The Best Places to Visit in 2022 (Where We Went & What's to Come in 2023) - Travel Squad Podcast

The Best Places to Visit in 2022 (Where We Went & What’s to Come in 2023)

The best places to visit in 2022 looking back were Uganda, Savannah, Cabo, and finally Breckenridge.

We’re recapping all the best trips we took this year and previewing some of the trips we have planned for 2023 and some of the podcast plans we’ll be bringing you in the new year! In 2022 we managed to take over 26 trips between the four of us! We made it to 1 wonder of the world, 2 countries, 6 state parks, 10 national parks, and 16 states and are bringing you all the details if you want to take these trips too!

Here’s a list of places we went, going into much more detail on this episode!

  • Big Sur, CA
  • Pinnacles National Park
  • Tulum
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Tijuana, MX
  • Bryce Canyon Natonal PArk
  • Coeur d’Alene, ID
  • Missoula, MT
  • Valle de Guadalupe, MX
  • Vercruz, MX
  • Pint Reyes
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Cabo, MX
  • Savannah, GA
  • Charleston, SC
  • Congaree National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Asheville, NC
  • Austin, TX – and Kim moved here permanently!
  • Lake Tahoe, CA
  • LAs Vegas, NV
  • Portland, OR
  • Cedar Point, OH
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Uganda – iconic lifetime dream trip!
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Bost, MA
  • New Hampshire
  • Acadia National Park in Maine
  • Sedona, AZ
  • Puebla, MAX
  • White Sands National Park

We do these annual travel recaps every year, check out year’s past here. Even in 2020 we managed to travel quite a bit exploring our own backyard here in America.

2021 Travel Recap

2020 Travel Recap

2019 Travel Recap

Best Places to Visit in 2022 – Episode Transcript

3 (58s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Today we are having addition number four of our end of year travel recap for the year 2022.

1 (1m 9s):
Oh my gosh, I cannot believe that this year has gone by so fast. It’s been such an exciting year and there’s such a bittersweet moment At the end of the year, you’re starting to celebrate the holidays and you reflect on everything that you’ve done and everything that we’ve accomplished. But then you’re also so excited for what’s to come, what’s the future? What’s in 2023? So you’re kind of in this like limbo of bittersweetness, of reminiscing and then celebrating and being excited for the future.

4 (1m 34s):
I guess it depends on what kind of year you’ve had, how bitter or sweet it is. But I’d say we had a pretty good year. It was a crazy year and a lot happened and it went by so fast, especially the back half of the year. I felt like it just blinked and it was a new year already. It’s been crazy and I’ve been reflecting back on what we’ve done in the last year with the podcast and the travels that we’ve taken. And this year we actually did something different with our episodes and we decided to put one out every other week and then replay one of our hundreds of older episodes so that people who were newer could hear old stuff. And another reason was because of our schedules. So we’ve been super open with squats on, we all work full-time and we fit travel in as best we can wherever we can.

4 (2m 22s):
But this year things got really hectic. There was months out of the year that I was working 80 hours a week Brittanie. You went through a new job change. Jamal, you are endeavoring on a whole business venture. So we’ve been super active with work and moving. I moved to Austin, that was a huge move.

1 (2m 42s):
Yeah, our careers like all took a huge turn this year like you got promoted. Kim, congrats to you. I don’t think we’ve really said that on the podcast. Yeah, Jamal started his own company. So career-wise there was just so much going on and as much as we love the podcast, we also have to make a living, you know? So I think it was a great year for us even still with everything that we had going on travel wise,

4 (3m 6s):
Looking back on all the travel that we have done for the year, and I’m excited cuz we’re gonna get into it in just a sec, but we traveled a lot for how busy we were. I’m consistently constantly amazed at how much we can travel with everything else going on.

1 (3m 21s):
So I actually counted how many trips we took. Do you know how many that I took personally? Jamal and I took personally. Do you know how many we took Kim off the top of your head

4 (3m 30s):
Just for you. Brittanie I’m gonna say 23, 22

1 (3m 35s):
Trips. Basically

4 (3m 38s):
Averaging to a month. Brittanie way to go. Very nice.

3 (3m 42s):
I know. Well I think it’s a testament because I mean, and I loved how you said, you know obviously we’re airing our older episodes and we really hammered it in on our older episodes that we’re squeezing in on the replay of how we try to make travel a priority, right? And every trip doesn’t need to be a big trip. Those weren’t 22 big trips that we took. They’re a little weaker getaways. Some that are easy or chosen based off of the sale that an airline is having to a certain destination, et cetera. So I think it just proves the point, you know, even as busy as we are or as anybody else’s, if you make travel a priority and say like yes I’m gonna do this, budget for it, fit it into your schedule, you can always make it

1 (4m 23s):
Happen. I also wanna say that even though we did replay episodes, we actually got really good feedback from our squats and listeners. Like we had still just as many listens to the replay episodes as we did the new episodes and then people were like, oh I didn’t realize this came out previously because maybe they joined the Squad rec more recently. So they had never gone that far back to re-listen. And even still with replaying episodes, we still saw an increase in our listenership and we’re still hitting like goals and milestones every single new month. So that was pretty amazing for us to see.

4 (4m 56s):
I felt like this year we heard from our squaddies more than we ever have, which is so rewarding and fun to be able to talk to people that are actually listening on the other end of this mic and people that are getting inspired by the episodes that we put out and when they write in and tell us about the trips that they’re planning or that they took after listening to our episodes. That was a really cool experience for this last year. Even knowing we weren’t putting out 52 new episodes, it was 26 and still people were that engaged. And I just wanna say to Apple Podcasts and Spotify and all of the podcast networks out there, get it together with your search feature. You cannot go to a podcast and search through their episodes and find what you need.

4 (5m 40s):
So if somebody were to start listening today and say they want to hear about Tulum, like it’s hard to find that episode. So I think we’ll keep up some of the replays because there’s a lot of good stuff that we want people to hear and not have to go digging in. Yeah, exactly.

1 (5m 57s):
So why don’t we just dive right in it. So for the year to TA to recap what we’ve done, we were able to see one wonder of the world, which was chia and we were just looking at this today and Jamal and I were so surprised we made it to two countries, which probably not the most countries we’ve seen in a year. We only went to Mexico and Uganda, but still really, really great trips.

3 (6m 19s):
When I was looking at this and I saw that it was just those two, I had to like really think about it. I was like, no way. Because like we counted, you know, 22 trips. But then I thought about it, I’m like, well yeah, I mean we only take three larger ones a year. One of them was actually to Mexico even though it’s in our backyard cuz we had to cancel a January Morocco trip, which we’ll talk about later and then Uganda. So we hit other countries in transit and flight, but I was just blown away by this and yet still exploring our own backyard, exploring America, we hit off so many more things. Six different state parks, 10 national parks, and then 16 different states collectively amongst us.

3 (7m 2s):
I mean that’s pretty impressive I would

4 (7m 3s):
Say covering some ground here in America.

3 (7m 6s):
Yeah, we are. And that’s one of the highlights of Covid sometimes, you know, I mean Brittanie and I are really trying to go to Hong Kong and some countries China, they’re still strict on Covid. So we’re still living in the day where some places to travel is a little bit more difficult. So always a good option to explore America and everything that we have from east to west, west to

4 (7m 27s):
East. You know what, next year I would like for us to count how many breakfast buffets we hit up for the year.

3 (7m 33s):
Oh well happy keep running Tally on that one. That’s a good idea.

1 (7m 37s):
That’s a great idea. I love that.

4 (7m 39s):
Buffets, maybe even lounges. Those are the real accomplishments, you know?

1 (7m 44s):
Oh yeah. So in January of 2022 we started off with the Bing Jamal and I did a big Sur Road trip, the Big Sur that we never saw the first time around because when we first tried to go there was that huge landslide. So, and

4 (7m 59s):
You go all the way back to like episode four or five, you can hear about the not Big Sur road trip or just wait and we’ll replay it soon for you.

1 (8m 7s):
So we had a really great time in Big Sur. We hit some of those most iconic spots on on the way up where like the San Simian elephant seals, midway Falls, keyhole arch at Pfeiffer Beach. And then of course the iconic famous Bixby creep bridge. And we took it really slow like leisurely over the entire day. Just went to each stop hiked, looked around, we had lunch on the beach and it was a really nice relaxing New Year’s weekend road trip. So I really enjoy that trip. I would actually redo that trip. I loved it so much.

3 (8m 37s):
I mean it was really starting the new year with a bang. We drove to the starting point of Big Sir on New Year’s Eve being that we’re all over 30 and the losers that we are in terms of like body strength these days. We slept into the new year, wasn’t even awake for it and then woke up New Year’s Day and we’re like, all right, we’re driving Big Sur and we did it. And that’s the way that we started the year. And by the way, we have a free Itinerary available on our website for Big Sur. So go to our website, check it out, Travel Squad Podcast dot com, the free big Sur Itinerary and do check out our other Itineraries that we have available just as well.

