Wanderful Living: Best Of 2016 | Part 1 New Orleans to San Francisco

As I started taking a look back at the year, I planned to write a recap of my favorite destinations, adventures, hotels and national parks... and it occurred to me: this country is full of brilliance, and there's way more to write about than just a few "bests." My travels this year showed me how much we truly have to love about the places and the people that are out there.

My intention in taking the 10 + road trips ranging from a 5 day drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to a 3 week journey from Mexico to the Canadian border that I did this year, was to cover as much ground as possible to create a book (due out in '17) and stories for this space that inspire the wanderlust in each of you.

Each of those trips was the most magical for it's own particular reason. And, in every conversation I've had about those trips I'm inevitably asked about my favorite ... and every time I don't have an answer.

I began the year home in New Orleans. I declared a new personal mantra: "Be all that you DESIRE" and from there I set my plans for the year and took off.

Back to that plan of writing about my favorites: knowing that I can't answer that question I don't know why I expected I could give you a round up of favorites here. So instead - I'm taking a look back at each month - the destinations, experiences and discoveries made along the way and I hope that you'll gain a little inspiration (and some recommendations) for your own travels to come!

With that! Enjoy my personal "best ofs" for 2016. I'm starting with the opening of the year, the Winter through the Spring of 2016... and I'm breaking this into a 4 part series. This journey in part 1 will take us from New Orleans to the mountaintops of the Grand Tetons to a little two lane highway known as the PCH. 

January

Best place to be one with nature where you wouldn't expect it:

Honey Island Swamp | New Orleans

Honey Island Swamp | New Orleans

The Spillway Opening | New Orleans

The Spillway Opening | New Orleans

Plenty of people travel to New Orleans for the beads and Bourbon, however, take a drive just a little ways out of town in any direction and you'll arrive at some of the most beautiful waterways and swamplands. Honey Island is quiet (i.e. the gators are hibernating) and extra green during this time of year, btw, I highly recommend a visit.

February

Best place to catch a parade:

Ok, ok, so I know. This one is kind of like cheating. It's obvious and we haven't even left New Orleans yet. But, really?! Could I not mention Mardi Gras?!

March

Best place to get caught in a foot or two of snow:

Jenny Lake | Grand Tetons

Jenny Lake | Grand Tetons

Aspen, CO

Aspen, CO

Jackson Hole, WY

Jackson Hole, WY

In early March I took off for an Out West Tour with Ben and the Grace Potter band, we started in Boulder and traveled through the mountains ending in Missoula, Montana. It was my first time seeing a Buffalo in real life, my first time stepping into a snowbank that was as deep as my waist and where I realized I'm as much of a mountain girl as I am a beach girl. That trip set in motion a series of out west visits I'd make in the months that followed. 

April

Best place for a toes in the sand, windows down, radio loud, running with the horses, and the baby animals too, under the big Redwoods, into the mystic girls trip:

Venice Beach, CA

Venice Beach, CA

The Canals | Venice Beach

The Canals | Venice Beach

Los Feliz, CA

Los Feliz, CA

Camatta Ranch, CA

Camatta Ranch, CA

Big Sur, CA

Big Sur, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

I took off in early April for my first true road trip of the year. The PCH with Allister Ann, the lead photographer for my book and a wild child of a girl who would become a fast friend. I got off the plane, spent a day in Venice Beach and then she and I ventured north day over day for the next 5. I wrote a travel diary about the first leg, wrote tons more for my book and am vowing to make this little excursion one that happens yearly. We stayed at the Madonna Inn, a family farm larger than San Francisco near Santa Margarita, and a cabin in Big Sur before I continued on on my own to finish the trip in SF. 


I'll be back next with my 'best of' for the Summer months. We'll be going to Santa Fe, Marfa, Terlingua, and a National Park or... uhm 6. 

See ya then. And cheers to the new year! Love you guys for being here. 

xoxo!

Andi