Politics and the rest of the world aside, what a year 2017 has been. For me it’s been stock full of adventures and new experience, so I’d like to reflect a bit. On my first full year out of school, my thoughts on living in a whole different country, and on travel. So follow along with the help of my favorite 29 photos that I’ve taken this year. Here we go.
A Month Full of Travel
I began the year, as I have these past few years, in Cologne. Standing on the balcony of my uncle’s apartment looking over the Rhein, we lit sparklers and had some Champagne. Cheers to the New Year!
It was also in January that I filmed my series “A Moment in Time” where I created a short film from moments in each of the cities I traveled too. It ended up being one of the favorite series I’ve shot—and one that I’d like to revisit this coming year.
As my first trip in the New Year, I visited Vienna with my family. It’s really a lovely city, filled with culture, many museums, and, of course, Vienna’s famous opera house.
Over the four days I was there, Budapest quickly became one of my favorite cities. Though it was ungodly cold—as the ice flows on the Danube illustrate—everything from the architecture and history to the friendliness of the locals, makes me sure I’ll be coming back soon. Perhaps next time I’ll see what summer in Budapest has to offer. It was also here that I took some of my favorite photos ever.
Berlin is a city that I’m constantly drawn back to, and one that I’m certain I’ll be living in again some day. There is such an energy about this city that even in the cold of winter you can sense a heartiness in the locals. Here lies a history of overcoming countless obstacles and adversity.
Amsterdam is another favorite city of mine to visit. After visiting two times in winter and once again in spring, I think it’s about time to see what summer here has to offer as well.
Home to Colorado
Ending my month of travel around Europe, I flew back to good ol’ Denver. Sunsets like this (that I took for granted while I lived here) will always remind me of how special of a place this is that I grew up in. Nothing beats Colorado’s nature.
It is a rare day in Colorado, indeed, when the sky is filled with fog and the trees and ground are covered in ice. Not once in my life had I seen Colorado like this—and all soon turned back to normal as morning faded into afternoon.
For a month and a half I worked in Downtown. What a city Denver has become. I think in a way that the architects of this new era are trying to eclipse the grandness of Colorado’s majestic mountain range. It’ll never work, but I do love the new energy.
So I’m Moving to Switzerland
It hardly seemed real that I would be moving to Switzerland. Who does that? I’d never even visited the city I’d be living in, yet alone the country. But here I was, and somehow I managed to pack my life into 50 pounds (that’s 23 kg for the rest of the world).
Summer in Zurich was a blessing. Sure there were a few days when it reached passed 95 degrees (32 C) in the office. But jumping in the lake after work always seemed to do the trick.
Long days and short nights floated by as if a dream. Living in a foreign country and working there sure wasn’t all that easy, but the beautiful summer weather sure made the bureaucracy a little more manageable.
A Quick Jaunt to Berlin
In the middle of the summer, one of my best friends was traveling around Europe which gave me the perfect excuse to fly to Berlin for the weekend. I broke a personal record that weekend, walking some 60,000 steps in two days (which basically equals 30 miles). I also found it kinda funny that I made an account with Air Berlin to get miles for my flight, but they declared bankruptcy the week after I flew.
Let’s See What Switzerland Has To Offer
Switzerland is such a small country that you can drive the width of it in four hours. That made it easy to make the most of the trains, traveling to the beautiful city of Lucerne for a quick day trip. It’s my favorite city in Switzerland—if only it were a little bigger.
Each turn in the path brought a new breathtaking view of the beautiful Alps.
When I thought the views couldn’t get any cooler, I found out that you could hike up BEHIND a waterfall! That day I checked something off my bucket list that hadn’t even really been on it.
In less than a day I traveled from the top of the Alps to the south of Switzerland, right on the border of Italy. If you’d have told me there was a palm-filled Mediterranean paradise in Switzerland, I’d have thought you were lying. But there it was.
By far the best way to cover distance in this country is by train. All there is to do is sit back and enjoy the views, or, in this case, lean out of the train window for the grand majority of this five-hour ride on the Bernina Express.
Some may call it crazy to do what I did this last weekend in August. Waking up at 4:00 to catch the train from Zurich to Zermatt (a 4 hour ride) I then proceeded to ride a gondola up and hike back down from the Matterhorn (a good 6 hours of walking/climbing/sliding down rocks). Read my photo essay from the trip here. It was quite the hike.
But the weekend wasn’t quite over. The next day I decided to wake up early and take another four-hour train journey to the French part of Switzerland. With that trip, I began to have a hunch that it must be a law for every Swiss city to be next to a lake. So far, with all that I’ve visited, I’ve been right.
A Day Trip to Germany
Growing tired of Swiss prices, I got a train right across the border and into Germany. On a sleepy Sunday towards the end of the summer, I enjoyed a nice walk along the shores of Lake Constance.
This was the first year I took part in Instagram’s World Wide Insta Meet (WWIM) led in Zurich by Visit Zurich and the extremely talented Pete Halvorsen. It was ight. I got some cool shots and street photography tips.
Back to the Hills
Autumn brought with it a blanket of fog, and some lovely shooting conditions on Zurich’s resident mountain (hill). As autumn turned to winter, I began shooting much less. Short days meant walking to work as the sun rose and walking back home a few hours past sunset, and I started working on my new website which took up the rest of the time.
Taking another day trip to Konstanz, me and a few friends visited the Christmas market there, one that I think could very well be the biggest in the world.
Ending Where It All Began
With flights back to the States prohibitively expensive, I decided, instead, to visit family in Cologne, bringing everything full circle in a way. Growing up Cologne had kinda become my ‘second home’ in Europe and it felt just as familiar returning for Christmas a few days ago.
So That’s A Wrap
Of course, these were just the highlights of the year: the cool places I went to and adventures that I had. Some highlights I didn’t have pictures for (like when I went to Munich for Oktoberfest, where, rather than pay an astronomical amount for a hostel, I slept the night hidden away in a hotel’s lobby) and much of the year wasn’t really highlight worthy.
I also began working full-time as a graphic designer and have, in the nine months I’ve been at the company, taken on additional responsibilities as a social media and project manager. It’s been a great learning experience so far and I’m excited to do even more in 2018.
Lastly, I’ve realized that I’ve managed to hit two personal records this year. First, it’s the first year that I spent more time outside of the U.S. than in (4/12 months in). Second, since I boarded my plane to Zurich at the end of May, it’s now been the longest continuous period I’ve been in Europe and outside of the States.
I have a few new goals for 2018, though most of them are carrying on over from last year. I do want to go back to the States for a few weeks this spring to visit friends, family, and my lovely Colorado. I’ve also got a few personal projects I want to get off the ground, but those are still in the early stages.
With that I wish everyone a Happy New Year and best of luck in 2018. Let’s make this year rock!