2016 HoneyTrek Year in Review

HoneyTrek 2016 Year in ReviewSetting foot on our seventh continent, traveling to our 50th country together, starring in a Microsoft commercial, speaking at the Smithsonian, signing a book deal, housesitting in Europe, North and Central America…2016 was a big year in HoneyTrek Land! We’ll admit, we’ve been so busy we have not been the best about blogging, so here is quick recap on our travels across 10 countries and the highlights of 2016!

 

Northeast USA

Fenway Park Big AirHousesitting became a wonderful thread through our year, starting with the dynamic cities in our old corner of the USA. From a loft in Brooklyn to a Victorian townhouse in Boston, we took on familiar and fresh territory, and made time to connect with family and friends wherever we could.
Highlight: Seeing the Big Air ski competition at Fenway Park and climbing inside the Green Monster.

 

Argentina

Candelaria del MonteWe adore Argentina. Having spent five weeks at the beginning of HoneyTrek exploring the country from Iguazu Falls to Patagonia and zigzagging the Andes, we were so stoked to be back. Buenos Aires, the “Paris of South America,” always has ooo-la-la written all over it with tango in the streets, lively antique markets, and Malbec on free flow. Venturing out of the city we discovered the wonders of gaucho country. We stayed on an estancia learning the ropes of wrangling cattle and galloping through the Pampas countryside. Then we hopped a flight to Usuaia: The End of the World and Gateway to Antarctica.

 

Antarctica


The White Continent, our Seventh Continent…it’s the holy grail for full-time travelers like us. Not to mention, we’re obsessed with icy landscapes and who doesn’t love penguins. Well, we made it to Antarctica and it blew our minds and wrote three photo- and video-filled blogs all about it.
Highlights: Stand-up paddleboarding around icebergs and having a penguin nibble on our camera strap.

 

Mexico

When we heard our favorite dogs in Mexico needed a housesitter for the month of May, we couldn’t resist a return trip to Mazatlan. We walked the pups on the seaside promenade each morning, spent nights in Plaza Machado listening to live music, and celebrated Mike’s birthday at Las Labradas hunting for petroglyphs in the ocean surf and sipping micheladas into the sunset. When the housesit ended,we weren’t going to let a plane just zip us home. We rented a car and road tripped over the Sierra Madres to the Mexiquillo lunar landscape, Guanajuato mining labyrinth, San Miguel artist colony, Teotihuacan pyramids, and Mexico City to catch up with friends Ro & Majo. Then we flew from Mexico City to Houston for a wedding, followed by the TBEX blogging conference in Minneapolis, and ultimately the craziest stop of all in Hollywood…

 

Highlight: Starring in a TV Commercial

We still can’t believe Microsoft and Dell asked us to be in their Windows 10 ad campaign and that it ran on TV during the Olympics, the Tonight Show, Dancing with the Stars, the Democratic National Convention, all the major networks and then continued to do so overseas. We had friends everywhere from Belize to England to the DR reach out to tell us our commercial was playing on their national stations. Go behind-the-scenes of our commercial here.

 

Costa Rica

My first experience living overseas was as teenager in Alajuela, Costa Rica. Staying the month with a local family and immersing myself in a new culture, may be the origin of my incurable travel bug. The country holds a special place in my heart so, of course, I wanted to share it with Mike. When we saw a housesit become available in Guanacaste, we applied without hesitation and, thankfully, Toni and Sheba the cat also thought we were a good fit. We had a grand time with our kitty and villa overlooking the Pacific, and bookended our stay with a couple weeks of adventures: river rafting the Pacuare, hiking the cloud forest of Monteverde, spotting caimans and toucans in Tortuguero, and celebrating Guanacaste Day with a few thousand Tico cowboys.