1 (9m 18s):
I literally just finished putting it on our website last night. So

4 (9m 23s):
If someone were to go to our website and download it, what are they going to see in it?

1 (9m 28s):
They are gonna see all of the highlights that I just mentioned. So it’s going to be from the minute that you wake up, where you’re going to go, where you’re gonna start at, what you’re gonna see there. And then it’ll tell you the mileage ticket to every single destination, how much time to allot at each one and then it’ll end your day after seeing all of those iconic highlights in Monterey at a restaurant on the pier with an ocean view. Ooh. So it’s a really good Itinerary, it lays everything out for you really easily and it’s free.

4 (9m 57s):
Nice, happy holidays, squats, go get your free Itinerary.

1 (10m 2s):
We decided not to go back down the same way that we came from big. So on our way back we went inland California and we went hit back up Pinnacles National Park, which we Visited before, which is really cool cause we got to see the California condors again, which was amazing. So that was a really great trip to start off the year. But then later in the month of January we went to Tulum, Mexico because our trip to Morocco was actually canceled and we spent seven days using Tulum as a hub. We went to so many soothes ruins, we had some of the best Mexican food while we were there and then we even did that day trip to Chia, which is again a wonder of the world. So it was amazing. We had a great time in Tulum.

1 (10m 42s):
If you haven’t been, I would highly recommend going.

3 (10m 45s):
Yeah and be sure to go back and listen to that episode that we have on Tulum talking all about it. I mean obviously we spent a good amount of time in Tulum. We spent the night there every night. But like Britney said, we used it as a hub. So a lot of times people will go there and it’s become really touristy, but there’s so many good things to do around the area that involve just a little bit of driving or you can pay to do tour day tours from Tulum. But there’s even a really good spot about 15 minutes south of Tulum that very few people actually go to where you can go do lagoon rides and everything like that. And it’s really, really beautiful. So go listen to our episode, check it out, get all those ideas cuz Tulum is a hotspot but don’t fall into the trap of just staying in Tulum.

3 (11m 29s):
Go out and explore.

4 (11m 31s):
So you guys recommend Tulum. I’ve been to Tulum, I thought it was amazing but have you heard that word on the street is saying Tulum is out and hobos is in.

3 (11m 42s):
I’ve been telling you guys about Hal Bosch for a while. Do you remember you? I was saying that’s that’s one of the islands that they have off the coast in Quintana Ru, which is the state that Tulum is in along with Cancun and it’s a very nice secluded island. I don’t even think they have cars operating on it. Yes. And it’s like luxury retreat level out there and we really need to go to Hal Bosh.

1 (12m 5s):
Everyone says that Bakalar is going to be the next Tulum in the next five years. And we actually did visit Bakalar while we were in Tulum on that trip. And so it’ll be interesting to see once we go back to Bakalar in the future. And then Hal Bosch, how things turn out and what is new and exciting around those areas.

4 (12m 22s):
So little side story out here in Austin, just last week I went to a Facebook event that I’d came across where a group of ladies gets together and they all cook something out of a cookbook and bring drinks and they hang out and they eat and they drink. And this month they were also doing a Christmas cookie exchange. So I went there, I met this lady who is leading her first women’s only guided vacation retreat to the island of Habush and she’s saying she’s gone many times. It’s totally blowing up, it’s totally changed. And I just thought that was really cool. Just she’s not a travel influencer or expert but she built a group of about 10 ladies and she’s guiding them out there on on a guided tour.

1 (13m 5s):
Oh that’s amazing.

3 (13m 6s):
Oh the more reason that we need to go because I’ve been telling you guys for a while Hal Bosh is gonna be in and apparently it is. So we gotta check it out and and if you squats have been there already dms let us know the to-dos, that way we can plan our own trip and share that information with everybody else. But Kim did you do anything in January?

4 (13m 27s):
So this year was crazy for me with work and then moving. So I didn’t travel as much as I normally would this year, but in January I did take one trip, I went home to Sacramento to visit family. I’m glad that I did. I got to see a little bit of Midtown Sacramento and back to my old stomping grounds and that was really fun. But I was also there to visit my grandparents, especially my grandfather who I’m just so happy I got to visit during that time because it wasn’t even a month later that he finally passed away from his fight with cancers. So that that trip, even though it was small and we’ve been to Sacramento trillion times, it’s it’s a special one to me

3 (14m 5s):
Of course. And that it was at the height of when you were working those 80 hours a week too also. Yeah,

4 (14m 12s):
Don’t try that at home guys.

1 (14m 16s):
So in February we went mid-month down to Tijuana and we got splurged a little bit on a really nice hotel that had this huge tub in the room and it was amazing. It was very romantic. We went like right around the time of Valentine’s Day and then we went out to dinner at Caesar’s, which is the restaurant that created the Caesar salad, which is always amazing food

4 (14m 39s):
Tableside, Caesar salads,

1 (14m 41s):
Absolutely delicious. And then I actually went on a girl’s trip with one of my own old coworkers and we flew into Vegas and then, then we drove to Canna Utah and we booked my first guided hike into a slot canyon. And I’ve never done a guided hike before cuz you know we’re experience hikers

4 (15m 2s):
But yes you have Angelo Canyon or Lower Angelo Canyon was a guided hike through a slot canyon.

1 (15m 9s):
That’s true. I guess that’s true. But the reason why we booked a guided hike wasn’t necessarily cuz we couldn’t do the slot canyon ourselves. It was because it was so remote to get to. You can’t navigate it without a four by four and then like unless you have really good G p s and navigation skills, even with a G P S, I don’t know if I could have gotten there myself. Like I was really glad we went with a guide and then from there we drove to Bryce Canyon. We stayed at the same hotel that we originally stayed at as a Squad, had the same biscuits and gravy.

3 (15m 43s):
I’m so jealous.

1 (15m 44s):
And they were still just as good. Oh we did some scenic driving and hiking and then we went to Coda Chrome Basin State Park, which is actually not very far from Bryce. It’s within like 30, 40 minutes. It’s not as popular. We only came across like four people total while we were there. But little side note, I went hiking, it was very icy. I even had my crampon on for the ice, still slipped, grabbed a bush, bought a splinter that was so deep. I let it live in my finger for nine months until

4 (16m 17s):
You went in February. You just got it out a few days ago. That’s 10 months

1 (16m 22s):
Pretty much. And I decided that I, it was time to cut the splinter out of my finger myself.

3 (16m 29s):
I mean I thought eventually it was gonna come out. Like when she came she told me she had it, I felt it then I was like, oh it’s it’s gonna come out. Then a month later she tells me like oh yeah I still have the splinter. Like it hasn’t come out. And then she’s like, no it’s actually migrated. And it moved in her finger to a completely different spot And Brittanie being the medical professional that she is, bought some scaffolds online from Amazon, performed her own in-home surgery to really remove it. And I cannot believe the size of that thing that came out of her finger that’s been living in there for 10 months.

4 (17m 1s):
I saw the pictures big as a Benadryl, right?

1 (17m 4s):
Big as a Benadryl lengthwise.

4 (17m 8s):
Brittany you’re supposed to, what do they say? Leave only footprints, take only memories. Don’t take winters.

1 (17m 16s):
Wanted to leave it there. I couldn’t fish it out while I was there though so that’s what happened. But you did a little traveling in February too? Kim

4 (17m 23s):
February I went to go visit my friends Katie and Justin who are living in Idaho kind of near Coeur d’Alene.

3 (17m 31s):
Coeur d’Alene is beautiful.

4 (17m 33s):
Yeah. So I love taking trips to go visit people and especially when you’re visiting them, they live there and they can show you around all the cool spots. So we did explore a Coeur d’Alene, we went to a really nice brewery and got food and whatever and it was snowing the whole time too, which was really nice. And we took a road trip out to Montana, we stayed in Missoula, we stayed in this hotel called Come On In and they booked it. I didn’t know what we were really walking into. I only knew that there was a big jacuzzi tub in the room. But this hotel was a big jacuzzi tub hotel like oh

1 (18m 8s):
That’s so cool.

4 (18m 9s):
Our front door of our hotel room went into the lobby so it was all indoors, nice breakfast buffet spread and red right by the breakfast buffet are a bunch of hot tubs. Like there were 12 hot tubs on this property, not including the ones in the rooms.

1 (18m 26s):
That’s crazy. I’ve never heard of a property like that but that sounds amazing. I would love to stay there.

4 (18m 31s):
Yeah, it was really cool. And the whole reason we were going to Montana in the first place was to go to Hot Springs. We went to a hot spring called Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. It was really cool snow hiking on the trails like everything’s covered in snow. There’s a big hot springs in the ground. There was a couple other big ones by the river and some you could like hike to get to. So that was a really fun experience. Just snow and soaking.

