It was a work hard, play hard, don’t bother sleeping kind of adventure. I can’t believe I almost didn’t go because I was so sad about Geordi; I really needed this and I’m glad that I say YES to travel even when I have a case of nerves or depressed “I don’t wanna’s.”
This is one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed in! Which is great because I only left to go get food. It was great to start doing some work after Summit but while still traveling so that I was still sort of in that Summit mindset.
1 – 31: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
I slept in my own bed every night for a month! We got a puppy! Hi Gimli!
Yup. Just the first night. You knew this staying home thing wouldn’t last.
2 – 4: Family Home, Western Ohio
Gimli went on his first road trip and we took him hiking at Yellow Springs.
5 – 8: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
9 – 10: Friend’s Home, Cleveland, OH
11 – 24: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
Beth and I spent a week in NYC at the end of September. But we chose to run the Great Race in Pittsburgh before we left on Sunday, so we stopped a little bit before NYC in Nyack, NY just to crash for our first night. The West Gate Inn was very clean and we got good Chinese food delivered. The breakfast served at the hotel the next morning was awful, though, so I’d stay at the West Gate Inn and eat breakfast elsewhere.
26 – 29: Pod 39, New York, NY
I have so much to say about Pod 39 that I did a full review of it that you can see over here. We had a fabulous week in NYC and Beth really fell in love with the city.
We split our drive on the way home, too. Again, the hotel was really clean and we ordered awesome ziti from a local Italian restaurant. The Holiday Inn didn’t offer breakfast so we stopped at Starbucks on the Turnpike.
1 – 20: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
21 – 22: Family Home, Greater Dayton Area, OH
Kevin’s sister got married! We had an amazing time. She and her husband are so happy.
23 – 27: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
28 – 29: Friends’ Homes, Cleveland, OH
We did a lot of celebrating. The Indians were in the World Series and it was Halloween weekend.
30 – 31: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
1 – 22: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
We had so many visitors during my birthday week that we felt like we were running a hostel. It was AMAZING.
23 – 26: Friends’ Homes, Cleveland, OH
For Thanksgiving, we dog sat for a pair of adorable Basset Hounds and didn’t really start our eating binge until Friday while we celebrated the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life release.
28 – 30: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
1 – 8: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
9 – 10: Airbnb, Kirkwood, PA
We stayed in a gorgeous Airbnb in Pennsylvania Amish Country to celebrate my friend Cathy’s 30th birthday. We also discovered that Lancaster is an awesome town worth visiting again.
11 – 21: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
22 – 24: Mineola, NY
I spent the first part of Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law. We cooked A LOT. And ate a lot, too.
25 – 26: White Plains, NY
I spent the second part of Christmas with my parents. We kept the cooking and eating going and watched movies and reality TV. Things like The Great British Baking Show and Moonshiners.
27: Overnight Bus between New York, NY and Pittsburgh, PA
And I still love the overnight bus because I get more waking hours to be the places I want to be and fewer waking hours in transit.
28 – 31: Home, Pittsburgh, PA
New Year’s with Kevin and Beth is the usual tradition for us and we love it. This year we added others to our crew and went out to Claddagh for Irish food, music, and beer.
Total Nights Home: 271
Total Nights Traveling: 95
Favorite Place I Stayed:
All the family and friends’ homes I was lucky enough to stay in.
Places I’d Sleep Again:
Overnight Bus from Pittsburgh, PA to New York, NY and vice versa
Places I Hope Never To Sleep Again:
Red-eye flight from Cleveland, OH to Los Angeles, CA and back on Spirit Airlines (Or any other Spirit overnight flight.)