I remember when I quit my full time job as an interior designer…I was trying to explain to my boss that there were “no hard feelings”. I remember leaving my last meeting with him, walking into the elevators and saying to myself “I just can’t work somewhere that only gives me 10 days a year to take vacations. It just doesn’t work for me.” I want to travel ALL THE TIME.
And that I have! In fact, since Scott and I started dating six years ago, we’ve been to 15 countries together, 13 states (and three more coming this year!) and have had countless adventures in between. I feel so lucky to have found someone who enjoys travel as much as I do and I am thankful everyday to do life alongside him. While studying abroad, Scott and I met and kicked off the first four months of our relationship visiting ten different countries together. It’s safe to say that we definitely got the travel bug after that!
Pursuing my endless bucket list of travel destinations would not be possible if I wasn’t my own boss. I am so so thankful that my business allows me to travel so often. My business groups, amazing clients, and personal life take me all over the country and world, with camera in hand.
The year after I became a full time business owner, I never would have dreamt that taking time off so frequently would be possible. But now, thanks to my streamlined workflows, and systems in my business, I’m able to take time off frequently, for extended periods of time, without anything falling through the cracks!
In fact, in 2017, I took the entire month of July and November off! I know that if I didn’t have workflows and systems in place, I would have been a slave to my computer during those months. In July, I finished 12 straight weeks of photographing weddings, and in November, I was coming off of 11 straight weeks of weddings! Following those long weeks of work, I hopped on a plane for trips to the Dominican Republic, California, and Florida (hello, sunshine!) AND, the best part of all, my computer was shutting down before I even landed!
THIS, is the power of workflows, my friend. But I’m not here to talk to you about those today! I just want to share my all time favorite adventures with you!!!! SO without further ado, my top 10!
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen will forever be mine and Scott’s favorite place in the world because, well, that’s where we met! We were both studying abroad there in 2012 (and actually went to the same college but never knew each other). Our second night abroad, we met up at a bar with all of the people from our college, and we hit it off right away. We spent four months falling in love with the city, and with each other. Our first kiss was in front of the Royal Playhouse on the harbor and I think it’ll always be my favorite night, ever. We’re always looking for excuses to go back to Copenhagen!!
2. Cinque Terre, Italy
During our semester abroad, me, Scott and two other friends spent part of our spring break on the Italian Riviera coastline in Cinque Terre, Italy. It was (and still is) one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. We hiked through all five seaside towns and did a vineyard tour with one of the local winemakers. I’m pretty sure we ate pizza focaccia bread for all three meals a day (Scott did at least) and had gelato at least once a day. The colors were spectacular in each of the five unique towns, giving me a gallery of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever taken! I hope someday I can photograph a wedding in Cinque Terre!
3. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
During finals week when we were studying abroad, for some reason, we thought it would be a good idea to go to Ireland for a week! With seven friends from our program in Copenhagen, we traveled to County Clare, Ireland to see the Cliffs of Moher. We stayed in the most wonderful Airbnb just a km from the Cliffs, walking there each day passing farms of cow, horse and sheep. While we were in Ireland, we also went to the Aran Islands, Galway, and Lahinch as well as Burren National Park! We lucked out with clear weather all week and we were so thankful to experience such a beautiful country!
4. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
When we went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a ski trip in 2016, I was determined to get a picture of the stars. One night, we finally had clear skies. We drove out to Antelope Flats to the famous Mormon barn to set up for a night of taking pictures. We walked about a mile down a closed road (closed to cars) to the barn, using our headlamps to light up the barn for the shot. About an hour into the night, we heard a wolf howl. Seconds later, an entire PACK of wolves started to howl, and we knew we were being hunted! We quickly packed up and walked as fast as we could to the car. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so scared in my life!
5. Zermatt, Switzerland
I have never cried from pure excitement or natural beauty before… until I visited the town of Zermatt, Switzerland. As we approached the Alps for the first time on the Matterhorn Express (train), I think all four of us on the trip started to cry. We skied for a few days, and stayed in the tiny mountain mining town of Randa, Switzerland, one train stop away from the main village. We picnic-ed on a glacier, skied above the clouds, and had the time of our lives. This is a trip I will never forget. And, I made one of my best friends on this trip (pictured here!) who now works for my team! I feel so thankful!!
In 2016, I went to Iceland for a photography workshop and my breath was completely taken away by this country’s beauty. We rented a van to drive around the country and stayed in a cozy Airbnb. We visited all of the famous waterfalls, the black sand beaches, the blue lagoon, and a glacier that we actually hiked on! After the workshop was over, I stayed an extra few days in Reykjavik and ended up doing a tour called “Inside the Volcano”. We hiked through an inactive lava field, climbed to the hole of the volcano, and then took a window cleaning elevator 750 ft down into the earth. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
7. The Fjords, Norway
When Scott and I were studying abroad, we always wanted to go to Norway, but never made it there because there were so many places on our list!! In 2015, we finally decided to go. We went to Oslo, and then rented a car and drove through tons of fjord villages! We stayed in Flam, where we took a boat out into the Fjords. Luckily, we had a sunny day, because it was FREEZING! We had to wear winter clothes and a dry suit on top of our clothes to stay dry and warm. The Fjords were some of the most majestic natural landscapes I’ve ever experienced, and we couldn’t believe that some of the towns didn’t even have roads to get to them! They have to take boats! We can’t wait to go back someday.
8. Hallstatt, Austria
During our spring break trip abroad, we travelled to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and Italy. Choosing our Austria destination literally happened because I saw a picture on the back of a calendar in Staples. So, to Hallstatt we went! We didn’t know it was the “off-season” for the town, so there wasn’t much to do besides hike and bike. We hiked to the top of the town, through the fog, and enjoyed the breathtaking landscapes. To get there, we took a bus, multiple trains, a ferry, another bus, and then finally a short drive on a dirt road. It was insane, and so so worth it! We hope to go back during their “on-season” some day!
9. Chamonix, France
In 2016, we went back to the Alps. This time to Chamonix, France. While the skiing was amazing, one of the coolest things we did was take the world’s tallest ski lift to the top of Aiguille du Midi, one of the peaks in the Mont Blanc Massif. From the top, you get spectacular views of the entire mountain range, of Mont Blanc’s peak (the highest peak in the Alps) and hundreds of miles of mountains in the distance! You can even ski down a 12 mile run from here, down the glacier. With sights of skiers walking down the glacier in the distance, we opted out of skiing, but enjoyed the views and went into one of those glass boxes cantilevered over the cliff – so that was pretty crazy!
10. Finland + Sweden
During study abroad, my short study tour was in Sweden and Finland. We explored frozen lakes, roamed around the capitals of Stockholm and Helsinki (which had multiple feet of ice on the streets… they just drive on top of it!) and then made our way deep into one of the forested areas for a night of true adventure in Finland. The evening started with a meal of reindeer, and was followed by going from a sauna to jumping into a frozen lake. This is apparently what Finnish people do on the weekends, but I was happy to just do it once.
Do you have a favorite adventure or place you’ve gone that isn’t on my list?! I’m always looking for my next destination!!