March 26, 2023

It is the ultimate week of December, my most well-liked time to pause and mirror on my prime journey experiences of 2022. If 2021 was a yr of transition, 2022 felt like settling into a brand new groove.

I continued to journey domestically in america, particularly round Texas, the place I reside.

Regardless of residing in Austin for the final six years, it wasn’t till 2022 that I started to understand higher every little thing the second-largest state within the nation has to supply.

Dave hiking in Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu in the background. His third visit was a top travel experience in 2022. (photo by Kelly Lemons)
Climbing in Machu Picchu (photograph by Kelly Lemons)

And my one worldwide journey of the yr took me again to a well-recognized favourite, Peru.

Please be a part of me in a glance again at a few of the many adventures, massive and small, from a yr of journey.

The place I’ve Been

Kel with an orangutan at Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas
Kel with an orangutan

Waco, TX

My first journey of the yr was a street journey to Waco, Texas, about 90 minutes north of Austin (and 90 minutes south of Dallas).

This was my second journey to Waco, the primary being a Baylor College soccer recreation a couple of months prior.

Kel was excited to point out me the Cameron Park Zoo, the spotlight of which was the orangutan exhibit.

Seeing these beautiful creatures in particular person once more jogged my memory of my journey to Borneo, the place I met Candy Hope and realized about conservation efforts to avoid wasting orangutans at Camp Leakey.

Outdoors the zoo, we visited the Baylor Bears, Girl, and Pleasure, who reside on the Baylor College campus. Sadly, Pleasure handed away in July 2022.

Kel and Dave at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, WA, one of Dave's top travel experiences this year.
Dave and Kel on the Museum of Pop Tradition

Seattle, WA

My first new metropolis of 2022 was Seattle, Washington. Not solely did I fulfill my teenage need to go to the 90s capital of grunge music, nevertheless it was additionally my first journey to the Pacific Northwest.

Highlights included the Museum of Pop Tradition and Museum of Flight, wine tasting within the Space Needle, touring Pike Place Market, breakfast at Salish Lodge (as featured within the Twin Peaks TV present), and researching Seattle speakeasies for a narrative on Feastio (my meals weblog).

New York Yankees spring training game at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida
George M. Steinbrenner Area

Tampa, FL

March signaled the beginning of New York Yankees spring coaching in Tampa, Florida, an event to get along with household for a recreation.

Sadly, the Yankees once more missed the World Collection in 2022, however a minimum of it was a historic yr for Aaron Decide, who set an American League file with 62 dwelling runs.

In 2023, I plan to proceed this custom, plus give myself a couple of days in downtown Tampa to study extra concerning the metropolis middle.

Learn extra about Florida

The NCAA Final Four opening ceremony at the New Orleans Superdome
Closing 4 on the Superdome

New Orleans, LA

March Insanity got here to a head in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Kel and I had been on the Superdome to see it.

The Closing 4 featured NCAA powerhouses UNC, Villanova, Duke, and Kansas College, and Kansas took dwelling the trophy.

I am going to bear in mind my first Closing 4 for the town internet hosting it, New Orleans, which I’ve come to understand immensely since I started visiting in 2017.

Past the basketball, I squeezed in lots of new sightseeing, together with:

  • Mardi Gras World (extremely beneficial)
  • Free Folks of Shade Museum (extremely beneficial)
  • A tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
  • Beauregard-Keyes Home
  • New Orleans Jazz Museum
  • Ogden Museum of Southern Artwork
  • The Historic New Orleans Assortment
  • New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
  • Southern Meals and Beverage Museum & Museum of the American Cocktail

It was a couple of too many museums for one journey, although my motivation was to write down an article about them ultimately.

Learn extra about New Orleans

The Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles, California
The Broad museum

Los Angeles, CA

Kel and I had been solely dwelling from New Orleans for an evening earlier than we flew to Los Angeles. I joined her on a enterprise journey to downtown LA, my first time in that a part of the town.

Highlights included strolling across the great Walt Disney Live performance Corridor designed by Frank Gehry and The Broad, a world-class trendy artwork museum with an unimaginable assortment together with Andy Warhol, Basquiat, and Barbara Kruger.

