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Posted On 12/29/2018 17:32:26
Trip Date 01/01/2017
Destinations | Cruises | Camping | Travel Blogger Year in Review | Portland | Hallandale Beach | Galveston | Copenhagen | Norwegian Fjords Cruise | Baltic Capitals Cruise | British Isles Cruise | London | San Francisco | Puerto Rico
As of January 4, 2016, we had both officially retired from our jobs at IBM (Scott) and JPMorgan Chase (Stacy). We both
love to travel, and I am definitely on a quest to see the world. Since we were relatively young at the time of our
retirement (both age 52), we have set a travel budget that we plan to review annually. Our goal is to stretch our travel
dollars as far as possible as we strive to ensure that we don't outlive our savings. (Fortunately I still have some airline
and hotel points that will help us fund some of our travels ... and I'm always on the lookout for travel bargains.)
While writing this year in review, we counted up the number of nights that we spent away from our Austin, Texas home
and came to a grand total of 106. As we both only had five weeks of vacation during the end of our careers, we definitely
got to see more of the world in 2016 than in prior years!
The Wordy Explorers 2016 Travel Destination Map
Although not counted in our nights spent away from home, we also took some time to see some of the attractions in "our
own backyard" that we've been wanting to visit. With our remaining free time during the year, we embarked on a major
project to get rid of clutter. (We even burned through a paper shredder and had to buy a new one!)
We look forward to having you join us on our journey to see the world. Take a look at the text below to see a summary of
what two early retirees saw in their first year without having to report to a daily job. Along with photos, we've included a
month by month review and a brief summary of each trip that we took during our first year as retirees.
February 2016: Portland, Oregon (7 nights)
With more free time, we had been planning to accompany my Mom on a trip to Portland, Oregon to visit her two
sisters (my Aunt Jan and Aunt Barbara) early in the year. Unfortunately, just over a week before I retired, Aunt Barbara
passed away. We still made the trip, and in addition to squeezing in a bit of sightseeing with Aunt Jan, we also planned a
Celebration of Life.
February 2016: Hallandale Beach, Florida (5 nights)
In early February I read about a significant discount on flights to Ft. Lauderdale. From Austin, the trip required a 3 hour
drive to D/FW, however it was still a bargain. From our AirBnb in Hallandale Beach, Scott drove us
around the area where he lived at the time of his first professional job. In addition to relaxing and sightseeing, a
highlight of the trip was dinner with a former colleague and her family.
Hollywood Beach, Florida
March 2016: Galveston, Texas (2 nights)
Our anniversary was fast approaching so we planned a last minute two night stay in Galveston, Texas. Walking
to the beach was just a few blocks from our Bed and Breakfast, and we were able to make a side trip to see Scott's Uncle
Cliff before heading back home.
April 2016: Brookfield (Milwaukee), Wisconsin (7 nights)
After meeting my Mom at the airport, we spent a week in Brookfield, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. The first
part of our stay was devoted to last minute preparations for our planned Celebration of Life for Aunt Barbara. Even under
the circumstances, it was enjoyable to see some of my Mom's side of the family. We were quite busy during our stay
(including taking Scott on a visit to the emergency room), so we didn't have much time to see the sights.
April and May 2016: Copenhagen, Denmark and Norwegian Fjords / Baltic Capitals Cruises (21 nights)
Two weeks after returning home, we were on a plane again - this time headed overseas to Copenhagen,
Denmark. We saw as much of the city as we possibly could in the days that we had before and after cruising on the
Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerod, Denmark
Mons Klint, Denmark
Our seven day cruise to the Norwegian Fjords allowed us to see Alesund, Geiranger,
Flam and Bergen. Scott's brother and sister-in-law, who actually reserved the Baltic Capitals
cruise first and invited us to join them, met us for the second leg of our back-to-back cruise. In nine nights we visited
Warnemunde (Germany), Tallinn (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia) and Helsinki
(Finland). Sadly, we missed our port of call in Stockholm, Sweden due to high winds.
Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia
The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia
June 2016: Hot Springs & Fayetteville, Arkansas and Kansas City, Missouri (15 nights)
We planned a trip to the Kansas City area to coincide with a visit from Scott's Uncle Warren. We added side trips
in Arkansas in each direction - the first in Hot Springs where we enjoyed soaking in the famous thermal waters.
Our return brought us to the cities of Fayetteville and Bentonville. In addition to learning more about
Walmart, we also were invited to a lovely dinner with some of Scott's long time family friends.
