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2018:  The Wordy Explorers' Travel Year In Review

2018: The Wordy Explorers' Travel Year In Review


By avatar  Stacy
Posted On 01/01/2019 16:48:11
Trip Date 01/01/2019  

Destinations | Cruises | Camping | Travel Blogger Year in Review | Machu Picchu | South America Cruise | RV Vacations | Panama Canal Cruise | Portland | San Francisco | Dominican Republic | Cruise to Cuba | Austria | Transatlantic Cruise



2018 marks our third year of retirement as well as the launch of the Wordy Explorers Travel Blog. Previously we were journaling about our travels for family and friends, but 2018 is the first year that we have published our travel experiences on this website for the whole world to see.

With a total of 223 nights spent away from our Austin, Texas home, we experienced nearly a 37% increase in our nights away as compared to 2017. The good news is that we planned well and stayed within the travel budget that we set for ourselves. (Our goal is to stretch our travel dollars as far as possible. Since we retired rather early, we are striving to ensure that we don't outlive our savings.) The bad news is that we are not going to be able to keep increasing our pace at this rate without one or both of us suffering from sheer exhaustion!


The Wordy Explorers 2018 Travel Destination Map

The Wordy Explorers 2018 Travel Destination Map

If you'd like to see a summary of what two early retirees accomplished in one year on their quest to see the world, we welcome you to take a look below. Along with photos, we've included a month by month review and a brief summary of each trip that we took during the year.


January & February 2018: South America (41 nights)

The first two nights of the year were spent in Parkville (Kansas City), Missouri as we wrapped up our holiday visit. After sleeping in our own bed for 11 nights, we were off to South America. Our visit started in Cusco, Peru where we were joined by Scott's brother and sister-in-law for a tour of both the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. From there we headed to Santiago for the start of a 14 night eastbound cruise aboard the Norwegian Sun from San Antonio, Chile to Buenos Aires Argentina.


Pisac Market in Pisac, Peru

Pisac Market in Pisac, Peru

Our Gloomy Day at Machu Picchu

Our Gloomy Day at Machu Picchu

Chile's Vicente Perez Rosales National Park

Chile's Vicente Perez Rosales National Park

Coyhaique, Chile

Coyhaique, Chile

Magdalena Island

Magdalena Island

Sailing Through Chile's Avenue of the Glaciers

Sailing Through Chile's Avenue of the Glaciers

Tierra del Fuego National Park in Ushuaia, Argentina

Tierra del Fuego National Park in Ushuaia, Argentina

Gypsy Cove, Falkland Islands

Gypsy Cove, Falkland Islands

Todd and Julia returned home after a brief tour of Buenos Aires, and Scott and I boarded the Celebrity Infinity for a 14 night South America cruise which included Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. We then immediately headed to Iguassu Falls where we spent two nights before returning to Buenos Aires. Following a one day tour of the Tigre River Delta, we boarded a plane and headed home.


Buzios - "The St. Tropez of Brazil"

Buzios - "The St. Tropez of Brazil"

Rio de Janeiro's "Christ, the Redeemer"

Rio de Janeiro's "Christ, the Redeemer"

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Iguassu Falls

Iguassu Falls

March 2018: Gilbert (Phoenix), Arizona (6 nights)

We made a short surprise trip to Arizona in early March. I had received a phone call from my sister who had some concerns about our Mom's health, so we left on a road trip early in the morning after receiving her call. As Mom was doing much better after several days there, we returned to our home where Scott's son had been staying for several days during his visit to Austin.


March 2018: South Texas RV Trip (7 nights)

We planned a short RV trip as the first of our 2018 season - just to ensure that everything was working properly after being in storage for nearly six months. Our week long journey took us to Von Ormy (San Antonio) and Mathis (Corpus Christi), Texas.

March & April 2018: South Central USA RV Trip (33 nights)

Timed around a visit to Kansas City that Scott's Uncle Warren had planned, we departed on our longest to date RV trip after only three nights at home. During our month away, we had the opportunity to enjoy parts of Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. In addition to spending time with family, some highlights included Hot Springs, Graceland and the Texas Bluebonnets.


Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee

Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee

Stonehenge in Rolla, Missouri

Stonehenge in Rolla, Missouri

Driving the Bluebonnet Trail in Ennis, Texas

Driving the Bluebonnet Trail in Ennis, Texas

Mammoth National Monument in Waco, Texas

Mammoth National Monument in Waco, Texas

May 2018: Panama Canal Cruise (17 nights)

I became obsessed with sailing on the brand new Norwegian Bliss after hearing about her during our South American Cruise. After watching the prices almost daily for over two months, we booked a balcony stateroom less than a month before the start of the cruise. (I had even booked airfare before booking our cruise!) The sailing took us from Miami, through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles.


View from La Popa Hilltop in Cartagena, Columbia

View from La Popa Hilltop in Cartagena, Columbia

Norwegian Bliss Inaugural Transit through Agua Clara Locks (Panama Canal)

Norwegian Bliss Inaugural Transit through Agua Clara Locks (Panama Canal)

June & July 2018: Central Texas RV Trip (6 nights)

After being home for a month, we took a short getaway in "RV There Yet?" which allowed us to relax in Lake Somerville and Taylor - both within a few hours of our home.


