2023! 5 new countries checked off the travel bucket list, a new niece to love on, incorporating a business, making a big move all by myself, and spraining my ankle are just a few events in 2023!
The new year started out with a new hair cut, a couple of inches off and a few layers! The first couple days were spent working, hanging with family, and preparing for my 2 month long trip.
January 16th I flew to Alberta to meet my brother Keith. I got to experience an airport lounge for the first time in all my years of traveling. Free food and whiskey while waiting for a flight? Sign me up!
The next 5 days in Alberta were spent enjoying the pretty snow fall and hoar frost, getting to see my brothers new truck and drive it, eating some good food and exploring. We went to Lethbridge for the day and ate at Two Guys and a Pizza Place and then grabbed some apps/drinks and cool views of the city later on in the day at The Water Tower Grill. We made a trip to Costco and got some packaged boba tea and fresh calamari steaks to try. Both were pretty decent but I’m not sure I’d get a craving for them haha.
Early the morning of the 21st, we hopped on a plane from Calgary to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I won’t go into details here because there’s a whole other blog post for that 🙂 7 Night Cruise with Royal Caribbean “Oasis of The Seas”. But the cruise was definitely a huge highlight of 2023 with so much good food, new places to check off my bucket list and making memories with the big bro!
After hanging out in Florida for a few days after the cruise, Keith and I flew back to Toronto together where we parted ways, him back to Alberta and I on to Ontario adventures.
My first night in Toronto I actually stayed in an air bnb all by myself for the first time! I took VIA rail quite a bit visiting friends and making new ones in Kingston, Oshawa, and Ottawa. These stops involved glow in the dark mini golf (a first for me!), cronuts, winning $4.21 at a casino lol, Winterlude 2023, sushi, a quick trip to Quebec to get poutine, a escape room and lots more fun!
I met up with a friend in Toronto and we drove to Algonquin Provincial Park together. We stopped along the way for groceries and snacks. We were staying in a little cottage right near the park. It had a woodstove which as super cozy! We hiked, played games, talked, went on a late night hike and of course ate delicious food. We made chili and garlic bread, hot chocolate, and even grilled hamburgers over a single burner propane stove!
From Algonquin, I was headed to Cuba for my first ever all inclusive experience! My flight was out of Toronto at 6am so my friend and I took a nap from 11pm to 1am and then drove to the airport where she dropped me off and I caught my flight. Once again, details about this trip are in the blog post above. I got to swim in a waterfall, made some friends, and explored some pretty cool parts of Cuba, El Nicho, Trinidad and Cienfuegos.
I landed back in Toronto on February 16th where I took the train to Hamilton to meet my aunt. I spent a few days with my aunt and uncle eating (of course), playing games, visiting with my cousins, and going to Hamilton Winterfest with my aunt.
I spent a few days with my Grandma, visited the Red Dragon Dairy, hung out with friends in St. Catharines and Hamilton, and of course eating good food all along the way!
On March 5th, my friend who lives in North Carolina with her 2 daughters (she was visiting family in Hamilton), was heading back home and I came along for the ride. (And would fly home from there).
North Carolina is one of my favourite places to visit and my visit in 2023 didn’t disappoint. My friend had moved and so there was a new area to explore! For food, we ate at Olive Garden, City BBQ, Mimi’s Cafe, Panera Bread and O Henry Hotel Tea.
We went for bike rides, hiked, had a bonfire, explored their land, baked pies, watched movies, did some archery, and explored Greensboro and surrounding areas. We went to Greensboro Botanical Gardens, Gateway Gardens, the Bog Garden, Cane Creek Mountains, Faith Rock, and explored an abandoned textile mill in Franklinville.
When it was time to fly home, I was more than ready! It had been a long 2 months filled with some amazing adventures and I was ready to sleep in my own bed.
The rest of March was filled with family time, hockey games and a trip to Nova Scotia.
April was spent dog/house sitting for some friends while they went on vacation. They have 2 of the cutest Aussie doodles and I had fun hanging out with them while working a few odd jobs, trying some new recipes, and making plans for the summer.
I also donated blood for the second time, this time all by myself! The first time I was super nervous and I hate needles so I asked a friend to go. But the second time I made myself go alone and I did it haha!
Erica and I went to California for a week the beginning of May. We hung out with family, ate and drank, explored, and made a lot of fun memories. When we got back, I started working with my friend’s landscaping company as well as doing cleaning jobs on the side on my own.
June was a big month! I finally got my braces off which was super exciting. Beach days, cooking and working took up most of the time.
However, I was laid up on the couch for a full week after badly spraining my ankle and then hobbled around for the following week. Definitely not how I wanted part of my summer to go but what can you do?
July 1st was a sibling day with beaching, BBQing, pool time and fireworks. The rest of July involved more beach days, working hard to make $$, incorporating a business (What?!), making jam, planting a garden, strawberry picking and more cooking obviously.
The highlight of July was my friend and her daughters who I visited in NC in March, came to stay with me for 2 weeks and explore PEI. We had lots of fun going to the beach, eating out, doing touristy things and hanging out. We also took the ferry to NS together where I purchased a new vehicle!
At the end of July, Phoenix, my second niece as born. July was definitely a very busy month filled with lots of big moments.
The last month of summer was filled with more new meals and recipes (no surprise there), taking my oldest niece, Nova to my friend’s daughter’s birthday party, sleepover with Nova, family time, and a few more beach days.
September brought more beach days, another sleepover with Nova, my first time making mustard pickles, selling my first car since I bought my new one, and packing to get ready for my move to NB the next month!
Moving to New Brunswick was a big adventure. I’d never lived in an apartment before so that was a new thing, but it was a brand new build which was awesome! I started going to the gym which was a huge step for me as I’d always wanted to follow a workout plan but never knew where to start and one of the fitness instructors gave me one which I’ve been using.
I also got another hair cut, shorter and more layers.
Thanksgiving was a family dinner at Erica and Jordan’s which was nice. It was different being in NB instead of having to travel over from PEI.
My friend, who I went to Algonquin with in February, messaged me and she was in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. So we ended up hanging out there for a day. We went out on her parent’s sail boat. It was a windy cold day but it was such a fun adventure!
The last two months of 2023 had a few visits from Jessica which was nice. We made and ate food together and watched shows, like we were still roomies haha!
I donated blood for the third time and worked a Santa Claus parade for the city of Moncton.
New Years Eve was pretty low key as I ended up catching a cold the day before.
To all of you who made 2023 what it was, thank you! For all the memories, moments, and magic.
Usually I have plans and dreams for the upcoming year, but 2024 is actually a huge question mark. With no definite travel plans for the first time in over 5 years (excluding C*ovid years), I’m dreading the cold winter. Obviously I am hoping to grow my business in 2024, spend more time with family and work on myself. I’m starting the new year hoping to keep my gym routine, eat healthy, develop a good routine and possibly take a few courses. There is still so much to be discovered in 2024 and I think I’m ready!