For the last 16 years I’ve been creating holiday wrap up videos in place of sending holiday cards. This is one tradition I’ve been able to keep up since I started traveling in 2006. It’s great to have all of my year in review travel videos all in the same place!
Each year I have to sit and relearn how to use the damn video editing software – which normally leads to me drinking a bit too much eggnog. But hey – the eggnog and the millions of times I’ve listened to the holiday soundtrack while trying to edit normally puts me in the holiday spirit. Woohoo Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years!
As much as I hate the video editing process (yes – the fact that I continue to do it tells you just how much I love you dear readers), it is fun to sort of relive my year of travels each year.
Grateful for my Travels Each Year
It never fails as I end the day of holiday greeting editing – I feel so ridiculously grateful for the life I live, my friends & family, people I have met along the way, and new experiences. And this year was no exception.
It’s fun for me to take a walk through the year and get perspective. However I realize that watching a video like this can be sort of like being forced to watch someone’s wedding video…gag (I don’t care if you are family). So – if you want to skip the video (and pretty pictures), then just take this message with you – Happy Holidays to you and your family from Ottsworld!
My Current Travel Year in Review Video – 2022
This year I spent more time exploring the US for the first part of the year. I finally made it back to Canada, and I went back to Europe for the first time in 3 years and it was super to be back! I ended the year with an epic expedition cruise heading to 3 new countries in the remote South Pacific.
I kicked off a long term biking project, Capitol to Capitol, with a special connection to my family which I’m excited to continue next year.
It was a good year of travel, I traveled A LOT…maybe too much (yes that is actually possible)! I realized that the industry for me isn’t quite back yet. In addition, one thing that became clear to me this year is that I am ready to make some changes in my life again. Next year I don’t plan to travel as much and instead focus on some other little projects that I want to do. Sometimes you just need to mix things up in your life a bit and see where you land – and that’s my only plan this coming year.
This year I looked at my year in numbers and put some of the number highlights in my video. But there were many I left out too…like
1 – Number of times I got COVID
6 – Number of lobsters I ate while cycling PEI in 7 days
11 – Number of months I had my car before it got totaled by a hit and run
Enjoy my 2022 in numbers!
Past Years in Review Videos
In addition to seeing how my travels have changed, how I have changed, and to see just how many places I’ve gone – this is a fascinating trip through video technology too if you are into that sort of thing! My editing has definitely improved over the years – and it also seems that my travels have become more epic.
2021 – Coming out of a Pandemic
2021 was full of challenges – but I think one of the great things that has come out of the pandemic is that people are getting used to uncertainty – and I’ve always believed that is a good thing. I lived more than a decade in uncertainty as a nomad, and my profession is full of uncertainty (even outside a pandemic!) – so I feel like I’m pretty used to it. But for many of us – this level of uncertainty is really uncomfortable. I hope you can learn to embrace it – it makes life much more enjoyable when you don’t have expectations in my opinion!
Merriam Webster’s word of the year for 2021 was “vaccine” – and by the end of the year – I had 3 shots, and was so thankful. In this year’s video you can see my word of the year, my word for next year, how I shrank myself, my domestic travels, and of course so many foster kittens!
2020 – Travels and COVID
It started like any other year. I – like most people – had a lot of plans for it – starting with a big 50th birthday party in El Salvador with girlfriends, France, Australia, Iceland, Switzerland, and Ecuador already planned.
However, shortly after my 50th birthday, everything changed. I watched as the world came to a halt, my trips disappeared off my calendar, my work dried up, and lives were changed forever.
Suddenly our normal big wide world became pretty small…and life became all about Home.
When I decided to make Denver my home in 2017 after a decade of being nomadic, I had no idea how important this home would be. My home has literally saved my life twice. First, when I contracted blood clots from flying in 2018. And second – this year…when the world closed and suddenly the only place anyone could go was home…luckily I actually had a home to go to!
For someone who is used to never being home, this adventure in staying home was new and exotic to me. Just last year I had said that I needed a break, but I had no idea that it would come in this form.
This might have been the best year of travel I’ve ever had. I honestly can’t believe all of the incredible places I was lucky enough to go in 2019. However, I traveled SO MANY places this year that this video is 8 minutes long…which seems like an eternity for a video. I celebrated 13 years of travel blogging and I traveled on 24 different trips in 2019. I took a surfing workshop, traveled with my father to Panama, and took my first trip to Sweden.
The year I went to Alaska in the winter to see the northern lights. I also was lucky enough to visit Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. Even though I had a home, I seemed to be traveling more than ever. It was also the year I did my first Ottsworld Tour in Ireland. This was also the year I finished the Niece Project with my youngest niece who went to India with me.
The year I got a home base in Denver and brought my nomadic lifestyle to an end. It also took my 2nd trip to Antarctica on an epic 28 day cruise from New Zealand to the Ross Sea Antarctica. I visited Norway for the first time!
The year I hiked the Cami de Ronda – a 130 mile coastal hike in Costa Brava Spain with my dad. I went to Alaska for a second time to explore the remote parks. And I took a polar bear safari in Churchill while working on a big influencer campaign with Corning Glass.
The year I crossed the Arctic Circle and went to Alaska for the first time. I also went to a remote Island in the Arctic Ocean – Wrangel Island to see Polar Bears. Finally – I did a project where I lived in Alberta Canada for a month in the winter – it was fun to have a ‘home’ again for a month!
The year I spent nearly a month in Hawaii doing a 2 week teaching job at Iolani School. I also took on another adventure in India – the Rickshaw Run. I drove an auto rickshaw across India, 2000 miles, for 2 weeks and raising $15,000 for Charity Water.
This year I was on the move more than ever sleeping in 107 different beds and moving approximately every 3 days. I was loving my nomadic life! I explored Patagonia for an entire month, lived in Buenos Aires for a month, hiked the Lycian Way in Turkey, and participated in my first big brand influencer project with Carlson Companies.
This was the year I started the Niece Project with my oldest niece who I took to Italy. It was also the year I walked the Camino de Santiago – a 5 week hike across northern Spain. And finally, I made it to the 7th continent – Antarctica – with my father.
The year I drove a car across 13 countries from London to Mongolia in the Mongol Rally. This was the craziest and most exciting travel I had done to date. I slept in 75 different beds for the year and one car!
The year I became a true nomad. With no home, I had to keep moving around the country and globe and depend on the kindness of strangers, friends, and family. This was also the year I started doing house sitting!
The year I learned how to drive a motorbike while living in Saigon Vietnam! I also made my first trip to Mongolia, and hiked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal with my father!
The year I sold everything, left NYC for good, and moved to Vietnam to live and teach English.
A tradition begins! My first holiday video I made after completing my 16 months of travels around the world on my career break.