2022 – A Year of Firsts and Finallies

Arctic Skylight Lodge- midsummer night twilight

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Our world opened up again for 2022 in a year of firsts and finallies. We made it to our first North American Travel Journalist Association (NATJA) conference, took our first sponsored trip(s) to Europe, and did a paid short-form video campaign. We also finally made it to North Georgia, Gulf Shores, and Puerto Rico. We’ll get to all of those in due time in our 2022 year-in-review, but first, we’ll start at the beginning with a sneaky little ski trip to California that changed our world.

Biking to Perdido Key Gulf Shores Alabama
Kylemore Abbey Ireland

Skiing in Mammoth and Adventures in Vegas

Jenn was a 20-year ski professional, pro patrolling and teaching at many of the premier resorts in the west. Bad knees (due to bad genetics…lol) forced her down from the mountains to Tucson, Arizona, where we met and started our life 2.0. She hoped to return to skiing after her bilateral knee replacements, but her fast twitch muscles weren’t firing well enough to stabilize her knees in case of impact.

She needed a knee brace that would restrict the range of motion under force. We went to Mammoth, where my daughter worked as a ski instructor. There’s a great story about taking ski lessons from my daughter that we’ll publish soon, but while I was on the slopes, Jenn got an appointment with a specialist who found knee braces that will let her return to skiing.

We are all cued up for a ‘finally returning to skiing’ trip to Park City this February, but we just missed on a ‘finally rafting the Grand Canyon’ from the Mammoth trip. Jenn’s knee brace also enables her to return to white water rafting. She guided white water for seven years. Once, about mid-way through her time as a raft guide, she blew her knee out toward the end of the season. All her guide buddies took off for a rafting trip to the Grand Canyon, but she was stuck at home rehabbing her knee.

We flew through Vegas to get to Mammoth and took the weekend to do adventurous things like glass kayaks in Black Canyon and exploring the West Rim. Working with the Hualapai Tribe almost brought us back to raft in the Grand Canyon over the summer, but that trip fell through at the last minute. Next year perhaps…

Black Canyon of the Colorado River- Jenn in a glass kayak
Guano Point at Grand Canyon West

We Finally Made it to Gulf Shores

We have failed so many times trying to make it to the beaches of Gulf Shores for scuba diving that it was getting comical. Between multiple hurricanes and the start of the Pandemic, we were curious if we’d ever go to Alabama’s #1 tourist attraction, which is odd, because we live here and love biking, scuba diving, and paddling. Jenn broke the seal with a press trip from the Southern Travelers Explore conference that I couldn’t join her on because of our crazy spring plans. Too bad, too, because her penthouse condo was pretty swanky. Afterward, we returned for biking later in the spring and scuba diving at the end of summer.

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Looking Forward to 2021 at Coleman Concierge

We already have plans to return for the Outdoor Writer Association conference in September, but we hope to make it back before that to do some dedicated paddling. On the subject of hopes, we also hope that Gulf Shores will be our showcase destination for a new interactive map project we’re rolling out next year😉😎.

Catman Trail Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails
Ed Kayaking Wolf Bay at Sunset

Our Crazy Spring

Shoulder seasons can get crazy for travel writers because it’s when everybody can host. We were in four different destinations spanning over 4000 miles. We opened with a return trip to Gulf Shore, but this time we went together and stayed at the Lodge in Gulf State Park. We were home for four days, then scooted up to North Georgia for a bit of state park action. Then things got really crazy…

We flew out to eastern Washington for the Travel Blog Exchange conference. Jenn went on a post-conference tour of Seattle Southside and Bellevue, but I had to jet home and work for a couple of days. She took a redeye to Puerto Rico, where I joined her at a holistic retreat where, of all things, we focused on work-life balance. From there, we went on a pre-conference tour of Fajardo, the NATJA conference in San Juan, and then back to Fajardo for some more adventure trips and diving.

It was exhausting, but we took the rest of May off of traveling to recover and burn down our backlog of obligatory writing tasks.

Jenn and Ed on horses Brasstown - courtesy of Jane Bozza
Bellevue Zip Line Tour
El Conquistador Resort Fajardo Puerto Rico- Palomino Island
Ed diving in Fajardo

Finding Our Summer Stride

I work a 30-hour work week, and Jenn is full-time at Coleman Concierge. I generally work a 40-hour week and bank 10 hours, which lets me take a week off every month. That’s our “normal” cadence. We hit that for June, July, and August.

June took us on a bike-centric trip to central North Carolina. The big goal was putting in a dedicated bike guide for Raleigh, with over 100 miles of bike paths, including two fabulous hall-of-fame trails, the American Tobacco Trail and the Neuse River Trail. We also did some riding in Greensboro, Greensville, and Fayetteville.

