Pensive Man on a Pier

For our current Instagram Challenge #PPYearsEnd (for instructions, see here), we asked you to reflect on your experiences from the past year and to look ahead for the new one. The Passion Passport Team wanted to jump in and share their answers for the following to bring in the new year:

  1. What was your stand-out travel moment in 2014?
  2. What are your travel goals for 2015…have anything on the books?


Elan Karpinski Social Media

My biggest travel memory from 2014 was a hiking trip near Portland, Oregon. I’ve always considered myself a “city” traveler”, but I discovered I love the solitude the outdoors has to offer.

In 2015, my goal is take a lot of short trips to explore California. In November, I moved from Minnesota to Northern California, and I’d love to take advantage of my new location by seeing all the sights. I’m also planning to visit New Orleans for the first time for a National Geographic photography workshop. My 2015 will end with a trip to Hawaii for more outdoor adventures.

Elizabeth de Cleyre Assistant Editor

Last January, my husband and I lugged six bags to Boston’s South Station and boarded an Amtrak bound for Chicago. Seventy-two hours and three thousand miles later, we disembarked in Portland, Oregon, our newly adopted city. We aren’t the first Portland transplants, and I know we’re not the last, but the way in which we chose to move cross-country was a defining experience for us. Through windows that became increasingly grimier the more miles we logged, we witnessed a swiftly shifting landscape: from the snow-coated branches of Massachusetts, to the flat oil fields of North Dakota, to the silver-tipped trees of Spokane, Washington, and the blue waters of the Columbia River Gorge slicing a border between Oregon and Washington. Without internet access, and little to no cell phone reception, we resigned ourselves to the passing scenery. Traveling on tracks laid in the early 1900s, we felt the weight of each mile pass beneath us, in a way that flight often obscures.

I’ll be visiting the Florida Keys for the first time, which may not sound exotic to most, but a visit to the Ernest Hemingway House and Museum alone will be worth it for me. Also in the pipeline are a writer’s conference in Minneapolis, a possible trip up north to Alaska, a return to my native New Hampshire, and a visit to some farmer friends in Germany.

Elliot Vernon Social Media Manager

In 2013, I took the largest trip of my life, traveling to South Korea solo (see here) with TBLI. My 2014 was thus more focused on ‘micro’ trips through my native Midwest to Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and parts not previously explored of my home state Illinois. Discovering Starved Rock only a couple-of-hours-drive from Chicago was one of my year’s highlights — remembering there’s always more to explore.

For 2015, Baltimore is on the books for the weekend of January 9th, although I would like to hop back on the (international) wagon of travel — high on my list are Australia, Russia, and Turkey. As far as goals go, I’d like to (finally) learn how to us a camera so I don’t just rely on my iPhone.


Sailing in Penobscot Bay Maine by Jack Callahan
Photo by Jack Callahan


Jack Callahan Manager, Marketing & Partnerships

One trip that stands out from 2014 is sailing in Maine (see here). It was close to home, but it’s a method of travel I don’t often take, so it felt like an adventure. The coast of Maine is pristine, with quirky fishing villages dotting the shore.

My travel goal for 2015 is a bit cliché, but I have a good reason for it: I want to go back to Paris. I spent 5 months there in 2011, and now my sister is studying abroad there this spring. I’m looking forward to being a bit of her guide and bit of her visitor.

Jessica Schaffer Editor

I recently traveled to the west coast of Mexico and intentionally turned off all electronic devices for 5 full days. I focused all of my energy and attention on myself and the people I was with. It was amazing: I slept better, ate better and felt more relaxed than I had in ages. While sharing travel as you experience it is fun and wonderful and sometimes necessary, my time away from technology was a good reminder that sometimes it’s important to simply internalize those moments and places, too.

Currently dreaming of honeymoon destinations. The top three contenders: Morocco, Greece and Turkey.


Wishing everyone a Happy New Year Passion Passport!