When you have the time, a couple of different downtown LA museums value a go to embrace:

  • The Museum of Modern Artwork
  • The Geffen Modern at MOCA
  • Japanese American Nationwide Museum

Regardless of a warmth wave, I did fairly a little bit of strolling in Los Angeles, together with round Chinatown for lunch and Grand Park to see Metropolis Corridor.

We additionally ventured out to different elements of the town so I might write about them for Feastio. These included Destroyer in Culver Metropolis, Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills, and Pasajoli in Santa Monica.

A Second Line marching down Beale Street in Memphis, TN
Beale Avenue

Memphis, TN

Three weeks after LA, I flew to Memphis, Tennessee, for the ultimate TravelCon.

I would beforehand attended this journey running a blog convention in Austin and Boston and was trying ahead to reconnecting with buddies in a brand new metropolis.

Memphis highlights included:

  • Touring Graceland (Elvis Presley’s mansion was my favourite half)
  • National Civil Rights Museum on the Lorraine Motel (the place Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
  • View from The Pyramid (which homes a large Bass Professional Store)
  • Marching in a Second Line on Beale Avenue
  • Making an attempt Memphis BBQ for the primary time

Learn extra about Tennessee

Dave wine tasting at Augusta Vin winery in Fredericksburg, TX (photo by Kelly Lemons)
Wine tasting at Augusta Vin (photograph by Kelly Lemons)

Fredericksburg, TX

I spent Memorial Day weekend in late Might exploring Texas Wine Nation with Kel. The area is definitely accessible from the Texas capital, a 90-minute drive west of Austin.

Studying about varied wine areas has been a relentless in my travels:

The historic city of Fredericksburg makes for a superb base, with many Texas wineries inside a 30-minute drive.

Spring marks the beginning of peach season, and recent Fredericksburg peaches are bought individually and by the bag from farms alongside Freeway 290.

Mountain gorillas at the Dallas Zoo
Mountain gorillas on the Dallas Zoo

Dallas, TX

In July, I visited Dallas for the primary time. As soon as once more, the catalyst was one among Kel’s enterprise journeys. Whereas she was working, I used to be sightseeing, consuming at Dallas restaurants, and visiting with a buddy.

On my first day, I braved the complicated tangle of highways to go to the Dallas Museum of Artwork and the close by Nasher Sculpture Middle in downtown Dallas.

I once more confused my nerves the next day by driving downtown to go to The Sixth Ground Museum at Dealey Plaza.

The museum is contained in the notorious Guide Depository constructing the place Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F. Kennedy, killing the president in broad daylight as his motorcade drove by.

It was a surprisingly emotional go to, contemplating I wasn’t alive on the time. I additionally noticed the grassy knoll on the aspect of the street that is performed a task in conspiracy theories.

Hippo at the Dallas Zoo
Hippo smile

I additionally took the time to go to the close by Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, which opened in September 2019.

The final museum of my first go to was the wonderful Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the place you may see the full-size skeleton of a T-Rex, amongst many different fossils.

On the finish of September, we returned to Dallas. Highlights of the second journey included the mountain gorillas on the Dallas Zoo, Pumpkin Village at The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Backyard, and the Texas State Fair.

To my shock, I am discovering heaps to see, do, and eat in Dallas, and I stay up for visiting once more within the new yr.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, a top travel experience in 2022 (photo by Kelly Lemons)
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (photograph by Kelly Lemons)

Houston, TX

This was additionally the primary yr I visited Houston, the fourth-largest metropolis within the U.S. and residential to the NASA Johnson Area Middle.

I would pI’dned a weekend journey to Houston in March 2020, however unexpected circumstances pressured me to postpone that go to. It was good to make up for misplaced time and to take action with Kel (additionally an area fan).

Along with NASA, I noticed many extra museums on my two visits, together with:

  • The Museum of Superb Arts
  • Cullen Sculpture Museum
  • Kinder Museum (trendy artwork)
  • Menil Assortment & Rothko Chapel
  • Houston Museum of Pure Science

I have never written about Texas’ largest metropolis for Go Backpacking but, however I did produce tales on the best Houston restaurants and the Texas Renaissance Festival for Feastio.

Selfie atop Huayna Picchu with Machu Picchu in the background
Selfie atop Huayna Picchu with Machu Picchu within the background


Late August introduced our most enjoyable journey of the yr, a one-week trip to Machu Picchu.

