2015: Looking Back

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Megan and Michael standing next to each other looking out at the mountains
It has been a busy year for us. Or more accurately, it has been a very busy second half of the year for us.

We started 2015 quietly enough, just another young couple living and working in Los Angeles. In fact, this year looked a lot like last year, and the year before that. We were making a modest living, paying rent, floating along, getting by. Sure, we had our share of ups and downs, moments of excitement and frustration, but like years past, our lives remained dominated by never-ending Monday-to-Friday 9-to-5 routines. We had been plugging away like this ever since we got out of college and never felt like we were actually getting anywhere. But this year, we really started to feel the treadmill beneath our feet.

Thankfully all that changed when we pulled the trigger and committed to our lifelong dream of traveling full time. We had been planning for this moment for awhile and when it finally arrived, we were ready. On July 1st, we quit our jobs and started the process of selling virtually all of our stuff. On August 1st, we loaded up our camping gear into our hatchback and took off. We were going to spend a year traveling North America. To see, experience, and appreciate the country in a way we’ve only ever dreamed about. This was the start of a new beginning.

A car driving down the road that is lined with towering redwoods
Since then we’ve been all over. We’ve traveled up the west coast, through British Columbia, into Alberta, and down the Rockies. Along the way, we’ve stayed in campgrounds, national forests, and Walmart parking lots. We’ve reconnected with old friends and made many new ones. We’ve climbed mountains and wandered through the badlands. We’ve swum in lakes and soaked in hot springs. We’ve gathered blackberries along the side of the road and ate Canadian poutine until we thought we would pop.

As we enter the New Year, we’re excited to see what adventures are in store for us. But right now, we want to take a moment to remember where we’ve been. Here are some of our favorite moments from latter half of 2015, a year which we will not soon forget.

Top 5 Camping Recipes of 2015

We cooked something like 250 meals outdoors this year. We’ve documented some of our favorites on this blog, but here are our reader’s favorites!

Easy 5 Ingredient Vegan Tacos

Three tacos on a plate
By far, our most popular recipe this year was our Easy 5 Ingredient Vegan Tacos!

Bourbon Spiked Apple Cider

Megan holding a cup of apple cider
What’s a camping trip without some whiskey by the fire? This Bourbon Spiked Apple Cider was our best campfire cocktail this year.

Grilled Halloumi Breakfast Sandwich (with Sriracha Mayo + a fried egg!)

Holding a Halloumi Breakfast Sandwich
Breakfast is our favorite meal of the day, and with good reason when there’s Grilled Halloumi Breakfast Sandwiches on the menu!

Trail Mix Bliss Balls

An easy make ahead snack for hiking or camping trips: Trail Mix Bliss Balls!
Our new favorite snack are these
Trail Mix Bliss Balls. An easy, make ahead recipe to take on a long hike!

Five Can Chili

5 Can Campfire Chili Recipe
Last but not least, what’s a camp cooking blog without a chili recipe? Here is our vegetarian-with-a-KICK Five Can Chili, which kept us warm while exploring Banff in October.

Top 5 Places We Visited in 2015

Since leaving Los Angeles in August, we have traveled over 15,000 miles. There are so many beautiful places and adventures to be had in the western US & Canada, but here are the ones that stood out the most to us.

Winchester Mountain, Washington

Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout
While it was a grueling hike to the top, the night we spent in the fire lookout tower on Winchester Mountain is one of our all-time favorite memories from this trip.

Dinner Rock, Sunshine Coast of British Columbia

Dinner Rock Campground Sunshine Coast, BC
Perched upon a bluff high above Desolation Sound, Dinner Rock is by far the most scenic campground we’ve ever stayed at.

Hot Springs in eastern Idaho

Idaho Hot Springs
After a few colds nights, it’s nice to be able to warm your bones. Not only did this hot spring in Idaho sooth our bodies, but it rejuvenated our spirits.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Norris Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park
We arrived just a few days before the majority of Yellowstone was scheduled to close down for the winter. Our late arrival, in addition to the cold weather, meant we virtually had the entire park to ourselves.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park
We never intended to visit the Dakotas on this journey, but after getting run out of Montana by a blizzard, we found the clear skies and fair weather of badlands to be quite agreeable.

