2017, the year of the islands
When I started planning my travel for 2017 at the end of 2016, I had plans to go to Panama and Colombia and I'd already registered for the marathon in the Faroe Islands and booked a flight (in September of 2016!). I had no idea that on the first trip we'd sail to Taboga Island off of the coast of Panama City and that later in the year, I'd turn an unhappy change of plans into a third international trip to another island, Malta. It has been quite a year for me and I'm officially calling 2017 the year of the islands for myself.
I don't think every year needs a theme, but this one unexpectedly worked out that way. In the last half of this year and going into the beginning of 2018, I'd like to explore the Midwest more. I visited Starved Rock State Park for the first time this summer and in September I'm going to Devil's Lake in Wisconsin to meet a friend and do some hiking there as well. I hope to visit Michigan for a long weekend before it gets too cold and do some more hiking. I am not going to create or name a theme yet for 2018 but I have a feeling there will be a lot of mountains in my future and there may or may not be another destination marathon in the works - but somewhere closer to home, not leaving North America for it because I have some big trips planned already.
I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to travel internationally three times this year. I do owe my Panama trip tickets to airline miles and that always helps, but travel is not cheap and I'm lucky to be able to do what I do, take time off of work, and use miles that I've earned from business travel and keep them for my own personal use. Sometimes when I get frustrated about other things in my life, I remember this, because travel is such a fulfilling and important part of my well-being.