3 (18m 57s):
Well we know you love the hot springs but I have to ask minus the jacuzzi tub experience Hotel at the come on in, which I think is a sexual innuendo by the way, but that’s neither here nor there with the jacuzzi tub situation. Was Jerry Johnson better or was it better when we did our Boise trip and we did the Boise Hot Springs cuz that was a hot springs and snow experience and I’m just curious how these ones were cuz was Jerry Johnson in Missoula or was it in Coeur d’Alene area?

4 (19m 24s):
It’s kind of right on the border actually of the two states. And it reminded me a lot of Kirkham hot springs in Idaho, whereas natural and you had to like hike in the snow on the pathway in the forest. It was very much that kind of vibe. Both of them were amazing so I’m not gonna discredit one or the other. They all three of them really brought their A-game.

3 (19m 45s):
So I was just curious for the official ranking from the hot spring connoisseur, which is Yu Kim. So I just wanted to know. It’s

4 (19m 53s):
Hard, it’s, it’s a close tie but Idaho just really takes the cake for hot springs.

1 (19m 58s):
Idaho is a beautiful place. I can’t wait to go back and explore more of it really. But we really couldn’t get away from the snow cuz in March we went to Breckenridge,

4 (20m 6s):
Which is funny that we decided to go again in March after last year in March having this crazy snowstorm that prevented us from going. We thought, oh why not try March again?

1 (20m 18s):
Why

3 (20m 18s):
Not? Well I mean what’s funny is one, this is our first Squad trip, all three of us of the year mind you. But at the same time, yeah it sounds stupid because we got snowed out from even going to Breckenridge in 2021, but Breckenridge is like one of Colorado’s top three or four mountain town areas. So obviously we wanted to go during snow season. So it’s kind of one of those double-edged swords. We’re just like F it man, we’re rolling the dice and you know what, what this time it played out and we made it to Breckenridge.

1 (20m 50s):
We got to try CrossCountry skiing for the first time and I can tell you all squats, we are not good at it. It is harder than it looks, I mean but we had a lot of fun.

4 (21m 1s):
It’s not,

3 (21m 2s):
I mean I can snowboard, I’m not gonna sit here and say I’m good at it but I can make my way down a mountain and not really be falling at all. I could not believe how hard it was to cross-country ski and, and whenever we saw people that were really out there just like gliding, I felt like my God, like I’m a peasant looking at an Olympian out here like how do you glide so smooth? It was very, very impressive.

1 (21m 25s):
We also got to take the gondola up while it was snowing, which was really pretty hike to see the Breckenridge giant troll in the snow and then explored the cute downtown area too and it pretty much snowed the whole time we were there and on our way back to Denver. So we were lucky we didn’t get snowed in.

3 (21m 42s):
I will say the best thing about Breckenridge is the company that I was with. Breckenridge, let me down a little bit and maybe it’s because we’ve been hyping it up for like a year and a half, two years and we’re like, we’re gonna go, got canceled then we go again and we all sucked at cross-country scheme but it let me down a little bit in that sense. But it was still a really, really fun time and definitely worth going for sure.

4 (22m 4s):
Yeah it would’ve been nice to do some tubing there but Jamal, I thought you were gonna say the highlight of the trip was my eighties ski suit.

3 (22m 12s):
Well I mean that goes without saying hands down. You know, I, I didn’t mention it because I thought there’s no need to mention the Yeah I, I really did love the outfit that you bought for it accessorized really well and I was impressed Kim, you’re looking like a great snow bunny out there, that’s for sure. You and Brittanie rocking the

1 (22m 30s):
Show. And then in March we also went down to VI Guadalupe. You know we all love Vida Guadalupe has a special place in our heart down near Ensenada and we did an overnight in a bubble hotel and I have been seeing them on Instagram and other Airbnb and other platforms and I really wanted to try one. So we splurge, it was probably about 350 for a night but you get your own individual bubble and it’s kind of enclosed with case stacks but you look out to a vineyard and then we chose a bubble specifically that had its own private hot tub. So we picked up a bottle of wine, they have wine glasses in your bubble so you can take your wine out to the hot tub, relax, look out to the vineyard and then get back into your bubble for the night and they take the top off so you look up to the night sky really pretty and it even had its own enclosed bathroom within the bubble too.

1 (23m 26s):
So highly recommend that.

3 (23m 28s):
And just for you squats, we’ve mentioned Vita Guadalupe before. Some of you probably know what it is just from those conversations and us mentioning it. For those of you who do not, I’m just gonna let you know again here is that this is Mexico’s premier wine region. It is their, their equivalent of what Napa is here in the United States. Lucky for us being here in San Diego, it’s a quick hour and a half drive from the border. So very, very close for us by in Sonata, Mexico. So when Britney’s talking about this bubble hotel, you’d be like okay, whatever. But I mean it’s a bubble hotel, clear roof, you’re falling asleep looking at the stars, you’re sleeping in the middle of a vineyard in the wine region.

3 (24m 11s):
It’s a whole ambiance experience that you just have to sit back and enjoy and be like wow this is absolutely amazing. And I highly recommend anybody who is into wine make the venture out to Vita Guadalupe.

1 (24m 24s):
We did stop at Quatro Qro Winery too, you know, I’m gonna go ahead and say that I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I was going to be, but still a good experience nonetheless.

4 (24m 33s):
Did you go up on the hill where the view is?

1 (24m 36s):
You know, I don’t know that we did. I think we were just down like at this like little bar area and I don’t know because you had to have reservations for certain areas and I think that may have changed when Covid happened and they started requiring more reservations. So I don’t think we got the full experience.

3 (24m 52s):
Have you gone and gotten that view Kim? No. Or you just know of it? Okay. Yeah cuz I mean I’m aware of it and Cuatro Quatros is supposed to be like one of the more premier vineyards that they have in the region with a beautiful restaurant, amazing view of the Pacific Ocean from the top of the cliff. But where we were where they were actually having the wine tasting, not in a very impressive area, it was definitely still fun. But for thinking like wow this one is like highly, highly rated. We’ve been to better vineyards with a better atmosphere that wasn’t as like hotty Todd or like prestigious with a much more modest cost. Now even the costs there are still modest but a lot more modest in other locations with a cooler vibe I would

4 (25m 35s):
Say. I’m really glad that you guys did this. We’ve been looking at them online for forever and you see them popping up in more and more places, but how cool is it to be on a vineyard? I think this kind of experience where the hotel or the Airbnb is part of what makes the trip cool. I am kind of gravitating toward that travel style a little bit more. Just like places that I go. I think it might have started in Nashville or not Nashville in Gatlinburg last year when I had the hotel with the hot tub in that you guys ended up staying in this year. I think that’s what got me going on it. But yeah, I have been looking into a big Airbnb for when I go back to California in June, my cousin’s getting married on a lake and so I’ve been looking at these big Airbnbs by the lake.

4 (26m 21s):
I send a list to my mom and she goes, as long as it’s clean, I don’t care where we stay, we’re only there for a wedding. And I’m like, are you kidding me? Clean is your minimum standard. You don’t care about anything else. Okay. Easy to please I guess.

1 (26m 37s):
Easy to please. But yeah, you’ll be in a prime location on the lake and Lake Arrowhead so there’s a lot of good cabin options and yeah that will be really beautiful properties.

4 (26m 47s):
I’m over here. Like what kind of comforters do they have? What kind of view does it have? My mom’s like as long as there’s no cockroaches, we’re good. All right, moving into April. So springtime now we’re starting to get out of the darkness. I took a trip to Mexico with my boyfriend, his cousin was having her quinceanera in Vera Cruze and so wasn’t as much of a explore the area trip as it was a family time trip and there for the quinceanera and there for the party the next day and a lot of hanging out with family, a lot of eating really good food and a lot of being in the hot and humid weather that was there.

4 (27m 28s):
But it was great.

3 (27m 29s):
But to your point of what you were saying when you were talking about in February when you went to Idaho and you love going and visiting places where people actually live to a degree you did that. Yeah. You went with your boyfriend. Yeah it was his family but you did something cultural. Quinceaneras obviously are very huge in Mexican tradition and so, so fun. I know. And so you traveled somewhere and you did something like culturally with locals to some degree, right? So that enhances experience. It’s not just like, oh it’s family, like you really did something cultural and I think that’s actually really, really awesome. I’ve only been to one quinceanera for somebody when we were all still living in Woodland. But I would love to go to a real quinceanera in Mexico for somebody I know.

3 (28m 13s):
I don’t know anybody that I would have that situation to go, but I know it would be fun. You’ve

4 (28m 18s):
Been to the wedding in Mexico. I’ve been multiple weddings, very much like that. Bar carts, no water party till 5:00 AM and then I came back the next day, the after party the following day was at the same venue. It was just like another party. It was amazing. Really, really fun. Good time and so much good food as always in Mexico.