 

Nicaragua

volcano lavaLess than a two -hour bus ride from our house in Costa Rica, the border was calling. We threw on the backpacks and hopped a bus to another bus to a tuk-tuk to Granada. A colonial city surrounded by volcanoes and the country’s biggest lake, it hits all the marks for culture and adventure (and it’s super affordable. Like 35-cent pupusas!). When night fell, we went to the top of Masaya Volcano to see the glow of its lava pool. It’s one of the few places in the world you can walk up to the rim and watch the red hot lava churn, bubble, and burst. As luck would have it, there was an eruption a few months prior so we saw the volcano at its most active since the 1980s!

 

Lake Nicaragua is filled with fascinating islands. The most famous being Ometepe: twin volcanoes connected by a spit of land and shooting up out of the lake. We spent a few days here motorbiking the cone’s circumference, romping around in the jungle looking for petroglyphs, and hanging out at the hippy farming communes (a big thing here). Though our favorite island was Zapatera–once a private island in the family of six Nicaraguan presidents and now a national park…without a single tourist. It was sacred to the Chorotega Indians, leaving extensive rock carvings and artifacts all over the island. We spent two nights here and dream of going back. Read all about it in our Glamping.com post.

 

Portugal

A family wedding invitation brought us across the Atlantic to the magical Sintra, Portugal. Moorish castles, to medieval palaces to modern art museums, you can take in 1,000 years of history in day here (and you should try with this handy timeline guide we did for Travelocity). It was so nice to travel with family—Mike’s mom, brothers, soon-to-be sister in law, the Steeres, Schmids, and dozens of family friends! We based camp in the James Bond haunt of Monte Estoril, took beach walks to posh Cascais, rode the trolleys and hoofed the hills of Lisbon, and then after a fab 10 days together, we went to “our farm” in Central Portugal.

 

Enter our most ambitious housesit to date: A four-acre farm with six rabbits, ten chickens, and countless fruits and veggies! We were a little nervous our thumb would not be green enough for this place, but we found our farmer groove. We really enjoyed tending the crops and harvesting them for bountiful feasts! Our Tabua farm was beautifully situated along the Mondego River and an hour from the historic university town of Coimbra and two hours from the Portuguese wine capital of Porto…both of which we adored (see the Facebook galleries.)

 

Madrid, Spain

Continuing the study-abroad-city pilgrimage, we went back to Spain to visit my old Sevilla roommate, Jessica, and her husband Antonio in Madrid. Mike also spent a good stint in España, but it was our first time in the country together…por fin! We had late-night dinner parties catching up on la vida loca and did a tapa-hop down the locals-only restaurant row of Calle Ponzano. On our last day, we met up with my dad’s dear film buddy Lourent in his apartment looking over the Real Madrid stadium, and then he was kind enough to whisk us to the airport.

 

Hungary

We had a week to play with before our next housesit and a slew of good international airfares to choose from. A $52 ticket to the world-class city of Budapest? Two please! Every structure we roamed past…the opera houses, the neoclassical and Turkish spas, the bridges over the Danube, to the average intersection…seemed utterly regal. Though the contrast between the city’s history and its edgy ruin pubs, art scene and youthful air, tripled Budapest’s cool factor. We’ll be back, Hungary!

 

Croatia

Remember when we listed a bunch of countries and asked, “Where we should spend October?” Well, you picked Croatia, so we made it happen! Let it be known it is not easy to get housesits in Croatia and we almost took one in Dubai because our prospects were looking slim, then a villa on the island of Losinj appeared. Dating back to the 13th-century with colorful houses and stone stairs crisscrossing the neighborhoods, the fishing villages of Losinj are a writer’s dream. We set up our office with views of the Adriatic and a cat on our lap and watched the sailboats bob as we wrote five more chapters of our book.
Croatia also marked our 50th country we’ve traveled to together.

 

Highlight: Our 50th Country

50 Countries in 50 DaysTo celebrate our 50th country together, each nation, and its incredible people, we decided to post a photo every day for 50 days on Facebook and asked everyone chime in. We tried to share a variety of landscapes, cultural scenes, and unforgettable moments, and start a dialog on these inspiring places. See all 50 countries.

