I didn’t plan on writing this post, but as we’re ushering in the New Year today, I couldn’t help but pause and reflect over the past year. On January 1, 2012, Adventures by Daddy officially launched. To be honest, I didn’t know if anyone would care or read, but you all surprised me over the course of the year. We’ve gathered a loyal audience of readers, and a cadre of contributors that I enjoy reading myself. Continue reading as I share my favorite movie, interview, event, and destination of the past year, and please share your favorite moments as well.
We’ve covered a number of movies during 2012, as many of them relate to our “spirit of adventure” and escapist fun. 2012 was filled with an assemblage of AVENGERS Super Heroes, BRAVE Princess Warriors, and the return of a favorite fairy in Tinker Bell Secret of the Wings. However, my 2012 cinema favorite didn’t come from the Walt Disney Studios, it came from a pop-culture phenomenon that set the world on fire – THE HUNGER GAMES.
What set “The Hunger Games” apart was the simple fact that our whole family read the books, and shared the movie event together. The girls were so excited for the movie to come out, but when Evie (our youngest) took off for the theater with friends on opening day it left Maggie in a bind. All her friends were occupied and when I offered to take her, she replied, “I do want to see the movie; just not with you!” Ah, it doesn’t get any better than that for a father. We laughed about it, ended up going to the movie together, and had a great Daddy/Daughter time.
Conducting interviews is one of my favorite activities for the website – I love talking with creative folks and their inspirations and aspirations. In 2012, I chatted with Ghost Adventurers, HGTV’s Design Star, a Wimpy Kid, and a Travel Channel Wildman, just to name a few. Star Wars voice actor, James Arnold Taylor, thrilled me when he slipped into Obi-Wan Kenobi’s voice and said, “I sense the Force is very strong here. So may the Force be with you my friend.” Nerd Alert!!! However, my favorite interview was, during the Pittsburgh Marathon Expo when I interviewed Runner’s World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso.
Bart gave a piece of advice, that stuck with me. “Never limit where running can take you,” he said, and signed his book with the line. The phrase certainly has a broader implications than just running, and applies to writing, blogging, traveling, etc. No limits, just be, and see what life has in store. Oh, and hearing Bart talk about his experience visiting Nelson Mandela’s jail cell in South Africa wasn’t bad either.
Speaking of interviewing Bart Yasso at the Pittsburgh Marathon expo, it’s probably no surprise my favorite event of 2012 was completing the Pittsburgh Marathon.
I chronicled my training week by week, and was thrilled run in my hometown through the neighborhoods where I grew up. While I had completed full marathons in the past, this was the first since breaking my leg in February 2011. When race day arrived I felt a nervous anticipation I had not felt since my first full marathon, and wondered if I could complete the race. The finishers medal I received after crossing the finish line holds a treasured place in my heart.
I was raised with a strong sense of giving back. We’ve been privileged to travel, and I’ve always wanted to share in some small way with those who may not have the same opportunities. In 2012, I participated in the annual travel blogger community fundraiser Passports with Purpose – this year raising over $100,000 to fund wells in Haiti. I’m proud of our participation and achievement in this effort. However, my personal favorite charity is Give Kids The World Village which provides a week-long cost-free vacation in Central Florida to children with life threatening illnesses and their families.
Over the course of the year, we’ve held multiple fundraisers for Give Kids The World, but my favorite experience was leading a group of 13 college students on a week-long alternative spring break volunteering at Give Kids The World. We worked hard in the Village serving food, providing entertainment, cleaning and straightening, and hopefully lightening the load for the visiting families just a little.
We’ve had a great year of travel in 2012 including Niagara Falls, Great Wolf Lodge and Cedar Point, a circle tour of Upstate New York, Florida, Texas, Washington DC, etc. However, my favorite destination in 2012? Fuggedaboutit… it was Brooklyn! That’s right, Brooklyn. From the spectacle of Coney Island’s 30th Mermaid Parade, to crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on bikes, to relaxing in the luxury of the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn was the place for us to be in 2012.
After experiencing the revitalized Coney Island boardwalk, and discovering the international communities of Brighton Beach, Hurricane Sandy swept through the area flooding and leaving thousands without power. Brooklyn will certainly come back from this latest challenge, and when they do, I will be back with the family.
So on this first day of 2013, it’s time to close the books on 2012 and look forward to the year ahead. We have some great trips and destinations already planned for the coming year, and I’m sure there will be more surprises as we go along. What were your favorite moments of 2012? Please share in the comments below, I’d love to know what your highlights were. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.