1 (28m 39s):
Yeah, the food in Mexico hard to beat. Hard to beat for sure. Well Jamal and I also went to spend some time with family. We went up to Northern California and we took Jamal’s parents on a little day trip to Point Reyes National Sea Shore and we saw the lighthouse there, which is really beautiful on a cliff edge and it’s a very scenic drive to get there. Jamal’s parents hadn’t done much since Covid has hit, so it was nice to take them out, take them on a nice drive and they really enjoyed their time even though we didn’t do like a ton of stuff. But it was a very nice day trip. And then Jamal and I planned a weekend trip to Yosemite National Park. We hiked to the top of Yosemite Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in North America, the top third of it cuz we Visited in April was still all snow.

1 (29m 24s):
So we had to have our crampon, it was crazy. It was a strenuous hike made to the top beautiful views of the Yosemite Valley. And then we went to the back area of Yosemite, which isn’t frequently Visited. Most people come to visit Yosemite Valley. But we went to an area the next day day called Hetch Heche and we really didn’t come across a lot of people. It was very remote and we went to a huge raging waterfall called w Palma Falls. That was amazing to see.

3 (29m 52s):
Yeah, I really love yo I, I mean I just love Northern California. I love California in general. I mean we’re California people maybe Kim not so much anymore. She’s a texter now. But I mean obviously we all grew up in northern California, what Brittanie just mentioned, point Reyes, it’s about an hour, probably even less north of San Francisco. And if you do that northern California coast north of San Francisco, it’s very, very beautiful. Just as well that scenic lighthouse. And then I mean Yosemite, one of the crown jewels of the national parks system in northern California in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains. So, so amazing. And I agree with your point a hundred percent Brittanie and I wanna recommend to a lot of people go to Hetch Heche because like Britney said, most people go to Yosemite Valley and rightfully so, but very few people explore this region of Yosemite that you can’t get to from the valley.

3 (30m 42s):
The valley dead ends you and you have to loop out, you have to go a little bit further and out of the way to get to Hetch Hetchy but very unique spot that not a lot of people go to

4 (30m 50s):
Getting into May. I took a very exciting trip. It was when my good friends chay her bachelorette party in Cabo. So there was myself along with 13 other girls who were staying in a big huge Airbnb with pools and ocean views and we went on a amazing yacht and just had like grade a service drink always in your hand dancing on the front of the yacht on the water. So fun a whole day at Mango Deck. Really fun dinners. There’s also a place in Cabo called Flora Farms that is the best place to end your trip if you’re just not wanting to like go super, super hard on that last day.

4 (31m 32s):
They have really healthy food juices, they also have great cocktails. So you need a little hair of the dog or you need a little health. You could even get both. I had a really great carrot turmeric vodka drink that was oh 10 outta 10. So I highly recommend that one to wind down but it was just the perfect Cabo trip. So much fun. Everybody should do a girl trip to Cabo one point in their life. Sorry Jamal. Not everybody but every girl should.

3 (32m 2s):
Well I feel like you keep saying something and then to your point, something else comes up later to prove it right? I mean when I saw the photos and videos that you’re posting on Social Media of the Airbnb that you guys had in Cabo, like I was just blown away and you were just mentioned a minute or two ago about how you’re all about stays now where the hotel or Airbnb like enhances the experience and there’s no way your Cabo experience wasn’t enhanced by this like four story Airbnb that you guys were staying at for it so crazy. But I really wanna get down to Cabo and it’s one of those things where we’ve explored a lot of areas of of Mexico, Brittanie and I, but we still haven’t made our way down to Cabo and I don’t know why.

1 (32m 43s):
And while we’re on the topic of Cabo, we actually recorded an episode all about Cabo and your experience Kim and that releases in 2023 in January. So you guys make sure to keep an eye out for that episode.

4 (32m 55s):
And it’s not just all gonna be about the bachelorette party. I’ve been to Cabo twice, one other time was on a cruise and I also did some other research to give you guys other recommendations if you’re interested in like an all-inclusive resort for example, which I would love to go back to Cabo and do. So did some little research and it was for you guys and it was for me. Let’s

3 (33m 15s):
Do a Cabo all inclusive. I’m ready to

4 (33m 18s):
Do it. Weekend trip,

1 (33m 20s):
It would be an easy weekend trip

3 (33m 21s):
Down. Alright, we’re planning it. It’s happening in 2023. We’ll make it happen. Also in May though, we took another Squad trip altogether and again another Squad trip that we finally put into fruition that got canceled or was like a backup plan during Covid, which was a south road trip. But we did a Squad trip, honorary Squad member. My sister Nashville came along with us just as well on that one. But we went to Savannah, Charleston, Cony National Park, great Smoky Mountains and Asheville. Now Kim you didn’t stay for the entire duration of that, but Squad trip nonetheless to those locations.

4 (33m 57s):
We did Squad trip to Savannah, Charleston and congregate and then I had to hightail out of there cause I had to catch my flight to Cabo.

3 (34m 5s):
And you had already been to Smokey Mountains before that too.

4 (34m 8s):
And Smokey Mountains is amazing. I’m glad that I went before you guys because I gave you a little bit of the lay of the land and you did end up staying in that same hotel with the giant hot tub. That place is so high on my list of good memories.

1 (34m 22s):
Yeah, I think Gatlinburg is really beautiful and it’s definitely the gateways to the smokey and the highlight of the great Smoky Mountain portion of our trip was while we were hiking on the alum Caves trail, Jamal and I came across a mama bear and her two cubs, Aw. That were in the tree and we got to watch them for quite some time. So that was probably the highlight of that area. But I really loved Savannah so much. I think it’s one of my new favorite cities in the USA. There’s just so much history there. It’s America’s most haunted city, which made it kind of spooky great southern food. The downtown area was great and I think the best thing that we ate there was those green tomatoes. Like those were amazing.

3 (35m 3s):
Not just green tomatoes, Brittanie fried, fried green tomatoes. Classic southern staple. Yes, I loved Savannah just as well. I know we all did. We all fell in love and became enchanted with it. I’m ready to go back quite honestly, I think we could have a really, really good time again out there. We also went to Charleston, which I think collectively we were all not necessarily a huge fan of. We did mention in the episode talking about it how we think that was to our own detriment and things that we did on bad research and decisions we made when we were there. But I just want to say somebody left us a terrible review because they did not like what we had to say about Charleston.

3 (35m 43s):
But I just wanna say we give our authentic opinions of the places that we experience. All three of us might have the same opinion. All three of us might have a completely different opinion about it. But I was really taken aback because I think the person just really wanted so much more of it. And like we said, we think it could have been better if we did things a little bit differently on that. But still coming from Savannah, well

1 (36m 5s):
In fact we actually thought that there was gonna be more to do in Charleston and I think originally we thought we would like Charleston more. Yeah. But when it came down to the trip in what we actually did in experience, we ended up falling in love with Savannah and then we were a bit let down by Charleston. And that’s just our own perspective, our own opinion. Maybe it would’ve been different if we’d done Charleston first or differently. I would definitely go back and do more of it and see if I could make the experience better. But I still had a great time on that trip. I feel like Cony National Park is underrated. Yeah. Not a lot of people visit. It was really beautiful. We had pretty much the entire national park to ourselves while we were

4 (36m 43s):
There on an alligator.

3 (36m 45s):
I know and I technically it’s not a swamp but it’s the best way to describe it is like a forested swamp. I never thought I could be so enchanted by such scenery. It was really cool. Like flooded forest and then the wildlife we saw, which was galore of tortoise, just crawling around making a bunch of noise. We were like, what is this? We thought maybe like a snake had some prey. Find out it’s then the tortoise, then we go to the dock overlook of the lake and then we see a gator just going through on there. The sea turtles, I shouldn’t call ’em sea turtles, but turtles in the water that were just like at the base of the dock and the snakes swimming in the water right there. And those aren’t like animals maybe that people are like ooh I wanna see. But they’re of that environment and it really enhanced the experience.

3 (37m 28s):
So underrated. I really enjoyed cong.

4 (37m 30s):
When I’m around Austin and some of the natural places around here, sometimes I feel like it gives South Carolina vibes, congaree vibes, the animals, the sounds, the trees.

1 (37m 43s):
I can see that. I definitely can see

3 (37m 45s):
That. I can see that because when we Visited you in Austin Kim, I came back with the most mosquito bites I’ve had all year.

1 (37m 52s):
And we also on that trip went to Asheville, which has the scenic famous Blue Ridge Parkway that runs through Asheville. And Asheville is right outside Mount Mitchell State Park, which is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. So we went there as as well. But Asheville has a really cool downtown scene. It’s more an up and coming city in the Carolinas and they have a ton of different breweries. We found our favorite one, it was called Wicked Weed Brewery, had really great beers. I had one that tasted like a pina colada, which was amazing. And they also had some really good sours.

3 (38m 25s):
But June was a big month for you though, Kim. Right?

4 (38m 28s):
June was a huge month for me because I moved from San Diego to Austin, Texas finally did it. But you know know on, on such a long drive and I’m gonna be passing by national parks, I would be stupid not to go to them. Right, exactly. Absolutely. And there were a lot and I crunched the numbers and crunched the map so many different ways and I could have hit Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns and Saguaro and White Sands and like all of these and I thought okay, calm down. This doesn’t need to be a five day trip with the U-Haul.

