As I look back over my shoulder at the year that was 2013 I’m amazed we managed to squeeze it all in! We went west around the world starting in Hawaii and finishing in Iceland, stopping at dozens of points in between to eat, laugh and marvel at the beauty of our planet. It was a year of green islands, wild countryside and amazing beer with new friends. I’m spending this New Year’s Eve recovering from oral surgery, which is pretty much the worst, but thinking about all the wonderful experiences 2013 brought is cheering me right up. I can’t wait to see what twists 2014 has in store! Here’s an ever-so-brief look back at the highlights of my 2013 adventures… Nonstop excitement in New Zealand Where to begin when describing the jaw-dropping amazingness that is New Zealand? We met up with baby seals, got our geek on in Hobbiton, went swimming with wild dolphins and flew in a helicopter to go hiking on top of a glacier in a rainforest. There were also the mind-blowing glowworm caves, flights down a hill in a Zorb, and the hike to the otherworldly beauty of Cathedral Cove. We barely stopped moving for three months and it wasn’t enough time to see everything this action-packed country has to offer! Mixing old and new in Hong Kong From food so good I want to hop on a plane right now, to the incredibly beautiful mountain views and spectacular waterfront cityscape – I was utterly entrances by Hong Kong. I definitely want to spend more time in this culturally schizophrenic city! Eating and sightseeing in Hawaii My unlikely love for Hawaii continues unabated. This year we explored another new-to-us island, Kauai, as well as visiting our favorite haunts in Kailua on Oahu. We hiked, we found incredible beaches, and of course we ate tasty treats. A lot. Like, really a lot. Crazy arctic antics in Iceland It’s only been 3 weeks since I left Iceland, but already I can’t wait to go back! I’m still writing all the blog posts, but by far my favorite activity was our Game of Thrones tour “Beyond the Wall”. Besides exploring the land of the Wildlings, we went snorkeling in almost-freezing water, met some magical trolls, and saw the enormous sights of the Golden Circle. The wild beauty of Iceland is an incredible sight when it’s covered in snow, but next time I’ll go in summer to experience some of that legendary midnight sun. Escorting family around Ireland & Scotland This August nine members of my extended family flew to Dublin for a whirlwind tour around our ancestral homeland of Ireland. Then my parents stayed on for an extra four weeks as we dove in-depth to the hidden corners of the Emerald Isle before moving on to the Scottish Highlands to explore its many lakes and castles. Traveling with family may be slightly stressful, but there’s nothing like sharing these experiences with your loved ones. Taking in the views of San Francisco Spending time in one of my favorite US cities is always a joy, mostly for the incredible food. Even though I’ve been at least ten times by now, I still enjoy doing some of the touristy things. This city is filled with the most photogenic views, and I can’t wait to get back here in May 2014 for a friend’s wedding! Enjoying the heat with friends in Berlin I didn’t blog much while in Berlin because I was having so much fun enjoying its quirky, tasty and outdoor-loving culture with a bunch of new friends. Good for the blog? Maybe not. Good for the soul? Absolutely. What a year. Happy New Year everyone! See you in 2014. ;) What were your favorite adventures of 2013? Got anything awesome planned for 2014? Spill in the comments! Tania Danilenko Visited two new countries in 2013, albeit only one city in each: Marrakech in Morocco and Lisbon in Portugal. Had a great time on each occasion. Major plans for 2014: two weeks in Rajasthan, India in February and two weeks in Indonesia in April. Hope my health issues don’t flare up … http://www.seeknewtravel.com/ Kit Whelan I love Marrakech! Your 2014 plans sound awesome, too! I haven’t been to India yet but look forward to going someday. It’s so overwhelmingly huge it’s hard to know where to start! Josie Hi Kit, Are you back in the States — in Maryland — for the holidays? Hope all is well with you and that your 2014 will be as awesome as 2013 was. Great photos! Wishing happy and safe travels, Josie http://www.seeknewtravel.com/ Kit Whelan Yes! I’m in NYC/DC for January, then off to Mexico! Hope your 2014 is off to a terrific start Josie!