See also
About Jenn

We went on an adventure trip to Finland to chase the midnight sun in July and a return trip to Gulf Shores in August where we actually, finally went diving.

Ed riding on the Neuse River Trail
Levi Husky Park Levi Finland - Ed feeding an artic fox as part of her movie training
Ed jumping in the lake after the sauna Levi Finland
Ed hiking down the Panorama Stairs via Diana @Stripeaway
Reindeer on the 1st Finland Hike Levi via Diana @Stripeaway-10
Finland- Jenn at Santa's Cabin
Group shot Yllas hike photo by Diana @stripeaway

Oh No, Not Another Shoulder Season

After the ‘Spring Blitz’, we promised ourselves we wouldn’t do that again. But things have a way of stacking up on you. Our anchor trip was an adventurous loop through Ireland. That was on the books for a while, and we knew it was coming. We had a nostalgia meets nature road trip pop up in Missouri at the last minute that we couldn’t say no to and Jenn had a luxury / adventure trip to Jordan pop up that she wouldn’t say no to.

It was crazy and exhausting, and Jenn was only home for four days out of 30 during the Ireland-Missouri-Jordan leg. Then, at the end of all this, we went to Tahoe for the Outdoor Media Summit. We are definitely getting too old for this kind of travel.

James and Ed surfing Rosnowlagh Beach - Photo by Pam LeBlanc
Ballyhornan Coasteering Ireland-2
Cruit Island Ireland-
Jenn and Ed kissing at Gary's Gay Parita
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park Missouri
Ed Knack Bags campaign in Tahoe
Jenn in Petra
Jenn in Petra 2

All I Want for Christmas is You

Northeast Florida was our final campaign for 2023. If it wasn’t on the books for so long, we would have been tempted to cancel because we felt something was off with our cat, Toki. We arranged for our cat sitter to stay over and hoped for the best.

The trip was successful in that we gathered enough material for a dedicated biking guide (maybe even an ebook), but the daily Toki reports kept getting worse. She was down to 3.8 lbs by the time we came home and severely dehydrated and constipated. The vet didn’t have much hope, but we coddled her in every way we knew how. We hoped she’d make it through the weekend. Then a week. Then to Christmas. Slowly, the life returned to her eyes. We still think it’s a matter of when, not if, but for now we are celebrating the gift of every day with her.

Timucuan Trail Amelia Island Florida
Schooner Freedom Charters St Augustine Florida

What’s New for 2023

Our New Years’ resolution is to cut out virtually all travel for a while to take care of Toki. Jenn is still going to IMM, but I’m staying home. We’re bringing her mom out for some dedicated cat care during our spring ski trips to Park City and Bulgaria (if the Toki keeps on ticking). However, our travel hiatus could be a blessing in disguise. First off, it’s more Toki time. It’s also a chance for us to work on deep projects that we kept pushing back last year, which is our second resolution.

See also
Our Story

I’m taking a 30-day book writing challenge in January that should culminate with an e-book for North East Florida biking. We’ll also have enough bandwidth to pursue more freelance writing, like the skiing narrative I wrote last spring but haven’t placed yet. The other project I’m excited about is an improved interactive map format that we’ll probably roll out for Gulf Shores / Orange Beach. Then there’s a huge stack of website projects on Jenn’s desk that she can bite into.

When we came home from Florida, we measured time in days – how many days does Toki have left? That clock rewound a bit to months – will she be here in March? Since I’m still working in the bomb factory, we have the luxury of measuring Coleman Concierge on a much larger scale – what will it take to travel the world and make a difference with our craft before we’re too old?

We will go location independent in the next couple of years when both of our cats are gone, so it only makes sense that we’ll grow the business now while tending to Toki. In the end, life isn’t about how much time was spent; it’s about how well you used it and the memories you created along the way.

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Ed looking at lake
Champagne toast on boat
Jenn in dress in Petra
Co-Founders and Content Creators at | Website
Hi! We are Jenn and Ed Coleman aka Coleman Concierge. In a nutshell, we are a Huntsville-based Gen X couple sharing our stories of amazing adventures through activity-driven transformational and experiential travel.

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Meet Ed & Jenn

Hi! We are Jenn and Ed Coleman, and together we are Coleman Concierge. It is our goal to inspire you to get out, expand your world, and to seek adventure, even in your own backyard.

We deeply believe in the transformational power of travel. Our tagline is amazing adventures for ordinary people because we believe that you don’t have to be super rich, super fit or super anything to have an amazing adventure. Expanding your comfort zone and trying new things will pay huge dividends in both health and happiness.

We advocate for sustainable and ethical travel and truly believe in the power of travel to transform both ourselves as well as the world around us.

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