At O'Hare Airport: Our Chariot to San Juan, Puerto Rico
At O'Hare Airport: Our Chariot to San Juan, Puerto Rico

On the Road Again: We Be Cruisin to Spain!

We’ve been a little behind in updating the travel blog because we’ve been devoting more time to some of our other interests on the interwebs! In this “little” recap I’ll go back and tell you where you can find what we’ve been working on lately, details about our next adventure and what travel we’ve done in the last year! So, in the words of P!nk, let’s get this party started! :)

What’s New?

We’ve been devoting much of our time to SPYR and six4eleven over the past 6-8 months and we’ve got so many ideas in the works! We released the (in)SPYR theme and you may have noticed the #SPYRhashtags roaming around the internet. Since they’re the stars of the photos, you know who the one behind the lens is. 😉

We’re obviously not devoting as much time to updating our travel site, but since most our time is devoted to SPYR we do send updates out there, now and again. You know, bi-annually 😉 Feel free to subscribe to get tranSPYR’d in your inbox.

I’ve been consistently posting Primal food pics to all my social media of meals I’ve been cooking up. The dishes I photograph go straight from my kitchen to the plate! I really love cooking and want people to know that there are whole food options that are much more healthy for you, and don’t take all that long to make.

I’ve been semi-regularly keeping my blog updated with some of the Primal recipes that I come up with. Jeff & I have so many interests that we tend to go with the flow of what’s happening and that means in the juggle of everything, something always gets left behind for a while. I’m constantly cooking Primal breakfast, lunch & dinner when we’re home but I don’t always have the time to type up and share the recipes. Since I’m no superwoman and can’t always accomplish everything as quickly as I’d like it’s usually the recipe posts that get left by the wayside. And as I’ve mentioned numerous times on Twitter, I really prefer dealing with pictures rather than words anyway. It’s just so much harder to put my thoughts together than it is for me to take, edit & post fun pics. :)

What’s Next?

Well, a little over a month ago we were in Austin for SXSWi 2012 and there’s a travel recap in the works that will talk about all our bacon and TV adventures! :) As you read this we will already be on our next trip of 2012…a 24 day travel adventure! :)

I found a super deal on a Royal Caribbean Transatlantic cruise. As we mentioned before there’s no going back to the interior rooms, so we booked a room with a window for $410/person and with taxes and a few little extras added it came out to a total of $550 per person for a 13 night transatlantic cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Malaga, Spain with stops in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Tenerife & Lanzarote, Canary Islands and Funchal, Portugal.

I booked us on a one-way flight from ORD -> SJU for $260.70/person because it was not worth using the miles when the price was considerably that low. I booked our return flight from BCN -> ORD using my United miles because surprisingly flights cost the same price for a one-way ticket, when I was researching, as they did for round trip tickets out of Barcelona to Chicago. We will have an hour layover in Franfurt but that’s obviously not enough time to actually explore Germany. 😉

When I originally pitched the idea of this vacation to Jeff I had brainstormed all these places to go once we arrived in Malaga. I thought we could go to Barcelona, Madrid, stop in Italy to visit with Renee, go to Paris again (because we loved it so much the first time) and originally I was thinking we’d fly home out of Dublin so we could spend some time there as well. I could see us traveling all around Europe again like we did in Sept 2010 but when I mentioned my plans to Jeff he was a bit overwhelmed by all my ideas. He asked me to break it down for him all separately. “OK, what if we only go to Barcelona? What if we go to Barcelona and Dublin? How about Barcelona, Italy & Dublin?” And so it was back to the travel planning for me.

Since we had traveled around so much on our first European adventure, staying in so many different places with the longest time we spent in one place was 3 nights Jeff didn’t want this trip to be so mobile. He wanted me to pick one place and have us spend some time in that one location, so I chose Barcelona. I reserved our airbnb location, booked all our flights – including a Ryan Air flight from Malaga to Barcelona (no more overnight train rides for us!) and everything was set.

