The Best of 2014

Quote of the Year: “If at some point you don’t ask, What have I gotten myself into? You’re not doing it right.” -Roland Gau

2014 was a year packed full of travel, pursuing passions, and indescribable, exhilarating moments where I could practically feel my heart grow. Looking back on 2014 leaves me with a huge smile on my face.

Here are the places I went and my favorite memories from those places.

January-February

Places:

•Bangkok, Thailand •Haad Rin Beach, Leela Beach; Island of Koh Phangan, Thailand •Chiang Rai, Thailand •Siem Reap, Cambodia •Luang Prabang, Laos

Best Moments:

•Lounging on Leela Beach in Koh Phangan (after just missing a Full Moon Party)

•Watching the sun rise over the beautiful temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia

•Exploring and climbing through the ruins of Being Mealea in Cambodia

•Sampling fried tarantulas and frogs in Siem Reap…not too bad!

•Being mesmerized by Phare, the Cambodian Circus, 2 nights in a row

•Spending a peaceful afternoon learning how to make jewelry at Garden of Eden in Luang Prabang

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•Swinging into the freezing cold water at Kuang Si Waterfall outside of Luang Prabang

•Spending Valentines Day at the creepy and controversial temple Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai

March-April

Places:

•Kanchanaburi, Thailand •Ubud, Seminyak, Kuta; Island of Bali, Indonesia •Yogyakarta; Island of Java, Indonesia •Sengiggi Beach; Island of Lombok, Indonesia •Bangkok, Thailand •Hanoi, Vietnam

Best Moments:

•Watching an exciting, televised Muay Thai fight from front row seats with Dad

IMG_3075•Hanging out at Erawan Waterfall in Kanchanaburi with Dad

•Completing my first year of teaching with my 32 crazy 3rd grade students

•Watching massive Ogah Ogahs bounce around in the Ngrupuk Festival in Ubud

•Going on a spiritual journey through Yogyakarta with Kate and our sweet guides: a Belgian anthropologist fluent in Bahasa and an Indonesian healer

•Visiting the temple of my dreams: the Temple of Borobudur outside of Yogyakarta

•Taking my first surfing lessons in Kuta, on the island of Bali, and lovin’ it

•Getting soaking wet on the streets of Bangkok during the hilariously fun days of Songkran

•Attempting to cross the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam

•Working with 15 beautiful, 4th-generation deaf students while volunteering at Vietnam Friendship Village in Hanoi

•Taking a 3 day booze cruise with Michael through the endless limestone formations of Ha Long Bay

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May-June

Places:

•Haad Rin Beach, Haad Yuan Beach, Haad Tien; Island of Koh Phangan, Thailand •Fort Collins, Colorado, USA (Home!) •Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Best Moments:

•Feeling blissed out during a 5 day yoga retreat (happy 23rd birthday to me) in Haad Yuan, Koh Phangan

•Getting inked with the word that defines my existence: wanderlust

•Celebrating a bittersweet last-night-in-Bangkok dinner with my favorite farang friends (Buh Bye BKK!)

•Catching up on much needed family time in Kansas City right after my arrival back in the states

•Drinking and fishing with college friends on our annual camping trip to Walden

July-August

Places:

•Rockdale, New York, USA •Greeley, Colorado, USA •Vancouver, Canada •Port Moody, Canada

Best Moments:

•Sifting through Grandma’s old barn in Upstate New York and finding some treasures

•Chowing down on my Uncle’s fab Low Country Boil 

•Canoeing on the Unadilla River with Dad and Brother

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•Getting my FIRST piece of paid writing published at Matador

•Celebrating Kate and Sean’s wedding in picturesque Port Moody, Canada

•Crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver

•Starting temporary work as a substitute teacher

September-October

Places:

•Fort Collins, Colorado, USA •Paris, France •Bangkok, Thailand

Best Moments:

•Feasting on baguettes and cheese and fresh things in the Luxembourg Gardens of Paris with Mom and Sister

•Spending the day oooohing and aaaahing at Versailles

•Racing to see the Mona Lisa and then spending the next few hours blissfully lost in the Louvre

•Taking a chance with love and moving back to Bangkok (definitely worth it)

November-December

Places:

