Cam and I are so excited... First and foremost, to meet our baby girl !!! and then for our move to Croatia and to start traveling again. With our babies! We're not under any false notions that it's going to be easy, but seeing and experiencing God's creation all around the world is important to us, has been a big part of our marriage and something we are so thankful for and badly want to impart on our kids. We have been dreaming outloud and bookmarking and planning and trying to get through our to-do list. Our move is in just two months! Since we're so excited to get over there, I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite travel moments from around the world (there are many more...) especially for anyone planning upcoming trips this summer. If you are traveling to any of these places and have questions, I'll gladly try to answer in the comments!
1. Moorea, French Polynesia. We spent the first week of our honeymoon right here. That was our little Moorean casa! Every single moment was pure magic as newlyweds. We stayed at the Hilton Moorea and could not recommend it more. It's the dreamiest place we've ever stayed. Part of the floor of our bungalow looked straight down into the water, there were two back decks, one just a foot or so hovering over the crystal clear water and a footed tub. We both saved for the year + before our wedding and took a month for our honeymoon in the South Pacific and then Europe. Seems so fitting now that we spent the very beginning of our marriage traveling! We spent the next years paying it off and it was absolutely, absolutely worth it. If there's one odd thing we'd recommend to pack to Moorea, it's bottles of water. You can't drink the tap and it cost an arm and a leg at the time, as in about $10 per bottle !
2. The South Island of New Zealand. Some of our favorite moments while exploring this absolutely gorgeous country were riding bikes through the vineyards in the Marlborough Region and sleeping next to the vines in that old, stinky, honestly disgusting camper van (we were trying to travel as cheaply as possible - New Zealand is expensive!) that brought us so many laughs, adventures and hilarious stories. For anyone traveling there (lucky you!!!!) hopefully these posts will be helpful as you plan:
Canterbury, New Zealand: Lavender Fields and Lambs
What Dreams Are Made of: Biking and Wining in Marlborough, New Zealand
Over the Southern Alps to Franz Josef
Covered in Peonies: Arrowtown (Also: make a reservation at these Onsen Hot Pools with the most amazing view!)
The Turquoise Waters of Lake Tekapo
Where We Hung Our Hats in Christchurch
New Zealand in Photos
3. Hanoi & Halong Bay, Vietnam. Visiting Vietnam wasn't about a romantic, carefree trip together. We were so curious to see a part of the world we never had before (especially before starting a family!) and it opened our eyes to so much. Seeing how the people of this country live, and in some areas, just survive, was like nothing we'd ever experienced. It's easy to read about another culture and imagine it, but to actually be there, walking through the filthy yet charming streets, learning how to walk without getting hit by hundreds of oncoming motorbikes, seeing raw meat being cut and sold in the dirt, rowing silently through a very small, remote fishing village in Halong Bay, waking up to watch the sunrise over thousands of islands jetting out from the emerald waters surrounded by sounds of waking monkeys... coming dangerously close to a run in with communist "police" .... Neither of us have a desire to go back so it was truly a once in a lifetime trip that we'll never forget and that taught us and humbled us in ways I can't quite explain.
Introduction to Hanoi (Our first moments there which still may be my very favorite. Or atleast explain how we felt the entire trip!)
We stayed at The Hanoi Elegance Ruby and loved it. We sailed Halong Bay with Indochina Dragon's Pearl, which was booked through our hotel. All of the details are in this post.
4. Wandering the Cobblestone Streets in Siena, Italy. We went on an amazing wine tour through the Brunello region of Tuscany and drank some of the best wines of our lives in centuries old vineyards, and yet our favorite moments here were just wandering the romantic streets of the medieval city... spending hours drinking good, Italian coffee, then later sitting in piazzas drinking vino and eating the best foods on our entire trip over long dinners, leisurely walking the streets holding hands, being in awe of the history everywhere, no agenda, no timetable, just soaking it all in. If you go to Siena, that would be our biggest recommendation. It would be an entirely different experience now with kids so I'm thankful we got the romantic version while we could! We stayed here in the heart of the city but really only slept there since we were always out wandering and eating and drinking to our hearts' content! We can recommend the wine tour we took with Franco Fadda. He let us customize what we wanted to do and was quick to answer my questions over email before arriving, though I should add that was a couple years ago.
5. Japan. Some of our favorite moments on mainland Japan are from our very first trip together and introduction to the culture in Kyoto. We still chuckle about being the only Americans (and totally sans clothes) in the natural onsen and being stared at?, eating delicious soba noodles, seeing the whole countryside lit up in the Fall colors, walking all day through the narrow streets, passing geisha, befriending locals and watching firsthand how Christianity is young yet becoming vibrant there, sleeping on the floor on a traditional tatami mat, being face-to-face with wild monkeys... I have a lot of posts under the Japan tag, but a few of my favorites are:
Kyoto, Japan: The Most Magical Place in the Fall
We are so thankful and excited to soon live in and explore Croatia! Where are you most hoping to get to visit?? I'd love to hear.