 

Mexico Part II

HoneyTrek TravelocityAfter three months in Europe, we made our way back to North America via Mexico for the Travelocity Gnomad Summit in Cancun, Cozumel & Tulum. We’re quite proud to be part of this elite group of travel bloggers and loved gathering with these creative minds for five days of brainstorming. As for greater Cancun, it’s a touristy place but a brilliant turquoise sea and Mayan ruins make everything better.

Highlight: Giving a Talk at the Smithsonian

Speaking for the Smithsonian has been one of our greatest honors. They asked us to give a talk on travel hacking, showing people how to travel longer for less and have more meaningful experiences along the way. It was magical night. We sold out the 280-person theater and people stayed for questions until the janitor kicked us out.

 

USA: Home for the Holidays


With so many wonderful friends and family members in the States, we like to come through the U.S. as often as we can. Extra adventures included being a groomsman in a gorgeous wedding in Hull, Massachusetts, running the 19th-annual Mike Howard Memorial charity golf tournament in the Poconos, and housesitting across the street from the DC National Zoo (watch this hysterical panda video) and a cottage in a foot of snow in Belfast, Maine. As for the holidays—they are the best with fam, so we spent Thanksgiving in Mike’s Pennsylvania hometown and then had Christmas with my family (including our adorable nieces) in California.

Highlight: HoneyTrek Goes Viral!

HoneyTrek in the Press
The Washington Post wrote an article about HoneyTrek and it opened a floodgate of international press! Pick your newspaper, magazine, and TV station of choice: CNN (Greece), MSN (USA) Daily Mail, The Sun & Mirror (UK), La Repubblica (Italy),  Cosmopolitan (France. Yea, that Cosmo), Blick (Switzerland), Glamour & RTL Nieuws (Netherlands), Abola (Portugal), Stara (Finland), Tuổi Trẻ (Vietnam), Casa e Jardim (Brazil), NRG (Israel), Stirile Pro TV (Romania), AM 730 (China), PPTV (Thailand, Watch this one, it’s a proper TV newscast in Thai!)


The biggest of press of all was being invited on Sunrise, one of Australia’s biggest morning TV programs. They caught wind of our story and made it a part of their New Year’s Day Special.

 

2017 Preview

We have a lot of exciting trips and projects cooking for 2017, here’s a sneak peek:

  • Honeymooning the Cayman Islands and covering it for Lonely Planet on Snapchat
  • Speaking at TBEX Israel
  • Road Trip USA, celebrating the diversity and many nations within our own country!
  • Book Tour! Our book, Ultimate Journeys for Two, will hit stores September 2017 and we’ll be traveling North America to do readings, signings, and talks through the fall.

24 thoughts on “2016 HoneyTrek Year in Review

  • January 3, 2017 at 12:49 am
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    What an adventure and a great accomplishment! Happy New Year.

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    • January 3, 2017 at 10:01 pm
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      Thanks for the love Robin…and an especially big thank you for all your support through the last 5 years of HoneyTrek!

      Reply
  • January 3, 2017 at 7:05 am
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    Wonderful! ‘Looking forward to the 2017 adventures – of which I’m sure there will be many more than you currently project. And the arrival of ‘Ultimate Journeys for Two’. Yeah!

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    • January 4, 2017 at 1:25 pm
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      Ken, thanks for the love dude…and your long-time support of HoneyTrek 🙂 2017 is going to be an exciting year, we can feel the energy building 🙂

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  • January 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm
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    Wow! What a magnificent year. Well done guys. 2016 must have been epic. 🙂 ‘Looking forward to what 2017 has in store for you. Toot! Toot!

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    • January 4, 2017 at 1:27 pm
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      Thanks for the support and kind words Victoria! Checked out your blog too, awesome stuff, sounds like you had quite a wild 2016 as well!

