The only thing I knew about at the beginning of 2014 was my three month adventure through Australia and Asia. But it was the ones I didn’t plan that really made this year so great. I usually take how I spend my New Years Eve to be a sign of things to come, but I was sick and went to sleep early. Thankfully, this was not an indicator of 2014! I feel like I’ve found my groove in juggling freelance writing and took on some grown up tasks like finding my own health insurance. I got published by National Geographic Traveler and started work for US Airways Magazine. I got invited on a handful of press trips, including one major one. If this year has taught me anything, it’s to keep myself open to possibilities, because you never know what’s coming next! Below I’ve summed up each month of the year and included links from my favorite posts during that month.
January– I continued my work at my seasonal job and got caught in the snowstorm heard round the nation. I just barely made my flight to New York to spend a week working there, which happened to coincide with the Super Bowl held just over the Hudson. I caught up with Lauren over noodles and Frank over more noodles.
February– My mom was desperate for some warm climates, so she booked a last minute cruise for her, my sister and I over Valentine’s Day weekend. On the way down to Tampa, we stopped at the famous Weeki Wachee Springs. The three day cruise involved lots of poolside reading and a day in the cenotes of the Riviera Maya.
March– The whirlwind month included a weekend trip to Knoxville, Tennessee to visit a friend as well as the 5 year anniversary of Caroline in the City! Sammi and I also completed our first half marathon and left for our Australasian Adventure, with our first stop being my former home of Sydney.
April– The month started with a quick two weeks in Australia, which wasn’t hardly enough, but took us to Sunday Sessions with my Sydney friends Flo and Alan, Taronga Zoo and catching up with Brooke and Hannah. I was emotional about returning, but was certainly glad I did. A few days later, we hopped over to Melbourne, where we went on a coffee tour, met up with my friend Peter for dumplings and street art and went kayaking at twilight on the river. Another flight took us to Darwin, the odd capital of the Top End, where we swam with crocs and then embarked on three days in Kakadu and Litchfield national parks before a marathon travel day through Singapore, Bangkok and ending in Chiang Mai. We spent a few days getting soaked during Songkran and overnighting to Chiang Rai and Pai before a week volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park. Following our week in the north, we took an all day bus to Bangkok before another all day bus to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
May– Our less than two weeks in Cambodia flew by, as most of it was in transit. After a few nights doing nothing in Siem Reap, we hopped over to Phnom Penh for a short visit broken up by protests. We made time to visit the Killing Fields and S-21. Back in Siem Reap, we celebrated Sammi’s birthday with a delicious dinner before the next few days of temple hopping. We hurried back to Thailand for what would become the longest travel day ever to make it back in time for Flo’s Bangkok hen night. An overnight train and ferry then brought us to Koh Samui for her wedding celebrations, but I skipped the infamous Full Moon Party on neighboring Koh Pha Ngan. After the wedding, I spent a few days getting advanced diving certified on Koh Tao and also got food poisoning.
June– Getting to Vietnam ended up being more difficult than expected once the military coup occurred in Thailand, but we arrived in Hanoi safe and sound for a final month of travel. I hopped around town eating the city’s best street food and visited the city’s tourist attractions like the Presidential Palace and Hoa Lo Prison. Two nights were spent on Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island, where I was suffering from bad blisters and a sour stomach. Our first overnight train in Vietnam took us to Hue, which wasn’t all that exciting apart from the Imperial Citadel. Next up was Hoi An, where we spent a long weekend exploring, getting clothing made and eating well. One night in Da Nang and an all day train ride later, we arrived in Nha Trang, a beachside town now popular with Russian tourists. Most days here were spent at a pay-to-use pool instead of the shabby one at our hotel. The days in Mui Ne were similarly lax, but once we arrived in Saigon, it was just the opposite. We rushed around town to see the sights, shop for souvenirs and accomplish any last minute Asia tasks before our long flights home. But within four days of arriving home, we were back at work.
July– Out of the fire and into the frying pan was how my July went, complete with three straight weeks of work at my seasonal job. I celebrated my 26th birthday in style by going to work and then a nice dinner with my family. After the end of my Atlanta gig, I went to Puerto Rico for a week with my family, eating and drinking our way around and lounging on Vieques.
August– Two weeks upon returning, Sammi and I were off again to work another trade show in New York. I saw Lauren again and her little man Finn and hopped on a Sex and the City Tour with On Locations Tours. I also met up with pals Katka and Jackie for dinner before the chaos of work began. When I got back to Atlanta, I welcomed two new members to my group of friends, Will and Dylan, the newborn sons of two of my friends.
September– After New York, I filled in at work while my boss was on maternity leave. I also got to spend a weekend in Asheville at my sister’s friend’s wedding, eating at the city’s great restaurants, drinking their beer and spending way too much money at the J.Crew factory outlet.
October– I thought my year had started to wind down in terms of travel, but then I got emails about two back to back press trips. First I spent a long weekend in Lexington, Kentucky where I drank craft beer, went to a horse race and toured the Buffalo Trace Distillery, among many other things. After a late flight home, I ran a 10 mile race before departing the next day for the two day journey to Malaysia. The trip was unlike any other I’d been on, with great people and awe-inspiring experiences like volunteering with the orangutans and seeing the Deepavali celebration with the prime minister.
November– A week after recovering from my whirlwind return to Southeast Asia, I was off again, driving to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia to cover an event and experiences for This Is My South. Shortly after, it was back to work for the busy season to begin. Sammi and I also ran our second half marathon on Thanksgiving!
December– I’m rounding out the year by spending every waking moment at work at my seasonal job. I’m also planning future adventures, so look out for a post about them! I also cut off all my hair this month!
Top 5 Blog Posts
Data according to Google Analytics, some posts linked above. All have been written in 2014.
- Photo Friday: Dream Cars
- Free and Cheap Things to Do in Melbourne
- The Ultimate Australian Bucket List
- Photo Essay: Annah Rais Homestay, Malaysia
- 27 Things to Do Before Turning 27
Top Instagram Post
Data according to Iconosquare. Of my top five most liked Instagram posts, four were taken this year! But the one that triumphed was the bathing of the elephants at Elephant Nature Park. Everyone loves an ele!
Countries Visited: Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, United States
States Visited: New York, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia
As for what’s next for me in terms of travel, it’s all still very up in the air. I have a few things in the works, but I’ll definitely be seeing more of the United States this year than in previous years. I don’t know where else the year will take me, but if this year is any indication, somewhere great!