Highlights of 2016 Personal / Travel

Another amazing year has passed! This one had some truly epic moments and some big changes in direction for us as a family.

In 2016, we visited six countries, including Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia (Bali), Canada, and the USA.

Below I’ll highlight some of my best photos from each place and share a little overview of our experience there.

Breckenridge, Colorado

We started off 2016 with a ski trip in Breckenridge, Colorado, after celebrating the holidays with my mom and sister. We rented a beautiful house there and despite some scary moments including frost-bite and hypothermia, we had a wonderfully bonding time, and the first experience of snow for our youngest daughter.

Fiji

From Breckenridge’s -17 F (-27 C) temperature at a 3,000 m / 10,000 ft altitude to a humid 85 F (30 C) at sea level, we had a strong weather contrast with Fiji. A beautifully scenic island with friendly people, drinkable water!, poor Internet, and higher prices than we expected, Fiji was endearing, but not a place we’d like to live. We enjoyed learning about their culture as well as relaxing in the sun. Due to the heat, we also may have spent as much time appreciating the air conditioner as we did enjoying the sands and seas.

New Zealand

For 3 months, we based ourselves in a beautiful home in Nelson, New Zealand. It was here that I began coaching again and started recording videos sharing some of the things I’ve learned in our travel journey. While in New Zealand, we visited friends in the North and South islands, attended an Unschooling camp, and experienced an epic road around the South Island with our friends the Kings and Lybberts. I was in a state of almost constant awe with the jaw-dropping scenery.

Australia

We stopped briefly in Sydney on our way back to Bali. While there, we visited friends, saw our first performance at the Sydney Opera house, and I video interviewed one of my Music Teacher’s Helper customers.

Bali, Indonesia

Back “home” in Bali, we enjoyed resting a bit from our travels. But also worked hard at creating more videos (including this one showing you around our house), visiting with friends, taking advantage of local classes for the kids, and also hosting visitors. Jen’s cousin Lizzie came to visit us for a week and a half, and we enjoyed showing her around Bali.

Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

We also spent a couple nights on Nusa Lembongan island, just a 30-minute boat ride south of Bali with some amazing snorkeling! (Unfortunately, the tides were high that day, and I ended up giving my birthday breakfast to the fish…)

Victoria, Canada

We spent the last 6 months of the year in Victoria, Canada (here’s a video that gives a glimpse into our life there, although in four different houses and apartments around the city after this one).

Six months is a long time to summarize in a paragraph, so I’ll break it up into a few sections.

First, our girls were involved in many classes, from Japanese culture/history and ice skating to choir and gymnastics, and more. They also attended a democratic school once a week. We enjoyed many visits and excursions with friends to places like Port Renfrew, Parksville, Nanaimo, Tofino, Cathedral Grove, Fisherman’s Wharf, Goldstream, Kinsol trestle, Butchart Gardens, Mary’s Farm, Mt. Douglas, and several beaches, lakes, and parks.

This is also the period where we got the idea for our upcoming live conference called The Family Adventure Summit! I’ll be sharing more about it soon, but we hope to have around 200 people there (50 families), and it’s very exciting for us. If you’re at all interested in extended family travel, be sure to visit the website. We’d love to see you there! Here’s a quick video intro I made about it that tells a bit about it.

Big White, Canada

Also in Canada we visited our friends the Kings in Kelowna and Big White. We stayed in their condo with beautiful views over the ski resort, and were able to ski together for some very low prices. We took some lessons and are all feeling a bit more confident on the slopes now. As usual, we enjoyed our extended conversations and the meals we shared together.

USA Conferences


During our time in Victoria, we also flew (or drove) to the USA for several conferences including 2 unschooling conferences (one where we spoke), The Savvy Musician in Action Conference (I was speaking), The World Domination Summit, and Experts Academy. Each of these was inspirational for us in its own way, as were the people we met there. We also left many of the conferences with some great ideas to make the Family Adventure Summit even more spectacular.

Some of these trips also included a stop in Seattle to visit my mom, who kindly watched the girls for us. And we got some opportunities to explore Portland, Oregon a little more, which we enjoyed.

Utah, USA


We ended the year with a visit to Utah to see family for the holidays. We stayed with Jen’s parents in Midway and at their cabin at Bear Lake over Christmas. And then with my sister in the Salt Lake area. The kids had lots of fun with their cousins, we enjoyed visiting with friends and extended family, and my mom even flew down for a visit!

After several weeks of the cold and snow, though (and sickness), we were very ready to head back to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, which is where I’m writing from now.

It’s hard to believe we’ve been living this travel lifestyle for 8 years now! (Our first 6-week trip to Panama to test the waters of living abroad was in January 2009!). We are feeling ready to slow down and we hope to create another longer-term homebase for ourselves by the end of 2017. But we’ve still got several countries to go before we reach that point. We’re so excited for the adventures ahead, and all that we’re learning and doing together.

So, that’s about it. Of course, I skipped over many experiences and details. If you want a weekly update of what’s on my mind, be sure to subscribe to my Weekly NOW email series. Or check out our Instagram account where I post a photo each day highlighting an experience we’re having somewhere in the world.

Wishing you a happy and fulfilling 2017, wherever and however you spend it!


Brandon is a location independent entrepreneur, musician, traveler, worldschooling father, and the principal author of this blog. He's all about reaching his potential and enjoying life to the fullest in every moment while inspiring others to do the same.


Comments

  1. What an interesting year it’s been. We never can tell what’s coming, that’s for sure. Thank you for summarizing the highlights!

  2. you and your family are so inspiring! Love how you do it all together…what an amazing experience you are giving your children. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us ;)

  3. Kate Dorion Says: January 19, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Loved reading your summary Brandon. What a year and what a year ahead! We loved catching up with all
    If you here in Victoria and at Big White! Hope you are all healthy and enjoying the warmth of Mexico. Until we meet again….

  4. You certainly had a beautiful full year of adventures. I love all the beautiful photography. I think you should make and offer for sale a beautiful calendar of your photos. ( I love mine by the way:-) ) It was so nice being with your family even for an evening.

  5. I’m so happy that 2016 gave us several opportunities to spend time together. It was so fun having the girls stay with me for a few days – I have never gotten to do that before as a Grandma!

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