1 (39m 4s):
True.

4 (39m 5s):
So we ended up just hitting one and that was Carlsbad Caverns National Park because I have been wanting to go to this cave National park for so long. It’s massive. You guys have been before you had rave reviews about it and we were gonna be driving right through there. So managed to crunch the map so that the first leg of the trip was the 14 hours, get the hard part out of the way and then we got to wake up, go to Carlsbad Caverns and get on with the trip.

1 (39m 32s):
Yeah, I really think that out of all of the national parks you could have gone, that was your best choice. And so I’m glad if you were to pick one, you picked the right one.

4 (39m 40s):
It’s a good one and I would love to go back and explore more of it and just spend more time there. But it’s just crazy how when you’re there for as far as the eye can see, there’s nothing. It’s like a Barron tan colored ocean and little do you know right under you is just this amazing cave system with thousands and millions of years of history.

1 (40m 2s):
Yeah, Jamal and I went one year on a birthday trip for him and it was really amazing. So I’m glad you were able to go to and moving in and of itself is a huge experience and moving across state line and you traversed California, Arizona, New Mexico and then into Texas. So you covered four states on your trip so pretty amazing.

4 (40m 21s):
Yes. And then we always talk about explore your own backyard. So my backyard just got a lot bigger cuz everything’s bigger in Texas there’s a lot more to explore. And so for the back half of the year I spent a lot of time exploring nature and fun things to do in this area.

3 (40m 38s):
Well keeping with the theme of Exploring Your Own Backyard, a June trip that Brittanie and I took was going back up home to Northern California Visited my parents, but we’re such a short drive away from beautiful Majestic Lake Tahoe. So Britney and I went to Lake Tahoe, one of all three of our personal favorites and we did a little bit of hiking, drove around the lake, went to hiking spots and finally went to Sand Harbor Beach. It’s one of those things where you know when you live so close to something, people either go there all the time or it’s so close that you don’t make necessarily the effort. And obviously we’ve gone to Tahoe a million times but never really made the effort to go to Sand Harbor Beach, which if you Google Lake Tahoe, I guarantee you this is gonna be some of the first Google images that come up of those big boulders in the crystal clear water that is Lake Tahoe.

3 (41m 25s):
So we went to the beach there, did some hiking and had a really good

1 (41m 28s):
Time. Yeah. And another trip that we did in, we actually had a lot of trips in June. We had back to back trip. We had a trip planned to Portland, Oregon. We did a waterfall extravaganza, we saw so many different waterfalls. We went to the famous Multnomah Falls, which is Oregon’s probably most popular waterfall, best known. And then we went down to Silver Falls State Park and did a trail called Trail of the 10 Falls, which I would highly recommend. We saw 10 waterfalls cuz it’s called Trail of the 10 Falls. But they were all really impressive ones. They weren’t just little tiny ones, they were all like peak because of the time that we went. And we had a really great time exploring Portland when we went. Jamal wasn’t sold on the trip.

1 (42m 7s):
And I think he really came to appreciate how beautiful Oregon is as a state and what we did. Cause we just spent the whole time out in nature and the last week of June we went to back to Vida Guadalupe, but we went to a Mexican wedding at a winery.

3 (42m 22s):
Yeah. Britney’s cousin ended up getting married in Vita Guadalupe. We went back and now that we’re just going through all this stuff, man Mexico, what a year for us. Yeah. As the Squad go into Mexico. I mean we love it. I can’t say enough good things about Mexico, let alone buy it a Guadalupe. But family event and wedding down there. It was amazing.

1 (42m 42s):
Yeah. And then July we had another wedding to attend. My brother Tyler, he got married and he was celebrating in Las Vegas. So we spent four days there, made a little trip of that and we went, I went, I wouldn’t say Jamal went, I went to a magic mic show for the first time. That was pretty exciting.

3 (43m 1s):
I mean I wanted to go to the Magic mic, I wasn’t invited to it unfortunately though.

1 (43m 7s):
And then of course we checked out the Bellagio, which has like the inside garden, botanical garden and then we also rode the high roller, which is the tallest Ferris wheel I think in the world.

4 (43m 20s):
Every single time we’ve gone to Vegas together I say let’s, let’s do the high roller. And you guys were like, no, no.

3 (43m 26s):
Oh we’ve already done it. But I’ll tell you what, because it was part of the wedding party and the bride and groom wanted something from his side, her side to all do something together after dinner, they ended up purchasing the tickets for the high roller that we all did. So we all ended up getting into one car, not the bar car. I know when you went we wanted to do the bar car, but it was still, I mean if you do the high roller and go to Las Vegas, if you’ve never done it, they charge you more to do it at night. But you have to do it at night. If you’re gonna be up that high, you really need to see all the lights. That is Las Vegas. So that’s gonna be a Squad tip for you guys. Do not do it during the day. It’s cheaper but it’s not gonna be as cool of an experience as if you do it at night.

3 (44m 7s):
But also in July, maybe coolest month, because it’s my birthday month, I did a bucket list trip. You know Britney mentioned earlier, oh yeah, we did a birthday trip for Jamal at Carlsbad Caverns. I loved it. By the way, Carlsbad Caverns is great. That was a long time ago. But Britney always picks him. I told her this year for 2022, Jamal is picking what he does for his birthday. And Jamal chose Cedar Point in Ohio, which is a world class amusement park. I am a rollercoaster fi fan, love them. This amusement park is legendary. And we finally, finally went bucket list. I’m telling Brittanie, she’s asking what do I wanna do in 2023? I’m telling her I wanna go back to Cedar Point for my birthday, how much I loved it.

3 (44m 50s):
So if Fear Rollercoaster fan haven’t been a Cedar Point, make it out there. But being the gracious husband that I am, we are very close to Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio and I told Brittanie I will allow a national park on this one. And we went to Cuyahoga.

1 (45m 6s):
Yeah. You know, we typically like to do episodes on our travels, but there really wasn’t enough content in Cuyahoga National Park to do a whole episode on it. I think later we’ll have episodes on national parks you can do in a day and like Cuyahoga would be on that as well as White Sand. Well

4 (45m 23s):
What about a whole Cedar Park or Cedar Point, Ohio Cuyahoga combo episode?

3 (45m 30s):
I mean we, we definitely could do that. I don’t know if people want to hear my opinion of Cuyahoga. So you know there’s that. And by what I say by that is like it’s literally a park that shouldn’t be a national park. We’ve had this conversation before and you know when I google the photos of Cuyahoga, I’m like blown away. And then we go to these places, I’m just like, where was this in the National park? Like I didn’t even see it. We went to like two of the hi main two highlights and I was not very impressed with it. So you know, I feel like I don’t wanna put that on the squats. No, no disrespect to Ohio and Cuyahoga and for the people who love it but not, not really impressed.

3 (46m 10s):
The

1 (46m 11s):
Two best things to see in Cuyahoga National Park are definitely the ledges, hike and area and then the Brandy wine falls, those are the highlights. But it’s an easy half to full day trip and it’s not my favorite national park. I’m glad we went. It’s on our bucket list to do all of the national parks. Yes. So definitely had to check it off. But I think there are definitely better national parks in this nation and we flew into Chicago cuz it was the cheapest flight and we love Chicago so we always try to make a trip out of that. We got some deep dish pizza, drove Shoreline Drive, and we always joke that whenever we fly into Chicago we have to hit another state. So you know, we’ve done Michigan, we’ve done Indiana, we’ve done Ohio and Ohio even did Missouri.

3 (46m 58s):
But we’ve been talking about Kenosha, Wisconsin for a long time when we did our Squad trip to Chicago because you know, Wisconsin’s right there not too far off and yet we haven’t made that little venture north. So we’re, we’re gonna hit Wisconsin one of these days, whether it be Kenosha and the cheese palace that we were looking at to do some cheese tasting or make our way up to Milwaukee,

4 (47m 19s):
August was actually a really exciting trip. And I think one of the coolest things about becoming an adult and having friends all over the world is that you can plan trips to meet up in a certain spot and explore this place together. So that’s exactly what we did. Brittanie and I have a friend named Robin that we’ve known since Junior high and been good friends with ever since. And so usually around the summertime, summer break time from school, she would come down to San Diego and stay with us, hang out with us and we would go around San Diego. But this year we said, why don’t we meet up somewhere? So we finally planned this trip to Mesa Verde National Park, Brittanie and Jamal thought they were gonna take an anniversary trip, just the two of them, nice and romantic.

4 (48m 3s):
And we were like, absolutely not. We’re crashing this.

3 (48m 6s):
Well, I mean Mesa Verde has been on your dream list of national parks for quite some time. We know how Kim is with Ancient ruins. These are ancient pueblos built into the cliff’s edge. And so ancient ruins nonetheless to some degree. And I know you were really fired up for this one. So when we had planned it, we were like, we gotta let Kim know. And yeah, it was an anniversary trip but it was really a Squad and friends trip and it was amazing.

