2018, it’s been a wild ride. To be completely honest, it was probably the hardest, most stressful year of our life. We took big risks on ourselves, we went all in on building a business that we weren’t 100% sure would be successful, we moved to one of the most expensive cities in the United States, and we experienced heartbreaking grief like never before. Luckily, there were some magical moments in between all that where we grew more than we could have ever imagined. We were incredibly blessed to wake up in some of the most beautiful places in the world, we worked hard to turn our passion into a thriving business we are proud of, and we laughed until we cried while we watched every single episode of The Office and Parks and Rec. (I don’t want to calculate how many hours of television that is, but all I can say is, if you need something light hearted and happy in your life, find a friend who’s willing to share their Netflix account with you and start binging.)
We truly never thought this year would look quite the way it did. We never thought that looking back on it would make us feel quite as proud of how far our business has come in a year or excited for this new year as it has, but wow. Just writing this has me so excited for all the things we want to accomplish in 2019.
January + February
Moved to Los Angeles. After traveling basically non stop for six months, we were sick of not really having a place to call “home” or a bed to come home to, so we decided to make ourselves a home base in Los Angeles. I’ll be sharing more on that later, but we made the jump and found ourselves an apartment in LA (to be totally honest, we barely had enough money for the deposit and first month’s rent. But we took the leap, signed the lease, and the good news is we haven’t been evicted yet, haha).
March + April
We sailed around the Caribbean with Yacht Getaways, and then went up north to visit our best friends in the city where we got engaged: San Francisco!
We also held our very first Travel Blogging Bootcamp!
May + June
Visited Germany, Hungary, Lake Como, and the French Riviera for the first time! We also hosted our very first OTP Adventures (group trips) in Greece and Portugal! Going back to our favorite European countries and getting to share those special places with some of you was truly an unforgettable experience.
July + August
Spent some time at home with our families. Caught up on work. And enjoyed summer in L.A.
Then we headed to Mexico to explore the Yucatan Peninsula and work on a major film project with Brand Tango.
September + October
We had our last OTP Adventure of the year in Paris where we went to Disneyland Paris, watched the Eiffel Tower light up every night, and ate our weight in Nutella crepes. There really is no place like Paris in the fall!
Then we hopped over to explore Estonia for the first time working with Estonia’s Tourism Board, Visit Estonia!
November + December
Checked off a bucket list destination and went to Bali for the first time! We spent three weeks chasing waterfalls, swimming with Manta Rays, hiking to the most epic views and beaches, and falling in love with the island and its culture.
We came home from Bali just in time to celebrate the holidays with family!
And we finished off the year running around Disneyland, Disney World, and Universal Orlando experiencing the magic of Christmas at our favorite theme parks.
Highlights of 2018:
Moved to L.A. and fell in love with our little home.
Spent over 200 days traveling, flew on more than 30 different flights, went on 2 sailing trips, visit 13 countries and 7 states.
Collaborated with some of our favorite brands and companies: Hello, Madewell! Worked with tourism boards, like Visit Estonia, dozens of beautiful hotels, and amazing companies, like Yacht Getaways and Brand Tango.
Checked nine new places off of our bucket list: Antigua, Norway, Germany, Hungary, Lake Como, the French Riviera, Estonia, Hong Kong, and Bali!
Hosted group OTP Adventures in Greece, Portugal, and Paris.
Created the Travel Blogging Bootcamp where we helped students grow their Instagram accounts and dive into the world of travel blogging.
Developed and released presets to help you take your travel photos to the next level!
Some goals for 2019:
Be more personal. One of our goals for 2019 is to be more personal and vulnerable with our community. We started Our Travel Passport as a place where we could build a community where we could share and support and help each other travel the world. We feel pretty strongly that the only way we’re going to be able to do that is to be open and real with you about both the happy and the sad moments. We’ll be sharing more blog posts about our life, more Instagram posts that might not “perform well,” but represent what’s really going on in our life, and more behind-the-scenes of what it’s like being a travel blogger.
Work with more brands and tourism boards we’re really passionate about. We’ve been so lucky to partner up with brands we really love and are true to what we love and we want to continue to share our favorite brands, companies, and places with you, so you can love them as much as we do and get to experience them for yourselves.
Create more educational tools and courses to help you accomplish your dreams and take your business to the next level. We know what it’s like to feel completely lost, have no idea where or how to start, or just want to make changes to your business but you don’t really know how, so we’re going to make all of that information easier and more accessible for you.
Reduce our plastic consumption and shed light on animal poaching. The travel industry has made us infinitely more aware of the plastic pollution all over the world, so one of our big goals for this year is to reduce our personal plastic footprint. We’ll be getting filters for our water bottles (so we never have to drink plastic water bottles), reusable straws (because it takes over 200 years for one straw to decompose), and continuing to use canvas bags for all of our shopping. Another issue we’re passionate about is protecting endangered animals, so we’re going to be raising awareness about problems like poaching and sharing organizations that help protect animals like rhinos, and elephants.
Enjoy some more time at home and get to know L.A. better. We counted and realized we were gone for about 200 days this past year, so we’re hoping to slow down a bit this year and be more intentional with all of our trips and our time at home. Friendship and community is so important to us, and that’s a big part of why we decided to put down roots somewhere in the first place. We love having a space to come home to and call our own. And honestly, LA is really is the perfect place for us right now.
Create more videos. It’s Ryan’s passion and we love how videos really share what the experience is like in a way that photos just can’t, so we’re going to be working on sharing more videos, both short ones and longer more curated ones.
Watch more sunsets. I think watching the sunset is the best way to calm down, relax, and reflect on the day. It makes me more grateful and helps me slow down and remember what’s really important, so just taking the time to go outside and watch the sunset 3-4x a week is high on our 2019 to-do list.
Cross off our 2019 Bucket List Destinations: Dominican Republic, Japan for the Cherry Blossom Festival, Hawaii, Faroe Islands, Iceland, the Cook Islands, Brazil, Maldives, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Maine (and the Northeast) in the Fall, European Christmas Markets, and Finland!
Fly business class: We’re kind of just putting this one out into the Universe, because after flying one too many times in the middle seat this year, I feel like I deserve this, haha. Also, because I believe in the power of manifestation, so… here’s to that.
Thank you for being part of our community and continually supporting us. We wouldn’t be able to do be where we are without you. We can’t thank you enough for being part of our community. Sending you peace, love, and lots of new adventures in 2019!
What do you want to see more of on OTP in 2019? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!