2014 Travel in Review

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2014 wasn’t supposed to be the epic travel year for me like 2013.  It was a transition year- I started off almost immediately going back to work on a temporary basis that turned into full-time.

My goals for 2014 were to check of one bucket list trip and see more of the United States- something I was neglecting on my sabbatical. I did quite well at visiting some great places. Here are the highlights from my year of travel 2014:

1) Galapagos, Ecuador– April 2014

GalapagosBluefootedbooby

This trip was amazing! The Galapagos have been on my bucket list since it was formed but got pushed way down because of the costs.  This year I had a gap between work in April- a time with low airfare and deals on cruises in the Galapagos, so I went for it.

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This trip was so different from everything else I’ve done. Constant water activities, hiking, bird-watching (strange but true) made it jam-packed and not that relaxing but it was so worth it.

GalapagosSeaLionyoga

My Galapagos vacation photos were some of my favorites that I’ve ever taken.

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The landscape and animals are so different.

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And the sea lions are very cute!

GalapagosSeaLionhello

2) Driving the Oregon Coast– September 2014

Oregon Coast between Cannon Beach and Manzanita

One of my long-term travel goals is to get to all 50 states. This year I only checked off one more- Oregon.  Mom and I drove the coast before heading inland to Crater Lake National Park.

First Glimpse of Crater Lake

Crater Lake is one of my favorite nature sites I’ve seen, and definitely in the top 3 National Parks in the United States.

Cannon Beach Mom

Manzanita, a tiny coastal town, was Mom’s favorite stop.

Manzanita Birds

I preferred Astoria and Cannon Beach.  September was too cold to sunbathe in Oregon but it was still a great time of year to do the coastal drive.  Also, Crater Lake was not crowded at all.

Astoria Oregon Me

3) The Little trips of 2014- Nashville, New Orleans, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Alexandria, Savannah, Dewey Beach, Chicago, New York City

Nashville Omni View

I did a lot of little trips this year in an attempt to get out into the US a bit more.  Nashville was magical at Christmas-time.  The live music, food, and great nightlife made for a fun trip!

Nashville Music Row Broadway

New to me this year was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I enjoyed it a lot. We went for the Pitt/Iowa football game but Pittsburgh has great museums, fun restaurants, and great views in addition to a lot of sports.

Pittsburgh River walk

4) Napa/Sonoma Wine Tour Birthday Trip- March 2014

SonomaBenzingerwinebottles

In March I finally made it to Napa and Sonoma Valleys, California.  This trip has been on my list for a while too. My friend Rebekah turned 40 this year so we all joined her in celebrating.

SonomaGooseCrosswinery

Things that make wine tasting more fun: doing it with your silly friends and getting the best weather the region has seen in a long time.

SonomaRedwoods

SonomaMarshallStoreoysters

Sunny, gorgeous, and tasty fermented grapes.

SonomaNapaMummvarieties

5) RAGBRAI– July 2014

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A year without an athletic/adventure trip would just not be possible for me.  My crazy adventure trip this year was to the great state of Iowa.  My home state puts on a bike ride called RAGBRAI from one side of Iowa to the other, lasting a week.

RAGBRAILamont

I participated for the first time with tens of thousands of other bike riders for a few days with a friend from high school and her family. Read more about it here.

RAGBRAIcondom

Pork Tenderloin as big as my face:

RAGBRAIporktenderloin

This is one of my favorite experiences in 2014.  If you truly want to see what the US has to offer, getting out of the big cities and doing a ride like this gives a better idea of the sites and people of a country.

RAGBRAIview

Plus, is was a heck of a good workout.  My butt was sore for a week, despite the padding.  Biking 50-70 miles per day is no joke!

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Other trips of 2014:  High School Class Reunion, Cancun, Spa weekend in Pennsylvania, Guatemala, Belize

Caye Caulker, Belize:

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New Countries visited: (3) Ecuador, Guatemala, Belize

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New States visited: (1) Oregon

Even though I went back to work full-time, travel is still a big part of my life.  Here is to 2015 being a fantastic travel year too!  Time to get planning.

Tikal: Guatemala

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5 Replies to “2014 Travel in Review”

  1. Thanks for covering my maternity leave AND for coming back full time. And for letting me read about all the travel I’m not doing. 🙂

  2. Wow, it sounds like a great year of travel! The Galapagos is definitely on my bucket list and I’d love to do it at some point. I went to Belize a couple years ago and thought it was amazing.

  3. Sounds like a great year Andrea! You still managed to get in a lot of travel with working full-time, good for you!
    xx
    Jessica

  4. Ah, RAGBRAI! So awesome to see this on your list. I rode it twice back in the 90s and it was such an incredible experience. Would love to do it again one day and see how its evolved. Is the pancake man and the pork chop guy still around? And wow, your pics of the Galapagos make me want to go there even more now. Definitely bucket-list material! Cheers!

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