Ch-ch-ch-changes in the new year….

Last Updated on July 17, 2019 by Janet Frost

I was trying to evoke the David Bowie song in the title. Did you catch it? We always seem more ready to embrace change at the end of a year and start to a new one. Reviewing the past year and planning for changes in the new year are my favorite activities for New Year’s Day. I truly believe that this process is essential for lifelong growth and happiness.

So set the fire and we will take a look at the past (2018) and the future (2019) for Go Learn Things …

2018 in the rearview mirror

Retirement and Relocation

The most significant thing about 2018 was the solidification of plans to retire and relocate from Milwaukee to Tucson. Talk about changes in the new year, this is a doozie. Some have called it “Life 2.0”. After 30+ years in the Metro Milwaukee area it is time to cut loose and explore beyond the Midwest. Family and lifelong friends are still in Wisconsin so there will always be a tie to the Midwest. But the desert and the mountains are calling.

…So they loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly Hills, that is….

I am not actually moving to Beverly Hills but I may visit there as I explore the Western United States from my new homebase of Tucson, Arizona. It is very exciting to plan and share road trip ideas from this new location. Go Learn Things will transition to a shared focus of the Midwest and the Western United States. The Western United States are home to many National Parks and popular landmarks. Plans are to share some cross country highlights for snowbirds and family summer vacationers. In addition, the blog will share all the new hidden gems and learning opportunities of the Southwest.

Road tripping the Midwest

I started 2018 with a trip to the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show. Chicago hosts this show in January when the Upper Midwest is deep into winter. It was a great way to kick off some travel dreaming. Thinking about attending in 2019? Here are my tips.

In March of 2018 I put together my first ever pitch to a destination, two in Indiana actually, Hendricks County and Hamilton County. These two counties are on the outskirts of Indianapolis. I had a great time exploring the area and put some confidence in my quiver.

Hendricks County
Hamilton County

The month of May took me to Iowa for the Midwest Travel Network Conference and I added to my Living History Museum Series.

Conner Prairie, IN
Living History Farms, IA
Naper Settlement, IL

As summer and my days in the Midwest drew to a close, I revisited some of my favorite spots and a few I had always “meant” to visit.

Wheaton, IL
Delafield, WI
Des Moines, IA
Western Michigan

Wisconsin Treasures Series: Dairy Farms, Discovery World, Kettle Moraine

Road tripping the Southwest

By October I had a new house in Tucson, AZ and decided to make a cross country road trip from Wisconsin to Arizona. After a year of visiting far flung Midwest destinations I wanted to prove to myself that I could take on a looooong road trip. It was over 3500 miles round trip. I followed the historic Santa Fe Trail through Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico. On my return trip I dipped further south and explored Arizona, more of New Mexico and Oklahoma. This was a terrific trip. As promised, I discovered some really fun stops for all the cross country roadtrippers and learned plenty of history.

Santa Fe Trail
Ruidoso, New Mexico
Kansas City, MO & KS (post coming soon)
Dodge City, KS
Tucson, AZ

2019 through the front windshield

Looking forward to 2019 feels like an empty canvas ready for new brush strokes. My mind is whirring with the changes in the new year. Full of places to explore and new things to learn. New birds and critters to watch, new landscapes to photograph, new stories of history and culture and peoples. For now here are a few of the possibilities:

Arizona Explorations

  • Patagonia, AZ Situated at over 4,000 feet elevation between the Santa Rita Mountains and the Patagonia Mountains in the riparian corridor of Sonoita Creek. It is a popular hiking and birding destination
  • Arizona State Parks I have already fallen in love with Catalina State Park and Oracle State Park. The system protects and preserves 35 parks across the state. These parks are packed with incredible vistas, hiking trails, biking trails, off-road trails, history and culture.
  • Baseball (Brewers) Spring Training in Phoenix.
  • A do over of the Grand Canyon. I did not do this National icon justice on my first visit 10 years ago.
  • Tombstone, Bisbee, Quartzsite, Lake Havasu, Gilbert
  • Craft Breweries of course

Western United States Travel Bloggers

The Midwest Travel Network has made a significant impact on my blogging over the last 2 years. Although, they will graciously let me continue to participate, I now need to find something equivalent in the West. Unfortunately, my research has not found anything. Therefore, I plan to try and create a similar group for the Western United States. At this point I have a small but growing group of travel bloggers and experts engaging on US West Travel Facebook Group. Be sure to stop over and meet us.

I hope to take some short adventures with some of my new colleagues. Happily, some of the faces from Midwest Travel Network crossover into the West. So I look forward to some familiar among all the changes in the new year.

Continued Learning

Of course it wouldn’t be Go Learn Things if the future didn’t hold lots of learning opportunities. As I venture into “Life 2.0” my list seems endless.

  • Astrophotography in the gorgeous Dark Skies of AZ
  • Mountain flora and fauna
  • Desert flora and fauna
  • Wild West history
  • Indigenous Peoples culture and history
  • Gems and Minerals
  • Everything about the West Coast
  • Everything about the Pacific Northwest
  • Everything about National Parks

Well you get the idea….

Embrace all the changes in the new year and Let’s Go Learn Things in 2019!!!

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