Hot Springs National Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas
July 2016: Fort Worth, Texas (1 night)
Our one and only night away in July was to enjoy the Tuesday night $5.00 double feature at the Coyote Drive-In
Movie Theater in Fort Worth.
August 2016: British Isles Cruise and London, England (19 nights)
Rather than getting a refund for an expiring future cruise credit on Princess Cruise Lines, we reserved a cruise
less than five months before embarkation. Departing from Southampton, England, the sailing on Caribbean
Princess navigated around the British Isles. Our stops were at ports in England, Ireland,
Northern Ireland, Scotland and Normandy. One of the highlights of the fourteen night cruise
was attending the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Mersey Ferry in Liverpool, England
St. Colman's Cathedral in Cobb, Ireland
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Scotland's Edinburgh Castle
Following the cruise, we stayed for five additional nights in London using hotel points. As is our usual style, we
packed as much as humanly possible into those days including two performances on the West End.
Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England
Tower Bridge from the Tower of London in England
September 2016: San Francisco, California (6 nights)
After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin, Scott's son Matt had moved to San Francisco in early
February. We watched for cheap flights that would work with both his schedule and ours, and finally got to see Matt in
September. This was our third consecutive year to visit the city, and it was fun to now have a "local" show us some of the
sights that we had not previously seen.
Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco's Baker Beach
October 2016: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas and Gilbert (Phoenix), Arizona (8 nights)
While in London, I received an alert about inexpensive flights from Dallas to Phoenix. Since I had been wanting
to visit my Mom again, we couldn't pass up the deal. As we departed from D/FW, we met friends in Fort Worth
for dinner and a drive-in movie on the evening before our departure. While in Arizona, we rented a car and were
able to take my Mom to see some sights that she had not previously visited since moving there in 2008.
Downtown Phoenix from Dobbins Lookout on South Mountain
Roosevelt Lake Bridge in Tonto National Forest, Roosevelt, Arizona
November 2016: Whitney, Texas (4 nights)
Long before retiring, Scott and I had been dreaming about what our retirement would look like. In addition to cruising
and international travel, we knew that we wanted to travel the USA in an RV. On previous occasions we rented a small RV
and enjoyed both of our experiences. Since we now had a Ford Expedition which we bought primarily for towing, we
decided to rent another RV before purchasing one. We found an RV closer in size to what we thought we would want to
buy and traveled to McCown Valley State Park in Whitney. The good news is that we enjoyed our four
nights and are planning on beginning a real search for available RVs in 2017.
Our Rental RV in McCown Valley State Park
December 2016: Puerto Rico (6 nights)
Julia, Todd, Scott and I began discussing a visit to Puerto Rico. I had been watching flights, and we pulled the
plug when I finally saw a good deal. Scott put together an itinerary which took us around much of the island and we
reserved several places at which to stay. The four of us met at a hotel in Old San Juan so we started by seeing
Old Town. During our drive around the island, we had fun staying in some unique Airbnb
accommodations including a sailboat and a beach house.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Sunset near Ponce, Puerto Rico
December 2016: Parkville (Kansas City), Missouri (5 nights)
During a part of Matt's visit to Austin to celebrate Christmas, the three of us drove once again to the Kansas City
area to visit Scott's family.
How to Learn More about Destinations that We've Visited
If you are interested in seeing or reading more about any of the destinations that we visited in 2016, our Search Engine can help.
Just type in the name of the city, state, country or specific sight in which you have an interest, and you'll find a list of
articles matching your search criteria. If your search doesn't yield any results, please let us know. We are working hard
to post helpful information on all of the destinations that we have visited since our retirement. We are always willing to
attempt to rearrange our posting schedule in order to help out one of our readers and fellow travelers!
What's on the Horizon for The Wordy Explorers in 2017?
In addition to hopefully finding and purchasing an RV which will allow us to visit the US in the comfort of our "home away
from home", we currently have plans to visit the following destinations in 2017:
5 night Key West and Nassau Cruise
Sydney, Australia (our home base for three cruises traveling the South Pacific & Fiji, New Zealand and Queensland)
Northwest US National Parks tour planned by Todd and Julia
Eastern Caribbean Cruise with my Mom
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Created On 12/26/2018 23:16:06
Updated On 12/29/2018 15:12:43
Scheduled On 12/27/2018 00:32:26
Posted On 12/29/2018 17:32:26
Last Editor Scott
Location LinkId 2016TravelYearInReview