1 (48m 32s):
Yeah, we were able to see three different tours of Mesa Verde National Park and then we did leave Kim and Robin behind at the airport at one point and Jamal and I continued for another day and we went to Santa Fe and went to Bandier National Monument to see more cliff dwellings, which was really cool as well. So it was a really good trip nonetheless of how it was originally planned. I can’t

4 (48m 53s):
Believe you guys only took one trip in August.

1 (48m 55s):
I know, but in September maybe it was because in September we had a really amazing trip planned and in September is when we went to Uganda and this is probably the trip of our year and of a lifetime. Like it really I think is my number one trip that I’ve ever been on. We did so much in the 10 days that we were in Uganda, we went to Sson Falls National Park, which had such an amazing safari game drive. We saw elephants, giraffe, cape, buffalo monkeys, and then of course merchants falls, which flows into the Nile and most people think of the Nile being in like Egypt, but it also flows into Uganda.

3 (49m 33s):
Well it doesn’t flow into Uganda as the source of the Nile. Yeah, this was an amazing trip. Like Britney said, complete bucket list, trip of a lifetime. I’m ready to go back to Uganda. I really, really am. We got it all. I mean you have traditional African safari, then you also have the jungle and mountain areas where you have the primates, the chimpanzees, gorillas we saw like leopards, lions, giraffes, elephants, chimps, hiking to gorillas, standing within five feet of them. We recently had our Uganda episode air, if you haven’t listened to it, go listen to it. Get inspired. But I loved Uganda. This was not our first time like going to Africa and doing a safari.

3 (50m 15s):
I Kim. You need to get on it. I know like we say, like this is like you’re South Africa, you know when we had gone and we said like, you missed a really good time. I know you want to go but been to Africa before but you’ve Uganda just blew, blew us away. Really did loved it so much.

4 (50m 29s):
That is probably our longest episode we’ve ever recorded. I think it, it’s at least two hours long and we didn’t even get into every detail we could have that. That was a really good one. In October, you all came out to Austin to visit me and we busted out tons of episodes so that we could record them in person and catch up. We also went to San Antonio and did the river walk there. That was really cool

3 (50m 55s):
And got some barbecue as well. I mean you can’t go to Texas without getting Texas barbecue. It’s an everyday staple for you now Kim. But when we’re in Texas, rest assured we’re getting some Texas barbecue. So we did that in San Antonio and then also in October, maybe the second best month, July obviously my birthday month, but October is Britney’s and we took a birthday trip for Brittanie in October. A really epic one. Mind you too.

1 (51m 20s):
Yeah, I was wanting to go to New England for my birthday and really see the fall foliage cuz I haven’t done a trip like thought before. So that’s exactly what we did. We flew into Boston, we drove up through New Hampshire, we went to Plum Gorge, which you’ve been to Kim in Franconia State Park. And then from there we drove to Acadia National Park in Maine and we spent two days exploring Acadia National Park and then Bar Harbor, which is a city that’s right outside of the National Park. And loved it. It was amazing. I will definitely go back. So beautiful. So scenic bar harbor’s, really cute, very lively, nice downtown that you could walk in. Very walkable city and the scenery was fantastic.

1 (52m 1s):
So highly recommend doing Acadia National Park in October for the fall colors. And on our way back down to Boston to fly out, we spent half a day in Boston and we did the Freedom Trail, which is two and a half miles and it passes through 16 different significant locations that contribute to the history of the United States. And then of course while we were in Boston, you can’t go to Boston and not get clam chowder and cannolis. So that’s what we did.

4 (52m 28s):
Clam chowder, I don’t know about that but the cannolis. Yes, definitely.

3 (52m 32s):
Well Kim is not a seafood fan but you know what, if you’re a seafood fan you gotta get the New England clam chow. Clam chowder. Is that how they say it? Chowder.

4 (52m 40s):
You get in your car and you get the chow.

3 (52m 42s):
I’ll tell you what though, I am not a cannoli fan and I was really more excited for the Boston cream pies. Right. But the cannolis at the place that we went to, what was it called? Mike’s? Oh my gosh. They were, I’ve never had a cannoli taste so good. I loved it. I was more excited about the Boston cream pie from the original location mind you. And that was eh cannoli a game from Mike’s man, you gotta go to it. And that was also on your recommendation when you were out there Kim, like this trip that we took for Britney’s birthday was inspired by your New England trip

4 (53m 14s):
That and those cannolis, you cannot go without them. The Boston cream pie, maybe on my next trip I’ll, I’ll get to experience the cream pie but I didn’t have it on that last one.

3 (53m 24s):
Experience it to experience it, but it’s not as fulfilling as you would imagine it to be.

1 (53m 29s):
Hmm. But moving into November, I did another girl’s trip. I actually went to Sedona with our friend Kasha. We met up in Phoenix and then we drove up there and we just spent a few days doing some epic hikes and vortex. We did like the Devil’s Bridge, we Visited Chapel of the Holy Cross and we added a new trail that I had never been on before, which is the subway trail. It has some iconic shots and it’s a little scary to climb up to get the subway view, but it was amazing. And then we did some of the, the more popular vortexes like Bell Rock and Airport Mesa Vortex. And we also did a really cool hike up to a point called Chicken Point that has really great landscape views.

1 (54m 9s):
So that was a really good trip to catch up with Kasha and just get away. Jamal is very busy during the fourth quarter of the year. So he told me if I wanted to take a trip to take a trip without him. So that’s exactly what I did.

3 (54m 22s):
I need a little bit of downtime from, you know, mid-October till the end of the year. So the me and Brittanie traveling is not so much during this time but you know, like we were talking about at the beginning of this episode, we’re all work full-time and this is my time like where it’s really major for me to work. But I’m glad Brittanie got to enjoy it. I’ve been to Sedona several times before, obviously with Britney here she is going again, having a really good time. But you also had an epic November for maybe the third best month of the year.

4 (54m 52s):
Birthday. One of the best months of the year. I must say November always kills it. My birthday is November 16th and so I took a trip to Mexico again. There’s just really so many places in Mexico you could go there for sure time and time again and see something new every time. This time we went to Puebla, his cousin lives in Puebla so we stayed with him on this great house on a private golf course and it was really, really nice. And his birthday’s also in November and so he had a big party that was really fun. We got to see this area, it’s, it’s a European style village complex called Val Carrico. Not, probably not pronouncing that correctly, but it’s made to look like you’re in the Tuscany villages in the cobblestone streets and it’s really, really beautiful.

4 (55m 42s):
There’s live music there, there’s people just walking around, there’s Italian restaurants. We went to wine, it was really, really good. We also went to Cula and they’re all kind of within like 15 minutes driving of each other. And so Cula has old pyramids, tons of shopping, tons of vendors. Got some really cool stuff to bring home for the house and this really cool food tray that I really wanted. So that was really fun. We also ended the trip in Mexico City because we had to fly in and out of there. Anyway, so we came back the day before, stayed in a Japanese inspired Airbnb. Everything was Japanese themed. Very nice. It was really cool. They had this giant tub out on the outside terrace that they filled with red rose petals and we got to take a bath with rose petals.

4 (56m 28s):
That was really cool.

1 (56m 30s):
Ooh, so romantic.

4 (56m 31s):
Yeah and it was, it would’ve been cool to stay longer but you know, we didn’t have that much longer and we stayed in the coon area and so we went out to markets and got great food and there were tons of vendors. There was some kind of holiday going on. That was a great, great way to end the trip cuz it was like go, go go. You know, being hosted parties, going out to eat and then the last night to do like just us and Rose petal bath. It was amazing.

3 (56m 56s):
Well I’m glad you had an amazing birthday trip and you know obviously we all go to Mexico a lot but I feel like you’ve gone to some of, I don’t wanna say remote places, but popular places but not necessarily popular for a lot of tourists like Puebla. Yeah. Like gosh why can’t I think of the colorful city Wato? Yeah and even several times and went during Cino which is like their popular festival that they have there and there, there really are so many great places in Mexico outside of the beach areas that everyone knows and loves. Totally in these like little towns or even larger ones of course. But so quaint and nice and when I see the photos that you posted these places, I’m really, really jealous and it inspires my Mexican travel in me.

3 (57m 39s):
Yeah

1 (57m 39s):
Definitely. I feel like we done so much in Mexico but we’re just still barely scraping the surface and there’s so much more to do and I can’t wait to explore more of that. And so I am so inspired by your trips and Kim. I can’t wait to go to Puebla and Wawa though. Maybe

4 (57m 55s):
When you guys finally decide to book that wa Wato trip, let me know cuz I would love to go back. It’s such a great town.

3 (58m 3s):
Well and let’s not forget, we already confirmed we’re going Cabo 2023. So I mean we got so many Mexico little adventures to go to. But that was November closing out the year here in December. We took a trip. I told Brittanie no because again busy time for me. Now granted she scheduled it for the day after my busy time of when my open enrollment ends for my main profession. But I ended up going and we took a road trip to White Sands National Park. She made me drive all the way from San Diego into Arizona into New Mexico, 10 and a half hours to White Sands National Park. But

1 (58m 42s):
We got to hit off and check off our 47th National Park.