A few days before we were set to leave I was going over our travel plans with Jeff we decided to extend the vacation (and we hadn’t even left yet!). I must have done a pretty good job convincing him that we might as well spend more time seeing the area, I mean since we’re overseas already, why not?! :)

I called United and moved our flight that was originally booked using my miles. If you’re wondering if that cost mega millions to do, it doesn’t. There was a $75 fee per person for extending our travel plans and that would have been the same charge whether we extended it one day or in this case six.

I then checked if we could extend our stay at our airbnb rental in Barcelona but the owners calendar was already booked so I started the search over. It didn’t take me long because on my first search for places to stay in Barcelona I favorite’d some homes that looked really cool, just in case we wound up going back. This wasn’t the first time I had looked into staying here either so I had a nice sampling of places to look into right away.

Then I brought up the possibility of going to Mallorca instead of sticking around Barcelona. Dave had recommended the island off the coast of Spain in the Balearic Sea a while back so I looked up airbnb availability on the island and found this cute little minimalistic place! And I couldn’t say no. I booked us a round trip Ryan Air flight between Barcelona and Palma. I then finalized the vacation plans a couple days before we were set to leave!

Everywhere we go we should have internet and the plan is to continue to stay somewhat present thru the travel blog but there’s no guarantee. We’ll definitely have some stories and photos to share once we return.

Let’s Recap

I know, I know…we’re already half way through April and everyone wrote their New Years Resolution posts in December & January. Well let’s just say, I never like to follow the crowd. 😉

In December I spent some time looking back at the 2011 calendar to see all of the little adventures we had taken, so I thought I’d share all the fun we did thru 2011 in a little bullet pointed recap.

  • January: Jeff & I went to LA on a TV themed vacation. We went to tapings of the Big Bang Theory, Better With You and Craig Fergusson among some other tours & food visits (Pinks and In & Out Burger to name a few) and just spent some quality time with our airbnb hosts Matt & Donna, who are awesome folks! I highly recommend you look them up if you’re looking to stay in or near LA.
  • Februaray: With three days notice to our families we went on a Royal Caribbean Southern Caribbean cruise which ended with our last stop visiting our friend Chrissy in Grenada.
  • March: We took our first trip to Austin for SXSWi and met some amazing people who I now call some of our very best friends. We ended that trip visiting with family and our little friends 😉 in San Antonio. We ended the month hanging out with my mom & sister in Orlando for spring break and we even stayed a few extra days to visit NASA.
  • July: We’re typically not ones to drive anywhere but we drove from Chicago to St. Louis and visited the arch with our friends Mike & Chrissy.
  • Also in June & July I registered for a handfull of 5K runs. Jeff & I also participated in the L.A.T.E Ride Chicago and we just signed up for the 2012 event!
  • August: I completed my first triathlon! And also signed up for my next one in June of 2012…only a few weeks away actually!
  • September & October: We took a couple different trips to New York City to visit Dave (after he visited us in June).
  • October: Travel doesn’t always have to mean going super far from home. We took some mini day trips as well. We drove to Starved Rock for the first time and spent a beautiful sunny day walking around taking fun pics with Mike. We also spent a day apple picking with Victor, Abi, Rafal and Magda. I have wanted to go apple picking for the last few years and this is the first time we got the chance to do it before I either forgot to schedule it or it became too cold and the only apples you’d find would be on the ground or down the street at your local grocery store. 😉
  • November: TWILIGHT!!! Yes, I’m a fan! Yes, I love the books! and Yes, I love the movies! Anyway, my friend Angie came with us to House of Blues Chicago for the Breaking Dawn (Part 1) release party with some of the actors from the movie. On our way home that night we planned a little trip for September 2012, and that’s coming up quickly! In November we also attended a magic event when Wayne Houchin came to Chicago on tour to a little magic shop downtown, we couldn’t turn that down. (If you didn’t know Jeff and I love magic, just ask Jeff to do a trick for you next time you see him.) :)
  • December: We attended Jeremy Cowart’s Lifefinder tour in Chicago and met some other Chicagoland photographers, not to mention, we were able to spend some time listening and learning from one of the greats!

Overall many amazing events, trips, activities, friendships and memories were made in 2011. And there’s room for new adventures and experiences in 2012!

Summer’s approaching quickly, what travel plans have you got in the works?