Surprise Vacation 2015

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Oh SNAP. You guys. It's back. It's that time of the year again and I am PUMPED!! Surprise Vacation 2015 is upon us and I'm freaking out.


For those of you who are new here - let's start at the beginning. Surprise vacation has been a longstanding Dalkin family tradition since we were kids. It started when I was 9, my sister was 6, and my parents would throw us birthday parties. Now that I've thrown a party or two, I know how much work they can be, PLUS add in some screaming and crying children, ummmmm NO. So my parents decided to do away with the birthday parties and instead they’d plan a surprise vacation for us each summer.

So what's a surprise vacation you ask? IT'S A SURPRISE. And it’s basically the highlight of my year. I’m obsessed. They plan a vacation for us and we get somewhere in the realm of 8-10 clues each year and we have to figure out where we are going. Some years we’ve figured it out, others we’re totally surprised. One thing is always certain…. I’m always wrong. My sister sometimes figures it out, my husband has been known to do the same… but I’m always, without fail, 100% wrong. I think it’s because I have this burning desire to go on safari in Africa and no matter what clues my parents send over I somehow make them fit into an African safari. Clearly, I'm a mess but that's going to be resolved next year because I'm going for my 30th birthday!!!

ANYWAYS... since we were kids, we've been getting everyone involved. My tennis coach, friends of friends, parents, professors, you guys!! I mean, it's basically a puzzle for anyone I know. So I'll be sharing the clues here as they roll in (roughly once a week) and I'll just continue to update this post so you don't have to search high and low for the latest clues. Ready... Clue's are officially rolling in:

Clue #1 - Part of: With all its trees, Montana is a forever desirable place to live; though not on an overcast-like day, when it is best to just put up your feet and/or lay down and rest.

Clue #2 - Sister Bertrille - she must be scared!!

Clue #3 -  Its "Made in China" so it does not cost much, but you will flip for it even if it is a bit off.

Clue #4 - Part of what my students always ask: Why are we never allowed to volunteer at the cancer center office?

Clue #5 - Everyone in the country loves to leave their car at the heart of this green fruit.

Clue #6 - Like Monika, yet longer, but can only keep half of your automobile.

Clue #7 - To start, the old ranch trail's under going unusual extensive renovations, oy! So, let's go watch some ball in the capitol.

Clue #8 - In old Western films, what happens when Lloyd and his clan are found guilty of murder.

Clue #9 - They wear orange robes with ease / Traveling as they please / Not quiet nor dark / Always in a search for fun / In space so bathed by the sun

Clue #10 - 
For over 50 years, tons of cheese to try
Lots of natural butter of course as well, and sadly with it, flies
Then later be amazed by the twenty story fall
Better bring a suit to enjoy it all
So many sights we will see
And what fun it will be!

A few things to keep in mind for this year - we're going in December. I'm about 95% sure passports are involved. It's roughly 9 days. LET'S DO THIS!!

UPDATE: Mama D sent me a list of things I need to buy for the trip this year:

  • Hiking boots
  • Good socks - several pairs
  • Bathing suit
  • Sun/rain hat
  • Rain jacket
  • Fleece jacket
  • Those lightweight quick drying pants like I have that can usually also roll up into shorts but don't necessarily have to roll up
  • Long sleeve light weight shirts of the quick dry fabric also
  • Hiking sandals/ teva or keen like

And these are past vacation destinations so we can rule those out:

  1. Orcas Island + Vancouver  (click on over to see clues and my parents clues and commentary on this trip!)
  2. Nat Geo Cruise through Alaska (click on over to see clues and my parents clues and commentary on this trip!)
  3. Road Trip through France (click on over to see clues and my parents clues and commentary on this trip!)
  4. Bahamas
  5. Banff, Canada
  6. Italy
  7. Turkey
  8. Greece
  9. England + Scotland
  10. Cancun, Mexico
  11. Somewhere else in Mexico
  12. Michigan (I can't remember where exactly)
  13. Hawaii
  14. Napa
  15. New York
  16. Washington DC
  17. Las Vegas
  18. Texas
  19. Disney World
  20. 2015 HERE WE COME!!!!



  1. Yep. On #2 im going with a Monteverde Sky Tram tour. SkyTram Monteverde "Flying across the misty cloud forest of Monteverde is one of Costa Rica's signature experiences." Afraid of flying - sky tram instead.

  2. #1 Monteverde Costa Rica is your Spanish play on Montaña not Montana. Cloud forests. Santa Elena may tie in with #2 but I think it's a Gondola ride there so your "Flying None".

    #10 is waterfalls and butterfly forests near volcano arenal hot springs.

    #7 is getting me frustrated because of the "ol" spelling of capital.

    .#5 has an Avocado Pit feel, but I'm stuck.

  3. I think Costa Rica because my mom just went through and hiked through forests which was mentioned, went to lots of beaches which is referenced when laying back and relaxing possibly and they have so many waterfalls which was mentioned. They also went on many zip lines and flying is mentioned.

  4. Hey Gaby! I think you're either going to Brazil or Argentina (leaning a little more towards Brazil)! I definitely can't figure out all of the clues but:

    Clue #2: Flying Nun is afraid of dentists and Brazil has highest no. of dentists per capita.

    Clue #3: cheap, made in china flip flips are pretty much the national shoe in both places

    Clue #5 largest stadium in Brasilia has been turned into a parking lot

    Clue #7: Argentina and Brazil have huge ranching cultures and both capitols are obsessed with futbol

    Clue #9: Brazil has a large Japanese bhuddhist population (monks wear orange robes) OR they are also the world's largest exporter of orange juice

    Clue # 10: Again cheese and butter could be by-products of cattle industry and the 20 story fall could be Iguazu which is in Brazil but shares the border with Argentina.

    Looking forward to the big reveal! Hope you have a great time! 🙂

  5. Id say Cuba!

    Baseball, and they have a capitol building downtown Havana
    Mountains/ hiking trails/ lots of trees but also tropical weather (so sometimes it gets crazy and you are better off staying in)
    Windy on mountain tops (Sister Bertrille is affraid of high winds because she is under 90 pounds)
    Small cars
    SUNNY weather/ nice beaches/ waterfalls
    Americans were not supposed to go there (clue about not being able to volunteer at the cancer center office) Also, it is known for its very good doctors/ cancer research studies.
    It is also dirt cheap (and pretty far fromm China but you will still be excited to be there)

    Anyway, kinda makes sense. it will be fun wherever you end!
    Have fun!

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