4 (58m 47s):
Wow.

1 (58m 48s):
There’s 63 national parks in the USA. We just hit number 47 what a milestone. And White Sands is another national park where you only need half a day to a full day to explore all of it. I was set on doing a few trails like two or three. The first two were very short. One was a mile, the other one was like not even half a mile, it

3 (59m 11s):
Was a quarter mile. It was a boardwalk that goes over the white sand that they

1 (59m 14s):
Have. But the highlight was Alka Life Flats trail, which was four to five miles hiking in sand and hiking in sand is very, very difficult. We actually said that after visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park, we would never hike in sand again. And here I am making Jamal in sand. But it was so beautiful like it was a little overcast, which definitely helps because there is no shade at all. No real vegetation that’s gonna provide you any sort of shade but you’re just surrounded in a sea of white sand. Everywhere you look is white

3 (59m 50s):
Sand, it literally looks like snow

1 (59m 52s):
And it does, it looks like snow. And it would be, I it’s, I’m so glad that this trail is marked very, very well because you could easily get lost and not know where you’re going because it’s sand dune after sand dune. So you can’t even see the parking lot when you’re hiking. So you lose all sense of direction.

3 (1h 0m 10s):
Two very notable signs that they had at the start of the trail that you want to pay attention to on this. One of them was exactly like Brittanie said about the trail being marked. Well it is but they’re basically just little pillars that come out of the sand and you’re supposed to follow the pillars and it says if you do not see the next pillar, turn around. And I’ll tell you what, if you continue on and you don’t see another pillar, I mean you’re, you’re getting lost out there in those dunes number one. So pay close attention to that. Another piece of advice to pay close attention to. Britney posted a story on this. I thought it was completely crazy. You’re surrounded by missile testing facilities in the area. I think even an air force base cause we saw some jets and a very prominent note that they have is if you see something odd looking in the sand, do not touch.

3 (1h 0m 58s):
This may be explosive ordinance from military testing. I couldn’t even believe it. Don’t touch a a metal object you see out there. It might explode on you. I’m not saying this to discourage you from going but like crazy. I mean those are the two prominent warnings for that trail. But nonetheless scenic beauty all around those white sands really looked like snow and it was absolutely beautiful.

1 (1h 1m 20s):
And then while we were on our way back, we broke up the drive a bit. We stayed in Tucson for a night, which is right outside of Saguaro national parks. We drove into Saguaro and Saguaro was famous for their 40 feet CDI that live over 200 years when they were over 40 feet tall, they become like 4,000 pounds. They’re really impressive, really beautiful. We got to go at sunset one night and just a reflection of the sun on like the hillside and the cacti just really illuminated the landscape and it was really beautiful. And then we went for a brisk morning walk the next morning before heading back to San Diego and that was our second to last trip of the year.

1 (1h 2m 1s):
We’re actually headed to northern California this weekend to visit Jamal’s parents for an early Christmas.

3 (1h 2m 7s):
So by the time the stairs we would’ve actually done that trip but holiday time up north with the family. But that Saguaro trip, we’ve already been to Saguaro just because we had the national park pass driving through Tucson to break up the drive and Saguaro was right there where like we have to stop in and go and every time I’m there it’s just so impressive to see such large cacti. You know, it just blows my mind every time.

4 (1h 2m 30s):
I know the pictures you guys posted were so cool to see Jamal standing next to a cactus that’s bigger than him is so funny.

3 (1h 2m 40s):
Guess what? We saw Kim, we did a morning trail. So there’s two sides to the park, the east and west side. The east side. We went that night and and saw it with the sunset and it was really beautiful. But before our drive home from Tucson to San Diego we’re like well let’s go to the west side cuz we’re heading west back, you know, to San Diego. We did a morning drive around that they have and a trail and as we were driving right about to get to the trail head, we see a coyote crossing the road with his morning breakfast in his mouth that he had just actually caught. And I’ve never seen a wild coyote and here we are just in the morning in the desert, here’s this coyote with his breakfast and just making the most out of his environment And it like, it’s one of those things, it’s really, really cool.

3 (1h 3m 23s):
Especially when you live in a city and you get out there and really see wildlife. It’s, it’s, it’s humbling to know how they survive out there. Pretty cool.

4 (1h 3m 29s):
That’s very cool. This year has been fun. I think between moving and the types of trips that I took this year in years past, maybe I was thinking like I wanna hit as many international trips as I can and wanna see as much as I can do as much as I can. And I definitely caught the travel bug, you know, back in 2016 when we first went to Peru and this year I’ve kind of changed a little bit. I like waking up and finding a coffee shop and just sitting. I have this memory of being in Wawa though sitting at a patio table outdoors and right beyond us is this beautiful old church or sitting up in the balcony. Just having a margarita and seeing the whole plaza below that stuff is fun.

4 (1h 4m 12s):
And I think my travel style maybe has slowed down a little bit. Also really love the cool Airbnbs and having a reason to wanna stay in the Airbnb versus being out, out, out, out, out at Hawk till 5:00 AM

3 (1h 4m 25s):
I’m over 30. No but I, but I agree with you obviously you know Brittanie and I, a lot of the trips that we do because we try to fit him in on a weekend is go, go, go. But I resonate with your travel style. I appreciate that very much of just like kind of the laid back, you’re enjoying the experience, you’re in Guana, wato, you’re waking up just having a coffee casually. Yeah seeing the city life and daily life of the locals go by you as you’re just relaxing. I resonate with that and I like that style also. Certain trips are conducive for it but I, I appreciate you making it part of your personal travel style. It’s awesome.

1 (1h 5m 2s):
Yeah, you know there has been a few trips this year that we did take the slower pace and kind of didn’t have as much planned and once we were done with like one major hike or trail we spent the, the rest of the time like just leisurely walking the city or stopping to get food somewhere and not as rigid of an Itinerary and go, go go. But I wanna say the most rigid Itinerary we stuck to this year was our gate one trip to Uganda. I mean Gate one just really came

4 (1h 5m 27s):
From one is intense,

1 (1h 5m 28s):
Dawn to sunset is intense, you know, you know like you’re gonna be exhausted by the end of the trip. But at the same time I’m not a people person necessarily. Like I don’t like crowds so I do like, yeah some trips where I don’t mind getting up at the crack of dawn if I’m gonna be the first on the trail head and see have like a beautiful view to myself like at the end of the trail. So I’m still kind of in the middle, but I am excited for 2023 and we’ll talk about some of the trips cause I know one specific trip is going to be at a more leisure pace and a slower pace and appreciate the city that we’re in and the environment that we’re in. So I’m really excited for that.

4 (1h 6m 7s):
Let’s talk about some of the, the travel we have planned for next year. Some of it’s already booked, it’s already planned. It’s already confirmed. Some of it’s a little up in the air. Maybe want to, what are some of the trips that you guys have planned for

1 (1h 6m 20s):
Sure. So for sure we’re going in January to Morocco. We had canceled this trip before it had been canceled on us I should say. But we’re meeting up in Morocco with cash and Ryan on an eight day gate, one adventure. And in February we are going to Florida and we’re gonna swim with the manatees in Crystal River. So I’m really excited about that. And Jamal you wanted to go to Spain in April? I surprise me with this

3 (1h 6m 47s):
Trip. I did, I did. So I mean we have a Squad trip coming up. Usually we take our bigger trip or one of our bigger trips in May. Usually that’s a Squad trip, right? And we are doing a Squad trip, but where we wanna go is Bam, national Park in Canada, just in the Rockies Mountains outside of Calgary. We’re also gonna go to Jasper and Yoho on that one, but it’s in the Rockies, it’s up north and there’s still gonna be a lot of snow inmates. So we pushed that to June. So I was like, well somewhere in between January and June, like let’s see what good travel sales and deals there are. Where have we not been able to go that we want to go? And we just threw in Spain on this one and I was like, let’s go to Spain.

3 (1h 7m 29s):
And I think this is what Britney’s talking about of where she’s excited to be at the more leisurely pace, right? Because when we’re Googling a lot of stuff to do in Barcelona and Madrid, things are coming up, but things that aren’t necessarily like pressing and like so much like a lot of museums. And so I’m really excited to, yeah, like we’re just strolling the city at a leisurely pace. Getting coffee in the morning in a plaza, maybe going to a market for food and local stuff like that. So I, I’m really excited getting

1 (1h 7m 56s):
Top us in the afternoon.

3 (1h 7m 58s):
Absolutely. Taking my CSTA by the way. Taking my siesta. I plan to take my siesta and feel like a Spaniard.

4 (1h 8m 4s):
Well you’re gonna have to, everything closes down so they force it on you.