July 2018: Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California (10 nights)

To save money on airfare, Scott and I were able to combine two destinations into one trip since they were both in the western United States. We flew to Phoenix where we met my Mom at the airport so that the three of could fly together to Portland, Oregon. After spending time with my Mom's sister (my Aunt Jan), we went our separate ways. While Mom headed back to Phoenix, Scott and I flew to San Francisco to spend a long weekend with his son, Matt.


Oregon's Hood River Valley and Mount Hood

Oregon's Hood River Valley and Mount Hood

Portland's Lan Su Chinese Garden

Portland's Lan Su Chinese Garden

We Made it Across the Golden Gate Bridge

We Made it Across the Golden Gate Bridge

August 2018: Dallas, Texas RV Trip (4 nights)

We had tickets to a Broadway Across America performance in Dallas, and rather than a one night hotel stay, we took "RV There Yet?" to the nearby town of Eustace where we camped at Purtis Creek State Park.


September 2018: Dominican Republic and Cruise to Cuba (14 nights)

Again saving money on airfare (and trying to get the most out of our soon expiring Southwest Companion Pass), we combined a trip to the Dominican Republic along with a short cruise to Cuba. We met our friends Jim and Elsie at the Riu Palace Macao, an all inclusive resort in Punta Cana.


Arena Gorda Beach at Rio Palace Macao in the Dominican Republic

Arena Gorda Beach at Rio Palace Macao in the Dominican Republic

Snorkeling at Isla Catalina in the Dominican Republic

Snorkeling at Isla Catalina in the Dominican Republic

After spending a week of rest and relaxation together, Scott and I made our way to Tampa. It was there that we met our friends Rick and Sheryl on board the Majesty of the Seas for a five night cruise which included an overnight stay in Havana and a stop in Cozumel.


Driving along Havana's El Malecon (photographed by Yosel Vazquez of I Love Cuba Photo Tours)

Driving along Havana's El Malecon (photographed by Yosel Vazquez of I Love Cuba Photo Tours)

Six Pointed Starfish in Cozumel

Six Pointed Starfish in Cozumel

September - November 2018: Westbound Fall RV Trip (54 nights)

After two nights of sleeping in our bed at home, we departed again - this time in our RV on a journey that would break our previous 33 night record! Several factors influenced our travel dates including spending time with our families and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. We also wanted to return home and have some time to catch our breath before a trip to Europe that we planned over 18 months earlier. Our journey took us through Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas before we began our westbound trek into parts of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. There are so many amazing places to see in our home country, and we are just beginning to scratch the surface.


Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas

2018 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

2018 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park

November & December 2018: Austria and Transatlantic Cruise from Venice (31 nights)

Just one day prior to Thanksgiving, we boarded a plane for our final trip of the year. After a quick visit in Amsterdam during a long layover, we spent 8 nights in Austria touring Vienna, Melk and Salzburg by train. Our final train journey brought us to Venice where we spent one night before boarding the Rhapsody of the Seas.


Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

Christmas World on Rathausplatz in Vienna

Christmas World on Rathausplatz in Vienna

Melk, Austria

Melk, Austria

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, Austria

The first 7 nights of our back-to-back cruise took us to Dubrovnik, Kotor, Naples and Rome before docking in Barcelona. At 14 nights, the second leg of our cruise made three stops in the Canary Islands (Lanzarote, Grand Canary and La Palma) followed by a very relaxing six days at sea. After one final port day day in Nassau, Bahamas, a last minute itinerary change due to high winds and waves brought us to Port Canaveral. A two hour bus ride took us to our originally planned final port of Tampa for our flight back home.


Pompeii Theater

Pompeii Theater

The Green Lagoon on Lanzarote, Canary Islands

The Green Lagoon on Lanzarote, Canary Islands

How to Learn More about Destinations that We've Visited

If you are interested in seeing or reading more about one or more of the destinations that we visited in 2018, 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 (and even before). 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 2019?

In addition to some as yet unplanned traveling in the USA in "RV There Yet?", our travel trailer, we have our eyes on the following destinations in 2019:
  • 10 day Caribbean cruise;
  • land tour in Romania;
  • Greenland and Iceland; and
  • Canada & New England
We invite you to create a User Account and opt in for an e-mail subscription now so that you don't miss out on our upcoming adventures. Our commitment is that we will send no more than one e-mail per week.

The Year Ahead

What travel plans have you made for 2019 and, of your planned destinations, which are you most excited about and why?





2018:  The Wordy Explorers' Travel Year In Review



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Created On 12/28/2018 17:15:31  
Updated On 12/29/2018 16:42:30
Scheduled On 12/29/2018 10:48:11
Posted On 01/01/2019 16:48:11
Last Editor Stacy
Location  
LinkId  2018TravelYearInReview
StoryId  1546035331535





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