This year started slowly with the first half focused on home projects. But after we were vaccinated, we managed to get some traveling in, visiting family in Chicago and Dallas, enjoying a two week trip to the Pacific Northwest, and even squeezing in a fun weekend in Florida.
We began 2021 at home, seeing friends and family only over zoom. Like many of you, the stay-at-home days convinced us to take on some house projects. We’d been debating enclosing our porch for some time, but this was the the push to get job done. It took a while but the room was finished in April, and we love it! I’ve been known to spend a whole day out there (if the weather cooperates – it’s unheated).
Spring cleaning took on new meaning as we began the arduous work of clearing out Mom and Dad’s things, as well as our own increasingly cluttered basement. This inspired me to recommit to sustainability in my home and in my wardrobe. I researched eco-friendly clothing brands and decided to participate in the Wool& 100 day Challenge, where I would wear one dress every day for 100 days. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it!? But the merino wool dress was wonderfully adaptable, and I enjoyed not having to make decisions on what to wear every day.
Finally in April, we were able to get vaccinated. Our weekly zoom chats with friends gradually became gatherings outdoors, and eventually indoors in small groups. Amazing how wonderful that felt! We will forever be grateful to the friends who kept that zoom activity going! Who would have imagined virtual wine tastings, dinner parties, and book discussions!
In late August we went on vacation! We traveled with one daughter’s family to Oregon and Washington state, somewhere we’d never visited before. As nature lovers we were thrilled to have the chance to finally see this spectacular region! The national parks, the coastline, and the wine! But mostly we loved having time together as well as the opportunity to visit with family, and a dear college friend.
Late October I traveled to Florida to surprise another daughter’s kids. Just a few days away but boy did it feel good to be doing something ‘normal’ and fun.
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Finally, it has been rewarding to get back to working on our website. We’d taken a hiatus from the TravelingTulls, but are back with new purpose. Our perspective has changed a bit over the last two years, and our website reflects that. I love to research and write, but acknowledge that the TravelingTulls wouldn’t exist without the support and encouragement of our readers. So here’s to you! And here’s what resonated with you, our readers, in 2021.
Readers Favorite Posts: The top 5 posts of the year according to YOU!
I am thrilled that this post – a relatively new one! – ended up being so popular. It seems many people have been reflecting on the impact of their travel on the destinations they visit. If so, what a positive thing to come out of the pandemic!
In this post:
- What is sustainable travel? Is it possible to travel in a way that brings benefits to both the tourist and the community?
- Simple steps to make your travel more sustainable. And suggestions for bigger changes for when you’re ready!
- Challenges and Choices – over-tourism and irresponsible travelers
On a chilly day in New England, the ‘island paradise’ beauty of Zanzibar can seem unreal. Images of stunning blue water, white sand, and waving palms, seem dreamlike! Perhaps that’s what made this our second most popular post this year. We all needed a virtual vacation in paradise!
But now that Africa is open to visitors, stop dreaming and book your trip!
In this post:
- Why you should add the Zanzibar archipelago to your Tanzanian holiday plan. (including lots of photos to inspire you!)
- What to do in the archipelago – history, nature reserves, beaches, and culture
- Preparing to go – transportation, lodging, etc.
This post came out of my desire to pare my packing lists down to minimal, but quality, gear. I’m not a one-bag traveler, but do try to keep luggage to a minimum. I appreciate how much easier travel is if I can travel carry-on only. But as we’re ‘hybrid’ travelers, usually combine quite different activities in our trips, our packing has to work for hikes, beaches, and evenings out.
My experience wearing merino wool while traveling, and during the winter’s dress challenge, convinced me that the right dress can really extend the range of my packing list. A well made, but easy care, dress can be adapted to many different activities. I had fun researching options and I’m glad you all found it inspiring.
In this post:
- Reviews and recommendations of several lightweight travel dresses.
Our last overseas trip was to Kenya and Tanzania. As I’d already checked off my #1 Bucket List item on our Southern Africa safari, taking a second safari was a luxury I’d never anticipated. I can still remember the disbelief I felt when Dave looked at me and said – “book it!” We chose to travel to East Africa to see 1. the Serengeti (a lifelong dream destination for me!), 2. the Great Migration, and 3. the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi. It was a truly extraordinary trip, and I loved sharing some of our photos and adventures with you!
In this post:
- How an East African safari differs from a Southern Africa safari
- Choosing which game reserves. national parks, to include in your trip
- What to expect on your safari
- Our photos, and itinerary, to inspire you to BOOK YOUR TRIP
We love to travel and we LOVE our grandchildren. So what better to do than travel with the grandchildren? Well… it is definitely a joy to share adventures with the kids but it is not without challenges. Our trip this year was to the Pacific Northwest with my daughter’s family, which included a preschooler and a toddler! Preparing in advance to travel with little ones made this one of our best trips ever!
In this post:
- tips for involving the kids in the planning, and creating realistic expectations.
- packing tips for entertainment, food, etc.
- suggestions for downtime for both kids and grandparents
- overview of documents needed if you’re traveling without the parents.
And… a nod to 2020 – your favorite post
Poor 2020 didn’t bring a lot of highlights. Like most of you, we stayed home. And our website reflected this lack of activity. But I did enjoy putting together this post about the gorgeous birds of sub-Saharan Africa, and apparently YOU enjoyed the pictures too!
In this post:
- How to squeeze some birdwatching into your Safari
- Photos of some of the incredible birds we encountered in Southern and Eastern Africa.
- What you can expect on a safari in Africa
Just for Fun – Your favorite video of 2020 and 2021
Who wouldn’t love a video with baby 🐘 !?! If you haven’t seen it, check it out on our Instagram account: Sheldrick elephants coming in for the evening.
Read more about the extraordinary Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Travel and a New Focus in 2022
We have two international trips in the wings, but like many of you, we’re trying not to get too excited as they may not happen. But no matter what, we will make trips to see family.
These last two years have given me a lot of time to consider where I want this website to go. I love sharing our adventures and telling you about items that have helped us in our travels. But I’m not a model, nor a professional photographer, so I’ve been looking inward to discover what makes my perspective unique.
Nature and wildlife have always been important to me. I studied environmental biology in college, and though my career was in public libraries, I continued my passion for the environment in my volunteer work. Now retired, with 6 grandchildren I adore, I see my highest priority as doing whatever I can to ensure that they’ll also be able to enjoy a world with butterflies, elephants, and sunsets on the beach.
So in 2022 the TravelingTulls will be sharing our love of nature in the hopes of inspiring others to live more sustainably.