Bangkok, Thailand•Bang Niang Beach; Khao Lak, Thailand• Tokyo, Japan• Hiroshima, Japan• Okunoshima Island, Japan• Nagasaki, Japan• Hashima (Gunkanjima) Island, Japan• Kyoto, Japan• Osaka, Japan•

Best Moments:

•Celebrating Loy Krathong, a holiday for letting go, in Bangkok for the second year

Floating for the first time at Bangkok Float Center

•Capturing the faces of Bangkok’s flower market during a photography class with Bangkok Photo School

•Hanging out on the gorgeous beaches of Khao Lak with this beach babe

•Crossing the famous Shibuya Street in Tokyo (several times…)

•Feeding hundreds of furry bunny friends on Okunoshima Island, aka Bunny Island, in Japan (my life is complete)

•Celebrating my first Christmas with Michael and ringing in the new year together during our 2 week holiday in Japan

I am so damn grateful.

8 countries. 23 cities. 24 flights. 4 waterfalls. 20 books. 1 incredible relationship in its infancy. I followed my heart, pursued passions like photography and writing, embraced unexpected opportunities, and sustained only 1 injury (cut my foot on coral). It was an exciting year.

Farewell 2014!

Thank you, beautiful people, for helping me make my favorite memories thus far. Love, Love, Love.

What is your favorite memory of 2014?

14 COMMENTS

  1. Milosz Zak | 13th Jan 15

    I find it very interesting that the bunny population on the Japanese island doesn’t plummet when it reaches its critical point. I think it must either be the tourists who feed them, or perhaps there’s a municipal program to care for them.

    • Words of a Wanderer | 15th Jan 15

      Interesting point! I never thought about that…. they do seem to live in harmony, and I’m sure all the feedings help! Very strange concept thought…. haha

  2. Kate | 13th Jan 15

    That gave me chills! Fabulous post about an incredible year. I’m so lucky to have been part of it! Happy New Year to you and Michael. I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for you! xo

    • Words of a Wanderer | 15th Jan 15

      Ahh, I get chills too when I look at it! You were a HUGE part of my year, so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all our adventures!! 🙂 Happy New Year to you guys too, and I’m so excited for you since you get to spend 2015 exploring and eating your way through one of the greatest cities ever! 🙂

  3. WanderlustEm | 13th Jan 15

    Nice article! You’ve certainly been very busy enjoying all those amazing beaches! I’m jealous 🙂 Happy travels for 2015

    • Words of a Wanderer | 15th Jan 15

      Thank you!!! I do love the beaches! I too wish you safe and happy travels in 2015! Yay wanderlust! 😀

  4. ktmcg16 | 15th Jan 15

    Wow! Incredible year you had! Doesn’t reflecting back like that make you feel so fortunate?! I know my reflection on 2014 did. I hit 11 countries this year: battled a polar vortex in Canada, backpacked through Central America, moved to South Korea and explored paradise in the Philippines. Can’t wait for more in 2015!

    • Words of a Wanderer | 15th Jan 15

      YES!!! I feel very fortunate for all my experiences this year- it’s almost overwhelming! Holy cow, you had quite the year too!!! Congrats on 11 countries! How long do you plan to be in South Korea? Are you teaching there?

  5. Kristen - imnotatouristiswear.com | 16th Jan 15

    Wow. Looks like you had a brilliant 2014! I wish you the best of luck on 2015 though it sounds like it may be hard to top your previous year.

    • Words of a Wanderer | 19th Jan 15

      2014 was brillant! But I am determined to make 2015 just as awesome…:) Happy travels to you in the new year!

  6. Stephen Parry | 17th Jan 15

    Wow what an incredible year you had last year – lets hope you have an even better one this year 🙂 looking forward to hearing about your new stories.

    • Words of a Wanderer | 19th Jan 15

      Stephen, thanks for your comment! I plan to make 2015 equally sweet. I’m looking forward to hearing your travel stories as well. Happy travels!

  7. Mike | 19th Jan 15

    Wow, what a fantastic young woman you are!
    You’ve seen more of the world at age 23 than most people ever seen in
    a lifetime!

    • Words of a Wanderer | 19th Jan 15

      Thanks Dad!!! I’m very fortunate to have parents who support my travel-ish lifestyle 🙂

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