5 Favorite Travel Moments From Around the World

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


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
Queenstown
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. 

Posts:
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

(second two photos thanks to Drew Angerer)

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
Tokyo
Mt Fuji
Mijajima Island
Iwakuni

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.

25 comments:

  1. Gorgeous photos!! We went on a wine tour with Franco when we were in Sienna too, it was the highlight of our trip!

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    1. You're kidding!! Such a small world. It was one of our highlights too. Would so love to go on another one with him.

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  2. These photos are so beautiful. My fiancé spent many summers off of the islands of Croatia, and I'd love
    to see it for myself one day. Looking forward to seeing it through your lens!

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    1. Thank you, Georgia! We're so excited to get there! And so awesome that he got to spend his summers there. Is he from Croatia?

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  3. You always have the most amazing photos! (Um, how badly did you want to keep that sweet fawn as a pet??) The Geisha photo is spectacular!

    Croatia has been at the top of my bucket list for over a decade. I worked in a chiro office when Hubby and I first started dating and one of our patients lived in Croatia part time and would often tell me about its beauty and culture. Something about it calls to me! I can't wait to see your posts from your adventures there. =)

    XOXO

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    1. Maybe you all should come visit! :)

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    2. We just may have to! =D

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  4. I loved looking through this! I seriously pray my future husband and I will have a similar adventurous lifestyle. Traveling is so important to me and y'all make it look so great! I think the trip to New Zealand was my favorite. All of those pictures were so beautiful!

    I'm going to Thailand in July with my church and I'm so excited. Did y'all make it out there when you lived in Okinawa??

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    1. I prayed for the same!

      We did go to Thailand but only to the island of Koh Samui. Katie at Hope Engaged lived and traveled extensively there - she'd be a great person to talk to!

      Always nice to hear from you, Sarah!

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  5. This post makes me dream even more of getting back to Italy - with my husband this time!!! We live in New Zealand so Europe is really far away + we spend so much of our holiday budget and time getting back to the States to visit my family, but some day we will get back there!

    And I might be biased since my husband is from NZ & its my adopted home now, but it really is a stunning place (& expensive)!!!

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    1. Ahhhhh how amazing you live there. It is still to this day our most favorite place we've ever been.

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  6. So jealous you're moving to Croatia, I am mad at myself for not making it there when I lived in London. But I loved Hanoi and I can't wait to go back! It's such a great city when you scratch the surface. The photos are gorgeous as always!!

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    1. Thank you!! Yes, it really is a fascinating city. It was tough to get to (and would be even harder to get to from Croatia) but I'm so glad we got to see it when we did.

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  7. We're wrapping up our 3 years in Germany and our last trip we have planned is a dream vacation to Croatia! I know we'll love it and I'm so excited to follow your adventure as it continues in Croatia.

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    1. YES! I hope you'll share any good tips afterwards! So excited for you and your family and I hope leaving Germany isn't too sad!

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  8. This is a gorgeous venue for events. I went to Wedding location in Chicago some time back and was impressed the second I stepped through the door. I'm hoping that I'll get to go back for other events to enjoy great company and beautiful surroundings.

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  9. Amanda, I love this post of all of your travels! Hope you and the new family of four are doing well. Congratulations on your new baby girl. What a precious gift! My husband and I are going to travel to New Zealand this fall. He is determined to do the camper van and I am skeptical. What are your thoughts on it? I appreciate any advice. Xo Moe

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    1. Honestly, it was the most economical way to travel (atleast according to all my crazy research and SO much fun to be able to go where you want and when you want and not be dependent on hotel/b&b reservations. You can park pretty much wherever you want - one night we slept next to a fjord another next to gorgeous Lake Tekapo and really enjoy the surroundings. My one piece of advice though is to pay more and get a new camper - don't go for the economical one unless you want a stinky, falling apart one like we had ;)
      Sorry for the late response -- I've been in baby girl bliss / exhausted! :)

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  10. Moorea looks soooo divine. French Polynesia is high high up on my list of places to see. And Halong Bay...no words. Fun fact: It's actually because of you that I even found out about this place for the first time!! I remember seeing your pictures and thinking that I absolutely had to go there one day. And a couple months ago I did :) Here's to many more travels with your sweet growing family in tow!!

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    1. YAY! What'd you think of it??
      Thank you!!!

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  11. Wow what amazing locations you've been to! I love this post, thank you for sharing! Traveling to me is such a treasured gift, I learn so much about myself, culture and people when I go. It's truly priceless!

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    1. I couldn't agree more, Bev!

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  12. I've been following your blog for a little while. I cannot for the life of me remember how I found it. Anywho. You've been awfully silent. Me thinks that little baby made her appearance. ;) I hope at least. Ha! Our babies are neck in neck as far as age. My first is a boy and I just had our baby girl 4 weeks ago. Soooo...if I'm right...congrats. :) If I'm wrong...welp...oops. ;)

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    1. You are right and thank you so much!!!

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  13. Congratulations on the safe arrival of baby Grace! This may be a bit of an odd question given the beautiful photos and travel tips in this post but could you please share where you got the navy shorts and white lace top you are wearing in the NZ photos? I love reading your blog for the recipes and family and travel posts but I also love all your outfits! Thanks :)

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