Last year was a year of travel for the Curtis clan. I guess you could say it was overall a year of change and new beginnings, which although was sometimes overwhelming, had some pretty beautiful results. I put together this video of our year in a nutshell, aka Our Year in Space, and started to reflect on all that had happened. It was a big year packed with South African safaris, first time experiences in new places, and overall learning new lessons together as a family. Here’s what we learned during this amazing year:
1. South Africa: Break Out Of Your Shell for Newfound Confidence
Last year I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa, specifically KwaZulu Natal, Cape Town, and the Kapama Private Game Reserve in Limpopo. I tried different foods, experienced a totally unfamiliar culture, heard new languages, and jumped into a 1,361 foot-deep Oribi Gorge with the world’s biggest gorge swing. To say I tried something new would be an understatement. What did I take from all this? Break out of your shell! I was terrified to jump, but the experience was unlike any other. You don’t have to just go to a different country to do this. Find things in your own neighborhood that you haven’t ever tried. Take a risk to do something you never thought you would be brave enough to do. Having these thrilling experiences whipped me right out of my comfort zone and gave me the confidence for new beginnings.
2. Nashville: Surrounding Yourself with Family During Trying Times is Vital
On my way back from my trip to South Africa, I found out I was adopted. This was, I guess you could say, a big surprise, and one of those moments where you want to be around your loved ones more than anything. My brother-in-law and his family live in Nashville, so I brought Scarlet with me to go see them. It was great for Scarlet to get to spend time with her cousins, and I got to spend some much-needed quality time with my sister-in-law. On the second trip I took to Nashville, I met my biological sister. Throughout these trips, the bond of our family was solidified even more. I think we were all able to step back and see how much we truly appreciate each other.
3. Aruba: Not Every Trip Has to Be Fast-Paced
Aruba was a place where I could … breathe. It was relaxing, full of beauty, and it gave me time to step back. My daughter and husband didn’t come with me on this trip, but we definitely continued to have these types of relaxing trips throughout the year. As somebody who loves to travel, I tend to like to “see it all,” but sometimes it’s nice to just be still in a pretty place.
4. San Francisco: Exploring a Familiar City Through a Child’s Eyes Makes It New Again
One of my favorite trips throughout the year was when we took my daughter up to San Francisco. San Francisco is one of my absolute favorite cities, but she had never been before. I highly recommend visiting a city you know and love with your little one. Scarlet was in awe by pretty much everything — trolley cars, the wharf, the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. Seeing the city through her eyes gave me a whole new perspective on this magical place.
Jaime Morrison Curtis is author of the bestselling book Prudent Advice: Lessons for My Baby Daughter (A Life List for Every Woman), follow up fill-in journal My Prudent Advice, and founding co-editor at Pretty Prudent, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family. Follow Jaime on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.