2015: A Year of Wander

2016 has arrived and everyone’s looking ahead  to new beginnings, fresh starts, and wish lists for the upcoming year. I am too - but I’m a little behind, and I can’t fully move on until I take a long pause and reflect on all that 2015 was before I catch up with the rest of you.

Some years slide by us, and as the calendar flips to January, it just marks the passage of time. Then there are some years that are so life-changing and momentous and exhausting yet exhilarating all the same that as that last digit changes, you try to peer out of the wild haze you are surrounded in, wondering aloud, “Did that just happen?” That was this January 1st for me. And because of that, more than anything I need to recap it all for myself so one day in the future I remember what was built in the tumultuous year of wander that was 2015.

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2014 Recap: The Gift Year

I know that by this time, we've all stopped rehashing 2014 and have started looking ahead to 2015. But I can't just summarize last year with pretty photos of Paris and Europe - I need to pause and share my reflections of a special year.

21 Trains
19 Flights
5 Buses
5 Rental cars
14 Countries
21 houseguests
131 blog posts
2 camels 
And countless sheep

2014. I think of this year as my “gift year.” That’s not to say that every day we get on this earth isn't a gift, because it is. I mean it in the sense that when I think about 2014, I think “we shouldn't still be here.” Michael had a contract to work on an assignment in Paris for almost two years, ending in December 2013. Except by the end of that year, we had realized that Paris wasn't merely the home base for our travels throughout Europe. We had somehow built a life here, entered into community, and fell in love with life in the city. Things were looking bleak for a while and it seemed that we did in fact have to move back to the US as planned. Until things turned around and we were able to stay. We weren't supposed to still be hanging around the City of Light this year, but somehow in the end we were gifted with more time.

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Canvas-Worthy Europe, 2014 edition

Last Wednesday I shared my round-up of my favorite photos taken in Paris in 2014. Now it’s time to see the year in review through a collection of my canvas-worthy contenders from our European travels outside of Paris. Here’s where I traveled to during the year!

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Simply Sara's Ultimate European Christmas Market Round-Up

I’ve been making a list and checking it twice...and am ready to reveal which European Christmas markets made the naughty or nice list. This by no means is a conclusive list of markets throughout Europe, but it’s my thoughts on 20 markets spanning 8 European countries. So without further ado, here’s the breakdown by country:

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European Adventures in Pictures

We started by looking at our best canvas-worthy photos of Paris and then expanded the scope to all of France. Now it is time to conclude with our best pictures from our European travels of 2013.

There was much to discover on our travels in Europe. The first trip of the year outside of France was to Iceland, a country completely off my radar to visit. Now I can't help hoping to spend more time there enjoying its spectacular natural beauty.  

The summer brought an amazing trip to Sevilla which once again proved just how wrong I was about Spain. I once had no interest in seeing Spain at all. Then I got acquainted with tapas (oh, the tapas) and the warmth of the country. Now I keep trying to scheme ways to return. 

In August I joined my fellow Parisians in a mass exodus out the city. I found myself in Ireland on the most relaxing trip of the year, drinking lots of tea with dear friends in a house overlooking the Dingle peninsula. 

Fall brought a trip to Bruges with good friends who, not coincidentally, were very knowledgeable about Belgium beers. I was afraid that I overly romanticized Bruges from my first trip there in May 2012 but found that I love the city all the more. 

I closed out the year on a Christmas trip making my way through Germany to be in Seefeld, Austria over Christmas. All I can say is I'm already planning to be there next year for Christmas.

Here's the year in review: 

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