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«Best Travel Moments of 2014»

To be perfectly honest, 2014 has probably been the best year of my life. I managed to travel 124 days this year- that’s over 1/3 of the year spent on the road- and I’m eager to try to keep this trend going! I have thousands of photos from my adventures this year, but I thought I would share just a few (well, some have more than a few) pictures from my favorite destinations. Check out my favorite moments! (There are links to some of the longer posts below the photos).

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Mammoth Cave NP

 On my big winter road trip at the beginning of the year, I picked up one of my best friends in Nashville, TN and we drove up to Mammoth Cave National Park! It was so much fun to explore a new National Park with such a great friend!

North Carolina

North Carolina was a major surprise for me. Having never really heard too much about things to do in this state I was shocked when I totally fell in love with this beautiful state. Above are photos from a few of my favorite destinations: Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Charlotte and Lake Lure/Chimney Rock.

Asheville, NC

This stop in Asheville was life-changing. I met my friends Lina and Liz in person, and visited my new home for a huge part of 2014 for the first time. (I came back to visit Asheville in February & March before moving here in June.)

South Carolina

This January was my very first time in the Carolinas. South Carolina did not disappoint– I got to visit my family- which is always great- and I got to see some beautiful sites.

Savannah

Savannah is one of those cities that teach you a lot about how details can run the show! I didn’t hit up big sites here. I just roamed through downtown, sat in the parks, stepped into shops and soaked up all those beautiful southern details.

WWOHP

Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was legitimately a dream-come-true. While I was on my month-long road trip, my awesome Aunt Debbie flew down to Orlando to meet me in Hogsmeade! The only fitting word to describe this place is magical. manatees

Swimming with manatees was another dream-come-true. Manatees and Asian Elephants are my favorite animals, and I have always wanted to have first-hand experiences with both of these amazing, beautiful creatures. Thanks to River Ventures in Crystal River, Florida, I was able to have a truly incredible experience with them. Montgomery

My sole purpose for visiting Montgomery was visiting the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum (the only one in the world). Having a huge love for their art I knew I had to make a stop there, and I ended up being blown away by what all this city has to offer. I went to the Civil Rights Center, the First White House of the Confederation and went to some of the stops along the Civil Rights Trail. It was a truly powerful city to visit.

spectre

Big Fish is in my top three favorite movies of all time, and when I saw on the Road Trippers App (which every road tripper should download) that the Spectre movie set was still partially intact. I made a spontaneous side-trip to a tiny island on the Alabama River after meeting the owner of the property and chatting with her about the set and the filming of the movie. She was so sweet and generous, and I’m so grateful to her for letting me have this beautiful experience.
New Orleans

My best friend flew to New Orleans to finish up my road trip with me, and we had a blast! I had done my whole trip on a budget, and I’m glad that I did because Stacey and I lived it up in New Orleans! Stacey and I always have a blast when we travel together, and this was the first of a handful of adventures for us this year.

The Ozarks

I went on quite a few little hiking adventures in the Ozarks this year. I hiked with multiple friends, my cousin and my favorite hiking partner – my dad! I had the pleasure of visiting multiple state parks and sites through my beautiful home-region.

Germany

My mom and I did another of our always-amazing European adventures this year! Our first country was Germany. We visited a few different cities, ate pretzels, drank beer, toured castles and paid homage to the people who were victimized in The Concentration Camp at Dachau. 

Salzburg

We took a little day trip to Salzburg, Austria where we lived out a little Sound of Music moment, toured their main cathedral and giggled as we ate our jiggly nockerl!

switzerland

Switzerland was my favorite country of the four my mom and I visited on our little tour of the Alps. We spent time in Lucerne- which I fell in love with! We walked on the covered bridges over and over, visited different churches, and ate chocolate, but my favorite moment was visiting an art museum with my mom as an adult for the first time. It was so great to share what we felt and thought about different works of art. 

Asheville

Oh, Asheville. All the things I could say about this beautiful city. I ended up moving here for the second half of the year. I’m back in Missouri for now (preparing for my trip to SE Asia), but I have this feeling I will be back there in June 2015.

Sweden

A week before I moved to Asheville Liz text me and told me she had a question for me- would I want to come to Sweden with her and Lina for a month? – and by that evening I had my plane ticket and I spent an incredible month in Sweden! I got to meet Lina’s wonderful family, sightsee in Uppsala & Stockholm, lounge in the archipelago and made some great friends over there!

Atlantic Beach

The evening we got back from Sweden we drove straight from the airport to Atlantic Beach, NC. It is the first typical sunny, warm beach experience I ever loved. My experience was totally made by Liz’s amazing parents who housed us, fed us and took us out on their boat! 

Asheville2

Okay, so Asheville was just too amazing to only get one collage after having so many amazing experiences around this beautiful city.

Peru

My best friend and I went to Peru together in September and had a truly amazing time! We loved seeing the cozy brown/orange city of Cuzco and the Incan Archaeological sits of Sacred Valley!

Inca Trail

The biggest part of our trip to Peru was the Inca Trail! We spent four days trekking 26 miles through the Andes/Upper Amazon, passing almost a dozen archaeological sites, ending at Machu Picchu

BlueRidgeMountainsNC

I had to end on my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains. These beauties have been one of the best parts- not only of my year- but of my life. I have never felt more inspired, more connected to life or more joy than I have being up in these mountains. I’m so lucky to have been able to share these experiences with some of the people who mean so much to me, and I’m excited for so many more! I know I will return to these mountains over and over. 

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I need to end with a huge thank you to all of the people who made these experiences happen! My 2014 would not have been the same with out my amazing travel companions, Couchsurfing Hosts, blog followers & new friends that I’ve met along the way! So, thank you and cheers to an incredible 2015!

What were your favorite travel moments of 2014? Any big plans for 2015? I’m so excited for all of the amazing adventures the new year is going to bring!

To keep up with my travels in real-time and read more posts and travel articles I find interesting ‘like’ the For the Love of Wanderlust page on Facebook. Simply click HERE.

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