Thank you all so much for joining us on this journey, giving us encouragement, a place to sleep or shower, a good laugh, and countless suggestions on amazing places to visit along our way.

In 2016, we’ll be traveling through the American Southwest, the South, Appalachia and the East Coast, and into North Eastern Canada. Know of any places we can’t miss? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for updates from the road!

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20 Comments

  1. If you can somehow make it over to Killarney Provincial Park, you won’t be disappointed. Just outside of Manitoulin Island, south of Sudbury Ontario Canada. That’s my recommendation for North Eastern Canada (although it might be a little more central than you were thinking?)

    Here’s to a great 2016 for the two of you! Cheers!

  2. I remember the water trails of Okeefanokee State Park in the southeast corner of Georgia being one of the more unique natural experiences I’ve had. Canoeing through alligators and snapping turtles and picnicking on lowland islands is an experience. Haven’t been in years, and Congaree Nat’l Park might be more well maintained…but prob no alligators. 🙂

    1. The trees in that area look so interesting! I’d love to canoe around there. I’d be lying if I said that alligators didn’t make me nervous though! ????????

  3. What hot springs in Idaho did you go to? There was no link to the post 🙂 My husband and I are Idaho-natives and have (shamefully) only been to one of our natural hot springs. We’re itching to find more.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Andrea! This one is along the ‘Warm Springs” trailhead off of Hwy 12. We hear there are a TON of great hot springs in ID – hope you get to enjoy them!!

  4. Larry Hanfland says:

    The Bay of Fundy in Eastern Canada is a sight to not miss. The tidal change is one of the largest in the world. Also camp in the Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia. The canoeing is great and there are a lot of hieroglyphics to see.

    1. Bay of Fundy is totally on our list – I learned about those tidal shifts in a geology class in college and have been wanting to see it since. Kejimkujik NP looks amazing, too! Thanks Larry 🙂

  5. Julian Sylvestro says:

    I’m sure it’s already on your list but Asheville NC is a must. You have Linville Falls close, Lake Powhatan and Black Mountain isn’t far either.

    1. Funny, Asheville is one of those towns we hadn’t really heard of before this trip, but you’re the 4th person to recommend it so far! We will definitely be stopping there for a bit. Thanks for the tips for things to do nearby!

  6. Grand Staircase-Escalante, Coyote Buttes, Antelope Canyons, Natural Bridges, Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods.
    So much redrock. Such a great adventure!!

    Jill

    1. We are so looking forward to all that red rock! Southern Utah is one of the places we are most excited about 🙂

  7. Nancy & Sam says:

    As you get into Pennsylvania on your way North, don’t miss out on Wellsboro in the Pennsylvania Wilds near New York State.

    http://youtu.be/94jN8CoaNHo

  8. If you drive through the western side of Virginia there’s an offshoot of the AT called the Dragon’s Tooth that is a pretty fun climb. Floyd, VA is also a hidden gem.

    1. Thanks Johanna! We’re definitely looking to do some hiking on or around the AT, so Dragon’s Tooth might be a good option!

  9. I wouldn’t have thought there would be that kind of landscape in the Dakotas! That’s really neat!! I love that you guys have been able to truly follow your dreams and travel all over! Its really inspiring!

    1. Right?! We were so surprised by it!

      Thank you for the encouraging words, KJ. We are so grateful we’ve been able to do this 🙂

  10. Hey Megan and Michael, your website is a great inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! I just moved to the US from Southeast Asia a year ago, and my husband and I have taken as many road trips and hiking trips as we can. There’s so much to see. This is a beautiful country. As a nature lover, I really love being out there in the “wild”. I’m still learning to live in the cold weather so as soon as it’s warmer, we hope to hit the road again. In the meantime, I’ll be following your adventures!

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Christine. The US is such a beautiful and diverse country (in landscape & people!). I’m stoked to hear that you’ve been able to road trip around since moving here. There are so many wild places – if you ever make it to the west (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado…) you will be absolutely blown away by how much open space there is!