While I adore developing fun and fabulous recipes for you all, my other great passion in life has always been travel! I've been incredibly lucky in my life to have had some amazing travel experiences around the globe. From my work in East Africa, to living and studying in the United Kingdom (where my husband is from), to visiting friends in South America and around Europe and even some work travel to Asia.
Many years ago, when I was at the height of my travel fever, I did consider starting up a blog to document my experiences. I already was providing loads of suggestions and advice to family and friends, but I just didn't know where to start. Now that I've established my cooking and recipe blog I feel like I have a pretty good sense of how this works and I am so excited to start sharing some of my travel and of course dining tips with you all!
Travel during COVID19
Obviously 2020 posed some significant challenges to travel. Along with most everyone else we canceled all of international travel plans, including trips to see Tom's family in England and my trip to Uganda for work with Preserve International.
We did still manage to road trip with my family to Colorado for a couple of weeks, staying in an AirBnb in Colorado Springs and my sister's boss's vacation home in Edwards. We took every precaution we could to ensure our safety in restaurants and tried to limit our excursions to outdoor areas where we could easily social distance.
It was honestly one of the best trips we'd had in a long time. I don't know if that was because Colorado is so great (which it obviously is) or we were just so tired of being trapped in the house than even a 12 hour road trip seemed like a welcome escape.
Planning for 2021
While the COVID19 pandemic is most definitely still a factor, I am feeling hopeful that the global vaccination efforts will allow us to see some sense of normality by at least the end of the year.
Our family actually already has experienced COVID19 in December of 2020. While it did make for a less than ideal holiday season, we do feel like some of the personal weight/fear associated with the pandemic has, at least to some extent, abated. This is especially true given that my parents and sister's family also tested positive and recovered fully.
I realize this makes us incredibly lucky and we are very grateful that we have not suffered personal tragedy at the hands of this deadly disease. We still continue to take the pandemic very seriously, being sure to mask up and social distance as much as possible. However, we have lessened some of our personal restrictions on movement, especially when it comes to dining out as we know the heavy burden the restaurant and hospitality owners have bore through these unprecedented times.
Cancun, Mexico (February, 2021)
COUPLES TRIP: Tom and I so excited to be traveling to the Haven Riviera in Cancun, Mexico in February. I did a lot of research on the safest resorts for a relaxing getaway and Haven Riviera came up consistently. The resort is only allowing 40% occupancy and provides on site COVID testing curtesy of the hotel.
The Lake District, England (May, 2021 & December, 2021)
FAMILY VISIT: One of the most unfortunate consequences of the COVID19 pandemic is that we have not been able to see any my husband's parents in person since November of 2019, and the rest of his family since May of 2019.
We are planning to travel to the UK as a family in May of this year. We are hopeful that by May vaccines will have been distributed widely enough that we will not have to quarantine once we arrive in the UK, but it is still a possibility.
Luckily, Tom's 3 siblings are all essentials workers, 2 in the medical field and a police officer, and have, along with his parents, already received the first dose of the vaccine. This definitely gives us hope! We're also planning to spend Christmas there since we had such a gap in visits.
Colorado Springs, Colorado (August, 2021)
FAMILY GETAWAY: We had such a great time driving to Colorado with the kids last year we've decided to do it again! Pandemic allowing, we're planning to rent a big AirBnB with some friends who also have kids and do a fun family trip. I honestly cannot wait and will be sure to post about some great things to do with little kids in the area!
Kampala, Gulu & Yumbe, Uganda (January, 2022)
BUSINESS TRAVEL: For those who have frequented my blog you will know that I currently serve as the Executive Director for the nonprofit organization, Preserve International. I founded Preserve in 2019 after almost a decade spent in the international development field. We exist to empower women small-scale farmers to fight hunger and poverty in their communities through innovative, rurally-minded food preservation technology and training to reduce post-harvest crop loss. Staying away from chemical preservatives, we utilize food dehydration, improved grain storage and will eventually launch a program dedicated to water bath canning.
Programs on the ground are run by my wonderful friend and colleague Betty Konga, who I have known for almost 10 years. I do my best to get out there at least once a year to work through strategic planning and preservation curriculum development.
Uganda is honestly one of my favorite places in the world! It is beyond gorgeous and the people are absolutely lovely. We work in Yumbe which hosts over 280,000 refugees, primarily from South Sudan (where I worked for many years). However, the southern and middle parts of the country are really building up infrastructure and a phenomenal tourism industry. I am excited to post more about fantastic travel opportunities in the region, especially as one of my long time friends, Brian Arimpa, owns a wonderful tourism company that can help with any and all travel planning.
Disney World (Feb-March, 2022)
I don't care what anyone says, I LOVE Disney World. LOVE IT. I have such amazing memories of visiting Disney as a kid and I am determined to get our family there before Arlo starts Kindergarten in 2022. We are planning to save some money by renting an AirBnb, rather than staying on site, for this particular trip. Arlo will be 5 and Lila will be 3 so the Disney/Mickey Mouse magic will be strong. Can't wait to share more info next year!