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Last week, we published our 2020 retrospective for Christmas. Today, we’re looking forward to 2021 for the New Year. This article will be organized around the personas of Coleman Concierge: romantic getaways, diving, biking, exploring Alabama, and mountain retreats. I thought about adding conferences as an independent field, but I decided to work the ones we’re going to into their corresponding silos. As I go through our hopes and plans, I’ll indicate whether the activity is planned, tentative, or only hopeful, in decreasing order of certainty.

2021 Romantic Getaways

I’m sitting here scanning my 2021 kitten calendar for upcoming events. January is wide open, but we have a week planned in February for a romantic getaway to New Orleans (and Hattiesburg and Tupelo). The impetus for this trip is the Southern Traveler Conference in Tupelo / Hattiesburg. We figured since I had President’s Day off, we’d add on the Big Easy. Two years ago, partiers circled this weekend because Mardi Gras fell on Valentine’s Day, or at least Valentines Day / President’s Day Weekend. New Orleans canceled the festivities due to social distancing, so at least we should be able to get a hotel room.

For March, we’re going to Beaumont, Texas, to paddle estuaries and eat way too much food. The next ‘romantic travel’ is a tentative week in May for the North American Travel Journalist Association conference in Puerto Rico. However, it wouldn’t surprise us at all if the island isn’t ready to host a big event mid pandemic.

That’s all the romantic getaways we have scheduled, but we’re tentatively working on a date to come back to Franklin for a full-on romantic weekend. Maybe we should do that in January for a Valentine’s Day publication. We’re also hoping for an all-inclusive stay in the Bahamas and a trip to Mazatlan, but there are lots of moving parts with those trips, so we shall see.

Tacos at Machete Cozumel

2021 Dive Trips

So far, we have two big dive trips in the works for 2021. We’re looking to schedule a live-aboard in the Bahamas that we’ll pair with the all-inclusive resort trip. We also have a massive Florida dive trip in April that will generate an unbelievable amount of interlocking content. We have cities and dates picked out that correspond to the tides and lunar cycles, but we haven’t sent out any pitch letters. We’re also pretty certain that we’ll get Gulf Shores to actually happen this year, but we’ll just have to work the details.

As far as tentative dive trips, we’re hoping to dive the Bonne Terre mines in Missouri and make it out to North Carolina over the summer. There’s also a standing desire to take the Zombie Apocalypse Survival specialty class that’s usually offered around Halloween. I am just a couple of specialty courses away from becoming a Master Scuba Diver. I think it would be awesome to earn that certification with the Zombie Survival specialty and/or mine diving.

Blue Heron Bridge at Sunset
Frogfish and Starfish at Blue Heron Bridge dive

2021 Bike Plans

There are two bike pieces that we’re working on right now – a review of my new Trek Top Fuel 8 mountain bike and a corresponding Huntsville mountain biking guide. We also have a plan to generate a lot of biking content around our Mississippi trip in February. Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain. Weatherspark says, “Rain falls throughout the year in Hattiesburg. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around February 15, with an average total accumulation of 5.5 inches.” But on the bright side, this is still during the ‘dry season’ with only a 30% chance of rain. When it rains it pours, I guess. We’ve also already paid for a photo trip for Jenn in Tennessee to photograph baby bears, so I’ll be shredding in Cherokee that day.

Our tentative bike plans include biking Gulf Shores and the Eastern Shore Trail in Fairhope, AL. I am also hoping to compete in the Cheaha Challenge, the toughest race in the south, with over 9000′ of climbing on the century route. We’re always up to check out a new bike trail, so I could imagine a couple more weekend bike getaways sneaking in here, like a bike getaway to Thomasville, Georgia.

Exploring Alabama in 2021

Our primary goal for Alabama travel in 2021 would be to complete our tour of Alabama’s 20 natural wonders. We have the White Cliffs of Epes on the books as a photo-op on the way to New Orleans in February, and we’ve talked about making it to the Gulf Coast a couple of times in the piece already. The rest we’ll piece in on open weekends. We have a plan to write the North Alabama Cave Tour, which will hit a couple of natural wonders and be a fun, local road trip.

The cities we really want to visit in 2021 are Birmingham, Muscle Shoals, and Phoenix City. There will be biking and eating in all of these places, but there will also be white water rafting in Phoenix City. We’re also hoping for a dedicated photo shoot for the Dismalite glow worms during their spring peak and to book a cabin or two in state parks.

Mountain Retreats in 2021

This is perhaps the most challenging topic to write about because it’s so broad. We are planning to go to a pair of conferences, the Outdoor Media Summit in Colorado in the Spring and TBEX in Washington State in the Fall. We’re feeling slightly more confident in TBEX coming to fruition this year because it’s a more established conference 9-months after the vaccine gets released, but who knows.

There are also local mountains that we love escaping to, especially during Alabama’s dog days of summer. We’ve been itching to explore more of North Georgia with an overnight at Cloudland Canyon, and of course, seeing the scene at Helen. The baby bear photoshoot and cabins in Alabama State Parks could fit perfectly well in this section, to be fair. There will be mountain retreats this year, but we just don’t know when or where they’ll pop up.

Wrapping Up our 2021 Look Ahead

We hoped you’ve enjoyed the last two weeks of behind the scenes content on what it’s like to be a travel blogger. As you can see, we keep our lives pretty busy, but we love it. We love exploring, discovering, and sharing it with you. That’s why we created Coleman Concierge in the first place. If you love content like this, you should consider signing up for our newsletter. Every week we’ll go through a sometimes witty, always honest 9-5 bullet point review of the week that was. Either way, we appreciate you sticking with us, and we’re looking forward to a safe and fun 2021.

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