New Year, New Vacation Plan

January and I have never really gotten along. My birthday is 11 days before Christmas, so December has always had double the excitement and celebrations than if I was born in any other month of the year. I’ve travelled somewhere for the last five Christmases (back to England and also to the winter wonderland that is Mount Baker) which just makes coming home and facing January that much harder. Every year I swear that I’m going to book a trip at the end of January, just so I have something to look forward to. Every year I then realize that I have in fact spent all of my money on December. So every year starts with a blank calendar and an empty bank account. Turns out January isn’t for vacations, it’s for vacation planning.

In case you didn’t already know, I really, really like planning vacations. A trip just wouldn’t be as fun without the weeks (or months) of anticipation and preparation leading up to it.  I generally always have something to look forward to, which is why January 2016 threw me a little bit.

The big wedding savings plan begins this month (date is set for August 2017, yay!), and I’m trying this radical new thing of only spending money that I have instead of putting vacations on credit cards. This means that most of the new places I wanted to go this year (Kauai, Costa Rica, Cuba) are now out of budget. It also means I’ll hopefully have an amazing honeymoon to look forward to at the end of next year, so I can skip the more exotic destinations this year. After a month of panicking about having nothing booked, we talked about what we really enjoy doing on vacation. Turns out, we’ve already been to some pretty amazing places that we’d like to see again. So this year’s vacation plan looks a little like this:

March – Mount Baker

Technically, this is the one trip that’s to somewhere new. We’ve been to the Mount Baker area for Christmas for the past three years, but never actually made it to the mountain (though we got really, really close in 2015). We’re heading up with friends for a ski weekend in March and I can’t wait! The chairlifts at Mount Baker don’t have safety bars, so fingers crossed I survive and make it through the rest of this list. 

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The closest to Mount Baker I’ve been so far. Can’t wait to change that next month!

March – Seattle

I really, really, really loved my last trip to Seattle. We broke out of downtown and spent most of our weekend in the breweries, bars and coffee shops of Capitol Hill and Ballard. We’re going to go back and do it over again in March, this time with our amazing best friends and former Hawaii travel companions. We haven’t been away together since that trip in February 2012, and I can’t wait to go be hipsters together.

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Downtown Seattle from Capitol Hill

April – California Coast

After uming and ahing over where to go in the spring, we booked an extra long weekend in California that includes all of our favourite things: driving, the beach and small towns with great coffee. We’re staying in Hermosa Beach for three nights and then driving up to Santa Barbara for our final night (new destination!). I stopped by Hermosa Beach on a post-Coachella road-trip last year and loved it so much that I decided I was going to move there for three months this summer. Little did I know I was about to get engaged and start saving for a wedding, so that didn’t happen. But three nights is better than nothing!

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A cloudy (but warm!) Hermosa Beach on my Coachella 2015 trip!

August – Oregon Coast

Speaking of driving, the beach and small towns with great coffee…we’re heading back to Oregon for our August long weekend tradition. Last year we headed inland along the Columbia River Gorge and down to Bend which was so much fun, but this year I am dying to get back the coast to this stunning view:

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Take me back!

December – New York

Our first vacation together was to New York in December 2008, and we’ve been talking about going back for a couple of years now. Eight years later we’re so much better at vacations. We know what we like to do (eat food), where we like to go (neighbourhoods outside of downtown) and what kind of activities we like to do (food again). Our last trip was amazing but I think that we’d have a very different experience this time. And I never did get to ice skate in Central Park.

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Posing in a very snowy Central Park (so snowy the ice rink closed)

There it is. A year of going back to places we know and love, just with a different spin. And now I can get back to my 18 months of honeymoon planning…

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About MarmitetoMaple

I'm originally from the UK and have been working and living the dream in Vancouver, BC, since January 2011. I am a firm believer in travel, good cheese, volunteering and community engagement.

2 responses to “New Year, New Vacation Plan”

  1. Tom says :

    Can’t tell if you’re going to Santa Barbara this year or did last year but I’m from a suburb of Santa Barbara called Goleta – it’s where the University of California, Santa Barbara is. I’m an expat living in BC and found your blog when I was looking at permanent residency info (currently a PR, applying for citizenship shortly but eventually planning on moving back to the US). If you are going/going back to Santa Barbara this year, a few suggestions: The UCSB campus is beautiful and has its own beach (where students and professors actually regularly surf together in between classes) and its own lagoon on campus. Most tourists to Santa Barbara visit the main ‘strip’ downtown called State Street, but there are far better places to go; the Mesa and the views of the city from the adjacent hill where Santa Barbara City College is (a campus open to the public) are fantastic. Also, go to the public courthouse and take the stairs or elevator/lift to the observation deck on the top of the bell tower for 360 degree views of downtown, the mountains, State St. et al. The views from the top of the court house are the best in Santa Barbara. If you want quaint but great brewery, visit the suburb of Carpinteria (just south on highway 101) and go to Channel Islands Brewery; stroll further down Linden Ave to go to Carpinteria State Beach and then head south and see the world-famous surf spot, ‘Rincon’. You can also visit Montecito, home of the ultra rich like Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan. El Capitan and Refugio State Beaches north of Santa Barbara are also incredibly scenic. If you’ve already been to Santa Barbara, consider these for next time! And if you want the best drive in the entire state (maybe even world), drive the Big Sur coast on Highway 1, from Monterey/Carmel south to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. It is legendary and on a sunny day it is the most beautiful mix of coastal mountains, redwoods and scenery.

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Hi Tom, thank you SO much for this comment! I haven’t been to Santa Barbara before and am really excited to have a couple of days/one night there this coming April. Your comments are so helpful, especially the views from the courthouse and Channel Islands Brewery! We will absolutely be trying those out! We’re staying at the Castillo Inn and will also be on the hunt for some delicious tacos! I agree that the Big Sur drive is definitely one of the best in the world, I’ve been lucky enough to do this in the past and it’s definitely an option for this trip depending on time.

      I hope you’re enjoying life in Canada, best of luck with your citizenship application when the time comes!

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