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To the New Year with New Plans (+ a Giveaway)

Travelblog Gone with the Wine

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

To the New Year with New Plans (+ a Giveaway)

Paula Gaston

The year 2017 is now history and we can turn over a new leaf for the new year. New adventures are awaiting. We have already been making some travel plans, and I'm excited to make them come true. In honor of the new year, there is also a little giveaway for those who might be participating in the Matka Nordic Travel Fair 2018 in my home country of Finland.

We just got back from a road trip to Southern California. We visited some family there for Christmas. On our trip we also went to the famous Mission Inn Riverside Hotel & Spa, McDonal'd Museum, the Danish-style town Solvang and to Michael Jackson's Neverland. I will tell you about all these a things little later. Our new family member's first trip was a success. We are now travelling with a five year old and a baby.

Here are some of our travel plans for 2018:


Now that our family also has to take into account school schedules for the first time, we will have to travel more and more during school holidays. And that of course means also more expensive flights and tickets. For that reason we have already started to plan where we want to go this year so we could purchase the tickets early. At first we were planning to drive to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming until we discovered that there is still so much snow at the park in April that we wouldn't be able to see all the cool things there. Then I was dreaming about flying to Hawaii for spring break, but the flight schedules just didn't seem to work for us.

From all the possible options the most likely ones are either a trip to Hawaii or a road trip to Arizona. For a long time I have been dreaming about visiting either Kauai or Honolulu. However, it looks like we are going for the road trip idea. We would most likely drive through Death Valley to Las Vegas, and from there to Grand Canyon and some national parks below that. We have been to the Grand Canyon before, but only to the North Rim. It would be nice to see the more famous south side of the canyon too. 



For the summer we will be heading to Finland to spend some time with my family. There are so many places there that we would still like to see, but we will also head to Sweden and Norway on this trip. We are planning to drive all the way to the Lofoten Islands to enjoy the scenery and do some hiking. Afterwards, we will drive back and stop in Sweden at the Kukkolankoski river rapids. Hopefully we can visit some family in Kemi as well at the same time.

We are also planning to visit Moomin World in Turku. Moomins are Finnish cartoon characters and very popular there. The Turku area is very beautiful, but one can always take a ferry to the Åland Islands also, for example. This road trip will end in Helsinki, the capital city, where we hopefully have some time to explore the sights as well. Then we will drop my husband off at the airport and he will return home, while I will stay a bit longer in Finland with the kids. 



In 2018 we are planning to stay home for Christmas. Usually we have been visiting family in Southern California. This time, we plan to drive over during Thanksgiving instead. On these trips we always try to see something new, for example a national park or something else cool.

At some point, I also want to drive up to Sacramento, the capital of California. You never know what other trips are waiting for us. We usually don't plan things this much ahead of time, but these three trips are the start. 


I'm happy to be starting this new year on my blog with a giveaway. I realise it mostly benefits my Finnish readers but hey, if you happen to be in Helsinki at the end of the month, here is your chance to get some tickets to the Matka Nordic Travel Fair 2018. The ticket will give you one entrance between January 19th to 21st, 2018. I am giving away two tickets, one for readers who comment on this post and one for readers commenting the corresponding post on my facebook page. Don't forget to leave your email address on the comment or by signing in. I will randomly draw the lucky winners on January 10th and will personally let them know about it. Good luck!

Happy New Year 2018!

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