This was my third journey to the Sacred Valley and Kel’sKel’st. Beforehand, I did the 4-day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu and went on a G Adventures tour (I would gained in a drawing).

Planning an unbiased journey with a good timeframe turned out to be extra labor-intensive than I anticipated.

Planes, trains, and cars needed to be booked and timed to line up completely. Entry to Machu Picchu relies on an assigned day and time, so there isn’t a room for error.

Fortunately, every little thing went in accordance with plan, and we had a terrific, albeit tiring, expertise attending to Machu Picchu and climbing Huayna Picchu.

Afterward, we had a free day in Cusco to discover the historic middle, a UNESCO World Heritage Website, take a cooking class, stroll across the Saqsaywaman ruins, and tour the night time sky on the Cusco Planetarium.

We additionally loved a couple of scrumptious meals at two of the best restaurants in Lima, Central and Mayta, which I wrote about for Feastio.

Learn extra about Peru

The Oculus is home to the World Trade Center PATH Station in lower Manhattan
The Oculus

New York Metropolis

Inside per week of returning dwelling from Peru, I used to be on a airplane to New York Metropolis to reunite with my dad and brother for some sightseeing and a Yankees recreation.

It’d been years since my dad, who grew up within the metropolis, visited, and so there have been a number of new and spectacular issues to see:

  • The view from One World Commerce
  • 9/11 Museum
  • Oculus
  • Vessel in Hudson Yards
  • View from Edge, a 100-story excessive commentary deck
  • Little Island park
  • Yankee Stadium

We additionally ate lunch at Fraunces Tavern, the oldest bar in New York Metropolis (est. 1762), and I grabbed a Guinness by myself at White Horse Tavern, the second-oldest pub (est. 1880).

The White Horse was a favourite of well-known writers, together with Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac, and James Baldwin.

It was good to return to NYC for the primary time since 2019, and I’ve already obtained a visit on my calendar for 2023.

Walking across Devil's Bridge in Sedona, Arizona (photo by Kelly Lemons)
Strolling throughout DevilDevil’sge (photograph by Kelly Lemons)

Sedona, AZ

I returned to Arizona for the primary time in 35 years to spend my birthday weekend in Sedona with Kel.

We walked round Bell Rock, hiked to the Satan’s Bridge at dawn, and climbed Cathedral Rock.

My favourite birthday exercise is a celebratory dinner. This yr, that once-a-year meal was at Mariposa, a Latin-inspired grill with beautiful views of the crimson rock canyons.

Learn extra about Arizona

Dave endures a cold day at the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, one of his top travel experiences in 2022 (photo by Kelly Lemons)
Fort Price Stockyards (photograph by Kelly Lemons)

Fort Price, TX

My final new vacation spot of 2022 was Fort Price, Texas, a medium-sized metropolis inside the Dallas metropolitan space (known as the “Metroplex”).

The historic Forth Price Stockyards is a must-see website, and when you go on the proper time, you may see some longhorn cattle strolling down the road.

Afterward, I attempted on a pair of buffalo leather-based cowboy boots in a store and acquired them. I wore my first pair of cowboy boots to dinner at Lonesome Dove, after which we walked over to Billy Bob’s.

Strolling contained in the World’s Largest Honky Tonk carrying the boots felt proper, and I’ve had enjoyable carrying them in Austin since then.

Just a few extra metropolis highlights included the Fort Price Botanic Backyard, Kimball Artwork Museum, Science Museum, and Trendy Artwork Museum.

We additionally waited in line for 3 hours to attempt Goldee’s BBQ, rated #1 in Texas by Texas Month-to-month Journal.

Learn extra about Texas

Plans for 2023

My 2023 calendar is filling up shortly, a brand new expertise given I do not usually plan quite a lot of months forward.

The primary massive journey of the yr is for a buddy’s wedding ceremony in Vietnam. We’ll be spending a couple of weeks there because it’s my first time and stopping briefly in Tokyo on the way in which dwelling.

The spring sees me exploring some new and acquainted territory in Florida, New York Metropolis, Houston, and San Francisco.

I am excited to have a convention to attend in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Since I started salsa dancing in Medellin, I’ve wished to go to this Caribbean island.

Extra street journeys in Texas are a given, and there is loads of room left for the sudden!

Prior Annual Critiques

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