Erin Rose Belair’s Best of 2017

This Best Of is comprised of my most cherished travel moments of 2017, the pictures that are tethered to my heart throughout out the year. The ones that make me sit back and raise my glass to say, ‘Yes, this year was fucked, but damn it was also beautiful.’

It is wild to think how much can transpire and how far you can go around the globe, circle back and come home. If ever I feel like time is moving too quickly I try to list the last seven things I remember that made me stop and breathe.

These are my best destinations, my best days, my favorite stays, and the trips that undid me and my ideas of the world. I am better and bigger for having lived this year. If I can ask any single one thing of the next, it is that it show me once again what a wild time life can be.

Taken in the majestic halls of Casa Lola after an in-room massage and mojitos. Cartagena was a grown-up playground that got me into more trouble than I am worth, but I could die happy knowing that is the most fun I will ever have. If you somehow missed it, I wrote an entire travel guide about how to drink, dance, and eat your way through that fabulous city.

Every time I look at this picture I get sensory memories of how it feels when he kisses me like that. And I say like that, because even someone I kiss all of the time, can turn to me out of nowhere and surprise me. This picture was taken on the tail end of a weekend in Joshua Tree, that happened on the tail end of the Cartagena trip. So I am in this picture beyond exhausted and completely blissed out. I wrote an essay all about it.

My favorite spot in Ojai. This was just on any regular day in the spring and it makes it all the more special to me because of that. This the spot he took me to on our first date, back when I lived in Idaho and didn’t know I where I would go next, before I really knew him and before the next phase of my life started. The place where I vowed I wouldn’t stop traveling for a year (and now it’s been almost two.) It’s one of my Important Places.

I am naked on a balcony in Paris, drinking a negroni. I feel as if this needs no further explanation as to why it stands as one of the shimmering moments of this year.

One of the few pictures not of myself but taken by myself. This is one of my favorite humans in the world. She was living in Austin at the time and I spent a week there in the swelter of June and I just fell head over heels for Texas. This particular afternoon we drove out to Greune to the oldest dance hall in Texas. We just happened to show up on the original mayor of Greune’s birthday which the town aptly celebrates with nickel beers all day. This is a testament to the idea, you just don’t know until you get there.

I’ve never felt wind like I did in Alabama Hills. It roared and whipped and we sat hunkered in our van for a whole afternoon while it rocked us like we were out to sea. We were on a road trip with Richer Poorer, up the Eastern side of the Sierras and then back down through the super bloom and eventually into the desert. It was a rambling no-plan-plan kind of trip, and god damn the views were good.

Somewhere in Austria this fall. We stayed in a castle in a small town, one we drove across the country to find on the whim of a recommendation from someone in Vienna. There is so much out there if you just go looking for it. This was a not-so-hot hot spring we found.

Nearing the end of our Eastern Sierras road trip, we slept in the desert for a few nights. This was right at sunset at the edge of the J Tree Park where we camp. I remember thinking, or realizing, on this trip how madly in love I could be with the desert. Before this it was all mountains and woods for me, and now I can’t get enough of the stretch.

Before Cartagena, there was a brief stay in Tayrona National Park. If there is an art to relaxing, I am pretty sure I have mastered it.

Just a few weeks ago, the boys did the Barstow to Vegas race on their motorcycles and I drove out with my sister to pick them up. What was supposed to be a fetching errand turned into this mystical two days some of the most incredible photographs I have ever seen Jenavieve take. When we were kids we would dress up and take pictures of each other. Nothing has changed all these years later. The outfit I am wearing we picked up at Savers in Vegas for a few dollars.

Lakeside at the mystery castle somewhere in eastern Austria.

Our stay in Paris was brief. The only place I really wanted to see other than the inside of dingy Parisian bars, was the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore on the left bank. Upstairs, I was reading through a book when the house cat came and slept on my lap. It felt like some kind of wonderful omen.

Slovenia, how I loved you. I could have made this entire best of with images from our time in Slovenia. It feels made up out of  fairy tale book. This is me gazing off into the mountains in a wood burning hot tub at a cabin near Lake Bled.

And it’s this exact posture and stillness I feel when I look back on the last 12 months. I hope I always feel like this at the end of a trying and troubled year, that there is goodness and so many beautiful moments also filling it to the edges. And I hope I always have enough gumption to look at the year ahead of me and think, ok bring it on some more. Let’s do it again.

L’Agent Goodies…