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2016 wasn’t just a big year for AOR as a company and the work our tenacious team completed for our clients, but also in the travels AORians enjoyed throughout the year.
Alex’s Epic Honeymoon in Tanzania
Last September my wife and I went on a spectacular honeymoon to Tanzania. We started the trip with a bit of an adventure – climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. We’ve hiked dozens of 14ers together and felt great on Kili up until high camp at ~15,300′, but summit day was a little different. We left camp at 1 a.m. with the temperatures hovering in the single digits and began to hike about 4,000 vertical feet over only 2.5 miles – similar to hiking from the town of Breckenridge to the summit of Peak 8, only you’re starting at over 15,000 feet. We managed to summit shortly after sunrise, and were back down at camp by 10:00am to promptly climb back into our sleeping bags and fall asleep.
Up next, safari! We spent five days traveling through Arusha National Park, Taringire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, and we saw hundreds of giraffes and elephants, dozens of lions, and even a couple of elusive leopards and cheetahs. The highlight of the trip was the infinity pool at our Serengeti hotel that dropped off into a pond full of elephants.
And lastly, we decided to head out to the island of Zanzibar for a few days of fun and sun on the beach! Not a bad way to kickoff our married life!
Andy’s Colorado Exploration
Throughout the summer of 2016, my friends and I embarked on a number of camping trips in the mountains of Colorado. My favorite trip was a short, two-day, 10 mile, out-and-back backpacking trip where we hiked into the Indian Peaks Wilderness and camped at the base of a couple of 13,000 foot peaks. We set up our campsite above the tree line, somewhere around 12,000 feet, surrounded by natural gas deposits. When we woke up the next morning, our tents were covered in ice, even though it was just early August. We spent the day summiting the peaks around us before heading back to the car, hiking through golden aspen forests the entire way. It was only a short trip, but the natural beauty I encountered along the way will stick in my mind forever.
Chelsea’s Honeymoon in Belize
Just weeks before I became an AORian last September, I married my best friend and favorite travel buddy. After the party of our lifetime, we hopped right on a plane to Belize. We spent half our time in the gorgeous jungle and the other half on the beach in the fabulous little town of Hopkins. Besides seeing an array of exotic animals, making music with some locals, hiking on Mayan ruins and kayaking with manatees, our favorite adventure was cave tubing. If you ever make it to this beautiful country make sure you take the time to cave tube. It’s just as cool as it sounds! Now we just have to go back and scuba dive!
Kelsey’s Italian Family Adventure
In July, my family and I visited Jesi, Italy for my Uncle’s 70th birthday. We relaxed at beaches along the Adriatic Sea, explored the Republic of San Marino, toured delicious wineries and of course ate an embarrassing amount of gelato, just to name a few. My favorite part of the trip was staying at the Agriturismo bed and breakfast with a lovely Italian family that had the most precious dogs and cooked the most amazing food! Best food I had in all of Italy! Before departing I made sure to visit the Trevi fountain in Rome to throw in a coin, solidifying my return.
Jeannie’s Colombian Trek
In April, I got to go on a trip I had been dreaming of for 10 years. My husband and I have adopted my parents’ tradition of going on milestone trips for milestone birthdays so I picked Colombia for my 30th. It just so happens that my husband’s parents are also from Bogota so I got to meet some of his family on our first stop. We also travelled with my father-in-law to Villa de Leyva, an adorable colonial town outside Bogota, that feels like time forgot. Next, we traveled to Medellin, there we enjoyed the surrealist art of Fernando Botero and took a tour of landmarks related to Pablo Escobar. We capped off the trip of a lifetime in beautiful Cartagena, where we stayed beachside and explored the picturesque old town filled with colorful doors, friendly people and delicious seafood.
Shannon and Alyssa’s Cycling Trip through Ireland and Scotland
In July, Shannon and Alyssa (along with their sig others) traveled to Ireland and Scotland with the intention of visiting as many scotch distilleries, and cycling as much of the mainland and islands, as possible. They met up for half the 2-week trip at a tiny beachfront house (referred to by the locals as a storm pod) on the island of Islay (well known for its peaty whisky), where it rained like the dickens, then made their way to the mainland via ferry. Edinburgh was a highlight, with it’s incredible old infrastructure, great beer and fascinating history. Outside of the cities, they reveled in the incredible landscapes, the welcoming people and the wonderful slow way of life.
Jessie’s Love for the Big Apple
I had the privilege of making it to a wide range of cities this past year. My travels included stops in lesser frequented destinations like Des Moines, Iowa and Idaho Falls, Idaho as well as popular hotspots like Washington D.C. and New York City. As cliche as it sounds, New York City has my heart. Every time I’m lucky enough to spend some time in the Empire State, I try to soak as much in as I can. With so many sights, sounds, cultures, scents (good and bad), flavors, and distinctive neighborhoods, NYC is like a palette of inspiration for a creative person like me. Seen here is a shot from the Central Park Zoo, many steps away from the hustle and bustle, yet still completely alive and invigorating.
The travels of AORians fuels our passion for our travel and tourism clients. We’ve had the pleasure of helping our travel, tourism and hospitality clients bring their brands to life on social media, websites, in print as well as building their brand and identity from scratch. See more of our work.
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