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  • January 3, 2017 at 7:30 pm
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    I’m so envious. 2016 was a very good year I see for you two. Argentina and the Mexico road trip look beautiful! And kudos for all the press attention! I’m sure 2017 will be even better for you two. Congrats!

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    • January 4, 2017 at 1:33 pm
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      Taya, thank you SOOO much for reading our blog, and the lovely comment. Argentina/Antarctica was a crazy trip….and Mexico was just amazing (man do we love that country!). Excited for 2017, it’s going to be wild!!!!!

      Reply
  • January 3, 2017 at 11:20 pm
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    What a great year of traveling for you both. Can you take me next time?! Your photos of your trips makes me want to sit down and plan about 20 different trips! ha! Happy New Year!

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    • January 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm
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      LOL, well that’s a good thing Censie. Glad you enjoy the post and our photos. Thanks for checking out HoneyTrek, just checked out your blog too….we will post the travel photos, you keep posting those yummy food photos!

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  • January 4, 2017 at 2:48 am
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    So beautiful and so exciting! Your review inspired me to wish to visit new countries like Croatia, Portugal and Spain! It would be nice! I loved the last part of your review: home for holidays. so sweet!

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  • January 4, 2017 at 7:33 am
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    What an awesome incrediable 2016. You are both having a wonderful adventure. It has been a pleasure to know and work with you. Glad to see Boston Big Air made the cut. Have a great 2017 and hope our paths cross again.

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    • January 8, 2017 at 1:17 pm
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      Aww Rich, so great to hear from you! Big Air with the crew was awesome…especially our renegade mission into the Green Monster! We are trying to plan VT trip this winter…miss you guys!

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  • January 4, 2017 at 9:35 am
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    My friends this is more than an amazing year. This is an amazing lifetime. How incredible. These are places we dream of going. You got to do a commercial too? How fun. So exciting.

    Happy New Year.

    Can’t wait to see where your new adventures take you.

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    • January 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm
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      Gotta charge life, right? Hope our crazy travels inspires a few more people to get out there too. Really appreciate your kind words and for joining us for the ride, Valerie!

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  • January 4, 2017 at 10:19 am
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    Mexico has always been on my list of places to visit. I have a bucket list that has many of your recent travels on it. Definitely hoping to do more of it this year. My first trek will be to Boston!

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    • January 8, 2017 at 1:21 pm
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      Mexico is incredible. Cities like Guanajuato, Durango, Mazatlan, and the capital are our favorites and not touristy! Boston is also fantastic 🙂

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  • January 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm
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    I am absolutely in awe of all of your travels and experiences! Wow! I never gave much thought to the benefit of house sitting, but oh how fun that would be to experience new places and different cultures. I can’t wait to see what your travels hold for 2017!

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    • January 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm
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      Housesitting has been such an exciting addition to our travels…great for families too! To housesit a farm would be such a cool learning experience for kids–planting, harvesting, and eating fresh!

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  • January 5, 2017 at 7:10 am
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    Happy New Year to you both, and we loved reading this. What an insanely incredible 2016 for Honeytrek. Wish you all the best for 2017. Hope you cross paths live somewhere in the world…. one day! (p.s. first Movingworlds placement was incredible, one of our highlights of the year) All the best! Dorene and Troy

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  • January 5, 2017 at 7:56 am
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    You guys surely went to some really amazing places! I have yet to come up with a year in review post myself (just procrastinating for now HAHA). Speaking of which, I would have LOVED to go to TBEX Israel — I’m still thinking of going! That being said, maybe then it’s an opportunity to meet you guys 😀

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  • January 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm
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    Aileen, totally come to TBEX Israel. It’s going to be awesome and would be so great to meet you!

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  • January 11, 2017 at 3:51 pm
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    Sounds like you had an incredible journey in 2016. I hope you get to live even more in 2017. You are doing something not everyone can do, and it is a blessing.

    Reply

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