3 (1h 8m 8s):
I know, I know. And then so like we said in June we have Bam, Jasper and Yoho and then September Brittanie and I, this is the plan is a group trip of my friends from northern California, our hometown with all our wives and girlfriends going to Octoberfest in Germany. So it’s, we’ve all verbally committed but nothing is set in stone and I don’t know if that will happen or not. And I know we kind of went down the list of what we have planned. What do you got planned?

4 (1h 8m 39s):
Kim? So January I’m trying to go to Fredericksburg, which is in Texas Hill country. It’s a wine region here in Texas and bring the dogs out there and Airbnb it for a weekend and just have like a wine weekend out there. So I’m really looking forward to that. It’s, it’s got a lot of hype. It’s kind of like a via, I wouldn’t say Napa but it, it’s the wine region of Texas. So

3 (1h 9m 2s):
I’ve heard a lot about Fredericksburg actually. Really? I’m really excited to see about it when you go. Yeah, absolutely. I’ve definitely heard of a lot about

4 (1h 9m 10s):
Fredericks. Yeah, so we wanna bring the dogs and make a little weekend out of it, trying to find a place with a hot tub, obviously of course Tub without saying February we have a trip book to New Orleans. I’ve been before, you guys have been before, but for whatever reason we all felt like we don’t have enough content to put a podcast together. Maybe cuz New Orleans is just a wild place where you walk around and take it all in. And so this trip, I’m doing this for you squats. I’m going back to New Orleans and I plan to go to brunch and go on the steamboat for a jazz dinner and of course do Frenchman Street and Bourbon Street. But I’m gonna get a lot more contest.

4 (1h 9m 51s):
We can bring back a legitimate episode for the squats. Any

3 (1h 9m 54s):
Cajun food,

4 (1h 9m 55s):
I will be eating fried chicken and red beans and rice. Alright

3 (1h 9m 59s):
For sure. I know you’re not a fish fan, you gotta try the fried catfish.

4 (1h 10m 3s):
Don’t even say Jamal fried

3 (1h 10m 5s):
Catfish. Gotta try it. That’s a

4 (1h 10m 6s):
Southern, absolutely not

3 (1h 10m 8s):
Gumbo. How about some fried gator?

4 (1h 10m 10s):
No, gumbo is okay. There’s just chicken and sausage and a lot of gumbos and I like gumbo. Okay

3 (1h 10m 15s):
With some shrimp in it.

4 (1h 10m 17s):
No jambalaya, no naya,

3 (1h 10m 22s):
I don’t know what type of cotton. Kim’s bringing our way with this.

4 (1h 10m 27s):
Well Jordan and James are also going on that trip and my friend Os, which is Jesse’s previous girlfriend, baby mama. So we’re getting a little group together and it’s gonna be fun if any squatters wanna come out the, the invite is open.

3 (1h 10m 41s):
Well last time you went out with a group that sounded very similar to that, it got really wild and we weren’t able to get that content. So this time we’re holding you to be able to get that content, set it to the squat, we gotta do it

4 (1h 10m 53s):
Now and it won’t be all strip clubs and bourbon street bars I promise. Good. We have no trips planned in in March. Neither one of us at this point. I’m sure something will pop up.

3 (1h 11m 4s):
Probably Cabo.

4 (1h 11m 5s):
Cabo. That’s the perfect time to go. We have availability. I don’t have anything really else solidified, but Louie’s birthday’s in July and I really wanna go to like New York City. We’ve, he’s never been, he is never seen it, but I’m kind of like NYC or Chicago, probably NYC because he’s never been. So it’d be a little bit more iconic. But

1 (1h 11m 26s):
We were also talking about Lavender Valley in Oregon.

4 (1h 11m 29s):
We might hit that too. Yeah, I have a lot planned for his birthday. I’m pulling a Brittanie now then we are for sure going to Greece in September. Nothing’s booked because it’s still a little early and we’re waiting for sales and whatnot. But we are going to be going to Greece, likely Santorini, Mikonos and Athens, maybe some other places if we can. Gate one actually pulled a fast one on me. They sent out their deal email, which if you all listening are not subscribed to the deal from gate one travel, go subscribe because they send out promo codes. So it was taking it down from like 2159 to 1599. It hit all those islands and it included flights and I was like, this is great.

4 (1h 12m 11s):
The dates were lining up. But then I go look and it’s completely unguided. It’s just your hotels, your flight and your transfers and obviously your breakfast buffet at the hotel but no excursions or tours during the day.

1 (1h 12m 26s):
But I feel like that’s still a really good price for flights, hotels, transfers, all of that. That’s

4 (1h 12m 32s):
True, but I don’t, I wanna set my own schedule and pick my own places. Okay, we’re looking at some places that have like a pool on the second story that’s glass ceiling. So when you’re on the bottom floor where the bed is, you’re looking up at the pool. So we we’re planning to go cheap in some places and then ball out in others. That’s where we stay Very nice. And I, I have a lot of other explore your own backyard type places around Texas, big Ben National Park, trying to hit that when it’s cool out. So either beginning of the year or end of the year next year, I definitely wanna hit up Dallas more, more interest in hitting up Houston and seeing this big city, both of ’em.

4 (1h 13m 12s):
I wanna hit South Padre Island is about five hours south in the Gulf. Gotta hit that in the summer. So I have a whole list of nearby trips to take around here

1 (1h 13m 22s):
Too. Yeah, even though we don’t have all of our trips solidified on this list, Jamal and I also have some, I have some always have ideas floating in my brain about like where can we go for this month? We’re considering going to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in July for Jamal’s birthday. So we have some other ideas floating around and explore our backyard a little bit too. But I’m really excited for 2023 and everything that we have planned so far. I’m excited to see where it goes. And we also have a lot planned for the podcast as well in 2023. We’re gonna have episodes of course on all of the places that we go, you know that. And we are continuing to work on providing more Itineraries for you guys, both free and for purchase.

1 (1h 14m 4s):
So right now for free, we have one day in Big Sur, one day in San Diego. I’m almost done with a one day San Francisco and we have some more ideas come in that way too. Also have been working on travel planners, we now have them in five different colors and we’re also offering a customizable version. You just have to DM us or email us for pricing on that. So really excited about those things that we have to come. And there’s a few more things as

4 (1h 14m 30s):
Well. We also have a really detailed workbook course on how to start a podcast that should be up on the site before the end of the year. And we’ll be talking a lot more about it next year. But it really breaks down step by step how to start your own podcast because there really is no better time and in this travel community or whatever community you’re in, but especially travel, there is no shortage of a need for inspiration and travel motivation. So that’s gonna be another exciting product launch coming out soon.

3 (1h 14m 60s):
And one of the main reasons, again, as we know why we started the podcast, we tell you all the time, is to really bring value to you guys in terms of giving you good solid advice on our website. You know, our Itineraries, go check them out, really see the free ones, see the ones that are not free and plan trips that way. And we talk about it in the episodes here for you. So if you’d like what we’re talking about that we did that correlates then to those Itineraries. Any stories that you see that have our links or even from our website that’ll take you to the Amazon marketplace. None of these things that we’re representing are paid sponsorships. These are our genuine opinions of like, yes, this is a great travel product, we use it, we love it.

3 (1h 15m 42s):
And so there are genuine advice. And if you like listening to us cuz you like our advice, you’ll definitely love those products. Clicking those links definitely supports our podcast so we can bring you more amazing content now and in the years to come. So please do utilize those links when you see ’em and go to our website and click on

4 (1h 15m 60s):
Them. We’re also accepting new interviews for next year as well. We have a couple really cool ones lined up. One in particular with one of our friends who’s been on the podcast before. She had this really amazing three month trip through Southeast Asia solo female travel trip. Really, really exciting stuff in that episode. And if you’re listening and you have a travel business or really cool travel stories or travel advice that you think that other people would be interested maybe we haven’t covered here before, reach out to us and see what we have available for interview spots.

1 (1h 16m 34s):
We also wanna dive into merch a little bit more. Maybe shirt stickers, some other things. We’ll be completely honest, we have so much going on that it’s been a slow transition to try to get that stuff in place cuz we’ve been working on the Itineraries and the travel planners and the episodes and the podcast course. So we’re, we’re trying to branch out a little bit more. But those are some of the things that we have in the works for 2023

4 (1h 16m 59s):
And so, so much more. So if you guys have any ideas or questions of the week, send those in. Or you, I know recently we asked on our Instagram if, what do you want to hear in 2023? Do you have a question? Do you have an episode idea? We got some really good feedback there. So if you wanna hear something let us know and, and we’ll plan an episode around it. But thank you, thank you, thank you for tuning into our episode this week and all year long. It’s been great. Keep the adventures going with us into next year on our Instagram TikTok YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast. And send us in your Question of

3 (1h 17m 33s):
The Week. If you found the information in this episode to be useful or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, guys, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.

1 (1h 17m 47s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. We have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.

3 (1h 17m 52s):
Bye squatty. Bye. Happy new Year.

4 (1h 17m 56s):
Happy New Year.

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